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Image: Workers wash glasses after a dinner, 1966.
Workers wash glasses after a dinner, 1966.

An assembly line of workers, still in formal white tie attire, washes hundreds of drinking glasses used at a White House dinner.

White House Historical Association

This is the President’s House. You are serving the world, entertaining the world. It’s got to be right.

Alonzo Fields, chief butler and maître d’, 1931-53
Image: White House workers at Smithsonian festival, 1992.

White House workers at Smithsonian festival, 1992. In 1992, as part of the annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival (formerly the Festival of American Folklife), the Smithsonian Institution’s Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage invited retired White House workers to the National Mall for a series of panel discussions on their occupational culture. Shown here (left to right) are moderator Worth Long, Lillian Rogers Parks, Alonzo Fields, Eugene Allen, Armstead Barnett, and Samuel Ficklin.

Photo by Richard Strauss, Smithsonian Institution

Image: Workers prepare tea napkins in the White House sewing room, c. 1945.

Workers prepare tea napkins in the White House sewing room, c. 1945. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt hosted two tea parties almost every afternoon. “And you had all those tea napkins, two and three hundred at a time,” which needed to be carefully counted and folded, Lillian Rogers Parks recalled.

Lillian Rogers Parks photo album, Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage


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