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The Johnsonís White House stage and Harkness Ballet
Johnson Lady Bird

Johnson, Lady Bird – small collection of 5 pieces, four signed, related to White House entertainment: a) SP of the President and First Lady greeting performers of the Harkness Ballet following their performance at a State Dinner for the President of the Philippines. The photo is inscribed and signed to Gerald Wagner along with a secretarial signature of LBJ, b) a small program card from the event, c) LS from Lady Bird 10/14/65 thanking Wagner for his help in helping make sure the stage was ready for its debut, d)another photo inscribed and signed by Lady Bird to Wagner on June 1965, showing her and Rebekah Harkness with a framed drawing of a performance on the stage. There is a slight crease or wrinkle in the upper left corner of the image, e) a second White House letter signed by Lady Bird 5/29/68 thanking Rebekah Harkness for the many performances of her New York Ballet company at to White House. Johnson mentions that Harkness deserves credit for the stage introduced during the Johnson Administration.

The Kennedy’s had a small stage built for performances in the East Room, typically an individual or small group of musicians. The Johnsons preferred larger themed entertainment and needed a larger stage. Rebekah Harkness a wealthy funder of the arts, including the NY ballet company carrying her name, helped arrange and pay for a new stage. A nice collection related to the Johnsons’ overlooked entertaining at the White House. Presidential myths presume only the Kennedy’s hosted higher art in the White House while the Johnsons preferred banjoes and country music.