White House Sheep

March 31, 2021
White House Sheep

An unlikely resident at the White House rallied the nation during war and pandemic…and had nothing to do with donkeys (Democrats) or elephants (Republicans).

The Backstory

  • In 1918, President Wilson had sheep brought to the White House as a way to exemplify a model American family in helping WWI efforts.
  • The sheep saved money and manpower – “maintaining” the White House.
  • At the flock’s peak, 48 sheep grazed throughout the back and front lawns.
“The sight of sheep grazing on the South Lawn of the White House may seem unusual, but during World War I, it was a highly visible symbol of home front support of the troops overseas.”

White House Historical Association

Why Sheep?

  • In addition to their contributions as “landscapers,” the sheep’s wool raised money for the Red Cross.
  • Wool was auctioned off and raised over $50,000 for the organization’s war aid.
  • In 2018, a woman donated the wool her father had bought during the auction. It had been kept in a safety deposit box for 100 years. It can now be seen at Woodrow Wilson’s Presidential Library & Museum.

According to reports in the Washington Post, the sheep had eaten down the White House grass, fell ill during the flu pandemic and developed a fear of the growing number of cars passing by, which added to the challenges of keeping them; they "retired" in 1920.

Read more on this incredible history: CLICK HERE 

Why Democrats are donkeys and Republicans are elephants

Washington Post archives

by Jenna Lee,