Main Content

The Working White House: Learning the Ropes - Photo 1

The Working White House: Learning the Ropes - Photo 1

Credit
White House Historical Association (White House Collection)

The Working White House: Learning the Ropes - Photo 1

State dinner, 1871. Valentino Melah immigrated to America as a child in 1834 and became a shoe salesman and innkeeper. In 1869, President Ulysses S. Grant hired him to serve as White House steward. He may have been the first White House worker to come from a hotel background, but he was certainly not the last. In an 1871 article, Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper referred to Melah as “Professor,” observing that he had “graduated” from some of the East Coast’s leading hotels. The man standing, left, with beard and moustache, is believed to be Melah.

You Might Also Like