Death comes to the White House, as to every home in the nation. But Americans share no greater shock than the death of a president. In this issue we examine in detail the circumstances and mourning rituals surrounding the death of President William Henry Harrison in 1841 and those of seven sitting presidents who followed: Zachary Taylor, Abraham Lincoln, James A. Garfield, William McKinley, Warren G. Harding, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and John F. Kennedy. A number of presidents came to the White House as widowers—Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, Martin Van Buren, and Chester Arthur— and three more would lose their wives during their presidency. The first was Letitia Christian Tyler, the first wife of John Tyler. She died on September 10, 1842, at the age of 51. Fifty years later, Caroline Harrison died of tuberculosis at age 60 on October 25, 1892. On August 6, 1914, Ellen Axson Wilson died of Bright’s disease. There were other deaths in the White House—of the president’s children and extended family—and this issue also describes the deaths of Willie Lincoln and Calvin Coolidge Jr., and how their fathers found the strength to carry on with presidential responsibilities.
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The 24th Annual Communicator Awards - Award of Excellence