White House History Quarterly 63 - Waysides - Foreword

Page 1

Please note that the following is a digitized version of a selected article from White House History Quarterly, Issue 63, originally released in print form in 2021. Single print copies of the full issue can be purchased online at Shop.WhiteHouseHistory.org No part of this book may be reproduced or distributed in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. All photographs contained in this journal unless otherwise noted are copyrighted by the White House Historical Association and may not be reproduced without permission. Requests for reprint permissions should be directed to rights@whha.org. Contact books@whha.org for more information. © 2021 White House Historical Association. All rights reserved under international copyright conventions.


WHITE HOUSE HISTORY Quarterly Waysides Number 63

The new wayside exhibits in Lafayette Park pictured on our front cover guide those who stop to read them to find their way to a deeper understanding of the place where they stand and the White House they will see as they look up. Wayfinding is a fitting reference for this issue of White House History Quarterly, which brings together diverse accounts from history’s scholars, witnesses, participants, and descendants. They have preserved memories, letters, objects, and fine art; given and granted interviews; created and appreciated historic collections; and visited archives and attics, all with the same objective: to share and preserve chapters in White House history, enabling us to discover the pages that might otherwise have been forgotten. The story of George E. Thomas, valet to President John F. Kennedy, is one of those featured chapters. He is seen here playing a few keys on a White House piano as John Jr. looks on, 1962.

WHITE HOUSE HISTORY Quarterly

Waysides The Journal of T H E W H I T E H O U S E H I S T O R I C A L A S S O C I A T I O N Number 6 3


WHITE HOUSE HISTORY Quarterly

Waysides The Journal of THE WHITE HOUSE HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION Fall 2021, Number 6 3


CONTRIBUTORS

the white house historical association Board of Directors

chairman

co nstance cart er worked at the Library of Congress for more than fifty-one years, serving as the head of the Science Reference Section in Science, Technology, and Business Division for more than forty years.

Frederick J. Ryan, Jr.

vice chairman and treasurer John F. W. Rogers

secretary James I. McDaniel

president Stewart D. McLaurin John T. Behrendt, Michael Beschloss, Teresa Carlson, Jean Case, Janet A. Howard, Knight Kiplinger, Martha Joynt Kumar, Anita McBride, Robert M. McGee, Ann Stock, Ben C. Sutton Jr., Tina Tchen, Gregory W. Wendt

ex officio Lonnie G. Bunch III, Kaywin Feldman, David S. Ferriero, Carla Hayden, Katherine Malone-France

liaison Shawn Benge, Deputy Director, Operations, Exercising the Delegated Authority of the Director, National Park Service

directors emeriti John H. Dalton, Nancy M. Folger, Elise K. Kirk, Harry G. Robinson III, Gail Berry West

white house history quarterly founding editor William Seale (1939–2019)

editor

Marcia Mallet Anderson

editorial and production manager Elyse Werling

editorial and production director Lauren McGwin

senior editorial and production manager Kristen Hunter Mason

editorial coordinator Rebecca Durgin

consulting editor Ann Hofstra Grogg

consulting design Pentagram

editorial advisory Bill Barker Matthew Costello Mac Keith Griswold Scott Harris Joel Kemelhor Jessie Kratz Rebecca Roberts Lydia Barker Tederick Bruce M. White

the editor wishes to thank The Office of the Curator, The White House

2

m at t h e w r . c o s t e l l o, White House historian and vice president of the David M. Rubenstein National Center for White House History, is the author of The Property of the Nation: George Washington’s Tomb, Mount Vernon, and the Memory of the First President. an net t e b . dunlap is a North Carolina–based freelance writer. Her books include Frank: The Story of Frances Folsom Cleveland, America’s Youngest First Lady. Her biography of First Lady Lou Henry Hoover is scheduled for release in spring 2022. li s a jane kr o h n is a personal assistant, personal organizer, and writer. In 1979 she served as a White House volunteer in the administration of President Jimmy Carter. le o nar d s . m ar cus is a curator, author, and historian of children’s books and the people who create them. He has written more than twenty-five award-winning biographies, histories, interview collections, and inside looks at the making of children’s literature’s enduring classics. b et t y c. m o nkm an served for more than thirty years in the Office of the Curator, the White House, retiring as chief curator in 2002. She is the author of

white house history quarterly

The White House: Its Historic Furnishings and First Families and The Living White House and was managing editor of the fiftieth anniversary edition of The White House: An Historic Guide. pet er r . pen c z e r is an independent historian, expert on the history of the National Mall, and former assistant curator of the B. F. Saul Company. His books include The Washington National Mall and Washington, D.C., Past and Present. He is currently writing a biography of Walter Paris. b ar b ara a . p e rry is the Gerald L. Baliles Professor and the director of presidential studies at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center, where alfred reaves IV serves as presidential studies faculty coordinator. Perry is the author of Jacqueline Kennedy: First Lady of the New Frontier. co urt ney sp e c k m a n n is the director of programs and community engagement at the Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park and serves on the board of trustees of the Buffalo Presidential Center. e l e a n o r lu n d z a rt m a n is a retired teacher from the Lab School of Washington and resides in Bethesda, Maryland. As the goddaughter of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and the niece of Mrs. Roosevelt’s trusted assistant, secretary, traveling companion, and dear friend Malvina (“Tommy”) Thompson, she is a witness to White House history.


CONTENTS

COP YRIGHT JOHN BEMELMANS MARCIANO, VIKING CHILDREN ’S BOOKS, PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE

The White House as seen by Madeline and her friends in the children’s book, Madeline Visits the White House.

