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The White House 1600 Sessions

86 EpisodesProduced by The White House Historical AssociationWebsite

The White House Historical Association presents The 1600 Sessions, a podcast that explores the history, untold stories and personal accounts of America’s most iconic residence and office – The White House.

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85. An Ordinary Man: President Gerald R. Ford

August 9th, 2023


Stewart McLaurin, President of the White House Historical Association, welcomed respected author and historian Richard Norton Smith to a special town hall gathering to discuss his latest book “An Ordinary Man: The …

84. Bunny Mellon and the White House Rose Garden

July 24th, 2023


Philanthropist, stylemaker, and renowned gardener Rachel Lambert “Bunny” Mellon was not formally trained as a horticulturist or landscape designer. …

83. The Ten Habits of Good Citizens

June 15th, 2023


Richard Haass has been the President of the Council on Foreign Relations for almost twenty years. In that role as part of an independent, nonpartisan …

82. At the Helm with John H. Dalton

May 26th, 2023


Former Secretary of the Navy John H. Dalton has written a new memoir called “At the Helm: My Journey with Family, Faith, and Friends to Calm the Storms of Life.” Dalton is a graduate of the United States Naval …

81. A Coronation Preview with the British Ambassador to the U.S.

May 3rd, 2023


Britain and the U.S. have long had what Prime Minister Winston Churchill called a “special relationship.” From adversaries to allies, the …

80. 250 Years of American Political Leadership

April 19th, 2023


The American experiment has long held the curiosity of people around the world, especially for Iain Dale, an award-winning British author, and radio and podcast host, who has edited a new book of essays called “The …

79. Becoming FDR: The Personal Crisis That Made a President

March 22nd, 2023


In 1933, Franklin Delano Roosevelt was sworn in for the first of his four terms as president of the United States. It was in the depth of the Great Depression with a second world war on the horizon, and yet the man …

78. Dinner with the President

February 28th, 2023


From hot dogs to haute cuisine, U.S. Presidents have communicated important messages through food. Stewart McLaurin, President of the White House Historical Association, discusses dining diplomacy with bestselling …

77. Jacqueline Kennedy: Art in Cultural Diplomacy

January 9th, 2023


First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy was the driving force behind a brilliant act of cultural diplomacy: bringing Leonardo Da Vinci’s masterpiece, Mona Lisa

76. Jacqueline Kennedy: Restoring the White House

December 6th, 2022


When First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy took on the herculean task of restoring the interior of the White House, she appointed renowned collector Henry …

75. David Rubenstein on Patriotic Philanthropy

November 29th, 2022


David Rubenstein is co-founder and co-chair of The Carlyle Group, a global investment firm based in Washington, DC. He is the host of several interview programs and podcasts, as well as a best-selling author. …

74. Jon Meacham on Lincoln and the American Struggle

November 14th, 2022


White House Historical Association president Stewart McLaurin hosted a town hall featuring Jon Meacham at St. John’s Episcopal Church. Meacham, a …

73. White House: Next-Gen Designers

October 25th, 2022


Following in the footsteps of the original White House designer and builder, James Hoban, in this episode of the White House 1600 Sessions we hear …

72. White House Builder James Hoban’s Irish Roots

October 11th, 2022


Over 200 years ago, James Hoban left Ireland for America to pursue his dream of becoming an architect. Selected by President George Washington to …

71. Obama White House Portraits: The Artists

September 7th, 2022


The White House Historical Association commissions official portraits of the president and first lady. As is the custom, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama picked their portrait artists before leaving …

70. American Storyteller Bartlett Sher

August 17th, 2022


Bartlett Sher is a Tony Award-winning director who has brought thoughtful, powerful productions to theaters, opera houses, and film. He is the …

69. Jackie Kennedy's White House Guidebook 60th Anniversary

July 29th, 2022


The first White House guidebook was published in 1962 as a collaboration between First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, the new White House Historical …

68. James Hoban: The Charleston Years

May 27th, 2022


Charleston holds hints and clues to the formative years of the ambitious young Irishman James Hoban and his dream to make his mark in the United …

67. Incomparable Grace: JFK in the Presidency

April 26th, 2022


Mark K. Updegrove shares new historical perspectives on the Kennedy presidency from his recent book, Incomparable Grace: JFK in the Presidency. The author, President and CEO of the LBJ Foundation, and White House …

66. The Next Generation: What the White House Means to Me

March 31st, 2022


From reflections to a historical lightning round, Stewart McLaurin, President of the White House Historical Association, catches up with the Association's Next-Gen Leaders at the recent Presidential Sites Summit in …

