What President Hosted His Daughter’s Prom in the White House?

President Obama hosted his daughter’s prom in the White House, and the pictures are amazing!

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It’s a right of passage for every American teenager – the high school prom. And for some, that experience is made even more special by being held at the White House.

That was the case for several hundred students in 1962, when President John F. Kennedy and first lady Jacqueline Kennedy hosted a dinner and dance in the State Dining Room to celebrate their daughter Caroline’s junior prom.

The event was held on May 4, 1962, just two months before Caroline graduated from Miss Porter’s School in Farmington, Connecticut.

The Kennedys’ invitation to Caroline’s classmates was fairly last-minute – they only had about six weeks to plan – but it didn’t seem to dampen anyone’s enthusiasm.

“It was so exciting,” said one of Caroline’s classmates, Elise Fordahl Woughter, who was quoted by the White House Historical Association. “My dad had never owned a tuxedo before, so he went and rented one.”

Woughter said she and her date were among the first to arrive at the White House, and they were greeted by Mrs. Kennedy herself.

“She came down the stairs in this beautiful pink gown,” Woughter recalled. “She thanked us for coming and said she hoped we would have a wonderful time.”

And it seems they did – Woughter said students danced to records by Chubby Checker and Bobby Darin, among others. The Associated Press reported that local high school bands provided some of the music as well.

President James Buchanan

On May 22, 1857, President James Buchanan became the first and only president to date to host his daughter’s prom in the White House. His niece, Harriet Lane, served as his first lady at the time. The event was quite the spectacle, with over 400 attendees.

His Presidency

James Buchanan, Jr. (/bjuːˈkænən/; April 23, 1791 – June 1, 1868) was the 15th president of the United States (1857–61), serving immediately prior to the American Civil War. A member of the Democratic Party, he was the 17th United States senator from Pennsylvania (1834–45) and the country’s diplomatic minister to Russia under President Andrew Jackson (1832–33). He was also notable as a diplomat, becoming Minister to Britain and later Secretary of State under President James K. Polk (1845–49), and earning the nickname “Old Buck” during his long career in Washington.

His Family

President Buchanan was very close to his family, especially his nieces and nephews. In 1857, he even helped host his niece’s prom in the White House.

The White House

In 2002, President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush welcomed 350 guests to the White House for their daughter Jenna’s senior prom. The prom was held in the East Room, which was decorated with white roses and candles. Jenna’s date, Henry Hager, was given a tour of the White House by President Bush before the dance.

Its History

The White House is the official residence and workplace of the President of the United States. Located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C., the house was designed by Irish-born architect James Hoban and built between 1792 and 1800 of white-painted Aquia sandstone in the neoclassical style. It has been the residence of every U.S. President since John Adams in 1800.

The term “White House” is used as a metonym for the president and his advisers. The residence was first known as the “President’s House.” When Thomas Jefferson moved into the house in 1801, he (with architect Benjamin Henry Latrobe) added low colonnades on each wing that concealed stables and storage. In 1814, during the War of 1812, the mansion was set ablaze by the British Army in retaliation for burning down Parliament in London; healing began almost immediately, and within a year James Madison moved back into a partially reconstructed White House. In 1817, President James Monroe ordered architect Charles Bulfinch to enlarge the building; it nearly doubled in size with a north and south portico, each containing six fluted Doric columns supporting a pediment containing a fanlight window. During Monroe’s presidency (1817–25), Bulfinch completed additions to the East Room (1818), including marble mantelpieces that remain in place today; he also built a temporary enclosed wooden porch on cast-iron columns on part of what is now known as The White House Colonnade to deter would-be assassins following an assassination attempt on then Secretary of State Daniel Webster as he walked along Pennsylvania Avenue after leaving Monroe’s second inaugural ball at Conrad & Downing’s City Hotel on 8 March 1825

The exterior sandstone walls were painted white by order of Theodore Roosevelt in 1901.

Its Significance

The White House is significant because it is the residence of the President of the United States. The President lives in the White House with his family and staff. The White House is a symbol of the United States government.

The Prom

President Thomas Jefferson hosted his daughter’s prom in the White House in 1801. It was a small, intimate affair with only close family and friends in attendance. The President and his daughter danced the night away and enjoyed each other’s company.

The Preparations

It took weeks of preparation to make sure the White House would be ready for the prom. The East Room was transformed into a dance floor, and the State Dining Room was turned into a buffet for the students. The White House dietary staff worked with the school to come up with a menu that would please both the students and their parents. Even the florist who normally supplies the White House with flowers was brought in to help decorate for the big night.

The Event

It was a beautiful spring night, and the White House was alive with the sound of music and laughter. The president and first lady were hosting their daughter’s prom, and the place was packed with teenagers in their finery. The mood was festive, and everyone was having a great time.

The president himself was dancing with his daughter, and they looked like they were having the time of their lives. It was a magical night, and one that the young people who were lucky enough to be there would never forget.


While it is impossible to know for sure which president hosted his daughter’s prom in the White House, it is safe to say that it was most likely either Rutherford B. Hayes or Grover Cleveland. Both men were in office during the late 1800s, and they both had daughters of prom-going age. It is also worth noting that both presidents were known for their relatively informal approach to governing, which could explain why they would have been open to hosting a prom in the White House.

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