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Oct 01, 1999 Washington, D.C.

The White House Historical Association announces the publication of “George Washington: Houses and Palaces,” issue number six of its journal White House History. This new issue marks the recent 200 anniversary of George Washington’s death by focusing on his role in the citing and design of the White House and the City of Washington.

Although George Washington was the only president who never lived at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the story of the White House really begins with him. This issue of White House History opens with an article by John Rhodehamel who explores the development and realization of Washington’s dream to cite the nation’s capital on the banks of the Potomac River. John Riley describes the houses that Washington lived in during his presidency in New York and Philadelphia and gives a glimpse of the presidential ceremonial customs instituted by the Washingtons. William Seale tells of efforts to lure President Washington from the rising White House on the Potomac to new mansions in New York or Philadelphia. Robert F. Dalzell, Jr. and Lee Baldwin Dalzell compare Mount Vernon and the White House. C.M. Harris describes a friendship between the president and William Thornton, a member of the commission charged with building the White House. Dorothy Twohig edits a very private letter from Washington to another member of the commission, illustrating tensions of the work and trouble with architect Pierre L’Enfant. White House curator Betty C. Monkman presents several of the many items in the White House collection that carry Washington’s image and tells of his influence on the collection.

In his forward Robert L. Breeden, chairman of the White House Historical Association, writes, “The two centuries since Washington left us are a gulf of time indeed. While he might be surprised by the power and influence of the United States today, the first president did anticipate a great nation . . . one thing he would recognize if he returned would be the White House.”

It is now especially timely to explore George Washington’s role in the building of the White House. The year 2000 marks the 200th anniversary of the second president of the United States, John Adams, and his wife Abigail, becoming the first residents in November 1800. Since that time, every president and his family have lived in the White House.

White House History is published twice 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 stories about the occupants of the White House and their experiences while living there.

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The White House Historical Association, established in 1961, is a nonprofit organization whose goal is to enhance the understanding, appreciation and enjoyment of the White House. All proceeds from the sale of publications and other association products are used to fund acquisition of historic furnishings and artwork for the permanent White House collection, assist in the preservation of public rooms, and further its educational mission.

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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