Scarce presidential Christmas gift box artfully fashioned from wood that was once a part of the White House roof, presented by Herbert and Lou Henry Hoover as a Christmas gift to secretary Lillian Rogers Parks in 1930. The box measures 4 x 2.5 x 1.5 and features a lovely notched design on the sides, with a sliding cover prominently engraved “WH.” Includes a poem printed on a sheet of embossed White House stationery, entitled “Recollections of a Piece of Wood,” authored by the first lady to describe the historic wood. Also accompanied by a matching engraved card, reading: “The President and Mrs. Hoover take Christmas pleasure in presenting this historic bit of pinewood with their greetings”; with this is the original White House transmittal envelope, addressed in Mrs. Hoover’s hand to “Miss Lillian Rogers.” In overall fine condition.
The Hoovers’ thoughtful Christmas gifts are photographed and described in the book Season’s Greetings from the White House by Mary Evans Seeley, stating that the old White House roof was replaced near the end of Calvin Coolidge’s administration, and the discarded wood was reclaimed by the Hoovers to be used in creating presents for their staff. But only 13 of these small wooden Christmas gift boxes were created out of a total of about 230 gifts, which included bookends, ashtrays, letter openers, trays of various shapes and sizes, candlesticks, and a cane. Lillian Rogers Parks was a second-generation White House seamstress and maid who went on to become a bestselling author with her 1961 memoir My Thirty Years Backstairs at the White House, filled with anecdotes and personal recollections from her unique insider perspective. She began her 30–year White House career at the start of the Hoover administration in 1929. A rare and superbly documented White House relic. The Raleigh DeGeer Amyx Collection.
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