65. The White House Recording Library: The Forgotten Collection

February 28th, 2022


A donation from the Recording Industry Association of America to the Nixon White House, the White House Recording Library was comprised of 2,000 LPs, …

64. Abraham Lincoln, Robert Burns, and the Scottish Connection

January 25th, 2022


There is a long history of Scottish influence on the White House, dating back to the Scottish stonemasons that contributed to the construction of the Executive Mansion. Perhaps one of the most unique Scottish …

63. The History and Making of the Official White House Christmas Ornaments

December 9th, 2021


Since 1981, the White House Historical Association has created the Official White House Christmas Ornament. Collecting and gifting these unique …

62. Voices from a Night at the Met

November 23rd, 2021


Since November 3, 1961, the White House Historical Association has served as the private partner to the White House to enrich, enhance, and promote the history of the Executive Mansion. The Association hosted a gala at …

61. A Discussion with the Voices of Lafayette Park

October 7th, 2021


Thousands of people traverse historic Lafayette Park every day to get a glimpse of the White House. The park, right in the heart of the President’s Neighborhood, has a long and storied history that is largely unknown to …

60. U.S. Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps

September 23rd, 2021


The White House is a ceremonial stage upon which our nation welcomes our most important visitors, including foreign heads of state. These State Visits often begin with an arrival ceremony on the South Lawn of the White …

59. Designing Camelot

August 5th, 2021


On February 23, 1961, Jacqueline Kennedy launched the most historic and celebrated redesign of the White House in its history. In this episode, White House Historical Association President Stewart McLaurin interviews …

58 Gigi at the White House

June 10th, 2021


Although visitors from around the world have the opportunity to visit the White House every year, few kids have the opportunity to have the experience of their parents working in the White House. Children of White House …

57 The Triumph of Nancy Reagan

May 20th, 2021


Nancy Reagan was an iconic First Lady who helped shape the legacy of one of the most consequential presidencies of the 20th century. She was known for the tremendous grace, intelligence, and style that she brought to …

56 Freemasons and the White House

April 28th, 2021


Since the laying of the cornerstone in 1792, Freemasons have played an important role in the construction and the history of the White House, with …

55 James Hoban, Designer and Builder of the White House

March 18th, 2021


James Hoban came from humble beginnings as a young carpenter and architect in Ireland, and went on to collaborate with George Washington on the …

54 The First White House Guidebook: Mrs. Kennedy, National Geographic, and the White House Historical Association

March 11th, 2021


The first White House guidebook was published in 1962 as collaboration between First Lady Jaqueline Kennedy, the new White House Historical …

53 Conversations from White House History Happy Hour

January 29th, 2021


In this first episode of 2021, White House Historical Association President Stewart D. McLaurin introduces the Association’s popular virtual program …

52 A Tour of White House History with Michael Beschloss

December 17th, 2020


In this final episode of 2020, White House Historical Association President Stewart D. McLaurin has a conversation with presidential historian Michael Beschloss. They discuss the 220 years of White House history and the …

51 St. John’s, the Church of the Presidents

November 25th, 2020


Since the James Madison presidency, St. John’s Church has been an important part of the life of Lafayette Square and of the nation at large. In this special Thanksgiving episode, White House Historical Association …

50 Special Episode: Reflections on the First 49 Episodes

November 12th, 2020


For the past four years, the monthly 1600 Sessions podcast has told the story of the White House through conversations with historians and …

49 Wine and the White House

October 5th, 2020


Wine has a long and important history in the White House, playing a unique role in entertaining, public ceremonies, and even global diplomacy. In …

48 White House Transitions

September 25th, 2020


The transfer of power from one administration to the next is a hallmark of American democracy, but it hasn’t always been an orderly experience. In this episode, White House Historical Association President Stewart …

47 The Decorator-In-Chief

September 9th, 2020


Every administration brings their own personality to the White House, particularly when it comes to the look and feel of the upstairs family …

46 Saluting Our National History Day Award Winner

August 26th, 2020


Each year, the National History Day Contest encourages more than half a million students around the world to conduct historical research on a topic of their choice. In this episode, White House Historical Association …

45 Recipes from the President’s Ranch

August 12th, 2020


When you’re cooking for the president and first family, your meals and recipes become a part of history. In this episode, White House Historical Association President Stewart McLaurin interviews Matthew Wendel about his …

