tv The Presidency White House East Room CSPAN February 17, 2020 12:00am-12:53am EST
and everything traveled -- by rail than by highway. in the meantime to move the rail cars were designed by national laboratories for carrying nuclear weapons safely. >> our cities tour staff recently traveled to amarillo, texas to learn about its rich history. video and other stops on our tour visit /citiestour. history tv,american all weekend, every weekend we join the program as hugh hewitt talks about renovations to the east room west event space in the museum in yorba linda, california. >> true to form, with any facelift, we need chiseled
trends and perfect pictures. we have four copies of the originals of the portraits in the white house collection and hang in the east room. if you will note, these are completely brand-new reproductions that were done with the assistance of the white house historical association beginning with the most famous of them all, the father of the country, george washington. [applause] >> it is now a complete renovation down to complete historical detail. really i cannot even begin to tell you how much better looking that is than just a month ago. it would not be complete without at the same time his partner in the white house as he was father father of theas country, the mother of the country, martha washington on my immediate right. [applause] >> to her left is the one and
only, from ohio i might add, william mckinley. i'm going to leave it to our guest speaker bill allman, curator of the white house for so many years, to tell us why william mckinley is in the east room. but he is in the east room and he is looking good tonight. on our far-left, he needs no introduction. t.r. teddy roosevelt. [applause] >> these are touches that anyone will see. all of the business groups that use it, the historical groups, the brides that are married here, but one other must-have was visual acuity. president nixon was a master communicator. he used television from the oval office 37 occasions. he is known for his silent majority speech, for his resignation speech, he is known for having moved history with words. these days, for those of us who
were here for the 50th anniversary of the walking on the moon with buzz aldrin, will realize that when we showed the tape, we showed it on one of the most extraordinarily improvised set of screens. what we used to to hold up those screens were sandbags. come along way. a bit of an upgrade. our brand-new screens are from the draper company. they are 16 feet long, 9 feet wide. they each way 700 pounds. and luckily, they are automatic. they are so unique and latestthe-line, the equipment, that before they could be used, the fire department had to certify they could be supported in place thatse of the great weight
must be borne upon them. as a result of these screens, the experiences that we have here, whether they are private business organizations or presentations on nixon's legacy, his environmental record of starting the epa, signing the clean water act, the clean air ix to benefititle every woman -- over the age of 1971 in high school, his trips to china, it will all be shown on these screens as we will demonstrate very shortly. we have in this room two new projectors in 4k hd, 21,000 lumens each. i don't often like to brag, but each of these projectors cost $56,000 each. our first use is to demonstrate the new logo of the nixon library. the signature logo, designed to
represent president nixon's unique achievement as the grand strategist. so 30 years ago we had an original seal. we have kept elements of that, but we have now updated to showre a globe to president nixon's mastery in foreign affairs, his longtime role as america's global leading , the mosttegist important competition there can possibly be. this new logo is reflected across our organization and on every bit of furniture.
[applause] >> i just did the third handoff of a microphone as we upgrade. every element of this room replicates exactly the elements used in the white house east room. our new logo which you see in front of us will be on every podium exactly as they are in the president's use, the presidential seal whenever he appears. they paid for everything we have seen in this room tonight. [applause] >> and on -- [applause] --and on behalf of [applause]
>> on behalf of dr. cavanaugh and every member of the board and everyone who has used this in the past and the future, i want to say thank you and to tell very briefly the story that on the first day that i returned as a director of the library, the president of the foundation jim byron said, and meet charlie for lunch. and we did, and i told charlie about our need in this room and within one minute, charlie said he was going to go out on a limb. with hering to confirm and make it happen. that was july 1 on president nixon's birthday. 107 years ago today. i would like to welcome up on to thank you for making all this possible.
