Inside the White House


Chapter Five: The Working White House  ›

"Everyone works like a team": White House Historical Association Exhibit: "The Working White House: Learning the Ropes." This chapter includes a great deal of material developed for the "Working White House" traveling exhibition produced by the White House Historical Association and the Smithsonian Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES). The research and curatorial team included William B. Bushong, Sally Sims Stokes, and James Deutsch. The show traveled the United States from September 2008 to February 2012.

John Briesler: Seale, The President's House, Vol. 1, 80-81; Seale, "The White House in John Adams's Presidency," White House History 7 (Spring 2000), 32-42.

"About thirty servants": Abigail Adams to Abigail Adams Smith, November 21, 1800, in Letters of Mrs. Adams, the Wife of John Adams (Boston: Charles C. Little and James Brown, 1840), 433

"Building is in a state to be habitable": John Adams to Abigail Adams, November 2, 1800, in Charles Francis Adams, ed., Letters of John Adams, Addressed to His Wife, Vol. 2 (Boston: Charles C. Little and James Brown, 1841), 267

"Splendid misery": Edith B. Gelles, "Abigail Adams as First Lady," in William Seale, ed., The White House: Actors and Observers (Washington: White House Historical Association, 2002), 3

1790 Residence Act: Kenneth R. Bowling, The Creation of Washington, D.C.: The Idea and Location of the American Capital (Fairfax, Va.: George Mason University Press, 1991)

Buchanan servant policy: Seale, The President's House, Vol. 1, 329

1860 Census listing: Seale, The President's House, Vol. 1, 329; ; Free Inhabitants in 1st Ward, Washington City in the County of Washington, State of District of Columbia, Presidents House. Enumerated by H.H. Young, assistant marshal, July 28, 1860, Eighth Census of the United States, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C., accessed November 8, 2013

"Quiet and gentle in every respect": Allen Culling Clark, "Abraham Lincoln in the National Capital," Records of the Columbia Historical Society 27 (1925), 37

Managers of the House: Claire Faulkner, "Ushers and Stewards Since 1800," White House History 26 (Fall 2009), 4-17

Etienne Lemaire: Seale, The President's House, Vol. 1, 596-597

William Slade: Seale, The President's House, Vol. 1, 423-425, 431; William Seale, "Upstairs and Downstairs: The 19th-Century White House," American Visions 10 (February-March 1995), 16-20; Faulkner, "Ushers and Stewards Since 1800," 8

Valentino Melah: Seale, The President's House, Vol. 1, 441-442; White House History Timelines: Workers

Ike Hoover: Seale, The President's House, Vol. 1, 571; also Irwin Hood (Ike) Hoover, Forty-Two Years in the White House (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1934), passim

Martha Patterson war on rats: Seale, The President's House, Vol. 1, 425-426

Activities of Jefferson household: Lucia Stanton, "'A Well-Ordered Household'": Domestic Servants in Jefferson's White House," White House History 17 (Winter 2005), 288-307

Elizabeth Jaffray daily routine: Elizabeth Jaffray, Secrets of the White House (New York: Cosmopolitan Book Corp., 1927), 12

"Three or four events a day sometimes": The Working White House: Early 21st-Century

"…put out the ropes and stanchions": White House Workers: Traditions and Memories, DVD, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, 2009

Slavery in antebellum Washington, D.C.: Mary Beth Corrigan, "The Ties That Bind: The Pursuit of Community and Freedom among Slaves and Free Blacks in the District of Columbia, 1800-1860," in Howard Gillette, Jr., ed., Southern City, National Ambition: The Growth of Early Washington, D.C., 1800-1860 (Washington: George Washington University Center for Washington Area Studies and American Architectural Foundation, 1995), 69-90; Walter C. Clephane, "The Local Aspect of Slavery in the District of Columbia," Records of the Columbia Historical Society 3 (1900), 224-256

Enslaved White House domestic staff: Seale, The President's House, Vol. 1, 98-99, 120, 175, 178-179, 210, 215, 250-251, 275-276, 295; Seale, "Upstairs and Downstairs," American Visions 10 (February-March 1995), 16-20

Jefferson's household:Stanton, "'A Well-Ordered Household,'" 297-302

Antoine Michel Giusta: Seale, The President's House, Vol. 1, 164-165

Ignatius Ruppert: Seale, The President's House, Vol. 1, 275

Monico Lopez Lara: "Gives Taft His Daily Shave: Monico Lopez Lara, Filipino Valet of President, New Barber of the White House, " Belleville (Illinois) News Democrat, May 26, 1909

Jaffray servants' seating policy: Jaffray, Secrets of the White House, 19-20

"We all worked together, but we couldn't eat together": Alonzo Fields, quoted in Marjorie A. Hunt, "Making the White House Work," in exhibition booklet, Workers at the White House: A 200th Anniversary Celebration (26th Annual Festival of American Folklife, Smithsonian Institution Center for Folklife Programs and Cultural Studies, in cooperation with the White House Historical Association, National Park Service and National Archives, 1993), 7

Staff memoirs: White House Research: Staff Publications

"The first cook does practically all the cooking for the 'upstairs': Jaffray, Secrets of the White House, 19-20

Eleanor Roosevelt staff reductions: Blanche Wiesen Cook, Eleanor Roosevelt, Vol. 2: 1933-1938 (New York: Viking, 1999), 57-58

"To serve tea at the White House to a queen": Eugene Allen, interview at 26th Annual Festival of American Folklife (1992), on file at Smithsonian Institution Center for Folklife Programs and Cultural Studies, Washington, D.C.

