India House Foundation


White House Globe at India House?


(U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt, photograph by Rookwood Photo Company, February 24, 1903 - Courtesy Library of Congress) .

U.S. Presidents William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt literally remapped the globe by extending America's influence to Cuba in the Caribbeanand the Philippines, Hawaii and Samoa in the Pacific Ocean. One reason was that coaling stations on these islands were vital to American steamships. The 36- inch globe pictured in the West Wing of the White House in 1903 with President Roosevelt had been in the White House since 1889. There is no record that it was a gift, loan or purchase. The globe was loaned to the Secretary of the Navy's office in the State, War, and Navy Building, where it was photographed sometime between 1913 and 1921, after which it disappeared. An identical globe entered India House sometime between 1914 and 1935. Was this the White House Globe? Dorothy Payne Whitney Straight's father, William C. Whitney, had been Secretary of the Navy under President Cleveland from 1885 to 1889. Did he bring the globe to the White House? Did the globe return to the Whitney family after its loan to the Navy? This is possible considering the mission of the Asiatic Institute, founded by Dorothy and Willard Straight and headquartered at India House, was to develop a "better understanding between the peoples of the East and the West." William Howard Taft, one month after leaving the presidency of the United States, became the first President of the Asiatic Institute in 1913. The globe from India House was sold at auction in November 2010.