Old and older

Just got the 1979 and 1991 WHHA Guides delivered via Ebay. I find it a little irritating the way that the exact same photo is sometimes used for more than a decade just because the decor doesn’t change much (the 1991 Private Dining Room photo is identical to the one from 1975). It wouldn’t be so bad if they at least dated the pictures…. Anyway, my thanks to John in NOLA, who sent along a 1962 1963 WHHA Guide to help complete my collection. Very cool.

I’ve added a few photos from these and also a couple I got from Monkman’s Furnishings….

For the record, the White House Museum Library* now includes An Historic Guide from:

  • 1963, 4th edition
  • 1964, 5th edition
  • 1968, 8th edition
  • 1973, “4th” edition
  • 1975, 12th edition
  • 1979, 14th edition
  • 1982. 15th edition
  • 1991, 17th edition (hardbound)
  • 1994? (hasn’t arrived yet)
  • 2003, 22nd edition

* Photo does not show the White House Museum Library Video Annex

UPDATE: The other books in the collection are (left to right, back to front):

  • Monkman’s WH… Furnishings
  • Seale’s WH… Idea
  • The 1952 Report of the Commission on the Renovation of the Executive Mansion
  • WH History collection 1 and 2
  • WH History #14 & 17 (very thin)
  • Designing Camelot
  • Architectural Digest, Dec 1981
  • National Geographic, Nov 1966
  • [An Historic Guide collection]
  • Seale’s The President’s House (2 vol.)
  • Upstairs at the WH
  • Inside History of the WH (1908)
  • 42 Years in the WH (1934)
  • Anthony’s America’s First Families
  • Anthony’s The Kennedy WH
  • The WH is Our House and The Last Day (Nixon) CD-ROMs [top]

16 thoughts on “Old and older

  1. Nice collection, Derek! One of my favourite books is "the White House…An Architectural History" by William Ryan & Desmond Guinness (the latter an expert in Irish Georgian architecture). When I first received it in 1980, I nearly gasped at seeing the the floor plans of the second and third floors!

    Another “behind the scenes” book in my collection is Hillary Clinton’s “An Invitation to the White House…At Home with History”. Although it is exclusively centred around the Clinton years, it has some wonderful shots of White House rooms in actual use, as well as the marvellous staff maintaining the highest level of housekeeping.

  2. Hey – what are you doing with my library?! 🙂

    I have Hillary Clinton’s book as well – and politics totally aside – if she SHOULD ever be elected president, that book would be an interesting historical document… It is an excellent book – and can usually be found for next to nothing at used bookstores.

  3. Derek, Excellent work! All those photos you added are great. I had forgot how pleasant the Oval Office looked under Bush41. Except that hideous desk that came from Bombay Co. I know he used the Resolute desk (is there really any other?) in the Treaty Room, but I think that desk in the Oval Office is sub-par. I like the rug & drapes in 41's O.O.

    I covet that 2 piece table in the West Sitting Hall. I can just see that laid out with books (in fact I think it is somewhere on this site).

    John, Mike, “An Invitation To The White House” is in my opinion a great book. The photography is excellent. I didn’t know Hillary Clinton was that hands on in the decor. I had never seen the damage to the Red Room where the man threw something and broke the Convex mirror over the piece there, very shortly before the Dallas trip. I also liked watching the State Dinners being documented and the behind the scenes work.

    Keep up the good work Derek. I really enjoy this site and blog!

  4. The 1940 Red Room photo reminds me of something Seale says in The President’s House. Apparently, good old Mrs. Nesbitt, FDR’s troublesome housekeeper, decided that as they prepared for the visit of George VI and Elizabeth, they would cut off the bottoms of the drapes by about a foot or so to make it easier to vacuum. It is obvious from the picture that the drapes are too short.

  5. Halcyondays –

    Bush 41 Bombay Co. desk – (giggle!) You’re just BAD! That pretty much nails it, though!

    Interesting to see these various new pics on my monitor – much larger and brighter than on the pages. I really love the Queen’s Room – the federal style – and the incredible New England furniture – even if “pink” is not really my color! That Seymour desk/bookcase between the windows is a major object of desire…

    Fun also to see the Val-Kill furniture in Eleanor Roosevelt’s West Sitting Hall – a bit frumpy, but Eleanor’s interests were in other areas… Or maybe that’s the genuine 1930’s Old Money look… Also I had never seen that 1940 picture of the Red Room.

    Cool batch of pictures!

