The Beauty Salon in 1992, looking west through it to the Private Dining Room; note Millie's dog bed and bowl (HABS)
The "Cosmetology Room"
This small half-room area, connected by a door to the present-day Private Dining Room, with windows facing the north lawn, was a bathing area during the Lincoln administration to the end of the 19th century. Until the 1902 renovation, only two bathrooms served Theodore Roosevelt's family quarters. One was for the presidential bedchamber; the other, a "family bathroom" for everyone else, including guests, had three doors in addition to having partitions only head-high, making compartments for lavatories, toilets and bathtubs.
This room became an office for Eleanor Roosevelt and Bess Truman and the painting room of Dwight Eisenhower.
During the Kennedy administration, this was first a changing room for John F. Kennedy Jr. (his bedroom was next door) and then a dining room for the children; in preparation for the birth of the new child, the room was converted to a nursery, but when the infant died just two days after birth, Chief Usher JB West and his staff changed it back to a little dining room before Mrs. Kennedy ever saw it.
During the Johnson time in the White House, this space became the study of Luci Johnson. The space has been a makeup, hairdressing, and barber room since the Nixon years. Barbara Bush's dog Millie gave birth here, and Hillary Clinton even put a humorous poster here, poking fun at her various changing hairstyles.
Through a south door from this half-room is one of two back stairs, a stairwell that winds down from the top floor to the bottom. Right next to this half-room and the stairwell is the family elevator. Before the Truman renovation, a steep and narrow staircase to the third floor was here.
The view out the window in 1992 (HABS)
Barbara Bush and granddaughter Marshall with new mother Millie in 1989 (Getty Images)
Barbara Bush with new mother Millie in 1989; behind her is the cabinet
containing the dressing chair and hairdryer (Getty Images)
The Beauty Salon around 1970
The room being refitted as a beauty salon during the renovation (Truman Library)
The room as Mrs. Truman's office, around 1950 (Truman Library - U of U Marriott Library)
The room as Mrs. Truman's office, with Reathel Odum in 1948 (National Archives)