From D.C. to Kentucky: The History of the U.S. Senate Clerk's Desk

Olivia Renee Bowers, Western Kentucky University

This document is the full version of the CE/T, altered to include the main historical report and visual analysis of the desk.


This Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience aims to highlight the importance of the historical object and accurately document the complete history of the former United States Senate Clerk’s Desk, placed in the chamber in 1859 and removed in 1951. The desk’s first and last occupants were Kentucky natives and civil servants, and its current resting place is in Western Kentucky University’s Kentucky Museum. Through research that began in the nation’s capital, and a journey to follow the desk’s paper trail, the object’s massive historical legacy and close ties to the state of Kentucky may live on. Along with a traditional research report of the desk, an online exhibit has been created in order to allow visitors of the Kentucky Museum to learn about the desk without viewing the object, considering the desk is not in a condition to be exhibited at the moment. By completing this project, historical gaps will be filled for future researchers and others interested in the architectural history of the Senate.