Main Content


Where Hospitality Makes History: State Visits

Since World War II, an ever-lengthening procession of foreign leaders has come to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to confer on global problems. These dignitaries are often formally entertained at the White House, and an invitation to attend such a function is highly coveted. Certainly a State Dinner to honor a visiting head of government or a reigning monarch is one of the


Easter Egg Roll: The Holiday Bustle and Hustle

As the Easter Monday event became more of an attraction, a rule was fixed to limit the number of people coming into the enclosed South Lawn. The rule stated that a "grown person would be admitted only when accompanied by a child" and vice versa. As a result, unescorted egg rollers and childless adults began teaming up at random so


Easter Egg Roll: Games, Old and New

The primary Easter Monday entertainment at the White House has always involved egg rolling. Participants roll dyed, hard-boiled eggs across the grass to see whose will go the furthest before cracking. Other egg sports enjoyed in the early years were egg ball, toss and catch, egg croquet and egg picking—a contest where eggs are pecked together until they crack. Af


Easter Egg Roll: Fanfare and Keepsakes

Over the years, White House egg roll events have been made memorable by new attractions. In 1993, the Clintons scaled back the fanfare so that children would remember the day for its egg rolling games. A generation earlier, First Lady Pat Nixon gave out certificates of participation as a souvenir to eggrollers. First Ladies Betty Ford and Rosalynn Carter distributed plastic


Easter Egg Roll: Years Without an Easter Monday

The egg roll holds such an important place in White House history that no president wants to be known for canceling it. World War I and food rationing stopped the event from being hosted at the White House. In 1942, egg rollers were sent back to the Capitol grounds, the place from which they had been ousted 66 years before. World War


Easter Egg Roll: Bunnies and Other Easter Animals

First pets are a popular attraction at the White House Egg Roll. Canine attendees of the event have included a wide variety of beloved purebreds and mutts. Animals as diverse as President Benjamin Harrison's toy pony, First Lady Grace Coolidge's raccoon and the 1,200-pound steer brought in by the Carters for their petting zoo have appeared on the South Lawn


Easter Egg Roll: The First Families' Role

Once the White House was opened to public egg rolling festivities in 1878, first families had to decide whether they were going to join the throng of celebrants or just organize and play host to it. Previously, the South Lawn was reserved for their own private Eastertide activities. Now the grounds represented a famous rite of spring for the nation's capital.


Easter Egg Roll: The President's Own Comes Marching In

Eleven years after the Easter Monday egg rolling festivities came to the White House, President Benjamin Harrison scored a hit by adding music to the affair. In 1889, he had the United States Marine Band, known as "The President's Own," play lively tunes while the children romped on the South Lawn. John Philip Sousa, who directed the band, took delight in