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First Lady Helen Taft loved entertaining and White House hospitality during the Taft administration centered on the dining table, where the Tafts' tastes were regal. A "Forty-quart Peerless Ice Cream Freezer," with a direct current motor and a twelve-foot long Imperial French Coal Range were added to the large kitchen in 1912. On January 25, 1915, President Woodrow Wilson joined the first transcontinental telephone call from New York to San Francisco via a loop connection that also extended to Jekyll Island, Georgia. From Washington, Wilson greeted Alexander Graham Bell in New York, Bell’s associate Thomas Watson in San Francisco, and AT&T President Theodore Vail in Jekyll Island. President Wilson also demonstrated ground-to-air radio communication in 1918.

With microphone in hand, President Wilson demonstrates ground-to-air communication in 1918.

National Archives

Footnotes & Resources

William Seale, The President's House, 754, 794.

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