assistant. the office of the curator is charged with the preservation and study of the collection of art, furniture, and decorative objects, to maintain the white house as a residence, a museum, it also provides a wide variety of historical records about the building. he is a native and a resident of bethesda, maryland and he holds his b.a. in history and an m.a. in american studies with the museum concentration at george washington university. he is our special guest tonight. the music that will follow will be from oc music and art. we begin with a history of the white house from our friend, bill allman. please join us on stage. [applause]
>> i have to tell you to start we were here this afternoon consulting on the new installation of all this wonderful stuff. they put the podium here. i had been used to the fact sometimes you are at a center podium and they put a screen down behind you and those people cannot see that side and those people cannot see the side. two slots there were in the ceiling, the installing person from your staff said, i did it right and somebody noticed. between -- you could and everybodytalk can hear, hopefully. a pleasure to be here this afternoon. let us see. i have to learn how to do this here. maybe it is working?
ok. this is the east room east. [laughter] -- i'm casting a shadow here. interesting concept. that may be because of the c-span people. this is a picture that was taken in 1972. this is a nixon-era picture of the east room, the reason why this room exists here today. theursue the mission of nixon foundation and the nixon library. but i'm going to tell you a little about the east room overtime. starting with the winter of 1801. john and abigail adams moved in in november. they were going to serve for four months before thomas jefferson would assume the presidency.
abigail adams said, i'm not hanging my laundry for the public to see and it's cold, so i don't need frozen laundry either. let's put it in the east room. this drawing was done for the national geographic, for one of the white house publications in the kennedy administration, and it shows abigail adams supervising the hanging of the laundry in the east room. the room remained unfinished until 1814, when the british set .ire to the house it fell to president james monroe to refurbish the room after the fire and ran out of money again. it stayed unfinished until the jackson administration. the east room's history for the first 29 years or so was empty, full of laundry, destroyed by fire, empty, for some more decades.
maybe? there we go. this picture shows a print of the room in the 1850's, but what it shows is the furnishings that had survived from those other administrations, the three tables down the middle of the room were made for andrew jackson in 1829, and they still exist. you see one here. there are two that flank the lincoln bed now in the lincoln bedroom. one is on the ground floor as part of the tour route. also in the room -- this is the earliest known photograph of the room taken about 1867. it shows furniture around the room. chairs, you can see around the edges, of which we own four. unlike the three tables that have been in the white house
from 1829 continuously until now, the chairs were used in the east room from 1817 until 1874. in 1882, they were sold at the big chester arthur garage sale. [laughter] >> in the 19th century, it was perfectly legal when you came in as the president, they would say here is money to move in, and if that's not enough, get rid of the stuff you don't like and make more money to buy what you need. throughout the 19th century you had entire administrations -- the taste as exhibited in the decorative arts disappeared. we have four of those chairs, all of which have come back since ms. kennedy's time, one actually the office just acquired about four months ago. they were made in georgetown by william king. he was a local cabinetmaker in the district of columbia.
here is a picture of the room. in 1858, for a reception being held by james buchanan. sideuchanan is in the left shaking hands with guests. this is how the east room would have been used most of the time, for big receptions with lots of people being entertained. you will see on the right-hand side of the picture above the door there is a white marble bust. that is the bus you see on the other screen -- be cited in the picture. -- beside it in the picture. there were busts purchased by three james monroe. amerigo vespucci and
christopher columbus for discovering america, regardless of what the native americans thought, and then george washington. what they represented was washington, the district of columbia as in christopher columbus, in the united states of america. they had a way of representing what the city was in the post fire rebuild washington. by the late 19th century, inventories were taken only occasionally, usually at the end of an administration, so the next people would know what they were going to find there. looks ratherust classical. it was listed in the inventory as unknown roman gentlemen. it completely lost its george washington association. not the most obvious george washington, i guess. here is an 1862 engraving of a reception in the same east room.
