In the President’s Service

The History of China for The White House

Text by Britt E. Stafford
Photography Courtesy of The White House Historical Association

The White House serves as the setting for a number of events throughout the four-year term of a president—from formal state dinners to intimate afternoon teas. Teatime is scattered throughout the history of the United States presidency. In 1961, Jacqueline Kennedy hosted a tea party for wives of new ambassadors. A few decades before the rise of the civil rights movement, First Lady Lou Hoover stirred the proverbial pot when she invited Jessie DePriest, the wife of the only black congressman serving in 1929, to a tea party for congressional wives. While such events aren’t an everyday occurrence, they call for the dinnerware and china specifically created for the president’s household.