With this issue, White House History Quarterly looks at "Turning Points at the White House" and the great expectations found in pivotal moments of change throughout the two-hundred year history of life in the White House. One hundred years ago, on June 4, 1919, Congress passed the women’s suffrage amendment and sent it to the states for ratification. This issue commemorates the suffragists who stood outside the White House iron fence in protest and then in victory with an article by historian William Seale on the onetime headquarters of the National Woman's Party on Lafayette Square. The right of women to vote did not automatically extend to U.S. territories, however, and Teresa Carandang and Erwin R. Tiongson follow the Philippine women who fought for suffrage and called on First Lady Florence Harding, who was an advocate of women’s rights and the first first lady to have voted in a presidential election, in 1920, for her husband.
A turning point in the objectives of first ladies to style the White House as a background for the current tone of the presidency is covered in an article by Lauren McGwin, illustrated by Peter Waddell. They begin with the work of Edith Roosevelt, whose judgments for the Theodore Roosevelt White House redefined the mansion for the twentieth century and in large measure still pertain today. Waddell’s illustrations bring the story of turning points to the era of First Lady Michelle Obama.
Melissa Naulin, assistant White House Curator, chronicles the creation of the White House china collection and its display in the China Room, a century-old tradition, while William Allman, former White House Curator, tells us the story of the decoration of the magnificent concert grand piano in the East Room that shows Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt’s love for American folklore in artwork, depicting “American dance forms.” Modern innovations are highlighted by Charles Denyer who provides a preview of the new model of Marine One, the presidential helicopter, a service brought to the White House by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, which is also the subject of the 2019 White House Christmas Ornament, released in February.
2019 marks fifty years since Pat Nixon took on the role of first lady. Her devotion to the protection and collection of historic White House furnishings is a story almost unknown, told here by Kathryn L. Beasley. Finally, we have the honor of publishing Christopher Buckley’s speech recalling President George H. W. Bush, written by an author who knew him well.
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