The White House Historical Association

The White House Historical Association The White House Historical Association: to enhance the understanding, appreciation and enjoyment of the White House. The White House Historical Association is a charitable nonprofit institution whose purpose is to enhance the understanding, appreciation and enjoyment of the White House.

Tomorrow, the Atlanta Braves and the Houston Astros will face off in the first game of the 2021 MLB World Series at Minu...
10/25/2021

Tomorrow, the Atlanta Braves and the Houston Astros will face off in the first game of the 2021 MLB World Series at Minute Maid Park.

Long before the Washington Nationals’ 2019 World Series victory, the nation’s capital experienced its first Major League Baseball (MLB) Championship during the presidency of Calvin Coolidge. During the 1924 baseball season, President Coolidge and First Lady Grace Coolidge attended several Washington Senators games at Griffith Stadium, located approximately two miles from the White House. The Senators finished the season atop the American League standings, earning the team its first American League pennant in franchise history.

The Coolidges were on hand to watch the Senators face the New York Giants in Game One of the best-of-seven series to determine the World Champions. With the presidential election one month away, President Coolidge tried to remain a neutral fan, though Grace Coolidge actively cheered for the Senators. The president did the honors of throwing out the first pitch in Game One, a game the Senators lost 4-3. After winning Game Two, the Senators traveled to New York, winning one of three games to set up a must-win Game Six in Washington. On October 9, the president and first lady watched as the Senators held on to a 2-1 victory in Game Six. The Coolidges were again in attendance for the climactic Game Seven, a dramatic twelve inning finish that culminated with a walk-off hit by Senator’s outfielder Earl McNeely that gave Washington a 4-3 win and the championship.

Image: Public Domain

Tomorrow, the Atlanta Braves and the Houston Astros will face off in the first game of the 2021 MLB World Series at Minute Maid Park.

Long before the Washington Nationals’ 2019 World Series victory, the nation’s capital experienced its first Major League Baseball (MLB) Championship during the presidency of Calvin Coolidge. During the 1924 baseball season, President Coolidge and First Lady Grace Coolidge attended several Washington Senators games at Griffith Stadium, located approximately two miles from the White House. The Senators finished the season atop the American League standings, earning the team its first American League pennant in franchise history.

The Coolidges were on hand to watch the Senators face the New York Giants in Game One of the best-of-seven series to determine the World Champions. With the presidential election one month away, President Coolidge tried to remain a neutral fan, though Grace Coolidge actively cheered for the Senators. The president did the honors of throwing out the first pitch in Game One, a game the Senators lost 4-3. After winning Game Two, the Senators traveled to New York, winning one of three games to set up a must-win Game Six in Washington. On October 9, the president and first lady watched as the Senators held on to a 2-1 victory in Game Six. The Coolidges were again in attendance for the climactic Game Seven, a dramatic twelve inning finish that culminated with a walk-off hit by Senator’s outfielder Earl McNeely that gave Washington a 4-3 win and the championship.

Image: Public Domain

There are many known ghost stories around Washington, D.C., but the “Demon Cat” apparition is one of the most famous. It...
10/24/2021
Demon Cat

There are many known ghost stories around Washington, D.C., but the “Demon Cat” apparition is one of the most famous. It refers to an oversized, menacing cat that appears sporadically in prominent federal government buildings, popping up everywhere from the White House to the Capitol Building.

Learn more about this spooky feline, sometimes known simply as “D.C.” in today’s article:

The “Demon Cat” apparition is one of the best-known ghost stories in Washington, D.C. It refers to an oversized, menacing cat that appears sporadically in prominent federal government buildings. Acco...

“First, let me, on behalf of all the American people, Mr. President, wish you a very happy birthday. We are so glad that...
10/23/2021

“First, let me, on behalf of all the American people, Mr. President, wish you a very happy birthday. We are so glad that you could be here to celebrate it with us.” President Lyndon B. Johnson opened his toast to Italian President Giuseppe Saragat with these words on September 19, 1967, at a White House State Dinner in celebration of Saragat’s sixty-ninth birthday.

President Saragat arrived in Washington, D.C. on September 18, and he was greeted by President Johnson and First Lady Claudia “Lady Bird” Johnson at the White House. The following day, on his birthday, the Italian president attended numerous events and meetings. First, he traveled to Arlington National Cemetery, where he placed wreaths at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and at the grave of President John F. Kennedy. Saragat met President Kennedy at the White House in February 1963 when he served as the leader of the Democratic Socialist Party of Italy. Almost two years later, on December 28, 1964, he was elected President of the Italian Republic.

After visiting Arlington National Cemetery, President Saragat spent the rest of the day meeting with President Johnson, Vice President Hubert Humphrey, and other U.S. dignitaries. In the evening, Saragat returned to the White House for the State Dinner (pictured), where a birthday cake was served to celebrate the day (pictured). To honor President Saragat, Richard Kiley and Harvey Lembeck performed selections from “Man of La Mancha” during the dinner.

