The White House Years
The Johnson Library is the official depository for the more than two thousand head of state gifts presented to President and Mrs. Johnson, including ceremonial swords from Morocco and Saudi Arabia, Chinese tomb sculptures from the T’ang Dynasty, an alabaster funerary vase from Egypt, and many other finely crafted objects from all around the world. Such gifts are symbols of diplomacy and friendship between the people of two countries. The exchange of gifts is usually part of the ceremonies conducted during official visits from heads of state and are accepted by the President and First Lady, not for themselves but on behalf of all American citizens. Unlike domestic gifts, the federal government retains ownership of all Head of State gifts.
The gifts displayed in this exhibit include jewelry, sculpture, ceremonial swords, and, of course, cowboy hats and alligator boots. The exhibit also features artifacts and photos about life at the LBJ Ranch, where the President spent twenty percent of his time in office.
Click on the Topic Talk box below to hear Mike Gillette, author and former director of the Oral History Program at the LBJ Library, give an overview of this exhibit and to view a rare video clip of LBJ's amphibious car floating across the Pedernales River. Read more about LBJ's amphicar here.
Click on the first image to begin the slideshow.
“The White House Years” exhibit is on the 10th floor of the library and is located near the Oval Office exhibit.
Photo of President Lyndon B. Johnson in the amphicar with Eunice Shriver and Paul Glynn by Yoichi Okamoto. 04/10/1965. Image #A263-8.
Did You Know…
When a U.S. President visits foreign Heads of State, he brings a gift representative of our country. LBJ was known for giving unique gifts, such as electric toothbrushes featuring the Presidential Seal, photographs of himself, and bookmarks like this one made of deerskin from the LBJ ranch.