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Sep 30, 2019 Washington, D.C.

The latest episode of the 1600 Sessions podcast, “Blair House and the Chief of Protocol,” was released today by The White House Historical Association. President Stewart McLaurin interviews three former Chiefs of Protocol: Selwa “Lucky” Roosevelt (Reagan administration), Lloyd Hand (Johnson administration) and Capricia Marshall (Obama administration) about their experiences in the role and the importance of Blair House, the President’s official guest residence, in presidential diplomacy.

Located across Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House, historic Blair House was constructed in 1824, and was first utilized by the President and First Lady in the 1940s.

“The day came when Mrs. Franklin Roosevelt persuaded Franklin that we needed a guesthouse. And through the government they bought the Blair House. They got a bargain because they got this fantastic house with all of the Blair collections,” explained Selwa “Lucky” Roosevelt.

“[Blair House has] 15 bedrooms… there are ample facilities for them to receive visitors and guests. There's privacy. There is the manager of the Blair House, the staff, are all well-skilled, experienced, educated in how to treat not only the Chief of State and his family, his entourage. There is ample room for them. There is a place where the Prime Minister (can stay) if he were there, the Prime Minister, cabinet officers and so forth,” said Lloyd Hand.

“We made a concerted effort to actually making it a convening location for the diplomatic corps. And we created a-- some programming around it called the Diplomatic Partnerships Programming. And we invited the diplomatic corps to hear from Chiefs of State, cabinet secretaries, and other heads within our government, or organizations that would be of importance to them, where they could learn what is the president's agenda, what are the goals of the administration, how can we coordinate and work better together,” said Capricia Marshall.

The 1600 Sessions

In this 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.

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

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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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