The following day, on September 20, the Italian delegation left Washington, D.C. Later that year, on December 23, President Lyndon B. Johnson traveled to Rome, Italy, to meet with Italian President Saragat and Italian Prime Minister Aldo Moro.

The USS Sequoia served as the “floating White House” from President Herbert Hoover’s administration through President Ji...
10/22/2021

The USS Sequoia served as the “floating White House” from President Herbert Hoover’s administration through President Jimmy Carter’s administration. The 104-foot long yacht was designed by John Trumpy and built in 1925 by the Mathis Yacht Building Company in Camden, New Jersey. The vessel was purchased by the Department of Commerce on March 24, 1931, transferred to the Navy, and commissioned as the Sequoia for the president’s use.

In addition to the Sequoia, the USS Potomac served as the presidential yacht for President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the USS Williamsburg served as the presidential yacht for President Harry S. Truman and President Dwight D. Eisenhower. President Roosevelt preferred the protection that the steel of the Potomac offered over the wood of the Sequoia. Additionally, the Potomac was larger than the Sequoia and could accommodate more Secret Service members.

The presidential yachts offered a brief retreat from the White House for presidents and served as a setting for recreational and social activities. For example, on May 29, 1963, President John F. Kennedy celebrated his birthday on the Sequoia with dinner and a cruise on the Potomac River. President Roosevelt enjoyed fishing and reading on the Potomac. On one memorable fishing trip in 1936, he caught kingfish, mackerel, groupers, and barracuda in the Bahamas.

Presidents also used the yacht to host informal policy meetings and diplomatic meetings. In this photograph, President Gerald R. Ford organized an informal meeting with his cabinet members on the Sequoia.

In May 1977, President Carter sold the Sequoia at auction for $286,000. Since then, the yacht has been sold and acquired by several different owners. In 1987, the yacht obtained designation as a National Historic Landmark.

The Sequoia’s current owner is Equator Capital Group, and they are in the process of restoring the yacht. Once the Sequoia restoration is complete, Equator Capital Group hopes to bring it back to Washington, D.C to serve as a venue for teaching American presidential history and promote conservation causes.

Image: Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum/NARA

The USS Sequoia served as the “floating White House” from President Herbert Hoover’s administration through President Jimmy Carter’s administration. The 104-foot long yacht was designed by John Trumpy and built in 1925 by the Mathis Yacht Building Company in Camden, New Jersey. The vessel was purchased by the Department of Commerce on March 24, 1931, transferred to the Navy, and commissioned as the Sequoia for the president’s use.

In addition to the Sequoia, the USS Potomac served as the presidential yacht for President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the USS Williamsburg served as the presidential yacht for President Harry S. Truman and President Dwight D. Eisenhower. President Roosevelt preferred the protection that the steel of the Potomac offered over the wood of the Sequoia. Additionally, the Potomac was larger than the Sequoia and could accommodate more Secret Service members.

The presidential yachts offered a brief retreat from the White House for presidents and served as a setting for recreational and social activities. For example, on May 29, 1963, President John F. Kennedy celebrated his birthday on the Sequoia with dinner and a cruise on the Potomac River. President Roosevelt enjoyed fishing and reading on the Potomac. On one memorable fishing trip in 1936, he caught kingfish, mackerel, groupers, and barracuda in the Bahamas.

Presidents also used the yacht to host informal policy meetings and diplomatic meetings. In this photograph, President Gerald R. Ford organized an informal meeting with his cabinet members on the Sequoia.

In May 1977, President Carter sold the Sequoia at auction for $286,000. Since then, the yacht has been sold and acquired by several different owners. In 1987, the yacht obtained designation as a National Historic Landmark.

The Sequoia’s current owner is Equator Capital Group, and they are in the process of restoring the yacht. Once the Sequoia restoration is complete, Equator Capital Group hopes to bring it back to Washington, D.C to serve as a venue for teaching American presidential history and promote conservation causes.

Image: Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum/NARA

10/21/2021
White House History Weekly: Blair House

Every week, White House Historical Association President Stewart McLaurin posts an episode of White House History Weekly on his Twitter and LinkedIn. In each episode, Stewart poses a question to somebody who can provide insight into a significant moment, tradition, or room in the White House. Stewart is often joined by a White House Historical Association historian, board member, or former White House staff member.

In this episode, learn more about Blair House, The President's Guest House:

Arriving to the White House at 9:30 am on October 29, 1962, President John F. Kennedy had a packed Monday ahead of him i...
10/21/2021

Arriving to the White House at 9:30 am on October 29, 1962, President John F. Kennedy had a packed Monday ahead of him immediately following the end of the thirteen-day Cuban Missile Crisis. According to his daily schedule, over the course of the day the president met with a grand total of twenty-six people during two-and-a-half hours of meetings.

