Treasures at Sunnylands


What do you get the man or woman who has everything? The question was not a theoretical one for the U.S. presidents, royal families and Hollywood legends who visited Walter and Leonore Annenberg at Sunnylands. Over the decades, the couple, recognized as two of the 20th century’s greatest philanthropists, were themselves the recipients of countless personal gifts – some lavish, some light-hearted and sentimental – from the world-famous figures they entertained at their home.

Treasures at Sunnylands: Selections from the Gift Collection of Walter & Leonore Annenberg, featured 46 items reflecting both the generosity and the whimsy of the Annenbergs’ guests, family, and close friends.

From a silver cigarette box presented by Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, to a singing fish plaque from President George H. W. Bush, gifts in the exhibition were categorized into offerings of presidents and first ladies, royalty, diplomats, business leaders, entertainers, and family. Featured items included a beaded, safety-pin necklace from then-First Lady Hillary Clinton that became a prized piece of jewelry for Leonore Annenberg and the family’s Austin Mini Moke – a small, freewheeling vehicle that a fun-loving Frank Sinatra delivered in 1968.

Other items in the exhibition, all from the Sunnylands Collection, were given by such notables as entertainers Bob Hope and Kirk Douglas; U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein and former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher; royals Prince Charles and Queen Elizabeth II; and business leaders Randolph Hearst, with wife Veronica, and Justin Dart, with wife Jane.

The exhibition catalog is available in the Sunnylands shop for $25 and may be ordered online.