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Letter From the First Lady, 1921

Thu, 12/05/2019 - 11:49

Item of the Week From the East Hampton Library Long Island Collection

On White House letterhead, First Lady Florence Kling Harding wrote to Mrs. Hannah Valentine Buek on Sept. 21, 1921. In this letter, Mrs. Harding thanked Mrs. Buek for the “lovely” gift of a lusterware cup, saucer, and spoon Buek sent Harding following the first lady’s visit. The first lady visited Home, Sweet Home with Secretary of War John W. Weeks and Frank B. Wiborg. During her visit, President Warren Harding played golf at the Shinnecock Hills golf course.

Gustav and Hannah Buek owned Home, Sweet Home between 1907 and 1927. Gustav Buek ran a printing company, achieving prominence as a lithographer. The Bueks enjoyed a close friendship with the Moran family. It is believed the Bueks bought the house because of the popular (albeit inaccurate) belief that it was the birthplace of the John Howard Payne, playwright and composer of the song “Home, Sweet Home.” The Bueks were particularly interested in the popular Colonial Revival aesthetic and architectural style, following the Centennial Exhibition of 1876.

The Bueks filled the rooms of Home, Sweet Home with colonial relics, antique furnishings, and Hannah’s lusterware. Florence Harding admired the collection during her visit, which prompted the thoughtful gift from Hannah. Many items from the Bueks’ collection remain on display at Home, Sweet Home Museum.

Mayra Scanlon is a librarian and archivist for the East Hampton Library’s Long Island Collection.

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