Since the Cuban Missile Crisis ended the day before, Kennedy started his morning meeting with the National Security Council for an Executive Committee meeting from 10:10 to 10:58 am. The meeting was attended by the president and vice president, along with Secretary of State Dean Rusk, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, Treasury Secretary C. Douglas Dillon, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, Director of Central Intelligence John McCone, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Maxwell D. Taylor, National Security Advisor McGeorge Bundy, among other officials.

After this meeting, President Kennedy spent thirty minutes in the White House Family Theater before returning to the Oval Office at 12:05 pm, taking a photo with retiring, long-time White House Chauffeur Sergeant Frederick H. Harrell. In quick succession, the new Ambassador to the Philippines, Amelito Mutuc, presented his credentials to President Kennedy at 12:15 pm. Following this meeting, the president had an off the record meeting with Admiral George W. Anderson and General David M. Shoup at 12:30 pm.

The president left the Oval Office to go to the pool at 1:15 pm, returning from the residence at 4:13 pm ahead of meetings with Senator Hubert Humphrey and photographer Eddie Adams. Meeting again with his National Security Council Executive Committee between 6:30 and 7:20 pm, the president returned to the office at 7:30 before finishing his day back at the pool.

This Working White House Wednesday, we recognize the legacy of Colin Powell, four-star general and advisor to several Am...
10/20/2021

This Working White House Wednesday, we recognize the legacy of Colin Powell, four-star general and advisor to several American presidents, who passed away earlier this week.

Powell’s impressive career began in the United States Army. After serving in the Vietnam War, he was a member of the 1972-1973 White House Fellowship Program, a prestigious, bipartisan leadership program that launched Powell’s successful career in government service.

General Powell went on to hold several prominent positions in presidential administrations, including national security advisor to President Ronald Reagan, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to President George H.W. Bush and President Bill Clinton, and secretary of state for President George W. Bush. He was the first African American to serve as secretary of state in American history.

Powell was also awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom twice—first by President George H. W. Bush in 1991, and again by President Bill Clinton in 1993. Scroll through the gallery below to learn more about Powell’s historic career. The White House Historical Association offers its condolences to General Powell’s family.

Located on the Ground Floor of the White House, the China Room has housed ceramics, glass, and silver since 1917. The co...
10/19/2021

Located on the Ground Floor of the White House, the China Room has housed ceramics, glass, and silver since 1917. The collection features china used by first families, as well as pieces commissioned by presidents and first ladies.

Since 1952, the China Room has also featured First Lady Grace Coolidge’s portrait, painted by Howard Chandler Christy. In 1963, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy restored the China Room and a nineteenth-century gild-framed borne settee, which was reupholstered with red velvet in an effort to better match Coolidge’s dress in the painting. The redesign also shifted to a grey, white, and red color palette and added an 1825 marble mantel above the fireplace.

In today’s gallery, explore the China Room’s redesign in these photos from 1961, 1963, and 1964.

Located on 79 acres in the heart of Ottawa, Rideau Hall has been home to Canada’s governors general since 1867, when Bri...
10/18/2021
Official Residences Around the World

Located on 79 acres in the heart of Ottawa, Rideau Hall has been home to Canada’s governors general since 1867, when Britain’s Canadian colonies came together as a confederation. The governor general, who represents the Crown within Canada’s constitutional monarchy, is the representative of the head of state and is appointed by the sovereign on the recommendation of the prime minister. Canada is a constitutional monarchy where the duties of the head of state (the Canadian monarch) and head of government (the prime minister) are distinct in exercising the duties of the head of state, the governor general is nonpartisan and apolitical. The prime minister has an official residence nearby, known as 24 Sussex.

Rideau Hall includes many features and historical buildings such as a visitor center, a winter pavilion, an outdoor skating rink and greenhouses. The property also houses the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General—the government department responsible for supporting the governor general in fulfilling his or her role and responsibilities—as well as offices for the National Capital Commission, which is a custodian of the six official residences in Canada’s Capital Region.

The residence stands in the center of the grounds of Rideau Hall, with woods to the north and an expansive lawn to the south. The grounds are landscaped in the English Picturesque style and have been designated a national historic site. Consisting of manicured lawns, a wooded park, ornamental gardens, rose gardens, rookeries, a cricket pitch, tennis courts, and an ice skating rink, the property is also used to display sculptural pieces from Canada’s First Peoples, such as the Kwakiutl totem pole and Inuit stone inuksuk. The grounds are open daily to the public and are the setting for concerts, ceremonies, celebrations, picnics, strolls, guided tours of the residence, and sporting events. The winter activities are definitively Canadian: snowshoeing, skating, and cross-country skiing.

This text is excerpted from Official Residences Around the World by Abby Clouse-Radigan. With this unique survey of the histories, architecture, and uses of residences and offices of some fifty nations, the White House can be seen in a global context.

Image: Aerial view of Rideau Hall: Sgt Eric Jolin, Rideau Hall

Completed in 1800 in the new City of Washington, the White House, like its European predecessors, would be a home and office for the president of the United States, and the setting for state functions and ceremonies. With this book, Official Residences Around the World, the White House can be seen i...

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