Family Kitchen

Staff prepare to serve the dining room in 1998, looking southeast (Clinton Library)

Casual Cooking

Variously used as a sitting room for the guests who stayed in the Prince of Wales Room (now the Private Dining Room), as well as a small bedroom, this room was converted into a chef's kitchen for the first family by Jacqueline Kennedy in 1961 when the Private Dining Room was established.


The incomplete bathroom in 1952 (Truman Library)

The room was a bedroom for Eliza Johnson, Frances Cleveland, Ethel Roosevelt (daughter of Theodore, who had a bathroom built in the corner for her), Lorena Hickok (friend of Eleanor Roosevelt), Minnie Doud, and Margaret Truman. It was a nursery-bedroom to the Benjamin Harrison grandchildren.

In the Truman reconstruction, the room was rebuilt as a bedroom for Margaret with a new bathroom and the fireplace was moved from the west wall to the southwest corner. During the 1961 renovation that turned it into a simple kitchen, the Kennedys had the kitchen elevator rerouted to open into this room's little hallway.

Although the kitchen was used by first families occasionally (President Ford even showed the press his English muffin-making skills), it remained a chef's kitchen until the Clintons renovated it into more of a traditional family kitchen, where the first family could have informal breakfasts. Bill Clinton often watched football and basketball games on a television in the kitchen with White House butlers.


More Images

Kitchen in 1992, looking northwest (HABS)

Kitchen in 1992, looking southeast (HABS)

Steve Ford with White House staff in the corridor to the West Sitting Hall around 1976 (Getty Images)

Gerald Ford shows off his English muffin-making skills in 1974 (Getty Images)

Gerald Ford shows off his English muffin-making skills in 1974 (Ford Library)

Presidential Valet Manolo Sanchez (right) and another staff member preparing Richard Nixon's last lunch as president in 1974;
(pineapple with cottage cheese) (Nixon Library - Robert Knudsen)

Luci Johnson in the family kitchen in 1966 (LIfe)

Lady Bird Johnson in the family kitchen in 1965 (LIfe)

Chef Rene Verdon and butler John Ficklin in Jackie Kennedy's first family kitchen in 1961

The room as Margaret Truman's bedroom, after reconstruction in 1952, looking north (Truman Library)

The little corner bedroom that had belonged to Margaret Truman, looking southwest (Truman Library)

The little corner bedroom, during construction in 1952, looking southwest (Truman Library)

Margaret Truman's little corner bedroom in 1948, looking northwest (Truman Library)

Margaret Truman's bedroom fireplace in 1948, looking southwest (Truman Library)

Ethel Roosevelt's bedroom (with new bathroom), circa 1902 (Library of Congress)

Ida McKinley sitting for a portrait, circa 1899

The room as a sitting room, probably for Mrs. Cleveland, circa 1889