Presidents together: 7 striking images

With the five living presidents meeting Thursday in Texas, we asked presidential historian Michael Beschloss to give us a sense of these presidential gatherings. Beschloss, author of nine books and contributor to the PBS NewsHour and NBC News, had only to look at his Twitter feed, which features images such as this, from the opening of the George H.W. Bush library in 1997.

Started in October, Beschloss’s brief commentaries on presidents and surprising moments in American history — often with photographs you haven’t seen before — have won him a place on Time Magazine’s “140 Best Twitter Feeds of 2013.”

Here are seven of his most popular tweets in which he’s included photographs:

1. The day Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush drank sodas with George Wallace.

As vice president in 1982, Bush hosted governors at his Maine house, including these from Arkansas and Alabama.

The day Bill Clinton and George HW Bush drank sodas with George Wallace.

2. You do not do that in my Texas!

During the 1960 campaign at Amarillo airport, vice presidential candidate Lyndon B. Johnson  furious when Republican pilots tried to drown out his Democratic running mate.

One of the most evocative political photographs in American history:

3. Top of the hill

Here, new President John F. Kennedy, in January 1961, looks more like an adjunct member of Frank Sinatra’s Rat Pack.

Backstage inaugural moment–in dimly lit room, Frank Sinatra lights cigar for the new President Kennedy:

4. This actually happened

The 1968 debate between Robert F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan drew 15 million TV viewers. After this 1967 split-screen exchange, RFK felt he had done so badly that he told aides never to put him on with Reagan again.

This actually happened: TV debate between ’68 Pres cands Robt Kennedy and Ronald Reagan drawing 15 million viewers.

 5. Presidential re-gifting? 

In a Christmastime 1967 exchange, Pope Paul VI gave the White House a 14th-century painting. Lyndon B. Johnson responded with a bust … of himself. Rumors that the bust was plastic are unfounded.

45 years ago this week, in exchange for a 14th-century painting, LBJ unwrapped & gave Pope Paul VI a bust of himself:

6. Nixon agonistes

A tense White House moment between President-elect Nixon and Lyndon B. Johnson. LBJ was still furious at Nixon’s secret pre-election machinations to undermine his Vietnam peace talks, and Nixon was afraid LBJ would reveal them to the world.

The most revealing photograph of a post-election W.H. visit: Pres-elect Nixon & LBJ in the private elevator, Nov. 1968

7. Barbra!

Hello, Miss Streisand! Who claims that inviting show business stars to the White House Correspondents Dinner is a recent innovation?

Testament to Streisand’s longevity:

AUDIO BONUS: Last call

On Jan. 2, 1973, Richard M. Nixon talks with former president Lyndon B. Johnson for the last time — and records it on the system made famous by the Watergate scandal. The topic: Attending the funeral of ex-president Harry S Truman.

Beschloss talks more about how he uses Twitter in this article and In this recent conversation with Gwen Ifill on PBS NewsHour.

RELATED: The men of steel are melting with age — The Post’s David von Drehle’s glorious on-deadline essay on the meeting of ex-presidents and others at the April 1994 funeral of Richard Nixon.