President Calvin and First Lady Grace Coolidge occupied the White House at a time when the Washington Senators enjoyed unprecedented success, winning American League championships in 1924 and 1925 and the World Series in 1924. Of the two, Grace Coolidge was by far the more knowledgeable and enthusiastic fan.
The State Dining Room, which now seats as many as 140 guests, was originally much smaller and served at various times as a drawing room, office, and Cabinet Room. Not until the Andrew Jackson administration was it called the “State Dining Room,” although previous presidents had used it for formal dinners. In early times, this room was called simply the “company dining-room” to distinguish it from the Family Dining Room across the hall.
The idea for a White House vegetable garden began with President John Adams, the first resident of the White House, and was later brought to life by successive presidents. The garden has gone through many transitions over the years and currently provides produce for the president’s personal table and State dinners.
Well into the twentieth century, the commissioning and acquisition of portraits of presidents for the White House was a haphazard affair that was largely dependent on gifts from families and friends of a president. It was not until the founding of the White House Historical Association in 1961 and its commitment to fund the acquisition of portraits of both presidents and first ladies for the White House that life portraits of the presidents were consistently commissioned for the collection. Today, presidents and first ladies are assured that their portraits will be added, after their approval of the art, into the White House collection in a timely manner. The Association and generous private donors have also made possible the acquisition of life portraits of earlier presidents to complete the presidential collection or to replace previous copies or replicas.
Presidential yachts sail now on a sea of memories, long sleek ships that were once symbols of the presidency, tools of diplomacy, centers of hospitality, and breezy salt-air retreats from the steamy heat of a Washington summer. But for nearly a century, presidents looking for an easy escape from the strains and tensions of the White House found one on the deck of a government yacht.
Sandham Symes appears to have been a fascinating character. He embodied a keen sense of adventure, travelling widely and experiencing new situations. When Symes reached Washington in early June of 1841, he managed to depict four iconic scenes of American political life, some of which were in their early stages of development, with the Treasury Department building still under construction at the time.
Following the close of World War II, Japan and the United States developed a close alliance and strategic and trade partnerships. Beginning with Gerald R. Ford in November 1974, seven U.S. presidents have made journeys to Japan, and the Japanese heads of state and government have also visited the White House.
The U.S. and Japan signed a Treaty of Amity and Commerce in July 1858, and in February 1860 three samurai ambassadors and their entourage of 74 took a U.S. Navy frigate across the Pacific en route to Washington, where they would exchange the treaty’s instruments of ratification with the U.S. State Department.
Designed to be lit in the way common to the world at the beginning of the nineteenth century, the President’s House in 1800 had natural light streaming in through windows that stretched 14 feet high and 5 feet across. Over the years, renovations and redecoration have brought increasingly modern methods of lighting to the house, from oil lamps and chandeliers to electricity and solar panels.