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Oct 18, 2016 Washington, D.C. —
The White House Historical Association has released the third edition of the acclaimed book, Official White House China: From the 18th to the 21st Centuries. Expanded by White House Curator William G. Allman to include 85 new illustrations and three chapters detailing the state china services released in the William J. Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama administrations.
A participant in the 2016 National Book Festival, and first published in 1974, the book documents more than two centuries of the official White House china services that have become a touchstone of the American presidency.
For the presidents, a basic component of official entertaining has always been the dinner table. To enhance each White House event, table settings—china, silver, linens, and flowers—are elegantly designed to convey the ultimate in diplomacy, national pride, and hospitality.
Personal reflections on the design and significance of these services are shared in forewords by First Lady Michelle Obama and former First Ladies Laura Bush and Hillary Clinton, with First Lady Michelle Obama noting that “the sets of elegant china featured inside these pages serve as a timeless representation of White House history and American diplomacy through the ages.”
Because the china serves such an important role in official White House entertainment, old services are put to new use, and first families introduce their own unique services. Former First Lady Laura Bush writes that “…for Nancy Reagan’s first official dinner, she mixed together china from four separate presidents, dating back to the time of Theodore Roosevelt. One certainty for all new first families is that they will be dining on someone else’s dishes.”
Former First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton recognizes the role each service plays in White House events, explaining that “choosing the right service to complement each special event is an opportunity to engage in diplomacy, to express who we are as Americans and share our values and vision with visitors.”
Official White House China, From the 18th to the 21st Centuries may be purchased from the White House Historical Association stores in Washington, D.C. or online at shop.whitehousehistory.org.
Casebound with dust jacket, 320 pages
9.25 x 11.25 inches
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 $45 million to the White House in fulfillment of its mission.
To learn more about the White House Historical Association, please visit WhiteHouseHistory.org.