clearly artists had been there, understood how the chandeliers looked and how the draperies looked, but he has built a room big enough to hold 10,000 people. [laughter] >> i mean him look at it. there are thousands of them. newspaper engravings were the way you understood places prior to photography. this one.the boat on in 1884, an interesting event that took place was president chester arthur, he is holding a piece of paper to the right of the desk. he opened the new orleans world industrial and cotton expedition -- exposition by standing in the east room with people who were there to enjoy the event and pushing a telegraph key that would send a message to new orleanssaying -- new
saying the president has opened the event. these are big things that took place in the room. not so much what would happen in the 20th century. it continues to be that, but with a broader variety of things. here's the way the room would have looked in the 19th century. what you see is architecture. columns that have no structural purpose. they are just pretty. underneath crossbeams with no structural purpose. they are just pretty. in 1874 for the wedding of president grant's daughter. they did the mental pieces -- lepieces and all of the furnishings in the room. the east room was always open to the public. the family lived more in the red room and the blue room then they do today. the president's offices occupied about a third of the second floor. there was no west wing until
1902. sometimes the east room looked like you see on the left. press what some of the people called, the style of the east room is steamboat gothic . because it looked like a mississippi river steamboat or a circular lobby with sofas. date from thes grant administration and the -- from chester arthur's continuation of what president garfield had started in 1881 and one of the few pieces surviving from that was this sofa given to the white house in 1962. those things that got away in the sales often come back to our office with stories about grandmothers who said this came
from the white house. once in a while we can prove it because photographs back it up or the object backs it up. sometimes they say, this was thomas jefferson's table, it's kind of late, remember? there was a fire in 1814 and they didn't save any of the furniture. so it really can't be. and besides, it looks like it was made in 1930. one of the events in the east room are state funerals. seven of the eight presidents who died in office have laid in state in the east room, the only exception being president garfield. when he was assassinated, which is kind of an unexpected way to go, the room was torn up like it would be today with them laying new floor in a renovation of the east room. the one you see on the left ear here is the casket of president william mckinley. i have been asked to explain why president william mckinley's portrait hangs in the east room.
partly, it is a nice visual comparison with teddy roosevelt, bookendlso because they the centuries of white house history. mckinley being the one at the end of the 19th century, the end of the house being as modern as they could afford, so you would see potted palms and big victorian furniture, and then theodore roosevelt directing that a neoclassical interior was something that he needed for europeans, for visiting dignitaries to understand that we are not steamboat gothic, that we have some sense of style and taste, even if it has nothing to do with american taste. it is very much french. and on the right-hand side, you see one of the last events that president roosevelt staged. it was one of the reasons i think he did his 1902 renovation. that is the east room, set up
for dinner for prince henry of prussia. he was the brother of kaiser wilhelm the second and came to the united states to take delivery of a new imperial yacht in new york and he traveled all around the united states. this was a stag dinner. no ladies were invited. it was all military officers. maybe that was because it was a german prince. how veryan see victorian and exotic a look. the error roosevelt said -- theodore roosevelt said to have a dinner that big they couldn't fit it in the state dining room, they held it in the east room. the food came up from the kitchen. dinner was kind of cold. one of the things he had done as part of the 1902 renovation was to enlarge the state dining room so they could have better meals in the house and modernized the east room. there is theodore roosevelt, the portrait you see reproduced in
the corner there. painted by john singer in 1903. the story says that teddy roosevelt was coming down the one day when sergeant was at the bottom of the stairs and he said mr. president, when will you let me paint your portrait? i have been hired to do this and you never sit still. he put his hand up on the post and said, paint me now. the problem is that post doesn't show up on any white house staircase. so the concept may have been right. the inspiration may have been right. i don't think the artist actually painted what he found. it is one of the best portraits in the white house collection. theodore roosevelt and his wife hired new york architects to do a renovation of the public rooms, which included enlarging the state dining room, building the west wing so the family would not have to share the second floor with the president's offices.
you would have people coming up to go to the president's office wander through mrs. roosevelt's bedroom. they had six kids in the wanton and not enough bedrooms. they had to double them up, so they decided they would take out these victorian interiors and introduce something more classical. this is when the east room came out, showing pretty much what you see today. the same floor pattern, the ame architecture, the ceiling was simplified later on. theodore roosevelt used the room for two important things. one a was they introduced a whole series of events called musicals. tomorrow night would have been the 100-something anniversary.
