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Presidents Working From Home—in Photos

May 27, 2020 in History

By Becky Little

Working from home may be an unusual perk for some, but for presidents it’s standard.

One of the benefits of being a U.S. president is you get to work from home. Ever since John Adams moved into the White House in 1800, every subsequent president has gotten the chance to live in his official workplace in Washington, D.C.

Like many other Americans who work from home, this means presidents have gotten the opportunity to spend more time with their families. In recent history, President Barack Obama praised this set-up for helping him balance work and family life as commander-in-chief.

“[P]erhaps the greatest unexpected gift of this job has been living above the store,” he wrote in a 2016 essay for Glamour. “For many years my life was consumed by long commutes­… But for the past seven and a half years, that commute has been reduced to 45 seconds—the time it takes to walk from my living room to the Oval Office. As a result, I’ve been able to spend a lot more time watching my daughters grow up into smart, funny, kind, wonderful young women.”

Photographers have captured cute photos of presidential kids playing in the Oval Office, and also documented social events with presidential children. Richard Nixon’s daughter Tricia married Ed Cox at the White House during her father’s presidency. Gerald Ford also arranged for his daughter Susan’s senior prom to take place at the White House.

Because presidents take their work with them wherever they go, photographers have also captured presidents working at their private residences in their home states. In these settings, presidents have often worn more casual wear, as when President George W. Bush wore jeans during his first meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at his ranch in Crawford, Texas. There have also been candid images of commanders-in-chief working in their robes and pajamas, either at the White House or elsewhere.

Click through the gallery below to see photos of presidents working from home over the decades, plus one painting of George Washington working from his home in Mount Vernon, Virginia. (He is the only president who never lived in the White House, as it wasn’t built yet.)

President Ronald Reagan, clad in pajamas and bathrobe at the White House, talking on telephone to Robert McFarlane and Secretary of State George Shultz, regarding urgent request from …read more