Real life at the White House Two hundred years of daily life at America's most famous residence

John Whitcomb

Book - 2000

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Location Call Number   Status
2nd Floor 973.0992/Whitcomb Checked In
New York : Routledge 2000.
Physical Description
xxi, 511 p. : ill
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Main Author
John Whitcomb (-)
Other Authors
Claire Whitcomb (-)
Review by Booklist Reviews

In celebration of the 200th anniversary of the White House, the Whitcombs provide an irresistible chronological overview of daily life in the presidential residence. Divided into 42 chapters representing each succeeding administration, this survey is brimming with fun facts, tantalizing tidbits, and memorable anecdotes detailing two centuries of domestic bliss and strife in the White House. From George Washington, who chose the sight and initiated work on the presidential mansion, to Bill Clinton, whose well-documented White House escapades titillated and scandalized the nation, each individual president has contributed to the mystique of the most readily recognized home in the U.S. Together with scores of drawings, portraits, and photographs, the breezy text chronicles the significant physical, social, and emotional changes wrought by each First Family as they sought to personalize daily life in the White House. A broadly appealing slice of Americana. --Margaret Flanagan Copyright 2000 Booklist Reviews

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Filled with anecdotes, quotations, and photographs, this well-written book is the third collaboration of the father/ daughter team of historian John Whitcomb and journalist Claire Whitcomb (House & Garden, Victoria, House Beautiful). Their account of real life in the "President's House" includes the entertaining habits, decorating tastes, and daily routines of the presidents, starting with Washington, who never lived in the White House, and ending with Clinton. Each president's unique contributions to politics and his personal history while residing in the White House are detailed in brief individual chapters. As the authors show, the White House was once far less comfortable and much more accessible to the public; Congress could withhold funds for refurbishment if it disliked the politics of the president, and visitors literally took pieces of the carpeting or items on display for souvenirs. This work should be read not only to discern the personal impact of each administration on a famous residence but also to observe the evolving nature of the presidency itself and its relation to the citizenry. Recommended for public and academic libraries. Kathleen M. Conley, Illinois State Univ. Milner Lib., Normal Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

First published in 2000. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

This well written and substantial book offers an unusual approach to the history of the American presidency by concentrating on the office's place of residence. Beginning with the building of the White House and continuing, president by president, John Whitcomb (he teaches American history, we're not told where) and his daughter Claire (a staff writer for House & Garden among other magazines) give us the details of the daily life of America's first families, continuing each chapter beyond Washington to tell how each president finished his days. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Review by Publisher Summary 3

First published in 2000. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

First Published in 2000. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.