This walnut conference table was purchased for the Cabinet Room (then on the Second Floor of the White House) in 1869 during the administration of President Ulysses S. Grant. It was part of a suite of furniture made by the Pottier & Stymus Manufacturing Co., a New York firm known for its high-quality product uniquely designed for each commission.
An interesting feature of the table are the locking drawers in which the President and his seven Cabinet officers (State, Treasury, War, Justice, Post Office, Navy, and Interior) could keep their papers. It is uncertain how an eighth Cabinet member was accommodated with the creation of the Department of Agriculture in 1889, but the table continued in use until 1902, when a new Cabinet Room was provided in the newly constructed West Wing.
In 1961, Mrs. Kennedy retrieved the remaining pieces from the suite - this table, a sofa, and four chairs - and returned them to the Second Floor room which had served as the Cabinet Room from 1865 to 1902, naming it the Treaty Room in honor of the many documents which had been signed there.
The historic documents which have been signed on this table include:
1. The Peace Protocol ending hostilities of the Spanish-American War, August 12, 1898, witnessed by President William McKinley in the Cabinet Room.
2. The Pact of Paris (Kellogg-Briand Peace Pact), 1929, signed by President Calvin Coolidge in the East Room.
3. Arms and nuclear testing treaties with the Soviet Union signed in the East Room by Presidents Nixon (1972), Ford (1976), Reagan (1987), and (Bush) 1990
4. Treaties with former Soviet republics (Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan), 1992, signed by President George Bush in the East Room
5. Middle East peace documents: Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty, 1979, on the North Lawn, witnessed by President Jimmy Carter, The Israel-Palestinian Declaration of Principles, 1993, on the South Lawn, hosted by President Bill Clinton, The Washington Declaration, Jordan and Israel, 1994, on the South Lawn, witnessed by President Clinton, West Bank Agreement, Israel and the Palestinians, 1995, in the East Room witnessed by President Clinton, Interim Accord, Israel and the Palestinians, 1998, in the East Room.
Office of the Curator, The White House
U.S. Government purchase, 1869