Welcome back to Monochromes, a Friday mini-series wherein Curbed delves deep into the Library of Congress's photographic annals, resurfacing with an armful of old black-and-white photos of architecture and interior design. Have a find you want to share? Hit up the tipline; we'd love to hear from you.
In America, the tradition of rolling painted Easter eggs down a sloping green lawn began in 1814, when First Lady Dolley Madison, wife of James, invited hundreds of children to come to the grounds of the U.S. Capitol on Easter Monday. By the late 1870s, Congress actually passed a law making it illegal to use that particular space as a "children's playground." That's when the Easter Egg Roll moved to the lawn of White House. There are two versions as to why: one holds that the children of President Rutherford B. Hayes and his wife Lucy requested this of their parents. The second version, found on the White House website, contends that on Easter of 1878, President Hayes spotted crying children near the Capitol building, and invited them to come roll eggs on the White house lawn. These photos were taken just over a decade later. All the little boys are wearing hats, and the girls are wearing bonnets and Victorian frocks.