Andrew Jackson, 7th President of the United States, was the first of three elected from Tennessee. Orphan, battle hardened warrior, founder of the Democratic Party, and architect of the modern presidency, Jackson rose from nothing to the pinnacle of power.
Elected in 1828, Jackson went to Washington, the grieving widower, having buried his beloved Rachel on Christmas Eve at The Hermitage near Nashville. Though a simple man, during his term he had a French chef at The White House. He kept a horseshoe-shaped table in the state dining room and the East Room was resplendent with the finest china, silver and crystal. As was the custom at the time, he commissioned the china service from France.
Jackson had a penchant for magnificent buffets – lamb with rosemary, crème anglaise floating islands and French wines when he entertained, but loved simple food such as corn pone, hickory nut cake, squirrel stew, and fried ham. Jackson liked to serve his White House guests Daniel Webster Punch which was a potent potion.
Daniel Webster Punch
2 dozen lemons, strained
2 pounds sugar
1/2 pint green tea
1 quart brandy
3 quarts claret
Bottle tightly and allow to stand overnight. Add two or three bottles of champagne. Add slices of fruit such as bananas, pineapples, oranges, or strawberries. Serve over ice.
Today previous patterns are stored in the "Presidential Collection Room" which was designated by Mrs. Woodrow Wilson in 1917 to display the growing collection of White House china. Up to that time, presidential china was regularly sold at auction to help fund the purchase of new china. Even so, almost every past president is represented in the China Room either by state or family china or glassware.