A Brief History of the White House Kitchen
George Washington and Thomas Jefferson staffed the White House kitchen with slaves. In later years, following the Civil War, the tradition of African-Americans working in the White House kitchen continued. Dolly Johnson, seen in this 1890 photograph, was recruited to the White House by President Benjamin Harrison. Johnson had previously worked for the Harrison family and the President hired her to replace a French chef whose cooking, he said, was inferior to the "plain dishes" Johnson made.