44 Women’s Suffrage and the White House

July 23rd, 2020


This year marks the centennial of the 19th Amendment, the culmination of the suffragists' fight to secure the right to vote for women. In this …

43 White House Fellows

June 25th, 2020


Every year, the White House Fellows program gives young, talented Americans the opportunity to work in the White House alongside White House staff, cabinet members and senior officials. In this episode, White House …

42 Our Work and Recent Events: A Q&A with David M. Rubenstein

June 18th, 2020


In this special episode of The 1600 Sessions, financier and philanthropist David Rubenstein interviews White House Historical Association President Stewart McLaurin to discuss the work of the Association during the …

41 Founding Mother, Mary Ball Washington

May 7th, 2020


George Washington might not have become the Founding Father we know today if not for the influence of his mother. For Mother’s Day, Association President Stewart McLaurin interviews Craig Shirley, author of “Mary Ball …

40 Presidential Leadership in Times of Challenge: FDR and LBJ

April 28th, 2020


Throughout our history, presidents have faced crises that have gripped both the nation and the world. In this episode, Association President Stewart …

39 Researching Slavery in the President’s Neighborhood

March 26th, 2020


The White House is a symbol of freedom and democracy, but from its very conception it had a paradoxical relationship with the institution of slavery. …

38 White House History with David Rubenstein: Slavery in the President’s Neighborhood

February 26th, 2020


The institution of slavery and the stories of enslaved people have always been a part of the fabric of White House history. In this episode, White House Historical Association President Stewart McLaurin introduces a …

37 The Kennedy Center: A Living Memorial

January 22nd, 2020


After President John F. Kennedy’s assassination, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy wanted her husband to be remembered through a national cultural center …

36 The Sweet World of White House Desserts

December 11th, 2019


The White House is known for its creative confections and desserts, particularly during the holiday season. White House Historical Association …

35 Entertaining at the White House

December 3rd, 2019


From diplomatic dinners to holiday gatherings, the White House has always played a central role in the nation’s official entertainment. White House …

34 The President's Helicopter

November 15th, 2019


For more than 60 years, the President of the United States has flown in a helicopter for domestic and international travel. White House Historical Association President Stewart McLaurin speaks to two former Marine One …

33 George Washington's Legacy

October 15th, 2019


George Washington never lived in the White House, but played a major role in its design, as well as the design of the capital city that bears his …

32 Blair House and the Chief of Protocol

September 30th, 2019


When heads of state visit the United States and the White House, the United States Chief of Protocol is on point and the official President’s guest …

31 Back to Basics - White House History with David Rubenstein

August 19th, 2019


In this episode, we turn the tables on the podcast’s usual format. Financier and philanthropist David Rubenstein interviews White House Historical Association President Stewart McLaurin, posing more than fifty questions …

30 Life at Camp David

July 29th, 2019


Camp David has provided presidents and their families with a recreational retreat from the White House, as well as a place for presidential diplomacy since the administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt. White House …

29 First Lady Barbara Bush

June 27th, 2019


First Lady Barbara Bush was admired for her authenticity, as well as her advocacy on issues such as preserving the White House, family literacy, and …

28 Life on Lafayette Square

May 31st, 2019


For more than two hundred years, Lafayette Square has been home to a wide variety of historical figures, from diplomats and naval heroes to future presidents and even former First Ladies. White House Historical …

27 The White House Gardens

April 30th, 2019


The White House includes 18 acres of historic grounds and gardens that have been cultivated for more than two hundred years by presidents and their …

26 The Legacy of First Lady Patricia Nixon

March 22nd, 2019


This year marks the 50th anniversary of Patricia Nixon entering the White House as First Lady. Through hard work and a personal touch, she had a …

25 The White House in the Age of Eisenhower

February 21st, 2019


President Eisenhower’s White House helped set the tone for an era of peace, economic prosperity, and technological advancement in America. For this …

24 White House Military Social Aides

January 30th, 2019


Military Social Aides perform a vital role for White House events, assisting the Social Secretary and representing the President and First Lady. …

23 A White House Wedding: A Conversation with Lynda Johnson Robb

December 10th, 2018


Throughout its history, the White House has hosted not only important ceremonies of state, but also more personal, family ceremonies, including weddings. White House Historical Association President Stewart McLaurin …

22 Fearless Leadership: A Conversation with Jean Case

November 27th, 2018


Fearless leaders have walked the halls of White House for centuries. In this episode, White House Historical Association President Stewart McLaurin talks to Jean Case, CEO of the Case Foundation and a member of the …