  6. The photo of Eleanor’s sitting room in black and white would be so much better in color because then we would have a better idea of what it looked like. But of course, the 30s were pretty frumpy.

  7. Looking at the handrails in your current stairhall photo, I wonder how the design was chosen. Was is based on some historical data from the early years of the mansion or was it just something made up for the Truman renovation. Some of the details look Empire but overall it looks somewhat contrived. And while we’re in tis area, whatever happened to the large entry hall lantern shown in my first JBK guide book? I much prefer it to the current chandelier which there are plenty of on this floor.

  8. I miss the lantern too, and agree that there are enough other antique crystal chandeliers in the Cross Hall, etc.

    It seems that they often use the entrance hall for music and dancing. There are a number of famous photos of that, including the late Diana, Princess of Wales dancing with John Travolta in 1985.

    Since the main entrance is actually used by few people (except tourists leaving), they may have wanted to tie it into the Cross Hall to make it seem part of a larger room. Just a guess.

  9. Oh wow! Wish I could take credit for sending Derek a rare 1962 edition White House guidebook, but in fact it was a 1963 4th edition – the last Kennedy edition. I found it at a used book store in the French Quarter for $4.00 and offered to donate it to the White House Museum Library. I mean, it won’t be Spring in Northern Indiana for another several months and I wanted to cheer Derek up… 🙂

    Dennis and Mike – I’m with you – I’d live to have the Lantern back in the Entrance Hall – I wish they had done something like that back in 2002, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Roosevelt Renovation. I’d also love to see that incredible Lannuier round center table (the one in the American Wing at the Metropolitan Museum in New York) with the gilded legs – sitting right under the lantern… Come on Metropolitan Museum – you KNOW you want to donate it to the White House… Think of the tax write-off…

    The Entrance Hall really needs something like that, right? Right…?

  10. You’re so right, John. Every great house needs a centre hall table under a fabulous lantern! It’s not like there isn’t any room, my God, that hall is so spacious. And it would give the house a much more lived-in look as opposed to the current cold bank lobby feeling.

  11. John, I am (sigh) afraid I am BAD.
    that’s my Southern heritage….

    Correction to my post about the double table in the West Sitting Hall. It’s in the Central Hall. Two tables put together to make a hexagon.

    Derek, I was picking up someone at the airport Friday and the flight was substantially delayed. I stopped at work which is blocks from (LOVE FIELD….a presidential co-ink-i-dink) and I spent a lot of time on the site. I saw just about everything there is to see. I think you have done a smash-up job. I continually comb the internet and ebay, rubylane and GO Antiques for artifacts and photos to add to the collection. I have really been pleased to find this haven for White House nerds like ourselves. My loved one, tongue in cheek calls this site the “White House Stalker Society”, which I consider a compliment!

  12. John, I am (sigh) afraid I am BAD.
    that’s my Southern heritage….

    Correction to my post about the double table in the West Sitting Hall. It’s in the Central Hall. Two tables put together to make a hexagon.

    Derek, I was picking up someone at the airport Friday and the flight was substantially delayed. I stopped at work which is blocks from (LOVE FIELD….a presidential co-ink-i-dink) and I spent a lot of time on the site. I saw just about everything there is to see. I think you have done a smash-up job. I continually comb the internet and ebay, rubylane and GO Antiques for artifacts and photos to add to the collection. I have really been pleased to find this haven for White House nerds like ourselves. My loved one, tongue in cheek calls this site the “White House Stalker Society”, which I consider a compliment!

  13. I do miss the Lantern, but if the reason for removing it was to tie the Entrance Hall into the Cross Hall, I understand it.

    Very few people enter the Entrance Hall from the front. Most go out through it after the tour. It’s mainly used for the arrival of visiting dignitaries for State Dinners.

    I’ve often seen the East Room piano moved into the Entrance Hall and I know that people dance there.
    So, if the Lantern makes it feel like your dancing in the front hall near the door, perhaps it is better to have the chandelier.

    You will note that the Bellange Pier Table, found by JBK in WH storage and one of the first pieces of Bellange to be restored
    has not been in the Blue Room for many years. It is on the west wall of the Entrance Hall, replacing the huge mirror that was there since the TR renovation.

  14. Derek, would you please identify the other books? I have several of them myself, but a couple of them are unkown to me.

  15. The hexagonal “table” in the center all was donated during the Kennedy years, it’s actually a partner’s desk, and can be split in half to be used against the wall. There’s a picture of it in the Kennedy West Sitting Hall.

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