Prologue Magazine

Winter 2008, Vol. 40, No. 4

Camp David

President Eisenhower's grandon David is shown at the entrance to Camp David on October 2, 1960. (Eisenhower Library)

Nestled in the Catoctin Mountain Park in Frederick County, Maryland, is Camp David, a retreat for use by the President of the United States.

Officially a U.S. Navy installation, the facility was originally built by the Works Progress Administration as a camp for government employees, opening in 1938.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt took it over in a few years and named it "Shangri-La," for the mountain kingdom in Lost Horizon, the 1933 novel by James Hilton.

It was renamed in 1953 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in honor of his then-five-year-old grandson, Dwight David Eisenhower II.

Over the years, Roosevelt's successors and their families have used it for a variety of reasons. Some spent weekends there relaxing with their families and special guests. Others have used it to study, write, or confer with top advisers. A few have used it to conduct global diplomacy and forge historic peace agreements.

Not far from Washington, D.C., and Baltimore and Frederick, Maryland, Camp David is also a short drive from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. It is not open or accessible to the public, and a high level of security is maintained. The photographs reproduced in these pages all come from the holdings of the presidential libraries, administered by the National Archives and Records Administration.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt enjoyed entertaining at Shangri-La as well as in the White House. In August 1942 he dines with Grace Tully, Samuel Rosenman (obscured), Mrs. Archibald MacLeish (not visible), Mrs. Samuel Rosenman, and Archibald MacLeish. (Roosevelt Library)

In Panama hat and light cotton suit, President Harry Truman smiles broadly after driving his convertible to Shangri-La on August 29, 1949. With him is William D. Hassett (front seat), presidential secretary, and Joseph Feeney (back seat). (Truman Library)

President John F. Kennedy and his son, John junior, walk with daughter Caroline as she rides her pony at Camp David in March 1963. (Kennedy Library)

President Lyndon B. Johnson held many conferences at Camp David. Here, he enjoys a light moment while in conversation with Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara and Secretary of State Dean Rusk in March 1965. (Johnson Library)

President Richard M. Nixon hosted foreign leaders and noted guests at Camp David. Here, he chats with entertainer Bob Hope in Aspen Cabin in late 1972. (Nixon Library)

President Gerald Ford, Mrs. Ford, son Steve, and daughter Susan feed "Flag" the deer at Camp David in September 1974 (Ford Library)

Summmit meetings are not unusual at Camp David. In September 1978, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, President Jimmy Carter, and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin met during the Camp David Mideast Peace Summit, which resulted in the "Camp David Accords." (Carter Library)

One of President Reagan's favorite activities at Camp David was horseback riding. This photograph was taken in May 1983. (Reagan Library)

President George H.W. Bush is an avid tennis player. At Camp David in August 1990, he played doubles tennis with Chris Evert. (Bush Library)

President Bill Clinton, daughter Chelsea, and Hillary Rodham Clinton enjoy Thanksgiving at Camp David on November 24, 1994. (Clinton Library)

Articles published in Prologue do not necessarily represent the views of NARA or of any other agency of the United States Government.

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