Scent of a President: Four American Presidents Favoring Caswell Massey Fragrances

by DerdriuMarriner

Caswell Massey has been in business longer than the United States has been an independent nation, and its illustrious clientele includes four U.S. Presidents.

Caswell-Massey is a personal care and apothecary shop that has been in business for over two and one-half centuries.

As the oldest purveyor of soaps and toiletries in the United States, the distinguished company is older even than its homeland, predating by several decades the July 4th, 1776 Declaration of Independence.

The company's prestigious clientele includes four U.S. Presidents:

• George Washington,
• Dwight Eisenhower,
• Abraham Lincoln,
• John F. Kennedy.

Caswell-Massey's Presidential Soap Collection features the favorite fragrance of each of these presidents:
• George Washington's Number Six,
• Dwight Eisenhower's Almond Cold Cream,
• Abraham Lincoln's Castile soap, and
• John F. Kennedy's Jockey Club.

Flag of the President of the United States: presidential coat of arms on dark blue background.

U.S. Presidential flag, 1960-present: defined in Executive Order 10860
U.S. Presidential flag, 1960-present: defined in Executive Order 10860

Brief Back Story of Dr. William Hunter: founder of apothecary shop now known as Caswell-Massey


Caswell-Massey was founded as Dr. Hunter's Apothecary, or, alternatively, Dispensary, in Newport, Rhode Island, in 1752 by Scottish immgrant, William Hunter (c. 1729/1731 - January 30, 1777). The company's current name reflects the partnership which then-owner John Rose Caswell (September 18, 1834 - March 9, 1918) formed in 1876 with New York-based English pharmaceutical businessman William Morton Massey (c. 1841 - November 26, 1915).

William studied medicine in Edinburgh, southeastern Scotland, and in Leyden, the renowned weaving city in western Netherlands' South Holland province whence the Pilgrims embarked for America in the seventeenth century. William supported the second Jacobite pretender to the thrones of England, Scotland, and Ireland, Charles Edward Stuart (December 31, 1720 – January 31, 1788), known retrospectively as Bonnie Prince Charlie. Some time after the downfall of the Jacobite uprising with defeat at the Battle of Culloden on April 16, 1746, William sailed for America.

By 1752, William had settled in the colony of Rhode Island, where he practiced medicine, including obstetrics, and gave lectures on anatomy. William is credited with delivering the first medical lecture on the North American continent: on Anatomy at the State House in Newport in 1756.


Newport's Old State House:

completed in 1741 and site of first medical lecture in North America, Dr. Hunter's lecture on anatomy
Old Colony House, aka Old State House, in Newport, Rhode Island
Old Colony House, aka Old State House, in Newport, Rhode Island


In March 1758 the General Assembly appointed William as physician and surgeon-general to the Rhode Island troops of the British Army. William served under James Abercrombie (1706 – April 23, 1781), General and commander-in-chief of the British Army in North America, in the Battle of Carillon, also known as the 1758 Battle of Ticonderaga, the bloodiest battle of the French and Indian War (1754 - 1763), fought on July 8, 1758.

On September 13, 1761 at Newport's Trinity Church, he married Deborah (November 23, 1744 - October 15, 1813), who, according to most sources, was the daughter of wealthy triangle trade (molasses-rum-slaves) shipping merchant Godfrey Malbone Sr. (January 18, 1694 - February 22, 1768). (One source lists Godfrey Malbone Jr. [September 3, 1724 - November 12, 1785] and his wife Catherine Brinley [1724 - November 28, 1795] as her parents and Godfrey Sr. as her grandfather.) William and Deborah had six children:

  • Elizabeth (July 20, 1762 - 1859),
  • Anne (April 10, 1766 - December 21, 1859), who married Jean-Louis Théodore de Palézieux
    Falconnet (1760 - 1825), a banker in London and Naples,
  • William (April 20, 1768 - November 18, 1772),
  • Katherine (June 2, 1770 - October 1, 1770),
  • Katherine (February 28, 1773 - 1860), who married Charles Gérard Anne Guy Dupleix de Cadignan (May 11, 1767 - 1803), and
  • William (November 26, 1774 - December 3, 1849), whose public service included serving as Senator from Rhode Island (1811 - 1821) and as U.S. Ambassador to Brazil, (1835 - 1843).

