As we continue to explore the Roosevelts through National Archives records this week in conjunction with Ken Burns's The Roosevelts documentary series on pbstv, today we turn our attention to Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.
Eleanor Roosevelt was an active and focused First Lady, transforming the role during her 12 years in the White House. She pushed for a number of domestic and social reforms, and remained professionally active in journalism, penning a monthly column for Woman’s Home Companion magazine and Ladies Home Journal as well as a syndicated daily newspaper column called “My Day.”
On March 6, 1933, Eleanor Roosevelt held the first of her 348 women’s-only press conferences. These press conferences were attended by the major female reporters of the day - including Lorena Hickok, Ruby Black, Bess Furman, May Craig, Emma Bugbee and Martha Stayer.
Eleanor used these press conferences as a way to not only announce her schedule of activities but also as a platform to publicize the work of women leaders, answer her critics, and entertain questions on a variety of subjects. Topics covered everything from domestic issues like social programs, race, youth activism, etc. to international politics and the role of women in war and peace.
Image of “Eleanor Roosevelt’s First Press Conference" and information via fdrlibrary.
Happy Constitution Day! Didn’t make it to the National Archives to check out our founding document? Go behind the scenes at the Constitutional Convention.
Constitution of the United States
Item From: General Records of the United States Government. (05/14/1787- 09/17/1787)
The Federal Convention convened on May 14, 1787 in Philadelphia’s Independence Hall to revise the problematic Articles of Confederation. Since only two states had delegations present, any substantive debate was postponed until a quorum of seven states was attained on May 25th. After exhaustive deliberation well into the middle of June, the Convention concluded that the Articles were not salvageable and needed to be replaced with something that represented their collective interests while ensuring their continued independence.
Through subsequent closed sessions, the delegates continually debated, drafted and redrafted the articles of this new Constitution until it resembled the one we have today. The main points of contention were how much power was apportioned to the Federal Government, how many Congressional representatives were allotted to each state, and whether these representatives would be directly elected by their constituents or appointed by their state legislatures.
This new Constitution was the cumulative result of many minds coming together to conceptualize and debate the future course of the country. Through subsequent generations it has been amended and reinterpreted many times, but its continued success stems from adherence to these early promises of representation and compromise.
May 19, 1967. President Johnson sends a letter to Chairman Kosygin of the Soviet Union in an attempt to ease Cold War rising tensions. LBj later recalled:
“The spring of 1967 was an ominous season. I seemed to wake up almost every morning with a new crisis staring me in the face. Tensions were rising in the Middle East as a result of increased Syrian harassment of Israel. Castro’s illegal supply line of men and arms into Venezuela had been exposed to the world. The North Vietnamese were sending larger forces into South Vietnam.
I underlined these ‘situations’ in a letter to Kosygin on May 19, 1967. Each problem was dangerous in itself, I wrote, but taken together they ‘could seriously impair the interests of our two countries and the attempts which have been made on both sides to improve our relations.’ I urged that we act, together or separately, ‘to bring these situations under control.’”
Read the whole letter here. LBJ quote from Lyndon Baines Johnson, The Vantage Point: Perspectives on the Presidency 1963-1969. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1971. P. 480. LBJ Presidential Library photo A2981-12 [8/11/66], public domain. Draft letter, LBJ to Kosygin, #30c, “Kosygin,” Files of Walt W. Rostow, NSF, Box 10, LBJ Presidential Library.
It’s National #HispanicHeritageMonth!
A portrait of revolutionary Latin American leader Simón Bolívar over the mantle in Harry S. Truman’s Oval Office, ca 1946. (via ourpresidents)
Photograph of the fireplace in the Oval Office of the White House, with a portrait of Simon Bolivar hanging over the mantelpiece, flanked by portraits of Franklin D. Roosevelt and George Washington., 11/05/1946
Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15, by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.
Find more Hispanic Heritage Month resources at the http://www.hispanicheritagemonth.gov/ web portal →
Franklin and Eleanor’s Marriage Certificate, March 17, 1905
Franklin asked his former Groton School headmaster, Rev. Endicott Peabody, to officiate at the wedding, saying “it would not be the same without you.” At the conclusion of the Episcopal ceremony, the official marriage certificate was signed. President Theodore Roosevelt and First Lady Edith Kermit Roosevelt signed as the witnesses.
Curious about Presidential History? Ask a Curator!
Do you have questions about Presidential history and artifacts? Tomorrow, the Presidential Libraries of the National Archives will be answering questions live for #AskaCurator Day on Twitter.
Over 600 museums from 40 countries will be participating, including our very own experts on Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, and Jimmy Carter. You can also ask curators at the National Archives Exhibits in Washington, D.C.
Museum Objects from the Presidential Libraries:
Rocking Chair used by John F. Kennedy in the Oval Office; RCA Radio Microphone used by FDR to deliver some of his Fireside Chats from the White House; HMS Resolute Desk replica at the JFK Library; Portrait by Octavio Ocampo presented to President Carter on the occasion of a state dinner honoring José López Portillo, President of Mexico, February 1979; 1957 Inaugural gown of Mamie Eisenhower; WWII POW Diary at the Truman Library;1952 Eisenhower campaign hat.
Welcome to Roosevelt Week! In conjunction with our Board Vice President Ken Burns’s new documentary series "The Roosevelts: An Intimate History," this week we will be featuring related records from the holdings of the usnatarchives and the fdrlibrary.
Theodore Roosevelt and the regiment under his command, the 1st United States Volunteer Cavalry, known as the “Rough Riders,” became heroes after their victory at the Battle of San Juan Hill during the Spanish-American War. Shortly after the war ended, Roosevelt was elected as Governor of New York, thanks in large part to his wartime exploits, beginning his long and storied career in high-profile politics.
Discover more about Teddy, Franklin, and Eleanor Roosevelt in “The Roosevelts: An Intimate History,” premiering tonight on pbstv at 8pm EST.
Today in history, September 16, 1940, FDR signed the Selective Training and Service Act. It authorized the first peacetime military draft in American history.
Selective Service Signing Pen
“We must be the great arsenal of democracy. For us this is an emergency as serious as war itself. We must apply ourselves to our task with the same resolution, the same sense of urgency, the same spirit of patriotism and sacrifice as we would show were we at war.”
- Franklin Roosevelt, Fireside Chat, December 29, 1940
In the spring of 1940 German armies swept across Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands, and Belgium. In June, France collapsed. Suddenly, Britain stood alone. FDR responded by increasing military spending and supporting a peacetime draft.
FDR used this pen to sign the Selective Training and Service Act on September 16, 1940. It authorized the first peacetime military draft in American history. The photo, taken on October 29, 1940, depicts the first drawing of the Selective Service.