Death in the White House

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Death in the White House

While occupying the highest office in the land, presidents are still subject to the circle of life. Out of 45 presidents in 46 administrations, eight Presidents and three First Ladies died while in office. This exhibit looks at the history of death in the Executive Mansion with a special focus on the experiences of the Harrison family and the losses they endured while in the White House.

New found firsthand accounts from seamstress Josephine Kneip’s personal diary give new insight to the Harrison family and the tragedy of First Lady Caroline Harrison’s fatal bout with tuberculosis. Other family diaries and letters will likewise tell the story of life and death in the White House. The exhibit explores Victorian mourning customs and delves into the causes underlying the passing of other notable Harrison family members and officials in an era when the specter of mortality seemed to loom around every corner.

DID YOU KNOW? William Henry Harrison is the first president to die in office setting the precedent for presidential funerals as well as how the change of office would take place.

“I have traversed this broad land of ours, and out of all this journeying, out of all this mingling with our people, I have come to be a prouder and, I hope, a better American.” Benjamin Harrison

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The Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site will be closed from Saturday, May 25-Monday May 27 in observance of Memorial Day.

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