Tragically, William died in 1777 from a fever which he had caught while tending to British Army soldiers. 


According to local attribution, Colonial architect Richard Munday (c.1685-1739) designed the original pinkish-brown Connecticut sandstone Malbone Castle, built 1739-1741 and burned by kitchen chimney fire June 7, 1766:

American Gothic Revival architect Alexander Jackson Davis (July 24, 1803 – January 14, 1892) incorporated ivy-covered ruins into today's successor mansion, designed in 1848 and completed in 1849.
Malbone Castle, Newport, Rhode Island: hints of the wealthy upbringing of Dr. Hunter's wife
Malbone Castle, Newport, Rhode Island: hints of the wealthy upbringing of Dr. Hunter's wife

Caswell-Massey: exemplary traditions


Caswell-Massey has the business epithet, "America's Enlightened Apothecary Since 1752." The company has a solid reputation for, among others, a trilogy of admirable hallmarks which guarantees the enduring appeal of its luxurious personal care products:

  • made in America: all of the company's products exemplify the dedicated artisanry of centuries of American-based manufacturers;
  • ethical product development: not one of the company's products is ever tested on animals;
  • environmental sustainability: the company's revered soaps are biodegradable and vegetable-based, and packaging is either biodegradable or recyclable.


"The Washington Family":

step-grandson George Washington Parke Custis, the President, step-granddaughter Eleanor Parke Custis Lewis, First Lady Martha Dandridge Custis Washington (June 13, 1731– May 22, 1802), servant
1789-1796 oil on canvas by Edward Savage (November 26, 1761 – July 6, 1817) ~ National Gallery of Art, Washington DC
1789-1796 oil on canvas by Edward Savage (November 26, 1761 – July 6, 1817) ~ National Gallery of Art, Washington DC

Caswell-Massey's Presidential cachet: George Washington


Four U.S. presidents number among the devoted, illustrious clientele of Caswell-Massey products. Each President found individual expression in selecting his favorite fragrance.

The original line of twenty fragrances was numbered chronologically. Number Six, a blend of over thirty natural essences, including bergamot, cloves, narcissus, oranges, pine, and rosemary, appealed to George Washington.



  • George Washington (February 22, 1732 – December 14, 1799) served two terms, April 30, 1789 – March 4, 1797, as the first President of the United States. He holds the unique honor of being the only unanimously elected U.S. President, receiving 100 percent of the electoral votes for both terms.
  • His retirement to private life was disrupted by the Quasi-War (July 7, 1798 – September 30, 1800), an undeclared war of naval engagements between the United States and the French First Republic (September 22, 1792 – May 18, 1804). On July 13, 1798, he accepted the offer of his presidential successor, John Adams (October 30, 1735 – July 4, 1826), to serve in the burgeoning military fray as Senior Officer of the United States Army.
  • Five months later, on December 14, 1799, George Washington died from complications as a result of prolonged exposure to adverse weather during two days of inspections of his plantation via horseback.


Number Six fragrance: George Washington's favorite Caswell-Massey scent

Caswell-Massey Number Six Bath Soap

Abraham Lincoln, the only U.S. President to hold a U.S. patent:

which was registered to him on May 22, 1849, 11 years 6 months prior to election on November 6, 1859, to his first term as 16th U.S. President.
patent model of Abraham Lincoln's invention ~ Smithsonian Institution
patent model of Abraham Lincoln's invention ~ Smithsonian Institution

Caswell-Massey's Presidential cachet: Abraham Lincoln


Dr. Hunter's Castile Soap, newly launched in 1861, found immediate favor with Abraham Lincoln. Targeted for those who embrace naturalness, fragrance-free Castile Soap is enriched with shea butter and, as a moisturizer, olive oil. The mild soap enchants all skin types and especially is treasured by those with sensitive skin.



