The White House Historical Association (WHHA) announces publication of issue number nine of White House History, its semiannual journal devoted to the history of the White House and its occupants.
Documenting the White House began at the outset of its history. “Meticulous records have been kept by government officials of how the president lived, what he bought with public money, who served him, and sometimes even details of what he ate and wore. The scribes continue, and the archives keep receiving. Where this material is housed, and examples of how it is used, form the content of this issue,” writes William Seale, editor.
Alysha E. Black provides a guide to the holdings at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) for researching the White House. She notes “White House records at NARA are a diverse and multitudinous lot.” Alan Fern examines the symbolic and real images of the White House, including stamps, political cartoons, portraits, advertising, and the “mix of accuracy and imagination found in the NBC television program West Wing.” Bruce White discusses his experiences in photographing White House furnishings for The White House: Its Historic Furnishings and First Families by White House curator Betty C. Monkman (White House Historical Association and Abbeville Press, 2000). Research sources in the Office of the Curator are outlined by curator Betty C. Monkman. Included are descriptions of collections such as the Edgar S. Yergason Papers, the Abby Gunn Baker Papers, the Lorenzo Winslow Papers, and the Eric Gugler Papers.
This issue also marks the retirement of Robert Breeden, WHHA chairman, chief executive officer and founder and most enthusiastic supporter of White House History. Mr. Breeden has been a key component in WHHA since its founding 40 years ago. He began his involvement working with then First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy in the editing and layout of the first White House guidebook which the association marketed for one dollar. Proceeds from the sale of each book assisted Mrs. Kennedy’s project to restore the Executive Mansion. Since its beginning WHHA has published and distributed more than eight million books, as well as videos and other educational materials. All proceeds from the sale of books and other association products continue to fund acquisition of historic furnishings and art works for the permanent White House collection, assist in the preservation of the public rooms, and further its educational mission. Robert Breeden continues to serve as an emeritus member of the board of directors of WHHA.
The theme of this issue “Documenting the White House,” is reflected in the cover photograph, a collage of images surrounding the first known photograph of the house (John Plumbe Jr., 1846). Collage photograph by William Phillips for WHHA.
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.
White House History is available for $4.95 per copy (Plus shipping and handling) or $24.00 for a two-year subscription. (Subscription prices include shipping and handling). Send payment to: White House Historical Association, 740 Jackson Place, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20503. For more information call 202.737.8292 or visit www.whitehousehistory.org.