4

56

FOREWORD Not To be Forgotten

MARC IA M ALLET AND ERS O N

6

WALTER PARIS: Forgotten Artist of the White House Neighborhood P ETER R . PENC Z ER

20

MADELINE’S FIFTY-YEAR JOURNEY TO THE WHITE HOUSE: The Friendship Between First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy and Ludwig Bemelmans that Led to a White House Book COURTNEY S PEC KMANN

30

REMEMBERING THE LIFE AND WORK OF MALVINA (“TOMMY”) THOMPSON: A Conversation with Her Niece, Eleanor Lund Zartman

PRESERVING THE RECORDS OF A WHITE HOUSE CAREER The Archival Collection of Executive Chef Henry Haller M AT T HEW R . C OST E L LO

64

A TIME TO WORK, TO PLAY, AND TO DANCE AT THE THE WHITE HOUSE The College Experience That Changed My Life L I SA JAN E K ROHN

68

FIRST READER, FIRST WRITER The Children’s Books in Theodore Roosevelt’s Life L E ONAR D S. M ARC US

78

“DEAREST ALLAN” First Lady Lou Hoover’s Letters to Her Youngest Son

ELEANOR LUND ZA RT M A N AND MARC IA AND ERS ON

ANNET T E B. DU NL AP

44

PRESIDENTIAL SITES FEATURE: GEORGE E. THOMAS: From Berryville to the White House

LADY BIRD JOHNSON’S OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA DESSERT PLATES, THE STATE FLOWERS: Library of Congress Librarian Constance Carter Recounts Her Role in Researching Botanical References

CONSTANCE CARTER AND BETTY C. MONKMAN

88

BARBARA A. PERRY AND ALFRED REAVES IV

92

REFLECTIONS: Voices for the Voiceless

ST EWA RT D. M C L AU R I N

white house history quarterly

3


FOREWORD Not to be Forgotten “wayfinding” is a relatively recent word for an age-old process: “The act of finding one’s way to a particular place.” This is the definition the Oxford English Dictionary crafted when it added this word to its online dictionary in 2016. The new word is akin to another coinage—“wayside,” a term first used by the National Park Service nearly eighty years ago for interpretive signage along trails in Yellowstone. Today wayside exhibits in battlefields and historic sites also help visitors “find their way” to the meaning of a place. Three new exhibits in Lafayette Park guide those who pause to read them to find their way, figuratively, to a deeper understanding of the place where they stand and the White House they will see when they look up. These waysides, recount the history of enslaved laborers in building the White House, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy’s work to save the historic Lafayette Square neighborhood from the wrecking ball, and the history of Lafayette Park as a site for demonstrations.

Wayfinding is also a fitting reference for this issue of White House History Quarterly, which brings together accounts from history’s scholars, witnesses, participants, and descendants. They have preserved memories, letters, objects, and fine art; taken and granted interviews; created and appreciated historic collections; and visited archives and attics, all with the same objective: to share and preserve chapters in White House history, enabling us to discover the pages that might otherwise have been forgotten. We begin with Peter Penczer’s account of the little known work of Walter Paris, an artist who knew the President’s Neighborhood more than a century before the waysides were erected. His watercolors serve to document such important but long demolished sites as the cottage of Daniel Burns, a landowner who refused to make way for building of the President’s House by selling his property to the Federal Government until well after all other land had been acquired, and the Seward House, where co-conspirators drew blood the night of President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination.

We continue with Courtney Speckman’s account of Madeline at the White House, a half-century journey from concept to reality made possible by Ludwig Bemelman’s grandson, who completed the unfinished work of his grandfather. Eleanor Lund Zartman, the favorite niece of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt’s longtime secretary Tommy Thompson, recounts her still vivid memories of her aunt’s life and work, determined that we know more than has yet been been published. Historian Matthew Costello details how the efforts of the White House Historical Association’s Digital Library, combined with those of the family of Executive Chef Henry Haller, resulted in a publicly accessible archive documenting the chef ’s service to five presidents. Lisa Krohn explains how the Carter White House welcomed her volunteer service, and how that college experience changed her life. Annette Dunlap introduces us to a collection of letters written to Allan Hoover by his mother, First Lady Lou Hoover. Letters also feature in Leonard Marcus’s article on President Theodore Roosevelt’s love of children’s literature. While grieving the loss of Quentin, who was killed in action in World War I, Roosevelt published Letters to His Children, preserving a window into his youngest son’s childhood. With former White House curator Betty Monkman’s interview of Constance Carter, we discover the story behind the choreographed smashing of a defective set of White House china, and the creation of the flawless replacements. Finally, Barbara Perry and Alfred Reaves IV take us to the Berryville, Virginia, roots of George E. Thomas, whose dedicated service to John F. Kennedy, is worthy of a pause for discovery. Like the waysides in Lafayette Park, these articles succeed in enriching and expanding the whole of White House history.

marcia mallet anderson editor, WHITE HOUSE HISTORY QUARTERLY

4


COP YRIGHT JOHN BEMELMANS MARCIANO, VIKING CHILDREN ’S BOOKS, PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE

As her schoolmates follow, Madeline is shown to her cot in the Lincoln Bedroom by Candle, a fictional first daughter, in Madeline Visits the White House. The book, which was envisioned by First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy and Ludwig Bemelmans in 1961, was completed forty years after Bemelmans’s death by his grandson, John Bemelmans Marciano.

white house history quarterly

5