What were the leaders of the free world really doing during all those meetings? As the editors of Cabinet magazine reveal here for the first time, they were doodling. Our Founding Fathers doodled, and so did Andrew Jackson. Benjamin Harrison accomplished almost nothing during his time in the White House, but he left behind some impressive doodles. During the twentieth century-as the federal bureaucracy grew and the meetings got longer-the Presidential doodle truly came into its own. Theodore Roosevelt doodled animals and children, while Dwight Eisenhower doodled weapons and self-portraits. FDR doodled gunboats, and JFK doodled sailboats. Ronald Reagan doodled cowboys and football players and lots of hearts for Nancy. The nation went wild for Herbert Hoover’s doodles: A line of children’s clothing was patterned on his geometric designs. Cabinet magazine has spent years scouring archives and libraries across America, unearthing hundreds of Presidential doodles. Here the editors of Cabinet present the finest examples of the genre. Historian David Greenberg sets these images in context and explains what they reveal about the inner lives of our Commanders in Chief. Are Kennedy’s dominoes merely squiggles, or do they reflect deeper anxieties about the Cold War? Why did LBJ and his cabinet spend so much time doodling caricatures of one another? Smart, revealing, and hilarious-Presidential Doodles is the ideal gift for anyone interested in politics or history. And for anyone who doodles!
Sasha Archibald is the former Associate Editor and Sina Najafi the current Editor-in-Chief of Cabinet magazine. Described by the New York Times as “voracious, omnivorous, and playful,” Cabinet is a nonprofit quarterly dedicated to creating a new culture of curiosity about the world.