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Samuel Ficklin, 1992.

Samuel Ficklin worked as a part-time butler from 1941 to 1990, serving nine presidents. Nine members of Ficklin’s family, including his brothers John and Charles, were also employed at the White House through the years.

Photo by Roland Freeman, Smithsonian Institution


Butlers in the Family Dining Room, c. 1975. Eugene Allen (second from right) worked from 1952 to 1986 as a pantryman, butler, and maître d’. He recalled, “I had a good relationship with all the butlers. You know, it’s closer than your relatives, because you work so close together. You see them every day. You eat together, you work together. It’s every day.”

Eugene Allen photo album, Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage




Cloakroom staff, c. 1940. Former usher James “Skip” Allen described his colleagues as “the greatest staff that’s ever come down the pike. Ninety-seven people, one big happy family most of the time. Everyone is professional. Everyone knows what they’re going to do when they’re told to do it. You seldom have to make any deep checks on making sure that their jobs are done.”

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



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