Building and Refurbishing the White House | Remaining Open to the People | Official Occasions | White House Weddings | Creating a Private Life


Dollhouse made by a White House gardener for the Cleveland children, c. 1896

When George Washington took office, he decided that the president should work and live in the same residence. Every chief executive since has abided by that rule. And while it has made performing the job of president more efficient, it has made family life more difficult. Quiet time and privacy must be seized from or interwoven with official business. Ultimately it is almost impossible to lead a "normal" existence when living in the White House.



"Sally," the White House doll, made around 1829 for Maria Louise Adams, granddaughter of John Quincy Adams
Christmas pageant program made by the grandchildren of Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1960
Spencer repeating rifle used by Abraham Lincoln for target practice, about 1864
Book of trout flies in a leather case belonging to Grover Cleveland, about 1888
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