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Jul 28, 2022 Washington, D.C.

Today the White House Historical Association releases a special 26th edition of The White House: An Historic Guide, which is available at whitehousehistory.org and offers an intimate room-by-room tour of the interior of the house, with new photographs and content.

The release of this edition coincides with First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy’s birthday on July 28th and will feature new spreads with photographs of behind-the-scenes areas including the bowling alley, the kitchen, collections storage, the calligraphy office, the floral shop, the tennis court, and pool. The new edition of the guidebook will also provide readers with a more comprehensive view of the White House with fold-out pages and wide-angle photos.

With the 26th edition, The White House: An Historic Guide, celebrates 60 years in print, and with it, the White House Historical Association celebrates its 60th year in publishing.

Since 1962, the White House’s celebrated spaces and rich history have been portrayed for the public in a continually updated guidebook, The White House: An Historic Guide. The guidebook marked the beginning of White House history as a unique field of study. It was the first, and for its time, only comprehensive published work on a place that symbolized the history of America and all that the nation stood for to the American people.

The first guidebook was published on July 4, 1962 with a first print run of 250,000 copies. Sales now exceed 5 million copies.

It was First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy’s wish that such a book be written, and her letter opened the first edition, the first project of the White House Historical Association. Since that time eleven first ladies have continued the tradition, including First Lady Dr. Jill Biden who has written an opening letter for this new edition. Of the guidebook, First Lady Dr. Jill Biden has said: “As an educator, I hope this guidebook will inspire curiosity about the presidents and first families who reflect their time in history and help us learn from that past so that we can build a more just nation.”

Among the rooms that are featured in the 26th edition with new photography and updated text include the State Rooms, the West Wing, and the Second Floor, as well as new photographs of the Queens’ Bedroom, Lincoln Bedroom, Center Hall, Yellow Oval Room, President’s Dining Room, West Sitting Hall, Oval Office, West Wing Reception Room, and the Roosevelt Room. There are photographs of never-before-seen features from within some of these rooms including: the Presidential Seal on the ceiling of the Oval Office, the Gettysburg Address displayed in situ in the Lincoln Bedroom, and President Theodore Roosevelt’s Nobel Peace Prize Medal in the Roosevelt Room. The guidebook also shares updated photography of the gardens and grounds around the White House.

While the White House re-opened for tours this spring, the new guidebook offers a walking tour of the exterior, with a key to its architectural elements and grounds, so that visitors viewing the White House from the streets of Washington, D.C.—and armchair tourists at home—can enjoy and appreciate the house that belongs not just to the president, but to all the American people.

P.D.F. Resources

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About the White House Historical Association

First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy envisioned a restored White House that conveyed a sense of history through its decorative and fine arts. She sought to inspire Americans, especially children, to explore and engage with American history and its presidents. In 1961, the nonprofit, nonpartisan White House Historical Association was established to support her vision to preserve and share the Executive Mansion’s legacy for generations to come. Supported entirely by private resources, the Association’s mission is to assist in the preservation of the state and public rooms, fund acquisitions for the White House permanent collection, and educate the public on the history of the White House. Since its founding, the Association has given more than $50 million to the White House in fulfillment of its mission.

To learn more about the White House Historical Association, please visit WhiteHouseHistory.org.

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