Warren E. Burger Office Exhibit

Office Exhibit

The Warren E. Burger Special Collections Wing is home not only to the Chief Justice's papers, but it is proud to house the Warren E. Burger office exhibit with a changing display of photographs and memorabilia of the late Chief Justice.

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Warren E. Burger's desk seen from the right-and side with bookcase, U.S. flag, Supreme Court bench chair and John Marshall portrait in background.

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Warren E. Burger's desk seen from the left. In the back are the right-hand bookshelf, the framed Time Magazine cover portrait of Burger, eagle sculpture and Supreme Court flag proto-type.

While not an exact replica of one of the Chief Justice's offices at the Supreme Court, this exhibit features original artifacts from the Warren E. Burger papers in a setting that closely resembles the interior design of his Supreme Court chambers. Situated behind the desk are the U.S. flag that the Chief Justice kept in his office, as well as a prototype of a U.S. Supreme Court flag, which was presented to the Chief Justice, but never accepted as the Court's official flag.

The desk shown in this picture is a 1960s reproduction of one of the original nine Supreme Court Justices' desks from 1935.  The originals and a few reproductions were manufactured in the Supreme Court carpenter shop.  Chief Justice Burger used this desk when he moved into the "Retired Chief Justice's Chambers" in 1986.

Other items displayed are artifacts from the collection, which the Chief Justice kept on his desk top: blotter with paper inserts, scissors, stapler, pencil holders, pencil case, crystal paper clip holder, red telephone, wood trays, Supreme Court stationery, marble paperweight, and personalized colored notepaper. The red appointment book, dated 1994 has the following entry for Saturday, February 5th 1994: "Charter Day [College of William & Mary], 10 a.m.; Robing 9 a.m.  On that day, Burger, who had been the university's chancellor from 1986-1993, gave the welcome address for his successor Margaret, The Lady Thatcher on the occasion of her investiture.

Warren E. Burger bust, side-view

Walker Hancock: Warren E. Burger, 1983; bronze reproduction of the original marble bust displayed in the U.S. Supreme Court

From 1982-1983 sculptor Walker Hancock worked on a bust of Chief Justice Burger and the original marble bust is on display at the U.S. Supreme Court. One of three bronze reproductions was donated to William & Mary by Wade A. Burger in 1996, along with his father's papers.

From 2005 to the spring of 2022 the bust was on display in the Warren E. Burger  office exhibit, before it was moved to William & Mary's Leadership Gallery in the Wren building.


Warren E. Burger's Supreme Court bench chair

Chief Justice Burger's bench chair, 1969. Burger's well-used briefcase is shown in the background.

The exhibited chair is the Chief Justice's original chair from the Supreme Court Bench and, like the desk, it was built in the Supreme Court's carpenter shop. Burger used this bench chair during his entire Supreme Court tenure from 1969-1986, and in his Supreme Court retirement office after that.