New Book | Tudor Place: America’s Story Lives Here
The north facade and back gardens of Tudor Place, Washington, D.C. (Georgetown). The house was built in 1816–17 by Thomas and Martha Parke Custis Peter with William Thornton (Photo: Wikimedia Commons, December 2011).
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Leslie Buhler, ed., with photography by Bruce White, Tudor Place: America’s Story Lives Here (Washington, D.C., The White House Historical Association, 2016), 304 pages, ISBN: 978 1931 917568 $50.
Released to mark the bicentennial of Tudor Place, this new title is the first comprehensive record of this important National Historic Landmark in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C. Two grand houses were under construction in the young Federal City in 1816: one the President’s House, reconstructed after it was burned by the British in 1814, and the other Tudor Place, an elegant mansion rising on the heights above Georgetown. The connection between these two houses is more than temporal, as they were connected through lineage and politics for generations. The builders of Tudor Place were Thomas and Martha Parke Custis Peter, Martha Washington’s granddaughter. In the 1790s George Washington had been a frequent guest at the Peters’ townhouse when he was in the nascent Federal City, attending to its planning and selecting sites for the U.S. Capitol and the President’s House. In 1817, when President James Monroe moved back into the reconstructed President’s House following the fire of 1814, the Peters were completing their own grand home, Tudor Place, designed in concert with their friend, Dr. William Thornton, architect for the first U.S. Capitol Building. The White House and Tudor Place each represent the spirit and aspirations of the early Republic. Little more than two miles apart, each survives as a national architectural landmark. While the White House is perhaps the most well known building in the world, Tudor Place remained a family home until 1983 and very private, although the Peters welcomed some of the nation’s foremost leaders as their guests and were themselves guests at the White House.
Now a historic house and garden museum (open to the public since 1988), the house remains as the Peters lived in it, preserving spaces and belongings of many eras while adapting their home and landscape to contemporary fashion and functions. This year, as Tudor Place turns 200, this lavishly illustrated book—the first definitive history of the house and its collection—takes us into the house to explore its rooms, gardens, archival collections, and such rare artifacts as one of only three surviving letters from George to Martha Washington.
Leslie L. Buhler served as Executive Director of Tudor Place for 15 years, retiring in 2015.
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C O N T E N T S
• Joseph Ellis, Introduction
• Leslie Buhler, The Custis-Peter Family of Georgetown
• William C. Allen, An Architectural History of Tudor Place
• Patricia Marie O’Donnell, The Landscape of Tudor Place
• Erin Kuykenall and Leslie Buhler, Living at Tudor Place