National Affairs: Kindly Mail One Rusty Nail

The tons of debris which were hauled away from the White House as reconstruction began looked exactly like the lime-whitened junk which wreckers create every time they tear down a moldering tenement. But to thousands of U.S. souvenir collectors it was rich ore, impregnated with history and presidential ectoplasm right down to the last chunk of plaster. It was hauled off across the Potomac to Fort Myer, to be dispensed, through a special mail order system, to the clamoring citizenry.

A crew of four warehousemen set to work dividing it up into "White House kits." The smallest (selling for 25¢) consisted of...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!