Christmas on the Potomac: 2015


A portion of the presidential card case in the exhibit – the book is Season’s Greetings from the White House

The holiday season is a spiritual time during which we reconnect with family and friends, but it is also a campaign season enjoyed by political junkies like me. South Carolina Political Collections’ 2015 holiday exhibit consists of three segments featuring cards from U.S. presidents; cards of prominent Democrats and Republicans in South Carolina and across the United States; and a sampling of cards received in 2014 by the Libraries’ newest donor – Congressman Jim Clyburn.
Our display almost always includes presidential cards. Our earliest presidential card was sent from President Eisenhower to Bryan Dorn in 1956. We recently acquired five cards new to our collection, received by donor and former congresswoman Liz Patterson. These welcome additions were sent by President and Mrs. George H.W. Bush and President and Mrs. Bill Clinton. All five appear in this year’s exhibit.
1992 card

The 1992 card created for George H.W. Bush and First Lady Barbara

This 1992 card from the Bushes is particularly colorful.
I was also taken by their 1989 card showing the South Portico and the Bushes’ private entrance into the mansion during a snowstorm. (see below) The image was created by the mansion’s Director of Graphics William Gemmell at the request of Barbara Bush, who felt it “would be fun to have someone who had worked so long in the White House and who loved it so much to paint our card.” [from Season’s Greetings from the White House: The Collection of Presidential Christmas Cards, Messages, and Gifts, by Mary Evans Seeley, p. 177]
1989 card

The Bushes’ 1989 card, created by William Gemmell

Democratic and Republican greetings include cards from Joe Biden, Governor and Mr. Haley, Secretary of State John Kerry, S.C. Republican Party Chair Matt Moore, presidential contender Martin O’Malley, Congressman Tom Rice, California Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (whose cards are always wildly popular), donors John Courson, Jim Edwards (who we lost earlier this year), Lindsey Graham, Tim Scott, Inez Tenenbaum, David Wilkins, and Joe Wilson.
Mr. Clyburn’s cards include greetings from BMW, Claflin University, Coca-Cola, Home Depot, the Japanese Consulate, and the president of Korea.

We hope you will enjoy our exhibit, and all of us at USC libraries wish you a very happy holiday season!                                                                                           ~ Herb Hartsook

The Christmas on the Potomac: 2015 display is located in three exhibit cases at the front of Thomas Cooper Library.

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