Skip to main content

The People’s House

June 2024
1min read

This diminutive photo (the original is an inch by an inch and a quarter), came to us just days before President Clinton made the reluctant decision on May 20 to close Pennsylvania Avenue to vehicular traffic. Robert Spencer sent it with the following explanation: “In 1937 Marguerite and I were married and we began our honeymoon in Washington, D.C. Of course we wanted to see the White House.

“There was no gate, fence, concrete barrier, not even guards, so we drove in, right up to the portico, parked, and took a stroll around the grounds. No one interrupted our walk until a man in civilian clothes came out of the White House and politely requested us to move our car because the President was waiting to leave. When we asked if we could take a photograph first, the President’s aide agreed, as long as we hurried. The result is enclosed.

“Not too long ago we traveled again through Washington and were saddened by the security that is now needed to protect the President, Congress, and other government officials and buildings.”

One thing hasn’t changed, Mr. Spencer tells us: “Oh yes! I am still happily married to Marguerite. It has now been fifty-eight years and still going strong.”

We continue to ask our readers to send unusual and unpublished old photographs to Carla Davidson at American Heritage, Forbes Building, 60 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10011. Please send a copy of any irreplaceable materials, include return postage, and do not mail glass negatives. We will pay fifty dollars for each one that is run.

Enjoy our work? Help us keep going.

Now in its 75th year, American Heritage relies on contributions from readers like you to survive. You can support this magazine of trusted historical writing and the volunteers that sustain it by donating today.