1991: The President for 1 MonthWhite House Historical Association
The first of the White House ornaments, created by the White House Historical Association, was released in 1981 (it honored George Washington). The keepsake was hung on the Blue Room Christmas tree in the White House, starting the tradition of hanging the official ornament on that tree every year. Since then, new White House ornaments have been unveiled every year, honoring either a president or a White House milestone. The 1991 ornament (above) paid tribute to our shortest-serving leader: 9th president William Henry Harrison (March 4, 1841-April 4, 1841). Among chief executives, he was special in many respects: He was the last president to be born a British subject (he was born before the War of Independence), he gave the longest inaugural address ever (nearly two hours!), he was the first president to die in office, and he served for the shortest time. He died from pneumonia only 32 days after taking office. This ornament highlights his unusual mode of transportation on his inauguration day: Forgoing the usual carriage, he rode in the procession on a white horse. While it was long thought that this made him catch a cold and thus caused his untimely death, historians now don’t believe that to be true. Here are some more surprising, little-known facts about our nation’s presidents.
2007: The President Who Had a White House WeddingWhite House Historical Association
This ornament honors Grover Cleveland, the only president to have served two non-consecutive terms. He was both the 22nd commander-in-chief (1885-1889) and the 24th (1893-1897). Cleveland was also part of a singular White House event: He was the only president to get married there. On June 2, 1886, the 49-year-old married 21-year-old Frances Folsom in the Blue Room. This illustration was a tinted reproduction of an engraving made at the time of the bride and groom. These are some other true stories of how presidents met their first ladies.