This portrait of Jane Irwin Harrison by an unknown artist was completed c. 1841–42. Jane Findlay Irwin Harrison served as the official White House hostess briefly in 1841, during father-in-law President William Henry Harrison’s administration. She had lived with her in-laws following the death of her husband, William Henry Harrison Jr., and accompanied the president-elect to Washington, D.C. There, she received glowing reviews for the two receptions that she hosted with the help of her aunt, Jane Irwin Findlay. Her time as de-facto first lady was cut short, however, when President Harrison died on April 4, 1841, after only a month in office. With flowers placed at each ear and a veil pulled back from her face, this portrait was probably made to celebrate Jane Harrison’s second marriage, to widower Lewis Whiteman, following her return to North Bend, Ohio. Just a few years later, she succumbed to tuberculosis at age 42.
This is a portrait of First Lady Anna Tuthill Symmes Harrison, dressed in mourning was painted by an unknown artist, ca. 1820. Anna Tuthill Symmes Harrison was married to President William Henry Harrison and was the grandmother of President Benjamin Harrison. Mrs. Harrison was 65 years old when her husband was elected president making her, at the time, the oldest woman to become first lady. When President Harrison was inaugurated in March of 1841, Mrs. Harrison remained in Ohio due to poor health. She had temporarily placed her widowed daughter-in-law Jane Irwin Harrison in charge of being the hostess. Mrs. Harrison did not recover in time to reside in the White House before President Harrison passed away a month after his inauguration.
Maison du Commodore Stephen Decatur, Washington, June 1822
This painting of Decaur House was created by E. Vaile in June 1822. A man stands at the door, as a carriage approaches. Completed in 1818, Decatur House was the third building on Lafayette Square and its first private residence. Decatur House was designed by Benjamin Henry Latrobe, the architect of the Capitol and several other famous buildings, for Commodore Stephen Decatur and his wife, Susan. Tragically, in 1820 Stephen Decatur was mortally wounded during a duel and his widow Susan subsequently rented out the house to foreign ministers and several secretaries of state. The house was eventually sold and passed through several hands, including the Gadsby family, the U.S. Subsistence Bureau, and the Beale family. Marie Ogle Beale, a society maven and the last owner left the house to National Trust for Historic Preservation in 1961. In 2010, the White House Historical Association and National Trust entered into co-stewardship arrangement and the house now serves as the David M. Rubenstein National Center for White House History.
This wall clock was custom made by the Chelsea Clock Company of Chelsea, Massachusetts in 2020 and was a gift of the White House Historical Association to the White House Collection. The clock hangs in the Ground Floor Corridor of the White House above the doorway leading to the president’s elevator. The face of the clock features an eagle on the upper half that was inspired by the James Monroe state service. White House calligraphers did the hand-lettering and numbering on the dial including the inscription “The President’s House” on the lower half of the clock’s face.