  • Abraham Lincoln (February 12, 1809 – April 15, 1865) served six weeks of his second term as 16th President of the United States.
  • The assassinated president holds the unique distinction of being the only President with a U.S. patent, registered as No. 6,469 to A. Lincoln on May 22, 1849, for “expansible buoyant chambers” to lift vessels over shoals.


Dwight D. Eisenhower's Order is on display at the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum in Abilene, Kansas

Star of the Soviet Order of Victory
Star of the Soviet Order of Victory

Caswell-Massey's Presidential cachet: Dwight Eisenhower


Almond Cold Cream soap fragranced Dwight David Eisenhower's presidency. Caswell-Massey soaps are triple-milled to assure customers of perfect, richly homogeneous color, fragrance, and lather throughout the entire soap bar. Almond nuances are blended with cold cream's moisturizing qualities to create a fragrant, gentle, nurturing cleanser.



  • Dwight David Eisenhower (October 14, 1890 – March 28, 1969) served two terms as the 34th President of the United States.
  • The golf-loving president with a stellar military career holds two particularly unique distinctions as the only president:
  1. to have been awarded the Order of Victory, the former Soviet Union’s highest World War II military decoration, which was bestowed upon the five-star general on June 10, 1945;
  2. to have held the position of Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR), of which he was the first officeholder, April 2, 1951 – May 30, 1952.


Caswell-Massey Almond Cold Cream hand soap: triple milled

Each triple-milled cake builds to a rich, fragrant lather in even the hardest water.
Caswell-Massey - Almond Cold Cream Hand Soap

"Hyannisport Weekend": The President, son John F. Kennedy Jr., First Lady Jacqueline Lee Bouvier Kennedy, daughter Caroline Bouvier Kennedy

Dogs: with John Jr: Shannon; with the First Lady: two of four puppies ("pupniks") of Pushinka (“Fluffy”, offspring of Soviet space dog Strelka [“Arrow”] gifted by Nikita Khrushchev),Clipper (standing), Wolf (reclining), Charlie (with Caroline)
August 14, 1963 photo by Cecil William Stoughton (January 18, 1920 – November 3, 2008)
August 14, 1963 photo by Cecil William Stoughton (January 18, 1920 – November 3, 2008)

Caswell-Massey's Presidential cachet: John Kennedy


Jockey Club is described in confident terms as a winning scent, appropriate for both equestrian events and Inaugural Balls. The light racy scent of Jockey Club ended up as a favorite of John F. Kennedy.



  • John Fitzgerald Kennedy (May 29, 1917 – November 22, 1963) served for two years and ten months as the 35th President of the United States.
  • The assassinated president thus far holds three particular distinctions in American presidential history as:
  1. at age 43, the youngest to be elected;
  2. the only president of the Catholic faith;
  3. the only president with a Pulitzer Prize, awarded in 1957 for Profiles in Courage.


Caswell-Massey Jockey Club bath soap: triple-milled, subtly fragrant

Caswell-Massey Jockey Club Bath Soap Set

portrait of "Dr. Hunter's Spaniels" above fireplace: 1769 oil on canvas by teen-aged Gilbert Stuart (December 3, 1755 - July 9, 1828)

view of southeast parlor, Nichols-Wanton-Hunter House, 54 Washington Street, Newport, Rhode Island
June 1971 photo by National Park Service photographer Jack E. Boucher (September 4, 1931–September 2, 2012)
June 1971 photo by National Park Service photographer Jack E. Boucher (September 4, 1931–September 2, 2012)

Conclusion: Caswell-Massey for Presidential scents


Caswell-Massey, as America's enlightened apothecary, has weathered the centuries, along with the historic landscape in which the company was founded.

