"President's Mansion" is one of the few needle books that might be possible to date. It features a picture of the first 23 U.S. Presidents on the front and a picture of the White House on the back. My copy has both dates, 1889 - 1893, under President Benjamin Harrison. Samples exist with only the initial date of 1889. It seems likely that this book was produced during Harrison’s presidency, though it is odd… since he might have died before his term ended, or he might have been reelected. Possibly the version including both dates might have been produced in 1892 after the election of Cleveland, but prior to his inauguration.
The following Presidents appear on the needle book:
Interestingly, it was during the administration of Benjamin Harrison that the Navy Bill of June 30, 1890, authorized the construction of the battleship Iowa, featured on the common Army & Navy Needle Book. The Harrisons were the first White House occupants to have electricity, though it was seldom used because the First Lady was afraid of being shocked.
Benjamin Harrison was President during the centennial of George Washington's inauguration. During this time the citizens of the United States had a heightened interest in the past. In 1890, First Lady Caroline Scott Harrison served as the first President General of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Maybe this explains the historical nature of this needle book.
The back of “President’s Mansion” features the south view of the house with its garden and circular driveway. Today the driveway is gone, but the garden continues to be a prominent feature. It is interesting to note why this needle book is not titled “White House”. In 1901, one of Teddy Roosevelt’s first acts as president was to establish the “White House” as the building’s official name. Prior to that, is was known as the “Executive Mansion “ or “President’s Mansion” as it appears on this needle book. Click on small picture to view enlarged version.