One hundred years ago, President Theodore Roosevelt transformed the home and office of the president into the White House we recognize today. White House History (Issue number 11) takes an in-depth look at Roosevelt’s massive restoration project and the construction of a temporary “Executive Office Building” now known as the West Wing.
“This makeover reflected a marked change in American taste that accompanied the rise of the nation as a world power and the emergence of the president as an international figure,” writes guest editor William B. Bushong, in the foreword.
There were few things in this world big enough to contain the exuberant Theodore Roosevelt, his wife Edith, and six rambunctious children. With family quarters and offices jammed together on its second floor, the White House was not only too small for the Roosevelt family, but also for the burgeoning government of the youthful and powerful new nation.
The changes to the White House that accompanied this historic period are chronicled in six essays that demonstrate how Theodore Roosevelt’s 1902 restoration came to represent a showcase for the best of American architectural and decorative arts. Antionette J. Lee opens the issue with “The White House in a Monumental City,” describing how the 1902 restoration represented a turning point in the capital city’s urban planning history. William Bushong builds on this storyline with “Glenn Brown, the White House, and the Urban Renaissance of Washington, D.C.,” outlining this Washington architect’s contributions to the restoration and to the larger urban regeneration of the city. William Seale’s “Theodore Roosevelt’s White House” and Curator Emeritus Betty Monkman’s “The Beaux Arts Furnishings of 1902” reveal and interpret the masterful Colonial and European revival designs that transformed an American icon to meet contemporary needs. Assistant White House Curator Lydia Tederick’s “The Executive Offices 100 Years Ago: A Photographic Essay,” focuses the photographer’s lens on the new wing built in 1902 to house the presidential office that has evolved into the now famous West Wing. Finally, Tony Wrenn’s “The ‘Eye of Guardianship:’ President Theodore Roosevelt and the American Institute of Architects,” artfully tells the story of the architectural profession’s efforts to effect government patronage of the arts and explains why President Roosevelt came to bequeath the “eye of guardianship” over the White House as he left office.
White House History is published twice each year by the White House Historical Association and features articles on White House history, architecture, fine and decorative arts, and gardens, as well as stories about the occupants of the White House and their experiences while living there.
Orders are available for single issues of number 11 ($4.95 + shipping and handling) or for two year subscriptions ($24) of White House History by contacting the White House Historical Association at (202) 737-8292, or on the web at www.whitehousehistory.org.
The White House Historical Association, established in 1961, is a nonprofit organization whose goal is to enhance the understanding, appreciation, and enjoyment of the White House. All proceeds from trusts and the sale of publications, ornaments, and other association products are used to fund acquisition of historic furnishings and artwork for the permanent White House collection, assist in the preservation of public rooms, and further its educational mission.