Quality colognes and soaps were as necessary in colonial times as they are now. With the company's conscientious commitment to and rightful reputation for fine products manufactured ethically and naturally under the proud stamp of "Made in America," Caswell-Massey understandably has caught the attention of an array of illustrious Americans. Included in the list of client luminaries are at least four U.S. Presidents, from the eighteenth century to the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

The favored scents of Presidents waft from among Caswell-Massey's perfect products.


Almond Cold Cream, Jockey Club, and Number Six in triple-milled soap bars:

favorite Caswell-Massey fragrances of Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Washington, respectively.
Caswell-Massey - Presidential Soap Collection



My special thanks to talented artists and photographers/concerned organizations who make their fine images available on the internet.


"Portrait Of Deborah Malbone Hunter and her Daughter Eliza": 1769 oil on canvas by Scottish Jacobite portraitist Cosmo Alexander (1724 – August 25, 1772)

view of center hall, Nichols-Wanton-Hunter House, 54 Washington Street, Newport, Rhode Island
June 1971 photo by National Park Service photographer Jack E. Boucher (September 4, 1931–September 2, 2012)
June 1971 photo by National Park Service photographer Jack E. Boucher (September 4, 1931–September 2, 2012)

Sources Consulted


"Almond Cold Cream Hand Soap." Caswell-Massey > Bar Soap. Caswell-Massey. Web.

  • Available at:

"Caswell-Massey Timeline." Caswell-Massey > About Us. Caswell-Massey. Web.

  • Available at:

Clemens, William M. Hunter Family Records: An Account of the First American Settlers and Colonial Families of the Name of Hunter, and Other Genealogical and Historical Data, Mostly New and Original Material, Including Early Wills and Marriages Heretofore Unpublished. New York: William M. Clemens, 1914.

  • Available via Internet Archive at: 

"Died: Massey." The New York Times, November 29, 1915.

  • Available at:

"Dr. Hunter's Castile Soap." Caswell-Massey > Bar Soap. Caswell-Massey. Web.

  • Available at:

Emerson, Jason. Lincoln the Inventor. Carbondale IL: Southern Illinois University Press, 2009.

Guild, R.A. "The Scotts of Newport R.I." The New England Notes and Queries, Volume 1, No. 1 (January 1890): 2-4.

  • Available via Internet Archive at:

“JFK’s Dogs.” Presidential Pet Museum > Pets. July 22, 2013. Presidential Pets. Web.

  • Available at:

"Jockey Club Bath Soap." Caswell-Massey > Bar Soap. Caswell-Massey. Web.

  • Available at:

Kelly, Howard Atwood, and Walter L. Burrage. American Medical Biographies. Baltimore: The Norman, Remington Company, 1920.

  • Available via Internet Archive at:

Mack, Charles R., and Lynn Robertson, eds. The Roman Remains: John Izard Middleton's Visual Souvenirs of 1820 - 1823, with Additional Views in Italy, France, and Switzerland. Columbia SC: University of South Carolina, 1997.

Moore, Frank. American Eloquence: A Collection of Speeches and Addresses by the Most Eminent Orators of America; with Biographical Sketches and Illustrative Notes. In two volumes. Volume II. New York and London: D. Appleton and Company, 1857.

  • Available via Internet Archive at:

Morgan, Keith N., and Timothy T. More. "Malbone." National Register of Historic Places Inventory -- Nomination Form. February 18, 1976.

  • Available cached at:‎

"Number Six Bath Soap." Caswell-Massey > Bar Soap. Caswell-Massey. Web.

  • Available at:

"Presidential Soap Collection." Caswell-Massey > Bar Soap. Caswell-Massey. Web.

  • Available at:

Representative Men and Old Families of Rhode Island: Genealogical Records and Historical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens and of Many of the Old Families. Volume I. Chicago IL: J.H. Beers & Co., 1908.

  • Available via HathiTrust at:

Roberts, Gary Boyd, ed. Genealogies of Rhode Island Families: From The New England Historical and Genealogical Register. Volume II: Niles - Wilson (plus source records). Baltimore MD: Clearfield Company, 2011.

