I recently had the opportunity to visit with Nash Castro, the last surviving founder of the White House Historical Association, who also played a role in the story of the Rose Garden while serving as liaison to the White House for the National Park Service during the Kennedy administration. His influence would be even stronger in the Johnson administration, when he provided assistance to Mrs. Johnson on projects related to her love of the natural world. That longer story is for a later issue.
Mr. Castro, with his wife the poet Bette Woolsey Castro, moved to Washington in June 1961, as assistant superintendent of administration of the National Capital Parks under then-superintendent T. Sutton Jett. Mr. Castro was designated as the Park Service’s liaison to the White House, a unit of the National Park System.
Mrs. Kennedy undertook the challenging restoration of the White House with high hopes but without money being available for the purpose. She asked J.B. West, the Chief Usher, and Mr. Castro to visit the publisher of The Saturday Evening Post in Philadelphia and determine whether the Post could produce postcards of the White House for sale to its visitors. The publisher assured his visitors that he could produce the cards. On the return trip Mr. Castro asked Mr. West to tell Mrs. Kennedy that he thought it would be undignified to sell post cards in the White House. Mrs. Kennedy agreed and conceived the idea of the guidebook instead. Her own letters confirm this.