The Uncomplaining Public Servant
Issue 19 of White House History focuses on horses and the White House. Beginning with George Washington, many presidents have enjoyed the impressive beauty and skills of these uncomplaining public servants. During the nineteenth century the presidents, and their families and staff depended on horses for transportation, communication and enjoyment. Even after the automobile supplanted the horse in everyday life, many first families continued to enjoy equestrian activities.
“From the earliest time horses and carriages were associated with the ceremonies and honor of being head of state. Everyday use of horses at the White House has long passed, but horses can still be seen at the White House during official ceremonies and state occasions, at anniversaries, and funerals, and each December, when a horse-drawn cart delivers the White House Christmas tree to the first lady.” said Neil W. Horstman, president of the White House Historical Association.
In this issue, William Seale’s foreward talks about horse celebrities including Old Whitey, President Zachary Taylor’s mount from the Mexican War; tourists pulled hairs from the tail of this gentle, “comfortable” horse for souvenirs, until the tail was bald. William B. Bushong writes about Presidents as Horsemen and the bond that develops with the horse that becomes part of their presidential image and defined them as men. We learn about the pageantry, pomp and precision of presidential funerals from Claire A. Faulkner’s article Arlington’s Ceremonial Horses and Funerals at the White House. Marsha Mullin describes the unique history of Andrew Jackson’s Constitution Carriage, constructed of wood salvaged from the famous eighteenth-century warship “Old Ironsides,” and Ten Notable Horses by Gwendolyn K. White talks about the public’s fascination with the president’s horses and carriages.
White House History is published twice yearly 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 living there.
White House History is available for $6.95 per copy (plus packing and delivery). To order please call toll free 1-800-555-2451 or visit our web site 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 the association’s trusts, publications and other items are used to fund acquisitions of historic furnishings and artwork for the permanent collection, assist in the preservations of the public rooms, and further its educational mission.