History of The White House Gift Shop®

Established by Permanent Presidential Memorandum


The origin of the White House Gift Shop began as The White House Flower Fund which was renamed The White House
Police Benefit Fund on September 9, 1946 by President Harry S. Truman.


The White House Police Fund's objectives were to provide flowers when a member had a death in their immediate family and to present a special gift to retiring White House Police (now the Uniformed Division of United States Secret Service) members.


On November 1, 1950, White House Police Officer Leslie Coffelt was killed and two other Officers, Joseph Davidson and Donald Birdzell, were injured while defending President Truman during an assassination attempt at Blair House. Following this assassination attempt and the heroic actions of Officer Coffelt, President Truman by permanent Presidential Order in coordination with then Chief of Secret Service, James Rowley and Army Brigadier General Harry Vaughan, enlarged the mission of the White House Police Fund which was renamed The White House Gift Shop, Est. 1946.








On November 1st, of each year, the men and women of the United States Secret Service Uniformed Division honor the anniversary of Officer Coffelt's supreme sacrifice with a wreath laying ceremony at Blair House.