The Wilson Desk
Or at least sort of.
Above is a recreation of the Oval Office from the GR Ford Presidential Museum and is very accurate in almost every detail. The one detail that we are going to look at here is the desk.
The Wilson Desk, as it is known, served both Presidents Nixon and Ford. Nixon chose it because it had supposedly been used by President Woodrow Wilson. It is mahogany and was purchased between 1897 and 1899 for use in the US Capitol.
During the time that the desk served President Nixon, it saw some things. The desk saw the Vietnam War spiral out of control and come to an end. It saw a man sit at it that had not been elected to his position. It saw numerous policy decisions that we are still seeing effects of today. Most importantly, it also saw a number of recording devices being installed into it. Devices that would cause one if its occupants to leave the office before his time.
Coming from the Vice Presidents room at the Capitol it saw use by some major names before being called up to the big leagues. Teddy Roosevelt, Calvin Coolidge, Harry S. Truman, Richard Nixon, Lyndon Johnson and Hubert Humphrey among others.
When Carter took over the office, the desk was returned to the Capitol where it has served every VP since.
Oh yeah. The name.
No one has a clue. While Nixon thought it had been used by Woodrow Wilson, that was certainly wrong. For a time it was believed that the desk had been used by President Grant’s VP Henry Wilson. Later that was disproved as he had been VP almost twenty years before the desk was purchased. So the actual origin? Who knows, maybe it should have had the recording devices put in sooner.