Presidential Season's Greetings cards, as published by Hallmark, are now on display near the First Ladies Gowns at the Museum of American History. They show, graphically, two principal perks of the presidency: the official seal of office and the White House itself.
Dwight Eisenhower was the first president to send an official White House greeting. In 1953, he sent 1,300. In line with his military background, Eisenhower favored a design highlighting the presidential seal.
John F. Kennedy sent the first card with a photograph, a picture of his wife and children in a sleigh on the South Lawn of the White House, pulled by the pony Macaroni.
Lyndon Johnson, in his expansive Texas way, sent 40,000 cards, using a very formal, elegant embossed card with the presidential seal on white. Richard Nixon's cards were historical views of the White House.
Gerald Ford was the only one not to use a presidential seal; he favored a much more informal Connecticut farm scene, another of a church, and a historical view of the White House.
The Jimmy Carters' 1977 card was south view of the White House painted by Georgia artist Harvey Moriarty.
Last year, the Reagans had Jamie Wyeth design a rather spooky picture of the White House on a snowy night, with the only light coming from the first lady's study. This year's original gouache painting for the Reagan card is on display at the White House, not the Museum of American History. It's of the Red Room, Nancy Reagan's favorite, by James Steinmeyer.