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Aug 18, 2017 Washington, D.C. —
The White House Historical Association today released its sixth episode, “Social Secretaries” in The 1600 Sessions podcast series, with former White House Social Secretaries Ann Stock (Clinton, 1993-1997) and Amy Zantzinger (Bush, 2007-2009), who reveal fascinating stories about their experiences in this critical White House position. This episode reveals how events large and small, public and personal, are planned at the White House for the president and first lady – complete with insider stories from former White House staff.
Stock and Zantzinger discuss the history of this crucial role and share memories of their favorite White House events, including some that didn’t go quite as planned. They vividly recall special events and the guests that attended them, from Paul Newman and the Dalai Lama to the Queen of England.
Zantzinger reveals just how important the role of Social Secretary really is: “I think when people think of the social secretary, they think they plan state dinners. And the reality is, that is one of the major things that we do, but it's just one piece to the puzzle. So there are state dinners, there are events with public liaison including celebrating Black History Month and Cinco de Mayo. There are private dinners…There's a wide spectrum of what you're doing.” Zantzinger served as Social Secretary for President and Mrs. George W. Bush, from 2007 to 2009. She has also held key roles in the White House Visitor's Office, for President George H. W. Bush, and the mayor of San Francisco.
In addition to important public events, the Social Secretary also plans private events for the first family to make the White House a home. Stock recalls: “One of the things we did to get Chelsea [Clinton] settled in…was do a scavenger hunt. And she had four of her buddies spend the night the night of the inauguration, and they spent the better part of a couple hours running around the White House, trying to find the woman in the red dress in the Red Room and who was she and why was she important.” Stock served as Social Secretary and Deputy Assistant to President Bill Clinton from 1993 to 1997 and has served as Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs at the State Department and as Vice President of Institutional Affairs at the Kennedy Center.
The next podcast episode, to be released in September, will feature former White House Curator William Allman who talks about the objects and art, old and new, that he has seen in more than 40 years at the White House.
THE 1600 SESSIONS
In this fascinating podcast series, White House Historical Association President Stewart McLaurin interviews luminaries, historians and eyewitnesses to history about America’s most famous residence and office – the White House. Each episode includes a prominent guest or guests to discuss varying facets of White House history, including insights from former staff and many other topical issues.
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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.