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Nov 08, 2017 Washington, D.C.

In celebration of its founding by First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy 56 years ago this month, The White House Historical Association has released a special episode, “Founding the White House Historical Association” in The 1600 Sessions podcast series. In this anniversary special, Association President Stewart McLaurin speaks with two founding members – Nash Castro and Leonard Silverstein – as well as Gary Walters, who served as Chief Usher of the White House to four presidents.

Nash Castro, who moved to Washington in 1961 and worked with the White House as Assistant Superintendent of National Capital Parks (now known as the U.S. Parks Service) recalls working alongside President and Mrs. Kennedy to redesign the Rose Garden. The restorative work done became the basis for The White House Historical Association, of which Mr. Castro is a board member today.

Leonard Silverstein, who also serves on the board at the Association, talks about the Association’s work in making possible such pieces of history as presidential portraits: “If you go to the White House today, you'll see the pictures right on the wall, starting with Jackie Kennedy...all of it comes back to the physical symbol of what this wonderful building means...and we're just so lucky to be part of a process which will survive, it will always be there.”

Also on this episode is Gary Walters, who served as Chief Usher of the White House for more than half of the Association’s lifespan and served on the Board of the Association. Walters speaks to how the Association has evolved since its founding: “Certainly, what has evolved today is something that makes the White House a much more rich environment for people that come through, and the history that it has become the repository of is just as helpful to education as anything it could be,” Walters stated in this ninth episode.


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.

To hear the full episode, visit The 1600 Sessions is available on iTunes, GooglePlay, and Stitcher.

To learn more about The White House Historical Association, please visit

For Media: B-roll footage of interviews available for use upon request. Additional resources are available on the Association’s press room For other inquiries, please contact

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

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