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Object Name: Armchair
Date: 1785-1789
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Medium: Mahogany with pine and poplar
Dimensions: Overall: 37 3/4 x 24 1/2 x 21 in. ( 95.9 x 62.2 x 53.3 cm )
Place made: North America, United States, New York
Description: Mahogany Federal-style armchair; tri-lobed crest rail, straight stiles, and pierced slat with interlacing design with a central four-leaf flower with bellflowers below; serpentine arms; square seat upholstered over the rail with serpentine front rail and brass tacks at lower edge; square molded legs with side, rear, and medial stretchers; brass plaques affixed beneath seat rail describes use of chair in inaugurations of Washington, Grant, and Garfield; seat reupholstered.
Credit Line: Gift of Edmund B. Southwick
Object Number: 1916.7
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Marks: Brass plaque on crest rail (left) inscribed "USED BY PRESIDENT U.S. GRANT/ AT HIS INAUGURATION MARCH 4, 1873"; brass plaque on crest rail (center) inscribed "CHAIR USED AT THE INAUGURATION OF/ GEORGE WASHINGTON/ AS THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, APRIL 30, 1789/ PRESENTED BY EDMUND B. SOUTHWICK/ MARCH 7, 1916"; brass plaque on crest rail (right) inscribed "USED BY PRESIDENT JAMES A. GARFIELD/ AT HIS INAUGURATION MARCH 4, 1881"

Gallery Label:

After being sworn in as president of the United States on the balcony of New York City's Federal Hall on April 30, 1789, George Washington sat in this armchair in the Senate chamber, where he delivered his inaugural address to members of Congress. The chair was subsequently used for the inaugurations of Ulysses S. Grant in 1873 and James A. Garfield in 1881.


Federal Hall, New York City; to William Coventry Henry Waddell (1802-1844); to his descendant Edmund B. Southwick


Bach, Debra Schmidt. "Witness to history: Furniture and historic relics." The Magazine Antiques 167 (2005): 162-167.


"The First Inauguration: George Washington's 1789 Ceremony at Federal Hall," New-York Historical Society, November 23, 2004-January 18, 2005.

"Taking the Oath: The First Presidential Inauguration," New-York Historical Society, January 16-May 25, 2009.