Please join the White House Historical Association as they host a special Easter Monday book signing with author Jonathan Pliska from 11 a.m to 3 p.m. Pliska will be signing two of his award-winning books.
The White House Easter Egg Roll: A History for All Ages
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.
A Garden for the President: A History of the White House Grounds
The White House, the official residence of the president, is also seen as the people’s house, its grounds, the people’s grounds. This duality of ownership was apparent from the beginning, when President Thomas Jefferson first weighed the merits of presidential privacy and the right of any citizen to visit the White House for a stroll upon its green grass. Today, safety and security concerns justifiably limit access, creating an 18-acre refuge for the president and first family. The White House grounds, contained within an iron fence, are the oldest continually maintained ornamental landscape in the United States—and their history extensive. Heavily illustrated with historical images and newly commissioned photography by Bruce M. White, A Garden for the President explores not only the relationship between the White House and its landscape but also the evolution of its design; the public and private uses of the grounds in peace and wartime; and the cultivation of the grounds with a focus on the specimen trees, vegetable and ornamental gardens, and conservatories.