Yesterday, December 7, 1941, a date which will live in infamy — the United States was suddenly and deliberately attached by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan. —
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Did you know “infamy” was not in President Roosevelt’s initial message to Congress after the attack on Pearl Harbor? See FDR’s handwritten edits from the FDR Library.
Gerald R. Ford’s Remarks at his Swearing-in as Vice President
On December 6, 1973, Gerald R. Ford was sworn in as the 40th Vice President of the United States in front of a joint session of Congress. Here is the first page of his reading copy of the remarks he delivered after taking the oath of office.
See the entire speech here.
-from the Ford Library
Nelson Mandela with members of the Kennedy family outside the JFK Library.
-from the JFK Library
Fifty years ago, a mere two weeks after President Kennedy’s death, seven individuals met in Boston to begin creating the memorial to his life. Lem Billings, Nathan Pusey, Ed Hanify, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. and Evelyn Lincoln joined the president’s brothers Robert and Edward to form the organization that would build JFK’s presidential library: the John F. Kennedy Memorial Library Corporation (now known as the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation).
Pictured: One of the signed documents establishing the President John F. Kennedy Memorial Library Corporation.
-from the JFK Library
Personal Story Saved from the USS Arizona: 72 Years Later
A big challenge in preserving paper is dealing with the consequences of how records were maintained during the time they were actively used. Navy personnel records are difficult ones. Folded in thirds to fit into “jackets” or “bricks,” as the expandable brown folders are called, pages get torn, creased, and scrunched, requiring treatment. In the case of career Seaman 1st class Walter Lewis Hampton, the record is one hefty assemblage of papers spilling out of the small folder. Enlisted in 1925, Hampton served on the USS Henderson, the Arkansas, and the Wyoming, among others, before reporting for his final duty in December 1940 when he joined the USS Arizona.
Hampton’s sizable record contains a very special segment of documents - the Service Record kept on board the Arizona itself. This portion of his record was maintained to keep at close hand information on his enlistment, service, training, and physical description while at sea. It was among the records salvaged by the Navy after the loss of the USS Arizona on Dec. 7th, 1941. As Archives staff identifies records damaged aboard the Arizona, they are brought to the Paper Lab.
Hampton was among the missing after the attack on Pearl Harbor. He left four children and a wife who had initiated divorce proceedings on the grounds of years of abandonment. Although bearing the scars of the attack, his service record still details his personal description. Brown hair, blue eyes, a ruddy face, and tattoos—a kewpie doll, sailor boy, Red Cross nurse, pig, and rooster. This personal information is all perfectly maintained despite the bloom of heat from the center of the booklet, or accretions of dirt along the edges of the pages that still remain from long ago blasts. For these special documents, not only the information they contain but the remnant damage of battle itself preserve an important piece of history.
Let us pause and give thanks for the fact that Nelson Mandela lived — a man who took history in his hands, and bent the arc of the moral universe toward justice. — President Obama, December 5, 2013 (via The State Department)
(Source: whitehouse.gov, via usagov)
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela
July 18, 1918 - December 5, 2013
Image: President William J. Clinton walking with President Nelson Mandela on Robben Island, South Africa. March 27, 1998.
-from the Clinton Library
President Truman in Key West
President Truman shows off the tie clasp that he received from the officers and crew of the submarine U-2513, which he visited while on vacation in Key West, Florida. December 5, 1947.
-from the Truman Library
Construction of the Hoover Dam
Herbert Hoover drafted the agreement which allowed the dam on the Colorado River to move forward. Construction began during his Presidency in 1932.
Work began on the four tunnels that were needed to divert the river so that the dam could be built on dry land. These tunnels, 56 feet in diameter, were completed on November 14, 1932.
On June 6, 1933, after excavating the riverbed and clearing the canyon walls, the first concrete of the dam structure was poured.
Using cableways, concrete was transported in buckets over the canyon and poured into forms and cooled using a system of pipes. Concrete was also used to build intake towers, spillways, and penstocks.
The last concrete for the dam was poured on February 21, 1935. The completed dam, an amazing feat of engineering and logistics, was turned over to the federal government a little over a year later.
Photo of concrete being lowered to the Boulder Dam. December 5, 1934.
Building the Hoover Dam - from the Presidential Timeline