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Present to Abraham Lincoln
As the personification of the nation, presidents are constantly given gifts from appreciative Americans. Citizens of San Francisco presented this gold box and nugget to Abraham Lincoln in 1864.

 Sun watch given to Warren G. Harding by the Boy Scouts of America, 1921
 Invitation to Franklin D. Roosevelt's Birthday Ball
Presidents have often used the visibility of the office to advance charitable activities. This has included making the first annual blood donation to the Red Cross and kicking off the United Fund drive with a telecast from the White House.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, who contracted polio when he was thirty-nine, turned his birthday celebrations into national fundraising events for the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis. These evolved into the highly successful March of Dimes campaign to eliminate polio.

 Secret Service uniform hats
President Richard M. Nixon, impressed by the imperial pageantry of European guards, attempted to create a more formal atmosphere for his own state occasions by having new uniforms designed for the White House Secret Service Uniformed Division. They were first worn during a 1970 state visit by British Prime Minister Harold.

Americans expect a certain degree of formality with the presidency but are leery of too much pomp and circumstance. The gold-trimmed tunics and peaked hats struck many Americans as a comical attempt to emulate the trappings of European royalty. The black hat was first to go, replaced by the soft white hat. The entire uniform was abandoned during the mid-1970s.

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National Museum of American History