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While researching another project on the Library of Congress’ Prints and Photographs website, I came across a great photo and fascinating set of facts: President Taft had a cow. And it grazed on the White House lawn. And her name was Pauline. A little more research and I learned that she had a last name too—Wayne—and an Aunt Gertrude.

Pauline Wayne, the Tafts' cow, grazes near the EEOB, then the State, War, and Navy Building (Library of Congress)

All this made the discovery of a White House flock of sheep relatively less amazing. It also puts the current White House garden to shame. Vegetables are nothing; livestock would be incredible!

White House sheep on the south lawn, between 1909 and 1932 (Library of Congress)

It seems that the Tafts’ previous cow, Mooley Wooly, had died. The Tafts needed a steady supply of milk and butter for their three children (not to mention the president), and Sen. Isaac Stephenson of Wisconsin stepped in to fill the void. Pauline traveled in a specially-built crate on an express train from Stephenson’s farm to Washington’s Union Station. She arrived in DC in November 1910 and stayed till nearly the end of the Taft’s term. When she was repatriated to Stephenson’s Wisconsin farm in February 1913, Pauline was apparently in ill health.

City Farmer News collected a series of New York Times articles about Pauline Wayne. It seems she was as well-known as recent presidential pets Bo and Socks, and she was the last cow to live at the White House, which switched to pasteurized milk upon Pauline’s departure. No word on whether the Tafts brought another cow with them when William became Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in 1921.

What do you think about this example of how much has changed in the last 100 years? Do you wish you had a cow in your backyard? Or do you just want more pictures of farm animals with a White House backdrop?

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