they were held on four consecutive fridays in january. january was the social season. you entertained from late december through early february before the weather got bad in washington and you had -- you did not have air conditioning. there would have been one of these where they invited maybe 30, 40 people for dinner and 500 to listen to music. i don't know how they got them all in the east room. you can put that many chairs in the room. but he also enjoyed using the east room is basically a gymnasium. one of the things that he had in 1904 was regular sessions with two japanese jiu-jitsu wrestlers. they would come three times a week and theodore roosevelt said he was not of an age or build to be twirled and batted down without damage. and about a month later he said i'm probably through with it. after an eight hour grapple with
senators and congressmen, i feel like a stewed owl. i'm not sure what that feels like. but have been shown three new throws that are perfect quarters. he liked what he was getting from his instructors, but it was taking its toll on his body. we can go back for just a second. you can see the chandelier there. there were three chandeliers provided by edward caldwell. which was a new york -- they assembled them out of parts they got from other places. the glass came from the czech republic, it was bohemian glass. you can see there is a midrange group of little hooks. so the chandeliers were actually originally tell her they are now, then they are here, because they were extra long and came closer to the floor than now.
you can also see in the room the wonderful architecture. the neoclassical panels. at one point it was described as aesop's fables but there is really nothing that can be identified as that. they are just neoclassical scenes based on a french palace. so there is the chandelier. you see it now. the stem.n reduced in also light standards are at the -- lighthe rooms standards in the real room. they were provided by caldwell. gilded bronze with glass fruit ornaments. all electrified. the first --were not the absolute first, but the installation where everything first was electrified. in 1891 they installed electricity in the white house but kept all of the gas fixtures and simply added electric wiring to the gas units.
president and misses benjamin harrison wouldn't touch the switches so somebody had to go turn the lights on and off because they were scared of electricity was going to zap them. there was very little furniture. the room was really not like the 19th century room with huge circular sofas and things. it was designed with just a series of banquettes that were placed around the room. there is a spectacular piano provided in january 1903 by steinway and company, it was the 100,000th piano made by the company. they were proud of having emigrated from hungary and having taken a large part of the american piano manufacturing industry. paintingsutiful inside the cover and it shows the woman in the center is america, and she is being wooed
by the nine muses of the classical arts from greek times. this piano stayed there from 1903 to 1938, and then steinway offered number 300,000 which is the piano that you see in this very early color photograph of the white house in 1938. again, the pianos were kept in the corner. you only rolled them out when you needed them. you still have lots of big events in the room. there is martha washington, she and george washington didn't hang in the east room until 1929. they had been in other rooms on the state floor. but it is the ef andrews portrait that he created out of portraits of the face of martha washington. clothing that was from the and 1870's hands that were modeled by president hayes's nice. -- niece. they had hand models back then.
and then the great portrait of george washington by gilbert stuart which was hanging on the wall when the adams moved in and saved from the fire by dolly madison in 1814. our longest continuous art object. now, in 1949, president truman was told you can't live in the white house anymore, it's going to fall down, so he moved across the street to blair house and the corps of engineers of the army department was given the job. they contracted out to various companies and they took out the sides of the white house. if you look -- see the really dark window off to the side in the middle? if you go up one floor, that's the east room. the east room is gone. everything inside the house is gone. nothing dates back to the they reusedept
windows, they reuse shutters, they mostly reused plaster and marble for new plaster. they dug two levels of basement underground to provide places for storage, the laundry, things that had taken up space in the house, then they built a steel frame to put in central air and central heating. the white house, even our own interior rooms are not strictly original. this is the east room against it is a nixon era picture. i use it to show the piano a little bit better and also you can see some of the details on the case. it was specially designed with six images to represent american music and dance. then it had eagles as the wings. this is the piano that continues to be used all the time. the marine band plays this for
-- you know, either just the piano or as part of ensembles. when a high-end classical pianist comes to the white house, they bring their own piano because the actions are different one piano to another. but this piano was made rather famous by president nixon because they had a 70th birthday party for duke ellington who was a native washingtonian. and so there is president nixon sitting at the piano with duke ellington sitting beside it, playing on the piano, basically ellington happy birthday, then you have both of them getting up to talk to the audience and enjoying themselves immensely. it was also used by president nixon when he sat down at the keyboard and played along with
pearl bailey, who was a famous african-american jazz singer who was starring at the time in broadway in hello dolly, the remake of carol channing's role. occasionally it is used for state dinners or state meals. you have a crowd that is just too big, everybody wants to come to the dinner for somebody really prominent, maybe not so many for the prime minister of a small country. this is president jimmy carter. let's see here. the king ofheon for the belgians. you can see a little bit of the light standard. now, this is the state dining room. for president justin trudeau from canada.
