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Tag: White House

Say cheese, Mr. President: White House photographers at the Truman Library

Only 43 men in the history of the United States have held the title of President.

That’s a fairly small group , smaller than your average NFL team. But smaller still is the group of professionals who have held the title as the President’s chief photographer. To date, only nine men have served as the official White House Photographer.

President John F. Kennedy first appointed photographer Cecil Stoughton in 1960 in the role of White House Photographer. In the nearly 50 years following that first appointment, Presidential photographers have served as visual historians of the President’s daily life.

These photographers captured rare glimpses inside the White House and the historic moments of the Presidents they served. In addition to iconic images that enter the public’s memory of the President, private moments are captured as well.

On October 21, 2011, the Truman Library and Museum in Independence, MO, is excited to share the works of these photographers with  the exhibition “The President’s Photographer: Fifty Years Inside the Oval Office.”

The exhibit displays images from the 1960s, when the first Presidential photographer was hired, to today’s unprecedented coverage of Barack Obama. The National Geographic exhibition features works by veteran presidential photographers including David Hume (who photographed Gerald Ford), David Valdez (George H.W. Bush), Bob McNeely (Bill Clinton), and Eric Draper (George W. Bush).

This tradition continues today as the 44th President’s chief … [ Read all ]

What’s Cooking Wednesdays: A dozen dont’s of gardening

Feeling the urge to plant a vegetable garden? 

During World War I and World War II, citizens were encouraged to plant victory gardens as part of the war effort so that more food could be sent overseas to the troops. Even the White House had a Victory Garden at the urging of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt.

Because many of these Victory Gardeners were city-dwellers, the government created posters, fliers, and handbooks to help these citizens make good use of their patches of soil.

Gardening clearly takes more than just common sense. In the Victory Garden Leader’s Handbook (below), a comic strip gives a dozen examples of problems that neophytes might encounter!

New gardeners were encouraged to plan ahead, but not start too soon, pick a good location, consider crop height, and not to waste soil or seed.

Despite these challenges, by 1945  about 40% of the nation’s vegetables came from these gardens.

In Boston, some of the 49 acres used as Victory Gardens across the city survived in the Fenway area as the Richard D. Parker Memorial Victory Gardens, which are still in use today.

The National Archives in Seattle found these tips in a Victory Garden Leader’s Handbook—and they are still (mostly!) valid. Check back in August, and we’ll have some suggestions for ways to preserve your bounty!… [ Read all ]

Friday Facial Hair: It’s Date Night!

Earlier today, I was searching for images with “bicycles” to create a Facebook album after being inspired by the commuters of DC, who took to the streets on their bikes to celebrate DC Bike to Work Day.

I was thrilled to see this image, which is not only a fine example of a nineteenth-century velocipede, but is also a tandem bicycle for double the old-timey fun. And not only that, but this gentleman has a fine moustache and sideburns, qualifying him to be featured in Facial Hair Friday.

But the burning question is this: Are these two on a date?

After all, what better way to spend time out in public with your sweetheart in a way that met the high moral standing of the day?

If they are, I am impressed. They are both have corsages to pinned to their coats and have on stylish hats. The woman is wearing gloves and a fitted corset with many, many tiny buttons. The man’s facial hair is neat and tidy, unlike the flowing beards and neards that we often see. They are impeccably groomed, a fact noted in the original caption to this photo which refers to them as a “smartly dressed couple.”

And despite operating a four-wheeled bicycle together using their feet and their hands, neither of them seems sweaty or flustered. If it is … [ Read all ]

Pennsylvania Avenue Hotline

Today’s guest post comes from David Coleman,  associate professor at the University of Virginia and Chair of the Presidential Recordings Program at the Miller Center of Public Affairs.

On April 28, W.W. Norton will publish volumes 7 and 8 in the Miller Center’s Presidential Recordings of Lyndon B. Johnson series. (The original tapes are in the holdings of the LBJ Presidential Library and Museum.) The volumes, which span June through July 4, 1964, were edited by Guian McKee, Kent Germany, and David Carter.

At 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 28, the National Archives will host Dave Coleman, the editors, and Pulitzer Prize–winning author Taylor Branch to discuss these latest books.

“That’s a good bill, and there’s no reason why you ought to keep a majority from beating it. If you can beat it, go on and beat it, but you oughtn’t to hold it up. You ought to give me a fair shake and give me a chance to vote on it.”
—LBJ to House Minority Leader Charles Halleck, 6:24 p.m., June 22, 1964

 

Behind-the-scenes discussions between the White House and Capitol Hill can be an essential piece of the puzzle in understanding how and why legislation was passed, rejected, or changed, or even a government shutdown averted. But they’re typically obscured from public view.

It’s easy enough to imagine what might have been

[ Read all ]

An Egg-centric White House Tradition

Today’s an eggs-ellent day in Washington, DC, for young people! It’s the annual White House Easter Egg Roll, where hundreds of children gather to roll eggs and play games on the South Lawn of the President’s House.

But the tradition did not start at the White House. It began on the lawns and terraces of the Capitol after the Civil War. Children of all races and backgrounds rolled eggs and played games on the turf around the Capitol.

But in 1878, children who arrived at the Capitol on Easter Monday were turned away.

Congress had passed a law to prevent these young citizens from taking such liberties on the grounds, and it became the “duty of the Capitol police hereafter to prevent any portion of the Capitol grounds and terraces from being used as playgrounds or otherwise.”

It’s not clear how the party was rolled over to the White House, but a newspaper clipping in Rutherford B. Hayes’s personal scrapbook shows he was the first President to officially allow the Executive Mansion to be used for egg rolling. (There were informal egg rollings there as early as Lincoln’s administration.)

The good times and egg rolling continued through the following Presidential administrations with a few brief interruptions. In 1917, during World War I, the egg roll was canceled until 1920 because of concerns of the waste of … [ Read all ]