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Welcome to The Mary Todd Lincoln Bedroom


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"Chains, Buckets and a variety of Cotton Scraps" cluttered Room 17 of the White House basement in February 1801, according to the first official Executive Mansion Inventory. With the passage of time, the room would come to serve informally as a confinement chamber for First Ladies and female offspring to weather their pungent Monthlies - out of sight of God-fearing menfolk. Not until Abraham Lincoln's renovation of 1862, accompanied by the installation of a clean-burning coal furnace, was this uniquely subterranean bedroom officially designated the "First Lady's Time Out Room." In 1933, it was remodeled by Eleanor Roosevelt as a ladies-only reception/slumber party room, and in 1974 a committee was appointed to select furnishings representative of the full spectrum of American repression, rehabilitation and restraint devices for the use of the President, his family, and his staff. This wide-ranging collection is still being augmented today with the help of a generous grant from the Pfizer Pharmaceutical Corporation.

As seen above, the Bedroom is furnished in the style of the high Miltown period (1951-1959), with most of the pieces attributed to designer Hoffmann-La Roche. It is more casual and considerably less dangerously sharp-edged than the rooms of the State Floor, and was often used for the involuntary storage of excessively vocal or prescription-engorged First Ladies during important teas and summits held elsewhere in the building. The soft gray and rose tones of the paneling are complemented by a Luvox-hued carpet of the mid-20th century. The gilded wood chandelier with painted red band emanates a gentle, anesthetizing glow and was made in 1967 in the popular Diazepam style. The quilted wall padding designed for the Ford administration by craftsman Eli Lilly is not only elegant, but also functional enough to muffle the unseemly sounds of a First Lady in a period of non-compliant tea-totaling - not to mention sufficiently sturdy to withstand the Lee Press-Ons of said spouse during a profanity-belching spate of the delirium tremens.

On the west wall is a portrait of the room's most frequent denizen and namesake, Mary Todd Lincoln, who is also represented in the room's furnishings by a personalized dinner bowl from which she would take bland nourishment after incidents of colorful public behavior.

Lest it seem as if use of the Bedroom was restricted to the fairer sex, it should be noted that President Clinton was known to encamp in the room for nights at a time. These sessions, generally at the behest of the First Lady, usually involved meditation, chastity harnesses, and quiet contemplation of his Executive actions while seated in the room's signature wooden Saltpétre chair - a decorative addition under the Reagan administration.

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