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Nov 13, 2019 Washington, D.C.

The White House Historical Association will release the 55th edition of its award-winning publication, White House History Quarterly on November 13. This issue, “The Presidents and Sports,” will focus on the athletic pursuits enjoyed by the presidents before, during, and after their White House years.

"Athletics, even as mere exercise, has been a major feature of White House life from the start," writes William Seale, editor of White House History Quarterly. "All manner of sports have appealed to the nation’s chief executives to break the physical monotony of presidential life laid before them. Ulysses S. Grant played billiards, Theodore Roosevelt took up jujitsu, and Herbert Hoover created Hoover Ball, a complicated and strenuous game, somewhat obscure yet still played today. Fishing and golf have been a primary distraction for many, including Dwight D. Eisenhower. And presidents have long paid attention to spectator sports, too, first to baseball, then to football—specially favored by Theodore Roosevelt, as this issue reveals."

Articles included in this edition of White House History Quarterly:

  • “Presidential Openers and Other Traditions”

Author and journalist Frederic J. Frommer looks at the relationship between presidents and baseball, including ceremonial first pitches and working behind the scenes to keep the sport going during wartime. Perhaps most notable is Frommer’s recount of President Nixon’s effort to replace the Senators after they left Washington in 1971—although his efforts went unheard until the Nationals came to D.C. in 2005.

  • “Ulysses S. Grant’s White House Billiard Saloon”

Architect David Ramsey tells the story of President Grant’s passion for billiards and the impressive room he built in the White House just for his table.

  • “Theodore Roosevelt: The President Who Saved Football”

Historian Mary Jo Binker discusses President Roosevelt’s hand in reforming football and helping develop it into a professional sport.

  • “Hoover Ball and Wellness in the White House”

Archivist at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, Matthew Shaefer, presents the rules of Hoover Ball—a sport invented for the president with the help of his doctor as a means to stay fit while in the White House.

  • “Capturing a Moment in Time, Remembering My Summer Photographing the President”

Photographer and Air Force Veteran Al Freni tells the story behind his famous photographs of President Eisenhower fishing and golfing, taken while Freni was stationed at Lowry Air Force Base and assigned to cover the president's vacation.

  • “The Long Shadow of Jiu Jitsu in the East Room”

Quarterly editor William Seale brings to life the story of President Theodore Roosevelt’s efforts to learn self-defense.

  • “The Fan in the White House: Presidents and the Nation’s Champions”

White House Historical Association President Stewart D. McLaurin presents a collection of the most iconic sports moments in White House history. In this photo essay, McLaurin talks about how professional sports teams such as the Chicago Bears, the New England Patriots, Indianapolis Colts, and Dallas Cowboys have all visited the White House to celebrate championship wins. He also discusses significant presidential first pitches—such as President George W. Bush’s first pitch at Yankee Stadium six days after September 11, 2001.

  • Presidential Sites Feature: “The Records of the Washington Riding and Hunt Club at the National Sporting Library and Museum”

Author and journalist, Mac Keith Griswold, recalls the importance of equestrian sports—from riding and hunting to polo and horseshows—to early presidents, such as President Taft, who was known to ride with the Washington Hunt Club.

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

To request a copy of the latest White House History Quarterly, or to interview one of the authors, please contact press@whha.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.


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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 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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