Family Sitting Room

The First Lady has transformed this space into the “Georgia Room.”

A unique aspect of this room is the paneling. It is from the butternut tree (a type of hickory). In pioneer days, chips of the butternut tree were used to brew beer. The oil from its nuts went into recipes and ointments. The dye from the inner bark turned clothes brownish-yellow. During the Civil War, Confederate soldiers wore homespun uniforms colored with butternut dye.

Georgia was named after King George II of England, whose portrait hangs on the wall. The Federal Period (1789-1823) secretary along the wall was made in Boston. (1814). 

Under the portrait of Alexander Stephens, a former Georgia governor, is a glass sculpture of a magnolia blossom by the well-known Atlanta glass artist Frabel. Also under the portrait is a lamp from the Springer Opera House in Columbus, Georgia. In addition, there is a history book about the Salzburger colonists, originally from present-day Austria, who sailed to Georgia in 1734 and settled up the Savannah River.

The framed engraving on the side table next to the sofa is of General James Edward Oglethorpe, the founder of Georgia. It was the work of French engraver Simon Francois Ravenet.

Empire giltwood mirror. The reserve is a landscape of cottage and man holding rake. England or U.S. (1800). 

On either side of the mirror are a pair of Adam gilt wood ramshead wall brackets. England (circa 1800). Sitting on the brackets are a pair of porcelain vases with painted landscapes. Paris (circa 1820-1830).

The books in this room are works of literature organized by the Dewey Decimal System. Many are works by Georgia authors.

There are two blue and white Wedgewood plates in the bookcase. One is of James Edward Oglethorpe, the founder of Georgia. This plate was designed and donated by the Transylvania Club of Sandersville, Ga. The other plate is of the Medical College of Georgia now called Augusta University and is the oldest school of medicine in Georgia, chartered in 1828.

Next to the Wedgewood plates is a white plate with a picture of the Jerusalem Lutheran Church. It was built by Salzburgers in New Ebenezer, Ga. (25 miles northwest of Savannah) and erected 1767-1769. The church is still being used for services today.

The banjo clock on the far wall is American made by clockmaker Samuel Whiting. Concord, Massachusetts (1820). The mahogany working table below the clock is from Boston. The sewing basket is original (1790).
 

The round rosewood table was made by John Needles of Baltimore. Needles was a Quaker and very active in the anti-slavery movement during the antebellum period. Signed (1825). On the rosewood table is an Olympic torch from 1996, when Atlanta hosted the Olympic Games.

The fireplace mantle is Italian white marble and dates back to 1780. On the fireplace mantel is a French empire bronze Dore clock. The clock is of a young boy seated on a bench with his feet resting on a footstool. Paris (circa 1813-25).

On each side of the fireplace is a pair of Eglomise. They are of the trading pavilions called Hongs and located in Canton, China (circa 1840). The Hongs were major business and trading facilities geared toward the western world. 

The Pembroke table next to the sofa is from New York. Michael Allison made the table (stamped in the drawer). (Circa 1790-1810). On the Pembroke table is a first edition of Gone with the Wind signed by the author Margaret Mitchell.

The rug is a Savonnerie. Austria (1890).