21 Back in the Blue Room: Restoring the Bellangé Suite

October 18th, 2018


The Bellangé furniture, originally purchased by James Monroe, has adorned the Blue Room in the White House for decades. Thanks to ongoing efforts by the Curator’s Office, the furniture is now being restored as close as …

20 Beyond the Textbook: Teaching White House History

September 27th, 2018


The White House Historical Association is making history come alive in new and interesting ways. Stewart McLaurin hosts a roundtable discussion with Monica Logothetis, founder of DreamWakers; Janet Tran with the Ronald …

19 Preserving Presidential History

August 15th, 2018


The National Archives has been collecting records of the United States since 1934. It holds billions of documents, photographs, and objects that …

18 America’s Pastime and the Presidency

July 17th, 2018


Baseball has been known as our national pastime and tied to the presidency as far back as the Lincoln administration. In commemoration of the 2018 …

17 Decatur House, The President's Neighbor

June 28th, 2018


For two hundred years, Decatur House has stood as a near neighbor to the White House across Lafayette Square. Stewart McLaurin talks to Katherine Malone-France of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and …

16 The Irish Architect and the Scottish Stonemasons

May 25th, 2018


In 1792, Irish immigrant James Hoban won a contest to design the White House and created an enduring symbol for America and the world. Stewart …

15 The Power of Partnerships

April 20th, 2018


The history of the White House appears in unexpected places, from trivia questions at Major League Baseball games to archival photos and a tour of the White House on your smartphone. Stewart McLaurin hosts a roundtable …

14 Mona Lisa in Camelot

March 21st, 2018


In 1963, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy helped arrange one of the most daring art exhibits in American history, bringing Leonardo da Vinci’s famous Mona Lisa painting from Paris to Washington, DC, and New York City. …

13 Remembering the Truman White House, A Grandson’s Reflections

February 19th, 2018


No recent president has had more impact on the White House than Harry S. Truman, who both modernized the building and preserved it for future generations. Stewart McLaurin talks with President Truman’s grandson, Clifton …

12 Death in the White House

January 25th, 2018


Death comes to every home, including the White House. From the loss of cherished family members to presidential funerals, there are many established White House traditions surrounding grief. Stewart McLaurin explores …

11 Holidays at the White House

December 11th, 2017


From your family to the First Family, the winter holidays are a special time of year. Stewart McLaurin explores the history behind Christmas …

10 The President's Own: The Marine Band and the White House

November 28th, 2017


From entertainment to diplomacy, music has played an important role in White House history. Stewart McLaurin talks to Colonel Jason Fettig, Director …

09 Founding the White House Historical Association

November 14th, 2017


The White House Historical Association has been preserving and sharing White House history since its founding by First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy in 1961. Stewart McLaurin interviews two people who were there from the …

08 A Conversation With Michael Beschloss

October 25th, 2017


The White House has always shaped the lives of the Presidents and First Families who have lived there, and reflected the mood and times of the country at large. Stewart McLaurin talks to presidential historian Michael …

07 White House Curator

September 13th, 2017


Who takes care of the thousands of historic artifacts in the White House, cataloguing and preserving everything from presidential portraits to presidential china? And how does that person balance the needs of a building …

06 Social Secretaries

August 18th, 2017


How do you plan for a State Dinner with hundreds of guests, a private meal with a King and Queen or an historic peace treaty signing? What does it take to host several public events each day, as well as private events …

05 A White House of Stone

June 7th, 2017


The White House has seen many physical changes throughout its more than 200 years of history. But its original stone walls, taken from a quarry in Aquia, Virginia, have always endured, surviving the fires of war and …

04 British Invasion to French Restoration

May 2nd, 2017


The burning of the White House by the British in 1814 during James Madison’s presidency represented a low point in our political relations with …

03 Springtime at the White House

March 30th, 2017


Spring is a special time in our nation’s capital, when cherry blossoms bloom and the White House garden comes alive. Some spring traditions - like …

02 Presidential Portraits

February 23rd, 2017


Portrait artists have captured the images and personalities of our Presidents and First Ladies throughout history, providing a record of their time in office and highlighting their accomplishments and leadership. It …

01 Moving Day

January 19th, 2017


Americans are familiar with the ceremonies of Inauguration Day, when a new President takes the oath of office at the Capitol. But what happens behind …

00 Introduction

January 18th, 2017


The White House Historical Association presents The 1600 Sessions, a podcast that explores the history, untold stories and personal accounts of …

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