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Jun 27, 2019 Washington, D.C.

Today the White House Historical Association released the latest episode of its monthly podcast, The 1600 Sessions, which focuses on the legacy of First Lady Barbara Bush and her White House preservation work. In this episode, "First Lady Barbara Bush," White House Historical Association President and podcast host Stewart McLaurin speaks with Susan Page, author of The Matriarch: Barbara Bush and the Making of an American Dynasty. Page wrote the book based on her conversations with the First Lady and the insights she gained in reading her diaries.

See a video of the podcast conversation.


“She loved being at the White House. And she thought it was a great privilege to be at the White House,” explains Page. “She helped, as you know, helped revive the organization dedicated to preserving the White House, created the White House Endowment, made an effort to enlist previous first ladies in a joint effort to preserve and protect the White House.”

“One thing Barbara Bush liked to note was that she was in fact the only woman to be the wife and the mother of a president who lived to see her son inaugurated in the White House,” says Page.

Page also asked First Lady Barbara Bush about a dinner held at the White House in the year 2000, a week after the election – at a time when a presidential candidate had still not been chosen. The dinner, hosted by the Clintons, marked the 200th anniversary of the White House and guests included the Bushes and Mrs. Reagan among others.

“You know she had different sorts of relationships with other first ladies,” says Page. “She was a good friend of Lady Bird Johnson who was of course a Democrat but was also a fellow Texan. And Lady Bird Johnson gave her some advice about being first lady that she really took to heart about the power of the position, about how you could make a difference on things you care about.”

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, Google Play, and Stitcher. To hear the full episode, visit The1600Sessions.org.

For media inquiries, please contact press@whha.org.

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 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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