For the second year in a row, our very own Dr. Hutton was chosen to paint the image for the White House Historical Association’s Christmas card. At a glance, the watercolor painting depicts a bright, peaceful view of the White House, covered in snow, with sheep and an elm tree on the lawn. But behind the beautiful image lies much history.
Each detail, as researched by Dr. Hutton, places this scene in 1913. The elm tree had been planted by President Woodrow Wilson in response to the impending world war in Europe. There is even a picture of the planting ceremony on the back of the card. President Wilson also famously kept sheep on the White House lawn. “I think it was because he wanted to save money on gardening expenses,” said Dr. Hutton. The image on last year’s card was from 1909, with President Taft driving the very first White House car.
For Dr. Hutton, thinking of the White House in this light is nice, especially around the holiday season. “I would love people to think positively of how interesting the history is of the White House, whether or not they agree with the politics involved,” he said. “It is a fascinating place.” This year’s card, with its blend of beauty and history, is sure to do just that.
By Shelby Hammerstein
(Adapted from an article by Carson Capshaw-Mack in the Winston-Salem Journal.)