Our Changing White House

Overview

In many different ways the White House is living history, a reflection of our nation's past and a window to its future. The illuminating, well-written essays in this abundantly illustrated volume focus on the Executive Mansion's architecture, gardens, furnishings, and staff to reveal a White House forever changing and evolving. The volume also includes an essay on the personal experiences and recollections of the household staff, whose long-established tradition of service and decorum provides a key source of ...
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Overview

In many different ways the White House is living history, a reflection of our nation's past and a window to its future. The illuminating, well-written essays in this abundantly illustrated volume focus on the Executive Mansion's architecture, gardens, furnishings, and staff to reveal a White House forever changing and evolving. The volume also includes an essay on the personal experiences and recollections of the household staff, whose long-established tradition of service and decorum provides a key source of continuity over decades of change in the White House. This exquisite work is dedicated to the memory of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, who inspired the creation of the White House Historical Association. It evokes the spirit of the Executive Mansion, and of the presidents and first families who shaped its fascinating history. The essays included are an outgrowth of a White House Historical Association - sponsored symposium celebrating the two hundredth anniversary of the White House.
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Color and b&w photos and illustrations accompany essays on the Executive Mansion's architecture, gardens, furnishings, and staff. Contributors including historians, curators, and architects cover topics such as the building's structure, the White House's art collection, and the evolution of the grounds, and incorporate information on various presidents and first families. Includes an essay on personal experiences and recollections of the household staff. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Brad Hooper
Every public library large or small needs a good history of the White House, and this one is not only good but outstanding. In 10 wide-ranging essays by authorities in their field, the executive mansion's evolution through two centuries is lovingly traced, including conception and design, construction and later reconstruction, and original furnishings and many subsequent refurbishings, all related with a wealth of detail, much of which will be unfamiliar to readers of most other general books on the subject. From the White House's beginning, when President Washington was actively involved in the planning of the new federal city named after him, to firsthand commentary on the contemporary program of White House upkeep by the current "Chief Usher," we are presented with facts, anecdotes, episodes, and personalities, all part of the story of a house that is also a home. Although the White House occupies an important place in our political and historical consciousness, this book's central thesis is that the place is not a stuffy museum but a constantly changing domestic habitat. The liberal presentation of illustrations greatly augments the text.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781555532222
  • Publisher: Northeastern University Press
  • Publication date: 5/24/1995
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 8.78 (w) x 9.74 (h) x 1.11 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Contributors
Foreword
Introduction
1 The White House: Plans Realized and Unrealized 1
2 Crafted from Stone 31
3 Social Seasons and Rituals of Entertainment 56
4 Decorated in the Most Splendid Manner: Art in the White House 88
5 Furniture and Interiors: Change and Continuity 109
6 Furnishing the Executive Mansion: Nineteenth-Century Washington Sources 135
7 The Landscape of the President's House: Garden of Democracy 161
8 McKim's Renovations: American Renaissance and Imperial Presidency 182
9 Serving Those Who Serve: White House Workers 201
Epilogue: Caring for the White House Today 224
Illustration Credits 241
Index 243
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