See rare images depicting life, work at the White House This photograph by Joseph J. Scherschel shows President Lyndon B. Johnson and former president Harry S. Truman prior to signing Social Security Act Amendments, which established both Medicare and Medicaid. This photograph was taken at the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum in Independence, Missouri on July 30, 1965. (The White House Historical Association)
See rare images depicting life, work at the White House
Lexile

Only a sliver of what goes on at the White House is ever seen by the public. And what is seen, is usually seen through a very small lens.

The White House Historical Association aims to preserve and provide access to White House history. A team  of its librarians has spent the past two years working to digitize about 25,000 images. They are behind-the-scenes photographs. These offer a revealing glimpse of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

The images were previously uncatalogued. They capture scenes from 1962 to 1987. This spans the Kennedy to the Reagan administrations. That's according to Betsy Klein of CNN.

The only information available for most slides in storage was the month and year the film was developed. So librarians had to work like detectives. They paid close attention to details of the photo slides. They identified how the images fit into the timeline of historical events and other records.

Librarians were able to identify civil rights leaders in a photo. It was from a 1966 meeting with President Lyndon Johnson. They did so by using Johnson's daily diary. 

A team of historians fact-checked the photo information. They made revisions when necessary. They did this before the images were digitized online. Klein reports the ongoing project is part of a partnership with Amazon Web Services. It provides cloud storage and support.

Images on the organization's new online library include many scenes. In one image, press reporters are seen. It is from the Johnson administration. There were men in workspaces on telephones. Reporters were seen relaxing on leather chairs. 

The Gemini 4 NASA team also makes an appearance. The images show the astronauts being presented with the Exceptional Service Medal. Images also capture the astronauts at a more candid moment. Images show them as they play in the White House pool with their families. They were there at the invitation of Johnson.

The White House Historical Association was founded in 1961 as an effort by Jacqueline Kennedy. It works to preserve and provide access to White House history. The organization collects information on first ladies and other important figures in the White House. It also collects information on art and decorations. This includes information on the space and architectural changes. This is throughout the White House’s history. Additionally, it's charged with commissioning an annual White House christmas ornament. The ornaments honor past presidents. This past year, it honored former President Harry Truman.

Klein writes the team is only halfway done with its digitization project. Many more images are set to make their way from storage to digital library in the coming months. For now, you can check out the current trove of images. They are available on the site.

Filed Under:  
Assigned 46 times
CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
What do you think the general public would be most interested in seeing about day-to-day life at the White House?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (22)
  • Azucena B-mag
    2/20/2019 - 12:46 a.m.

    Apparently they are very hermetic in the white house, since they do not offer more details about the events that are presented in the photographs they mention, I believe that the public would be more interested in seeing photographs with descriptions and names of the people that appear there.

  • Nicolas S-mag
    2/20/2019 - 08:51 p.m.

    I think in addition to the history of the white house would be very interesting to show an important event made in current works of art and also the place where famous movies have been recorded because we have all ever seen the white house on television

  • Guadalupe C-mag
    2/20/2019 - 09:59 p.m.

    they are carrying out a digitization project with images and information of the white house and its members, as well as its collaborators, cameramen and even astronauts with their families. I think that's what people want to know, see what happens inside it, that's why it's a great project because they will reveal the decoration and the art that is in it.

  • Nicolas A-mag
    2/21/2019 - 12:44 a.m.

    people would be intereseted to see images of all the presidents and the information of the first ladies an this is in process for the digitalization and to see the imagenes in the web site. all they are doing is making them reach the public and let tem know a little more about what theyy live or how they live inside the white house

  • Yadira C-mag1
    2/21/2019 - 01:59 p.m.


    Well, I think that people do not care to know who or what is inside the house and what is inside, well, but very few are interested in any character especially I think they would be interested in the management, decisions and objectives that the president makes in his function as such.

  • Selena J-mag1
    2/22/2019 - 12:01 a.m.

    Something that personally I would like to know about what happens inside the White House is the treatment that is given to those who work there by officials with more important charges, there is an image that was viral long ago in Faceboock of former President Obama s Alludes with respect to a worker who towards cleanliness in the place, are small but very important details that we would like to know the people from outside.

  • Aldo B-mag
    2/22/2019 - 02:29 p.m.


    if there really is very little that is known about the white house and the librarians in charge of digitizing all the photographs of the life of the white csa I would be grateful to have an enthusiastic public of his work of more than two years

  • Guadalupe M-mag
    2/22/2019 - 03:35 p.m.

    the white house one of the most important places in the United States and also to my point of view is one of the most mysterious places, there are kept many secrets that people know little but surely are very interesting, because it is so mysterious that place? In my view, the government has made it interesting and it is not convenient for the people to know more than they should.

  • Marco R-mag
    2/22/2019 - 07:45 p.m.

    A team of librarians dedicate their life to restore old pictures, I'm the article above they show us a picture of a president of the united States, witch was found in 1966, they only found date and names n he picture, so the librarians had to go like detectives collecting information m diaries to restore the picture and fit it into the timeline as good as posible according to the events.

  • Monica J-mag
    2/22/2019 - 08:05 p.m.

    maybe they would be interested in seeing NASA activities since they always do secret jobs

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT