Skip Content
U.S. Flag

Senate Chamber Desks

Overview    |    Seating Plans    |    Desk Occupants    |    The Desks    |    Traditions    |    Timeline

Desk 92 (XCII)

TitleDesk, Senate Chamber, 92 (XCII)
Artist/Makerafter T. Constantine & Co. (1817 - 1826) 
Date19th or early 20th century
MediumMahogany, mahogany veneer and rosewood veneer (primary)
Dimensions h. 34.75 x  w. 28 x  d. 20.12 in. ( h. 88.26 x  w. 71.12 x  d. 51.11 cm)
Credit LineU.S. Senate Collection
Accession Number66.00092.001

  • Object Description
  • This mahogany writing desk was made specifically for use in the Senate’s legislative chamber in the U.S. Capitol, and is one of 100 desks that are similarly constructed and used daily by senators. It features two shaped and fluted legs, a bookshelf supported by mahogany spindles, a drawer, a hinged writing top with storage, and a removable wooden tray for writing tools. Decorative enhancements, including figured mahogany veneers and circular roundels, reflect the designs of the original 48 desks created for the Senate in 1819 by the New York cabinetmaking firm T. Constantine & Co. Over the years, many senators have inscribed their names in the interior of the desk drawers, making each drawer a unique way of linking current and past desk users. Desk occupants can change every two years with a new Congress, and are based on seniority.

  • Artist/Maker
  • Thomas Constantine (1791–1849) was born in Derbyshire, England, and he and his family immigrated to New York City when he was two. Between 1806 and 1812, Constantine apprenticed with New York City cabinetmaker John Hewitt, and then served as a journeyman in the same shop between 1812 and 1814. Thomas opened his own cabinet shop in 1815, and in 1817 his firm, T. Constantine & Co., began competing with some of the city’s most notable furniture manufacturers.

    Constantine received his most celebrated commissions as Congress prepared to reoccupy the U.S. Capitol after it had been damaged by fires set by British soldiers in August 1814. In 1818, Constantine received a contract to provide the House of Representatives Chamber with carpets, wall hangings, lamps, 192 chairs, and 51 tables. The following year, Constantine was awarded a contract to furnish the Senate Chamber with 48 mahogany armchairs and desks, as well as other furnishings, lighting, and textiles. Constantine’s brother, John (1796–1845) is known to have assisted with the upholstery of the chairs made for both chambers.

    Although scholars consider Constantine’s work for the House and Senate to be the apex of his relatively brief career, T. Constantine & Co. produced furniture into the 1820s. He closed his furniture store in the summer of 1824 and furniture manufactory in 1826. Today furnishings by T. Constantine & Co. are represented in various collections, including the National Park Service, National Museum of American History, North Carolina Museum of History, U.S. House of Representatives, and Winterthur Museum.

    For more information on Thomas Constantine, see Matthew A. Thurlow, “Aesthetics, Politics, and Power in Early-Nineteenth-Century Washington: Thomas Constantine & Co.’s Furniture for the United States Capitol, 1818-1819" in American Furniture (Chipstone Foundation, 2006).

  • Desk Occupants
  • The senators' names listed in this table include both names inscribed in the desk drawer and, beginning with the 99th Congress, the names of all senators who occupied this desk.

    Order Senator State Party
    1HollisHenry F. HollisNew HampshireD Democrat
    2KendrickJohn B. KendrickWyomingD Democrat
    3CapperArthur CapperKansasR Republican
    4NicholsonSamuel D. NicholsonColoradoR Republican
    5HarreldJohn W. HarreldOklahomaR Republican
    6BrookhartSmith W. BrookhartIowaR Republican
    7ShipsteadHenrik ShipsteadMinnesotaFL, R
    8PineWilliam B. PineOklahomaR Republican
    9McMasterWilliam H. McMasterSouth DakotaR Republican
    10GeorgeWalter F. GeorgeGeorgiaD Democrat
    11ThomasJohn ThomasIdahoR Republican
    12GlennOtis F. GlennIllinoisR Republican
    13CuttingBronson M. CuttingNew MexicoR Republican
    14WalcottFrederic C. WalcottConnecticutR Republican
    15AustinWarren R. AustinVermontR Republican
    16DieterichWilliam H. DieterichIllinoisD Democrat
    17EricksonJohn E. EricksonMontanaD Democrat
    18BachmanNathan L. BachmanTennesseeD Democrat
    19GuffeyJoseph F. GuffeyPennsylvaniaD Democrat
    20ScrughamJames G. ScrughamNevadaD Democrat
    21MaybankBurnet R. MaybankSouth CarolinaD Democrat
    22McClellanJohn L. McClellanArkansasD Democrat
    23TaylorGlen H. TaylorIdahoD Democrat
    24MitchellHugh B. MitchellWashingtonD Democrat
    25BriggsFrank P. BriggsMissouriD Democrat
    26IvesIrving M. IvesNew YorkR Republican
    27MillerBert H. MillerIdahoD Democrat
    28GrahamFrank P. GrahamNorth CarolinaD Democrat
    29BentonWilliam BentonConnecticutD Democrat
    30HenningsThomas C. Hennings, Jr.MissouriD Democrat
    31CarrollJohn A. CarrollColoradoD Democrat
    32BurdickQuentin N. BurdickNorth DakotaD Democrat
    33CaseClifford P. CaseNew JerseyR Republican
    34MortonThruston B. MortonKentuckyR Republican
    35ClarkJoseph S. ClarkPennsylvaniaD Democrat
    36TalmadgeHerman E. TalmadgeGeorgiaD Democrat
    37McGeeGale W. McGeeWyomingD Democrat
    38BrockWilliam E. Brock, IIITennesseeR Republican
    39BeallJ. Glenn Beall, Jr.MarylandR Republican
    40HathawayWilliam D. HathawayMaineD Democrat
    41CulverJohn C. CulverIowaD Democrat
    42MurkowskiFrank H. MurkowskiAlaskaR Republican
    43HechtJacob C. HechtNevadaR Republican
    44GrammPhil GrammTexasR Republican
    45BondChristopher S. BondMissouriR Republican
    46SmithRobert C. SmithNew HampshireR Republican
    47NicklesDon NicklesOklahomaR Republican
    48FrahmSheila FrahmKansasR Republican
    49GreggJudd GreggNew HampshireR Republican
    50AllenGeorge AllenVirginiaR Republican
    51SandersBernard SandersVermontI
    52TesterJon TesterMontanaD Democrat
    53BegichMark BegichAlaskaD Democrat
    54CowanWilliam M. CowanMassachusettsD Democrat
    55MarkeyEdward J. MarkeyMassachusettsD Democrat
    56ErnstJoni ErnstIowaR Republican
  • Related Objects