History of the White House Easter Egg Roll

Posted by: Audiegrl

The public attends the Annual Easter Egg Roll on the White House grounds in 1954.


The Easter Egg Roll is an annual event, that is held on the White House lawn each Easter Monday for children and their parents. I’ve put together a list of little know historical facts about the Annual White House Easter Egg Roll. And to add some visual flava, there’s a slide show chronicling the party through history…Enjoy!

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  • The Easter Egg Roll is a White House tradition dating back to 1878 and President Rutherford B. Hayes, but there are records of informal egg rolling events even earlier. Dolley Madison, the wife of President James Madison, held a event in 1814 and hundreds of children brought their decorated eggs to join in games.
  • The White House Easter egg roll was originally in front of Capitol Hill. That site was closed off after President Ulysses S. Grant signed a bill in 1876 banning egg-rolling because it caused too much wear and tear to the lawns. The law was so strictly enforced that the Capitol Police had to eject some die-hard rollers.
  • On Easter day in 1878, when the ban on egg rolling at the Capitol was enforced, some claim that President Hayes saw tearful children while riding by the Capitol Grounds in his carriage and invited them to play on the White House lawn
  • Grover Cleveland was the first President to join the egg roll. In 1885 a group of kids demanded a personal audience with the president after walking into the East Room of the White House (security clearly wasn’t as tight then). After that, the rollers weren’t allowed indoors.
  • Music was added to the party in 1889. The United States Marine Band, conducted by John Philip Sousa, was asked to play for the children. Sousa’s “Easter Monday on the White House Lawn” was composed in honor of the tradition. The Jonas Brothers, a favorite band of First Daughters Malia and Sasha Obama, played for the rollers in 2008.
  • By 1899, the White House Easter Egg Roll had become quite popular, with over 8,000 people in attendance. This year, 30,000 were invited to attend the event
  • First Lady Grace Coolidge was known for her love of pets, but none were more famous than her pet raccoon, Rebecca, who made an appearance at the White House Easter Egg Roll in the 1920’s
  • The White House instituted a one adult per child rule in the 1930s. The crowd got so sneaky about circumventing the rule that the Secret Service had to regulate at the gates. Crafty children would even charge adults to come in with them.
  • The Easter Egg Roll has been held at the White House every year except during World War I, World War II and the Truman Renovation of the White House, when it was moved to other Washington locations or canceled
  • President Nixon and First Lady Pat Nixon were the first to include the White House Easter Bunny in the festivities. A member of Mrs. Nixon’s staff dressed up as the first human-sized bunny. Since then, life-sized bunnies and other animals have strolled the White House lawns during the event.
  • President Ronald Reagan was the first President to hide autographed eggs for children to find in the Egg Hunt
  • President George H.W. Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush were the first to affix the signature of the President and First Lady to the commemorative egg
  • In 2009 the Obama administration allocated tickets for same-sex couples and their children to attend the Easter Egg Roll. In 2006, Conservative groups accused gay and lesbian parents attending the event of “crashing.” SMDH
  • In 2009, the Obamas chose a green egg as their souvenir. In the spirit of a greener White House, kids got an egg designed to be “the greenest egg in White House Easter Egg Roll History” that year.
  • In 2010, President Obama and First Lady Michelle had the packaging of the eggs, made from recyclable paperboard, designed to minimize waste and environmental impact, and include fruits and vegetables for the event that were organically grown. In addition, the goody bags included a brochure on healthy eating
  • In 2010, 250,000 tickets were requested through the online lottery, allowing residents from all 50 states to have a chance to attend. Of the 30,000 ticket winners, at least one family from all 50 states was successful in the lottery. In addition, 3,000 tickets were distributed to students of DC, MD and VA schools, and 4,000 tickets were distributed to military families

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4 Comments

Filed under Easter, First Lady Michelle Obama, History, Obama Administration, Pres. Barack Obama, Uncategorized

4 responses to “History of the White House Easter Egg Roll

  1. Pingback: History/Today – Digital Resource | Reconfiguring Deaf History

  2. heyas :-). how are you all?. well i love to write and i rele want to get into creative writing and but i have a hard time coming up with ideas on what to write about and was wondering if you knew how i could get over this “writer’s block”?. . thanks so much!!.

  3. Pingback: History/Today – Digital Resource | Jannelle Legg

  4. Pingback: Interesting Things About Easter - Girls Things

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