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'Presidential Doodles:' Oval Office Artists

The hand on the rudder of the ship of state, the finger on the nuclear button, has its frivolous, extra-constitutional moments, too. From the hands of presidents have come a wealth of improvised drawings on White House stationery, memos and Cabinet agendas.

They have been collected by the creators of Cabinet magazine and writer David Greenberg, in a new book called, Presidential Doodles: Two Centuries of Scribbles, Scratches, Squiggles and Scrawls from the Oval Office. Greenberg is a professor of history and journalism at Rutgers University.

The collection also includes art works created before the presidents took office — such as a detailed drawing of a horse created by Ulysses S. Grant during his time at West Point, and a young John Adams' diagram of the Pythagorean theorem.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Prior to his retirement, Robert Siegel was the senior host of NPR's award-winning evening newsmagazine All Things Considered. With 40 years of experience working in radio news, Siegel hosted the country's most-listened-to, afternoon-drive-time news radio program and reported on stories and happenings all over the globe, and reported from a variety of locations across Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia. He signed off in his final broadcast of All Things Considered on January 5, 2018.