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Desk, Flat-Top


Image: Desk, Flat-Top (Cat. no. 65.00036.000)
by Unidentified
Mahogany, 1898 ca.
Overall measurement
      Height: 31.13 inches  (79.1 cm)
      Width:  81 inches  (205.7 cm)
      Depth: 58.50 inches  (148.60 cm)
Cat. no. 65.00036.000

The U.S. Constitution designates the vice president of the United States to serve as president of the Senate and to cast the tie-breaking vote in the case of a deadlock. To carry out these duties, the vice president has long had an office in the U.S. Capitol, just off the Senate Chamber floor. Dominating the highly ornate space is a large mahogany desk.

The double-pedestal desk is believed to have been ordered from W.B. Moses and Sons in 1898 specifically for use in the Vice President’s Room. Beginning with Vice President Garret A. Hobart, the desk has been occupied by over 20 vice presidents in the U.S. Capitol, and was also loaned to the White House from 1969-1977 serving as the Oval Office desk for Presidents Nixon and Ford.

Because of its significant location, the desk has been used for a variety of congressional events. In 1919, Vice President Thomas Marshall signed the Nineteenth Amendment granting nationwide suffrage to women, and in 1937, Vice President John Nance Garner signed the congressional resolution setting aside April 6 as National Army Day. The desk is still in use today.