Photograph by
Subject of
Allen, Eugene, American, 1919 - 2010
Johnson, John, American
Ficklin, John Woodson, American, 1919 - 1984
Suber, Fate, American
Unidentified Man or Men
The White House, founded 1792
dye on photographic paper
H x W: 3 3/8 × 4 7/8 in. (8.6 × 12.4 cm)
Eugene Allen (1919-2010) began working at the White House in 1952 as a “pantry man” and retired in 1986 as “head butler” after serving 8 presidential administrations. This picture of Allen and the other butlers in repose in the Rose Garden of the White House was taken with Allen's camera in 1968.
This is a color polaroid photograph of five White House butlers relaxing in the Rose Garden. They are seated outdoors on white wicker lounge furniture surrounded by plants and foliage. The sitters are from left to right: John Johnson, an unidentified nephew of former White House butler Armstead Barnett, John Ficklin (Maître` D), Fate Suber, and Eugene Allen (1st Butler). All five men wear black tuxedos over white shirts, with black bow ties. Two of the men sit in profile to the camera. The man on the left, John Johnson, turns his head to gaze at the camera while Eugene Allen gazes into the distance. The man in the center of the photograph, John Ficklin, leans back in his chair with his feet up and gazes directly ahead at the camera. the men on either side of him, Fate Suber and the unidentified man, sit with knees crossed and gaze into the middle distance. A handwritten inscription on the back of the photograph that reads "Mr. Allen & bulters [sic] / relaxing in East Wing."
Place depicted
Washington, District of Columbia, United States, North and Central America
Media Arts-Photography
instant camera photographs
Domestic life
Local and regional
U.S. History, 1961-1969
Credit Line
Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Gift of Charles E. Allen in memory of Eugene Allen and Helene Allen
Object number
Restrictions & Rights
© Charles E. Allen
Permission required for use. Proper usage is the responsibility of the user.

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