The White House Tea Service will be on display at the Memorial Day Museum during the 150th Anniversary of Waterloo’s Memorial Day Commemoration
The Seneca Falls Historical Society has graciously loaned us this prized acquisition and it will be on display during museum open hours.
The tea service was originally purchased by James Monroe (President 1817 -1825) and stayed in the White House until the Lincoln years. The service was then given to Secretary of State William Seward, who had a home in Auburn. At some point the set was given to Judge Garry V. Sackett, who lived in Seneca Falls. Both Sacket and Seward were abolitionists. At this time Presidents often gave away things from the White House to friends or political cronies. It wasn’t until the 1960s that the objects in the White House and gifts to the resident are considered part of the White House Collection and cannot be given away.
The Historical Society received the set as a bequest from Enid Meston, whose husband Alexander was Sackett’s great, great grandson in 1980. Earlier letters from Meston described a portrait of Judge Sackett that was to go to the Historical Society and a post script describing the tea set. It has been claimed that Mrs. Theodore Roosevelt had asked for the tea set to be returned to the White House.
There are no hallmarks on the china but it is believed to be Limoges, but there is some question as to the manufacturer. The collection consists of a tea pot, sugar, creamer, a couple of small plates and cups and saucers. It is not known if this was a complete set of dinnerware or just a tea service.