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Apr 23, 2020 Washington, D.C.

The White House Historical Association will release its latest edition of the White House History Quarterly: “Protecting the President: The History of the United States Secret Service” on Tuesday, May 12. From exploring the story behind its inception to a first-person account from a former agent and photo essay depicting the many circumstances in which agents routinely fulfill their duties, the Association’s latest Quarterly explores the history of the world’s most famous presidential security detail.

"If you were to join the crowds that assemble to view the White House from Pennsylvania Avenue today, you would do so a few yards away from a plaque remembering Private Coffelt and under the watchful eye of U.S. Secret Service officers stationed on rooftops, on foot, on bicycles, with dogs, and at their posts along the fence line—all powerful reminders of the need to balance access and security and the dedicated force that is prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice," explains Marcia Anderson, editor of White House History Quarterly. "With this issue, we present the rich history of the U.S. Secret Service from the multiple perspectives of historians and witnesses to history."

Included in this issue:

  • Former Secret Service Agent Paul Landis shares his insights from the perspective of an agent assigned to the "Kiddie Detail" to protect the Kennedy children.
  • The late Christopher Kenney, former education director at the McKinley Presidential Library and Museum, explains how three presidential assassinations in thirty-six years became the catalyst for change in presidential protection.
  • Historian Alan Capps provides a moment by moment account of the dramatic three-minute gunfight in which the young White House Police Officer Leslie Coffelt died protecting President Harry S. Truman.
  • Rebecca Youngblood Vaughn brings the unique perspective of an agent’s child, with memories of her father Rufus Youngblood who protected five presidents and shielded Vice President Lyndon Johnson in the Dallas motorcade during the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
  • Michael Sampson, an archivist with the Secret Service, gives a summary of the evolution and role of the agency.
  • For the Quarterly’s presidential site feature, Elyse Werling takes readers to the Wilcox House in Buffalo, New York, where, following President McKinley’s death and a breakneck midnight trek to Buffalo, Vice President Theodore Roosevelt took the Oath of Office. Two agents were immediately assigned to protect him.

To request an advance copy of White House History Quarterly #57, or to interview the authors listed above, please contact press@whha.org.

Issues of White House History Quarterly retail for $9.95. To subscribe or purchase a single issue, visit shop.whitehousehistory.org.

About White House History Quarterly

Published four times each year by the White House Historical Association, this publication features articles on White House history, architecture, fine and decorative arts, and gardens, as well as the life stories of White House occupants and their experiences living in the Executive Mansion. Now in its 21st year of regular publication, the Quarterly has won national and regional awards for content and design and has attracted a loyal readership of both scholars and laymen in the U.S. and abroad. More than 200 scholars, artisans, and former White House employees have written for the award-winning Quarterly. Historian William Seale is the founding editor.

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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