things change. there is nothing permanent about the way that things are done. sometimes the curators office has to suggest we tried it before and it did not work, so let us try again, one of the things designers for president obama liked to do were sort of liven it up and make it more modern, so they projected designs on the ceiling, filled the window with plant material, and sent a head table and circle dealer -- circular tables. it's always possible to have different combinations. usually for a state dinner, the east room is where you have entertainment. mrs.is president and george h w bush being entertained by gloria esta fun who has stepped off the stage and is strutting her stuff as she sings some salsa song. on the right-hand side is yo-yo ma being accompanied by the
1938 steinway piano. there is george and martha washington flanking that east side window. sometimes after state dinners, you have dancing. in one case, on the left-hand side, that is president ford entertaining queen elizabeth ii on the 1976 bicentennial of american independence on july 7. the dinner was in a tent in the -- and then dancing was in the east room. the year before, susan ford, his daughter, had her high school prom in the east room. she went to school in suburban maryland. what better thing to deliver to your classmates than prom at the white house? there she is dancing up a storm. you can see the pattern in the floor very clearly. this pattern has been in the room since 1902.
sometimes there are just special events that don't have any particular diplomatic point of view. the one on the left is president and misses kennedy. they entertained all the nobel prize winners of the americas. entertainment in the east room. you see misses kennedy talking and presidentrg kennedy talking to pearl buck, the notable author. kennedy made a famous remark and said i think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered together at the white house with the possible exception of when thomas jefferson died here alone. [laughter] >> on the lower right was the 200th anniversary of the adams moving into the white house.
this was the year 2000. november 2000, we have this anniversary coming up, we have everybody celebrating the millennium, which did not happen until 2001, but nonetheless, you also had the disputed election. president bush running against vice president gore and the hanging chads. going to the supreme court. but they invited all of the former presidents and first ladies. misses ford, president carter, misses bush, they moved down the table. for clinton, the occupant, making remarks, but in both cases president ford and president carter got up and made glowing remarks about the staff, about the resident staff, not the political staff, but the people who work administration after administration and are completely trustworthy and hard-working. they just waxed rhapsodic about this.
china which they tried to call the millennium china, but it just became the clinton china even though the clintons did not technically ask for it to be made. it foras just enough of people at the head table to eat off the china. everybody else had to eat off some other administration's china. it was a nice evening. weddings happen at the white house. we talked about president grant's daughter. the room was redecorated. there is linda johnson marrying chuck rob, who was not yet a u.s. senator coming down from the center window, basically re,ing right to about the off the stage. you can have birthdays. this is president reagan celebrating his 70th birthday with misses reagan and the maitre d'looking at this and
warmest cake. press conferences frequently happened there. i used this one because it was one of those rare occasions where there was an elevated view and you can see the three chandeliers and the draperies with the original 1902 cornices over the drapes. special award ceremonies. on the left you see president truman in 1945 giving the medal of honor to an american servicemen from world war ii. medal oferpart to the honor for civilian services is the medal of freedom. there is president obama trying on kareem medal abdul-jabbar. president obama is not a short man and he is dwarfed by an nba basketball player.
it was also the scene where president nixon at the left congratulated misses nixon for a major redecoration of the blue room. that was part of working with the curator's office. working for the committee for preservation of the white house. misses nixon did enormous work for the white house collection and gets very little credit for it. everybody thinks of misses kennedy, but she started it. everybody can start something gets the most adulation, i guess. but misses nixon added more to the white house collection van -- then were required by the kennedy administration. you can see her earlier in the day when she unveiled the room to the public. it has changed considerably since then. so many people come to us and say, how dare you change something misses kennedy created? you don't understand.
