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White House Historical Association

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Jul 12, 2017 Washington, D.C.

The White House Historical Association announced the publication of the Summer 2017 issue of White House History, “The First Ladies," which celebrates the First Ladies of the United States and explores how their roles have been approached, personalized, and institutionalized over time.

Editor William Seale explains why the First Ladies make interesting and beloved subjects: "They never complain…yet they serve, all of them projecting their individual personalities. They may be criticized at first for not appearing to be like women in the past who have held the ‘job,’ yet they prevail for being themselves, which is what Americans want all along.”

Highlights include:

  • An opening by Anita McBride, chief of staff to First Lady Laura Bush about the history and evolution of the Office of the First Lady
  • The never-before-published 100-page insert of Lou Henry Hoover’s original catalog of White House furnishings
  • An article by Cynthia Malinick presenting the stories of 17 first ladies, from Edith Wilson to Michelle Obama, who served as honorary presidents of the Girl Scouts of the USA

In this issue, Elizabeth Dinschel of the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum shares the story of First Lady Lou Henry Hoover’s remarkable effort to publish a catalog of White House furnishings—objects that were the belongings of more than a century of presidential life in the house. Mrs. Hoover undertook a room-by-room inventory of the entire house, recording what was known about each object that remained. What they documented resulted in the scholarly furnishings catalog that remained unpublished, until now, for 85 years. This 100-page insert is the first comprehensive account of the White House collection of fine and decorative arts, and a fascinating prelude to all later studies of the White House.

Linda Holden recounts First Lady Lady Bird Johnson’s famous Whistle-Stop Campaign Tour of the South in the fall of 1964, a wonderful story in election history. In addition, historian Jean Baker tells the dramatic story of Mary Todd Lincoln and her determination to create a new understanding of the role of first lady.

White House History is published four times each year by The White House Historical Association and features articles on White House history, architecture, fine and decorative arts, and gardens, as well as the life stories of the occupants of the White House and their experiences living there.

This issue of White House History retails for $9.95 and can be purchased online here or in one of The White House Historical Association’s Washington, D.C., store locations.

To order individual issues or a subscription to White House History, please 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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