Ruger, William Crawford (Chief Judge). "John R. Caswell et al., as Survivors, etc., Appellants, v. Rowland N. Hazard et al., Respondents." Reports of Cases Decided in the Court of Appeals of the State of New York, From and Including Decisions of April 15, 1890, to October 7, 1890. Volume CXXI: 484-498. Albany NY: James B. Lyon, 1890.

Shields, Gail. "How and when did Gilbert Stuart embark on a career as an artist?" The Gilbert Stuart Birthplace and Museum Newsletter, Fall 2010: 4.

  • Available at:‎

Stone, Edwin Martin. Our French Allies: Rochambeau and his Army, Lafayette and his Devotion, D'Estaing, DeTernay, Barras, DeGrasse, and their Fleets, in the Great War of the American Revolution, from 1778 to 1782. Providence RI: Providence Press Company, 1884.

  • Available via Internet Archive at:

Tolman, Ruel Pardee. The Life and Works of Edward Greene Malbone 1777 - 1807. New York: The New York Historical Society, 1958.

  • Available via Internet Archive at:

 "William Morton Massey Obituary." American Druggist and Pharmaceutical Record, Volume LXIII (December 1915): 72.


U.S. Presidential symbol, Washington DC address of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, a place where Caswell-Massey fragrances are valued:

official residence and principal workplace of every President of the United States since 2nd President, John Adams, took up residence on November 1, 1800.
2007 aerial photo by Carol M. Highsmith (born May 18, 1946)
2007 aerial photo by Carol M. Highsmith (born May 18, 1946)
the end which is also the beginning
the end which is also the beginning

Paper Street Soap Company: Navy t-shirt

Unlike Caswell & Massey, PSSC is a front for a fight club.
Fight Club - Paper Soap Company Logo
Ad AllPosters

Me and my purrfectly purrfect Maine coon kittycat, Augusta "Gusty" Sunshine

Gusty and I thank you for reading this article and hope that our product selection interests you; Gusty Gus receives favorite treats from my commissions.
DerdriuMarriner, All Rights Reserved
DerdriuMarriner, All Rights Reserved
Updated: 10/19/2021, DerdriuMarriner
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DerdriuMarriner on 03/18/2017

katiem2, It makes each president more of a person that the four had different preferences in terms of what they wanted to smell like!

katiem2 on 03/18/2017

Very interesting, the variety of bar soaps here is amazing, very intriguing.

DerdriuMarriner on 09/03/2015

CruiseReady, Isn't it interesting to think of Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Lincoln, and Washington in this way? ;-]

CruiseReady on 08/31/2015

This is so cool - a neat little glimpse of U.S. History intertwined with presidential trivia that virtually unknown by most people. Thank you for bringing to to light.

DerdriuMarriner on 03/20/2014

Mira, It can be fun to know that a preferred fragrance is shared with a famous person. The fragrances favored by these presidents seem like good choices. I also like that each had a distinctive fragrance to call their own.

Mira on 03/20/2014

These would make great presents! I loved the article, too. Learned a few things. Very nice read!

DerdriuMarriner on 02/17/2014

cmoneyspinner, You're welcome.

cmoneyspinner on 02/17/2014

Fascinating! Thanks for sharing.

DerdriuMarriner on 02/16/2014

cmoneyspinner, George Washington appeared to be showing that this member of his household was important, that he was a person, and that this person was cherished enough to be included in an official family portrait. Quite a statement for back then.
One of Robert E. Lee's relatives mentioned this painting in a book she wrote and noted the rarity -- if not the uniqueness -- of this inclusion.

cmoneyspinner on 02/12/2014

Wow! Didn't know there was a controversy about the guy with his back up against the wall. (???) Don't know what kind of statement Mr. Washington would be making. But I guess you can assume he authorized the inclusion. Because if I were George Washington, and the artist had included a non-family member in MY family portrait without MY say-so, the painter would not have received a red cent from me! And I surely would not have referred him to anybody else!! :)

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