Monday, May 15, 2017

A Tea Featuring Presidential China

Last Saturday [May 13], I drove a short distance to Dearborn, MI where I attended a Spring Tea hosted by the Presbyterian Women of Cherry Hill Presbyterian Church.  

Susan Muldowney presented a program on Presidential China.

The tea was held in the Memorial Parlor and eight beautiful tables were set up by individual hostesses.  I only photographed six tables because the other two already had ladies seated at them, and I didn't want to interrupt.

This is the fifth year the ladies at Cherry Hill have being hosting their bi-annual teas, and they have grown in attendance with each tea.  Fifty-two ladies attended Saturday's tea, and they were at max capacity.  If they continue to grow they'll have to relocate to a different part of the building.

The table below was a special table set by a lady whose mother had just passed away at Easter, so the table was in memory of her, and was occupied by family members.

This is the table where my girlfriend and I were seated.

The program was first and the tea followed.  

Susan began by saying, "Hi, My name is Susan, and I am a collector." ;-)   She began collecting presidential china reproductions in 1991 while on a family vacation in Alexandria, Virginia.  

Not all of the presidential china was used in the White House.  Some were personal china patterns used by presidents, reproduced by Woodmere China Company [which went out of business in 2013].  

Susan showed us china patterns from 14 different presidents.  The first president who ordered presidential china was James Monroe.  

She told us a president has to be dead 85 years, and permission has to be obtained from living relatives before a pattern can be reproduced.  With that criteria, it takes a long time before their china pieces can be reproduced.

Most of the china from the early presidents was produced in France because our country wasn't producing porcelain yet.  Often times plain white china was ordered and then it was hand painted in New York.  Susan said First Lady Caroline Harrison [1832-1892] was an avid china painter and made china painting in the United States popular.

The china with the eagle in the center, was Lincoln's presidential china that Mary Todd Lincoln spent an exorbitant amount of money on.

I loved the tidbits of presidential and first lady history that Susan shared with us.

It was an excellent presentation which I enjoyed very much.

When I visited Washington D.C. in April 2015, I visited the National Museum of American History which contains a lovely White House China Display.   [Unfortunately we didn't get to visit the White House China Room.]  I photographed all the White House china that was displayed and you can view that post here.

The tea that followed Susan's presentation was lovely too.  In the photo below Sherry Brown was pouring our tea.   

There were four types of sandwiches:  Egg Salad, Chicken Salad, Cream Cheese and Olives, and Cucumber.

Followed by scones with jam and mock Devonshire Cream, and a yummy selection of desserts.

It was a delightful way to spend a Saturday afternoon.  Thank you, Sherry, for the privilege of attending.  

I will return to Cherry Hill Presbyterian Church on November 11th to present a program on Dining at J.L. Hudson's Department Store.


  1. What an interesting presentation and a lovely tea. I love seeing the table settings. And the food looked delicious.

  2. I see that your speaker for this event is standing in front of the Picture of my Father, Rev. Dr. Frank James Irvine, who started this church in the 1940's ... I live in Mount Pleasant, Michigan, Mary Irvine, email: Or facebook: Mary Irvine.


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