misses kennedy did not intend for these to be permanent. she figured there would be new scholarship, new taste, and that rooms would change. forof the nice things misses nixon was misses kennedy had gotten back one of those gold chairs the purchased for 1817, but got away at auction in 1860. and then misses nixon good got four more chairs from people who had the right -- you could study the chairs and find the right marks, saw marks and that kind of thing. even yours truly has made a performance in the white house. [laughter] >> this was an event in the obama administration celebrating the collection of -- adding of more abstract modern art to the white house permanent collection. i was asked to speak. we always took a low profile, and suddenly misses obama kept
if its flowers, let the florist talk. if it is food, let the chefs talk. if it is art, let the curator talk. there i am talking. other than giving tours, that is my one big east room moment. other than going to that 2000 dinner for the anniversary. christmas at the white house. this window, basically you open the drapes and you fill it with christmas scenes made of 18th-century nativity figures. treesare usually lots of and lots of people. the busiest time of year is the christmas holidays between special tours and social events. now, the east room has been open to the public for tourism for visitation purposes. this 1885 print was from a
newspaper that shows people examining the drapes. let's touch them, why not? that doesn't make them more fragile. in more modern times, this is july 1, 2015, the first day that they allowed photography by tourists in the white house. now, this was not necessarily a curatorial decision. every more the reality museum is allowing people to take pictures because everybody wants to snap chat or whatever those platforms are. but i love the fact, this little girl looked a lot like this older woman here and she is trying to figure out what is this metal screen that covers -- it is wire mesh that hangs down to protect the fireplace? her mother is busy taking pictures. and then the ubiquitous selfie. you have people taking pictures . the poor officer from secret
service who is there to give information is being ignored because the collecting of pictures is more important than the learning of information now. but you can see the chandelier, a little bit of george washington, the picture on the right. there are sad moments. president nixon's departure, seen from right front of this curtain in august -- august 9, 1974. there are also really happy once for the nixon administration. this was february 22, 1969. it was president george washington's birthday and they staged a production of the broadway musical 1776 with the original cast. there is -- there is a stage that was built at that end of the room, people sitting out
here, looking down along the central corridor that would be direction, now, this is a chandelier that is not as long as it was originally. you can see how close it is to somebody on that stage. in the carter administration, mikael baryshnikov came to the white house, he was going to dance in performance at the white house. he walked in and they said the stage will be here, and he looks up and says the chandelier has to go. we all went, not on your life. do you know how much effort it takes to take a chandelier down? well, you do. the people here do. the funny thing about it was one of the things we always discovered, the chores are provided by the secret service, and for a long time they got asked questions by people that seemed to be how much is it worth? they have to wrap their mind
around it in terms of how valuable it is, or in terms of the chandelier, how much does it weigh? if it dropped on you, you would be dead or not? and the tour officers made it up. they said 1200 pounds. wow. then we did conservation to them and took them down and re-pinned all the glass and we asked the company doing the cleaning and weigh alld you please of the parts? 600 pounds. there were off by a factor of two. they over exaggerated but 6000 pieces of glass in those chandeliers. here at the end of that production of 1776, you have president nixon on the left chatting up john adams and thomas jefferson and benjamin franklin, two of whom were soon to be president, and nixon
chatting with the only two female characters in the show, misses adams and misses jefferson. and thank you very much. [applause] >> from george washington to george w. bush, every sunday at 8 p.m. p.m. to midnight eastern, we feature the presidency, exploring the presidents, policies, and legacies. your watching american history tv, all weekend, every weekend, on c-span3. monday night on the communicators, from the state of -- we will discuss technology and the internet with
congressman and a federal election commission member. watch the communicators monday on c-span 2. >> are c-span cities tour continues with a stop at the santa fe depot. >> take a look at some of the unique features of the santa fe depot. a key component of the development of amarillo was its tie to industry and agriculture being shipped out. the railroad was a big part of that. we are here to document the unique features when they built this facility. right now we are in the baggage room. a lot of the original stuff is still here. original construction, none of that has changed. this would have been the
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