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The White House: The First Two Hundred Years

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Since the cornerstone was laid on October 13, 1792, the history of the White House has mirrored the American experience. In many ways, the White House represents living history, a beautiful and powerful symbol of American political culture. In this collection, historians and journalists reflect on and assess the first two hundred years of the White House to provide insights into the evolution of the "people's house" from its limited role in a struggling new nation to its present role as the embodiment of ...
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Overview

Since the cornerstone was laid on October 13, 1792, the history of the White House has mirrored the American experience. In many ways, the White House represents living history, a beautiful and powerful symbol of American political culture. In this collection, historians and journalists reflect on and assess the first two hundred years of the White House to provide insights into the evolution of the "people's house" from its limited role in a struggling new nation to its present role as the embodiment of America's view of the presidency. Among the topics addressed are the ways in which presidents shaped and reflected national taste in the arts, how the national tragedy of the Civil War translated into a personal ordeal for the Lincoln family, the changing public roles of the First Ladies, the White House as a site for protests, and the often manipulative relationship between the media and the presidency. These papers are an outgrowth of the two-hundredth anniversary symposium sponsored by the White House Historical Association.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Edited by the late Freidel, the noted FDR scholar, and Pencak, professor of history at Pennsylvania State University, these scholarly essays are full of interesting and surprising tidbits that will delight even the casual reader. David Herbert Donald's piece on the Lincoln White House (``This Damned Old House,'' the president dubbed it) is haunted by war, death and seances. John Milton Cooper adds an excellent essay on presidential disability, centering on Woodrow Wilson. In Robert Ferrell's ``The Expanding White House,'' we learn that the Roosevelts were responsible for major additions: the West Wing belongs to Teddy and the East Wing to FDR. We also discover from Ferrell that McKinley liked to work smoking a cigar and singing a hymn, and that William Taft built the Oval Office. Elise Kirk reminds us of the White House's musical heritage--and that the Marine Corps Band inadvertently struck up a rousing rendition of ``The Lady Is a Tramp'' one evening while President Ford and the Queen of England were dancing. Illustrations not seen by PW. (Dec.)
Library Journal
On October 13-15, 1992, a symposium sponsored by the White House Historical Association and the National Park Service was held in Washington, D.C. Architects, engineers, journalists, and historians from 21 states spoke at this symposium, which celebrated the bicentennial of the competition determining the building's design. Twelve of their papers make up this volume--the majority by presidential biographers (Robert V. Remini, Richard Norton Smith, David Donald, John Milton Cooper Jr., Robert H. Ferrell, and David McCullough). Apart from its architectural history, the volume does an excellent job of putting this unique political home into world perspective. The focus is both on the house itself and the personalities of its occupants. Four chapters show how the president, the public, and the media interact to form the modern presidency, and a chapter by Betty Boyd Caroli treats the changing role of the First Lady. Anyone interested in American history will find this volume enjoyable.-- William D. Pederson, Louisiana State Univ., Shreveport
Booknews
Eleven papers from distinguished historians and journalists participating in a symposium sponsored by the White House Historical Association, held October 1992, in Washington, D.C., reflect on such topics as the ways in which presidents shaped and reflected national taste in the arts, how the national tragedy of the Civil War translated into a personal ordeal for the Lincoln family, the changing public roles of the First Ladies, the White House as a site for protests, and the often manipulative relationship between the media and the presidency. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Margaret Flanagan
The editors have assembled a series of essays illustrating the ever evolving and expanding function of the White House as both a powerful national emblem and the presidential office and residence. These 11 articles, culled from a large number of papers presented at a recent symposium commemorating the two hundredth anniversary of the executive mansion, reflect the multidimensional role the White House has always played in the social, cultural, and political history of the U.S. A representative tribute to the quintessential symbol of American democracy.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781555531706
  • Publisher: Northeastern University Press
  • Publication date: 12/28/1993
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.44 (w) x 9.52 (h) x 0.94 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
List of Contributors
Preface
Introduction
1 Roles of the President's House 3
2 Becoming a National Symbol: The White House in the Early Nineteenth Century 16
3 America's House: The Bully Pulpit on Pennsylvania Avenue 31
4 "This Damned Old House": The Lincolns in the White House 53
5 Disability in the White House: The Case of Woodrow Wilson 75
6 The Expanding White House: Creating the East and West Wings 100
7 The Press, Protesters, and Presidents 125
8 The President and the Media: An Adversarial but Helpful Relationship 141
9 Using the White House to Further Political Agendas 155
10 The First Lady's Changing Role 170
11 Music at the White House: Legacy of American Romanticism 186
Epilogue: A House Set in a Landscape 201
Bibliographical Note 209
Index 211
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