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WHITE HOUSE

HISTORY

The Kennedy WhITe hOUSe:

Part Two LeGACy

The following article was originally published in White House History #14, 2004. ISSN: 0748-8114. C Copyright 2004 by the White House Historical Association. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the prior written permission of the White House Historical Association. The views presented by the authors are theirs and do not necessarily reflect the position or policy of the White House Historical Association.

RobeRt F. SiSSon, national GeoGRaphic imaGe collection

The Historic Guide to America’s House WIllI A M

T

he first edition of The White House:

An Historic Guide was published by the White House Historical Association in 1962 with the help of the National Geographic Society. It was Mrs. Kennedy’s wish that such a book be written, and she actively participated in the editing. Now in its recently published 22nd edition, the guide has sold more than 4.5 million copies since 1962. This photo essay takes a look back at the early years of the guidebook and from its pages provides a selection of images of the interiors of the White House as they appeared in the book’s first edition in 1962 and its current edition, 41 years later.

Opposite: National Geographic photographer George F. Mobley climbed a fire ladder to photograph the White House for the cover of the first edition of the Guide in 1962. The classic photograph was used again on the cover of the 22nd edition in 2003. The view also captured the Washington Monument, the Jefferson Memorial, the Tidal Basin, and the distant Potomac River. Mobley underwent training with the fire department to climb the ladder.

S eA le

John F. Kennedy libRaRy

G U I d e b O O K p R e S e N TAT I O N A N d S A l e S

Above: David E. Finley, president of the White House Historical Association, presents the completed White House guide to President and Mrs. Kennedy in June 1962.

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WHITe HOUSe HISTORY (Number 14)

libRaRy oF conGReSS

national aRchiveS

Right: Lady Bird Johnson presented a special inscribed copy of the one-millionth copy of the guide sold to Mrs. C. J. Vessell of Omaha, Nebraska on June 17, 1964.

libRaRy oF conGReSS

John F. Kennedy libRaRy

The guidebook was sold on the street and read by tourists as seen in these three random candids taken in 1962.

The Historic Guide to America’s House

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white houSe hiStoRical aSSociation

photo by bRuce white FoR the white houSe hiStoRical aSSociation

T H e O vA l O f f I C e

The Oval Office as redecorated for president Kennedy (opposite) and as it appeared in the 22nd edition of the guide in 2003 (above). Use of the name “Oval Office” began toward the end of the Kennedy administration but did not enter the White House vernacular until the Nixon administration.

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WHITe HOUSe HISTORY (Number 14)

white houSe hiStoRical aSSociation

photo by peteR vitale FoR the white houSe hiStoRical aSSociation

T H e T R e AT Y R O O M

The Treaty Room, seen in the first edition of the Guide (opposite) and today (above) in the 22nd edition. Originally a bedroom, by the 1850s this room was being used as part of the office suite. After the building of the West Wing in 1902, the room became the president’s study. In 1931 Mrs. Herbert Hoover styled the study the Monroe Room and used reproductions of furniture Monroe used in the White House. because the

protocol that was prelude to the peace treaty ending the Spanish-American War was signed here in 1898 and the Nuclear Test ban Treaty in 1963, the room was renamed the Treaty Room in the Kennedy renovation and decorated in a flamboyant victorian manner, using Grant’s cabinet table. president George H. W. bush returned the room to use as a study, which it remains.

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white houSe hiStoRical aSSociation

photo by bRuce white FoR the white houSe hiStoRical aSSociation

THe eAST ROOM

Apart from reupholstery and new curtains (not in place in the 1962 view, opposite) little was done to change the east Room when Kennedy was in office. The red Tennessee marble mantels were painted white and “marbelized.” Original chandeliers from 1902 were and remain in place. Over several administrations, alterations included new hangings, a new floor, and rugs for occasional use. during the Clinton administration the paint was removed from the mantels and the east Room assumed the appearance (above) it has today.

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THe GReeN ROOM

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WHITe HOUSe HISTORY (Number 14)

pictured above in 1962, the Green Room was the first of the revised rooms to be completed by Mrs. Kennedy. The chandelier and silk wall covering remain from franklin d. Roosevelt and Truman administrations while the furniture conforms to the federal period.

white houSe hiStoRical aSSociation

T H e d I p l O M AT I C R e C e p T I O N R O O M

The renovations in the diplomatic Reception Room (pictured above in 1962) were begun by Mrs. eisenhower and completed by Mrs. Kennedy, who had the french scenic wallpaper “Wonders of America” installed. The room is essentially the same today.

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T H e Y e l l O W O vA l R O O M

The Yellow Oval Room today, continuing the decorative theme established by Mrs. Kennedy in 1961. Throughout the history of the house this room has been the family “parlor� or library. It was never a formal room before the Kennedy administration, when it gained its french antiques. The Truman balcony opens from this room and provides spectacular views outward. [photo by peteR vitale FoR the white houSe hiStoRical aSSociation]


Early Editions of the Guide