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Tradition and Transition


When a new president moves in, he and his family bring along their own tastes, preferences, and customs. The new family’s ways are often quite different from those of the previous occupants of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Even time-honored White House festivities such as the Pageant of Peace and the Easter Egg Roll have been adapted to reflect the First Family’s entertainment style.

The transition to a new administration requires White House workers to help the new First Family understand how the household has previously functioned, while also adapting to the incoming family’s style and traditions. During the more than 200-year history of the White House, workers have seen many traditions set aside, and new ones established. Butlers, maids, plumbers, electricians, chefs, and doormen have provided the continuity necessary for a smooth transition.

Lady Bird Johnson and Patricia Nixon review
White House plans, 1968


Preparing for the transition from one administration to the next, the incoming First Lady Pat Nixon (center) meets with Lady Bird Johnson and Chief Usher J.B. West on November 11, 1968, six days after the presidential election.

Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library

Image: Lady Bird Johnson and Patricia Nixon review White House plans, 1968
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