Changed the front page to one of Truman being sworn in in the Cabinet Room, with Bess and Margaret by his side.
News outlets are reporting that Margaret Truman Daniel died a few hours ago at the age of 83. The New York Times, which husband Clifton Daniel managed, has a big story. Condolences to her family.
MTD was the only daughter of President Truman, lived in the White House for part of his administration, and authored several novels set in the White House and elsewhere in Washington. Her bedroom is now the Family Kitchen.
According to the Washington Post (WaPo to Beltway insiders), Jenna Bush is hosting her bridal shower at the White House, or at least hosting the 15 guests there. Maybe we’ll see some pics of it leak later.
Houston Chronicle is reporting that Jenna and Henry will marry at the Crawford Ranch and not at the White House itself. The date is set for May 10, so plans must be well under way.
Along with the better image of the 1911 lights picture, Robert Martin sent along a good one of Cortelyou in his bay-windowed office in the old West Wing and an interesting one of Coolidge with bankers outside the South Portico, where there appears to be a glassed-in room built between the columns. (LOC page for a higher-res look.)
Becky sent along this photo from oldpicture.com (the source of some good WH photos in the past) with the caption “White House at night, 6/11”. I’m not sure if the bright glare is from fireworks or just from a streetlamp due to the long exposure or what.
UPDATE: Robert Martin sent a better image that he found in the LOC which includes the full date: 6/14/11, prepping for the Tafts’ silver wedding anniversary party on June 19, 1911, which we know was lit up with search lights.
Two score electricians are now at work in the White House grounds, as thousands of electric lights will be placed among the trees and festooned across the lawns and terraces. The White House itself will be outlined completely by electric lights. No cornice, angle, or gable will be overlooked. On the west lawn of the White house an electric flag will wave. This will be a wonderful sight, the red, white, and blue colors flashing into the night.
Just added a great image of the Yellow Oval Room in 1909, sent by Stephen Martin. However, this makes the circa 1910 date of another image a little suspect. Did Taft put moulding on the walls and then someone remove it by 1930?
Times Online is reporting that President of France Nicolas Sarkozy has secretly married supermodel Carla Bruni in the Elysee last week. It’s hard to imagine such a thing happening in the White House (except maybe back in the days of President Hefner), but then there is a little church just across the park from the White House, where such things could be taken care of discreetly. One imagines the Elysee is surrounded by cheese shops and topless beaches.
The legend reads
Cortelyou, Knox, Payne, Moody, Hay, Roosevelt, Hichcock, Root, Shaw, Wilson. The President reading his message to the Cabinet before sending it to Congress.
Update: Let me stress that the photo is a genuine 1903 print. I haven’t done anything to it myself, and I doubt the Library of Congress did. But clearly the original publisher optically printed in several of the figures.
The visits of Charles and Diana (the Waleses, don’t you know) must have been a big deal in the Reagan White House. More photos keep popping up from time to time. The one I’ve just added is of the second floor dining room set up for a little dinner party.
The one of Diana dancing with John Travolta in the Entrance Hall is famous. There is a nice one of them sitting in the West Sitting Hall. And the State Dining Room has one taken from a high corner, that must have been tricky to rig. Next I suppose we’ll see one of them lounging by the pool or perhaps bowling. Better still, we’d see one of Charles reacting to being served a cup of tea with a tea bag in it.
Also just added, the Reagan Green Room.
Full text of Elizabeth Keckley’s 1868 memoir Behind the Scenes, or, Thirty years a Slave, and Four Years in the White House. There doesn’t seem to be much description of the White House itself, but there is an awful lot of this sort of thing:
Mrs. Lincoln was especially severe on Mr. Wm. H. Seward, Secretary of State. She but rarely lost an opportunity to say an unkind word of him.
I saw National Treasure: Book of Secrets this past weekend. The titular book is a diary passed from president to president that holds all their deepest secrets. Given the vagaries of politics, that seems unlikely (Carter wouldn’t release Nixon’s missing 18-minute tape?), but the point of it is that the book contains a photo of a wooden plaque that was formerly concealed in a secret compartment of the Resolute desk—one half of a treasure map that has something to do with the Queen of England. Her Resolute desk (the feminine fraternal twin to our president’s) contains the other half. Naturally, Nick Cage must sneak into the Queen’s private office and the Oval Office (it looks just like GWB’s) to get the information that he needs, only it’s not there, and he has to ransack the Library of Congress. Unfortunately for him, the president’s secret book is one of the 17 million items I purloined from the Library of Congress a few months ago and the movie ends with him being nonplussed, chagrined, arrested, indicted, arraigned, and other French terms. The End.
Changed the front page to an elevation of the south face that I made to look like a blueprint to use as wallpaper. I’ve included regular versions at two size, in case anyone wants to use it as computer wallpaper (altho the term “wallpaper” doesn’t make sense with a computer “desktop;” maybe it should be called a “computer blotter paper.”)
Happy New Year. Here is hoping that 2008 is prosperous and full of growth and knowledge.
If you were intrigued by my post on LibriVox, the free audio book site, there is a project going on right now in which numerous people all contribute their reading of the US Bill of Rights. They do this from time to time, everyone recording the same piece; and hearing the different voices is rather fascinating. Check out the Jabberwocky catalog page. Reading the BoR has the added benefit of being educational. I for one learned that the “right to party” was not in the original 10 amendments, so it must be number 12 or 13. And I learned that I can apparently just kick out all these soldiers that have been quartered in my house for a while.