The records of the Commission on Renovation of the Executive Mansion include meeting minutes and correspondence about the renovation of the White House during the administration of President Harry S. Truman.
Size: 5 linear inches (about 800 pages).
Copyright: Documents created by U.S. government officials in the course of their official duties are in the public domain. Copyright interest in other documents presumably belongs to the creators of those documents, or their heirs.
Processed by: Philip D. Lagerquist (1962)
Updated by: Christina Faoro (2016) as part of the Truman Library Internship Program.
Supervising Archivists: Randy Sowell and David Clark.
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The Commission on Renovation of the Executive Mansion was created because of severe architectural inadequacies in the White House, which became apparent by 1948. Soon after the 1948 election, the entire building was evacuated, with the Truman family moving across the street to Blair House. On March 25, 1949, President Truman recommended to Congress the creation of a commission to oversee the restoration and renovation of the White House. Commissions of this nature had been used to oversee the construction of the Lincoln Memorial and Jefferson Memorial.
On April 14, 1949, a law was enacted creating the Commission on Renovation of the Executive Mansion (CREM), which was comprised of six members. The President, the House of Representatives, and the Senate each appointed two members to the Commission. The members of the commission were Senator Kenneth D. McKellar (the chairman), Senator Edward Martin, Representative J. Harry McGregor, Representative Louis C. Rabaut, Richard E. Dougherty, and Douglas W. Orr. Major General Glen E. Edgerton became Executive Director of the Commission. The Commission was in charge of the reconstruction, and used consultants to ensure the safety, efficiency, and practicality of the renovation.
The Commission decided that the best way to reconstruct the building and save its historical integrity was to gut the interior while preserving the outside walls, and rebuilding it from the inside. A new structural steel frame was added as well as shafts for air conditioning and a two- story basement. The reconstruction was completed by 1952, and President Truman was able to move back into the new and improved White House. The Commission was terminated on October 30, 1952, following the submission of its final report.
The records of the Commission on Renovation of the Executive Mansion include meeting minutes and correspondence about the renovation of the White House during the administration of President Harry S. Truman. The records are arranged in a single series, the Subject File.
The collection contains the minutes of all 75 meetings of the Commission, except for the minutes of the 57th meeting. It also contains correspondence with the Commission dealing with the removal of a cracked beam and mantels, and the sale of surplus materials from the renovation as souvenirs. The entire collection has been digitized.
This collection is made up of duplicates of selected records from a much larger collection at the National Archives. A 1959 inventory of the larger collection is included, filed under "Reference Materials."
More information about the renovation of the executive mansion can be found in the Harry S. Truman Papers (President's Secretary's Files: White House File).