Virginia Authors Chronicle History of Governor’s Mansion

RICHMOND – In 2013, Virginia’s Executive Mansion—the oldest occupied governor’s residence in all the fifty states—marks its 200th anniversary. To celebrate this milestone, the Citizens Advisory Council for Interpreting and Furnishing the Executive Mansion is planning a yearlong series of special events at the mansion and on Capitol Square, capped by the publication of an official bicentennial history of Virginia's "First House" – a must-read for lovers of Virginia's proud past. This handsome coffee table book, written by historian Mary Miley Theobald with an introduction by novelist David Baldacci, and designed by Carol Roper Hoffler of Literati, will chronicle the mansion's important role as residence, office, and social setting for the past fifty-four Virginia governors. Conceived during the Revolutionary War, built during the War of 1812, and looted during the Civil War, the mansion has endured fires, threats, riots, and hurricanes. Research has unearthed a wealth of stories and illustrations never before published. Tales of famous guests, pets and pranks, and ghosts weave through two centuries of additions, modernizations, and changing interior fashions. Newly discovered photographs, drawings, paintings, and antiques from private and public collections throughout Virginia and around the country bring these stories to life. Interviews with all ten living First Ladies provided a peek into the upstairs lives of the commonwealth's First Families.

This official bicentennial book, as yet untitled, is scheduled for release in October 2012. Published by the Library of Virginia with the Citizens Advisory Committee, it includes a welcome from Virginia's current governor and first lady, Governor and Mrs. Robert F. McDonnell. Virginians are invited to submit stories and memories about their experiences at the Executive Mansion for the book. The deadline is January 5, 2012 and submissions can be emailed to, or mailed to: Executive Mansion, PO Box 1475, Richmond, VA 23218.

The book will be sold at the gift shops at the Library of Virginia, the Capitol, and museums as well as at book stores and online. Proceeds will help the CAC continue its work of maintaining the building's historical integrity.