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.
I’ve seen a similar photo – apparently they used to bring in search lights during major parties/events – was probably a pretty neat effect. Notice a second one shining south off the roof. The photographer must have opened the shutter right as the light at the East Entrance hit him – hope his eyesight was okay afterwards!
It’s too bad that some historic pictures aren’t documented, even with a date. There are so many pictures of the WH that aren’t documented at all, but thank goodness there are people like Derek and Wingnut and others who know enough about that building to shed some light on what they might be. It’s just amazing to me that some pictures are “dated” by the wallpaper border, rug, or some other small detail in the photos. Keep up the good work!!
Oh yes, search lights. That hadn’t occurred to me because of the age; it’s clearly around 1910, judging from the dresses.
Well, I’m glad to see that Mrs. Jaffrey *finally* got that old house to shine!
It is very possible that this photo was taken on June 19, 1911,(6-11)for the Taft’s 25th wedding anniversary. Seale describes this in “The President’s House,” Vol. 2,
pp.760-762. It was an evening of “great electric light.”
Nice shot here showing the work being done right after the Christmas fire in the WW. http://www.old-picture.com/united-states-history-1900s—1930s/undergoing-Executive-offices-repairs-001.htm
Dennis, I think you hit it right on the nose, or right on the head… or something. Well anyway, I think you nailed it!
As long as I didn’t hit my thumb!