"You have to learn these things": Eugene Allen, interview at 26th Annual Festival of American Folklife (1992), on file at Smithsonian Institution Center for Folklife Programs and Cultural Studies, Washington, D.C.

"It's just like a small town [but] all under one roof": James Ketchum, interview at 26th Annual Festival of American Folklife (1992), on file at Smithsonian Institution Center for Folklife Programs and Cultural Studies, Washington, D.C.

"Doorman" title misleading: Preston Bruce, quoted in exhibition booklet, Workers at the White House: A 200th Anniversary Celebration (26th Annual Festival of American Folklife, Smithsonian Institution Center for Folklife Programs and Cultural Studies, in cooperation with the White House Historical Association, National Park Service and National Archives, 1993), 15

Henry Haller, "Join the corps": Henry Haller, quoted in oral history interview by Richard Norton Smith for the Gerald R. Ford Oral History Project, March 31, 2010, accessed November 8, 2013; Eric Slater, "Anecdotes Spice Up Meal With Presidents' Chef," Los Angeles Times, May 24, 1994; Carolyn Hughes Crowley, "Talk About a Power Lunch: Chef's Fare Feeds Kings, Premiers," Chicago Tribune, November 13, 1986

Carter reorganization study and ramifications: Seale, The President's House, Vol. 2, 454-458

"The whole air of the mansion": James Silk Buckingham, America: Historical, Statistic, and Descriptive, Vol. 1 (London: Fisher, Son and Co., 1841), 286

"His was a healthy appetite": Alonzo Fields, My 21 Years in the White House (New York: Coward-McCann, 1961), 81

Christine Limerick: White House Workers: Traditions and Memories, DVD, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, 2009

"When I hear someone say 'Mr. President'": Seale, The President's House, Vol. 2, 1

"As I look back": Alonzo Fields, My 21 Years in the White House (New York: Coward-McCann, 1961), 15

"A lot of old friends": Barbara Gamarekian, "Reunion Echoes Bygone Years at White House," New York Times, June 25, 1983

Residence Staff Memoirs: White House Research: Staff Publications

"Selfless people": J.B. West, with Mary Lynn Kotz, Upstairs at the White House: My Life with the First Ladies (New York: Coward, McCann and Geoghegan, Inc. 1973), 9

"You just don't address the president of the United States as 'Mr. Truman'": Norwood Williams, quoted in Workers at the White House: A 200th Anniversary Celebration (26th Annual Festival of American Folklife, sponsored by Smithsonian Institution Center for Folklife Programs and Cultural Studies, in cooperation with the White House Historical Association, National Park Service and National Archives), in White House Workers: Traditions and Memories, DVD, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, 2009

Pendel and Dinsmore apprehend visitor: Thomas Pendel, Thirty-Six Years in the White House (Washington: Neale Publishing Co., 1902), 123-124; "Elected by the Almighty: A Maniac with a Pistol Comes to See the Executive," Washington Post, November 1, 1881

"What a scene did we witness": Margaret Bayard Smith, in Gaillard Hunt, ed., The First Forty Years of Washington Society (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1906), 295

Jackson inaugural: David S. Heidler and Jeanne T. Heidler, "'Not a Ragged Mob': The Inauguration of 1829," White House History 15 (Fall 2004), 134-143

Elizabeth Jaffray not worried: Elizabeth Jaffray, Secrets of the White House (New York: Cosmopolitan Book Corp., 1927), 37-38

Wilson White House: William Seale, The President's House, Vol. 2,

Edith Wilson as "Pocahontas": Parks, Backstairs at the White House, 148-149, 151

"A brave young man": Preston Bruce, with Katherine Johnson, Patricia Haas and Susan Hainey, From the Door of the White House (New York: Lothrop, Lee and Shepherd Books, 1984), 105

"When Mrs. Kennedy came home…": Eugene Allen, interview at 26th Annual Festival of American Folklife (1992), on file at Smithsonian Institution Center for Folklife Programs and Cultural Studies, Washington, D.C.

"You are not yet 39!": "Memorable Times," in "The Working White House," The Working White House: Memorable Times

Gift of a silver tray: "Memorable Times," in "The Working White House," The Working White House: Memorable Times

"First colored lady of the land": Margarita Spalding Garry, "Rutherford B. Hayes in the White House," The Century Magazine 77 (March 1909), 644; Seale, The President's House, Vol. 1, 479

Sprinkled holy water in his milk: Candice Millard, Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine, and the Murder of a President (New York: Doubleday, 2011), 217

"In four years": Seale, The President's House, Vol. 1, 549

"Often wished that more of them": Hoover, Forty-Two Years in the White House, 16

"Nervous person had no business": Hoover, Forty-Two Years in the White House, 28

"I don't think that any family": Hoover, Forty-Two Years in the White House, 30




»  Chapter One

»  Chapter Two

»  Chapter Three

»  Chapter Four

»  Chapter Five

»  Chapter Six

»  Chapter Seven

»  Chapter Eight

»  Chapter Nine

»  Chapter Ten


»  Source Note Index