There could not be a more perfect spot in Washington, D.C., to enjoy the time-honored Easter Egg Roll tradition than the rolling lawns of the president’s backyard. With more than seventy newly commissioned whimsical illustrations that bring the event to life, this new history of the White House Easter Egg Roll reveals how each administration from Rutherford B. Hayes through Donald J. Trump has staged the annual event.
It may have been First Lady Dolley Madison who first suggested the public egg roll that children enjoyed on Capitol Hill for decades until they wore out their welcome in 1876. In 1878 President Rutherford B. Hayes came to the rescue and invited the children to roll their Easter eggs on the White House Grounds. With its sloped South Lawn and more than 18 acres of parkland, the grounds remain a perfect setting for what has become the Annual White House Easter Egg Roll. As the celebration has grown beyond the traditional rolling of brightly dyed hard-boiled eggs to include such activities as “egg ball” during the Grover Cleveland administration; maypole dances during the Herbert Hoover era; a petting zoo during the Jimmy Carter years; autographed eggs during the Ronald Reagan administration; a special event for military families during the George W. Bush presidency; a focus on a healthy, active lifestyle during the Barack Obama presidency; and storytime with the first lady during the Donald Trump administration. But one thing remains the same—guests enjoy a wonderful day full of fun and merriment with the first family.
Written by Jonathan Pliska
Illustrated by John Hutton