June 17, 1965. Astronauts Edward White (right) and James McDivitt (left) and their families arrive at the White House. After a ceremony that evening at the State Department, the President makes a surprise announcement that he is sending the astronauts and their wives to Paris for the Air Show—and that they’ll leave at 4am on the Presidential plane.
“After about a half an hour we gathered up Governor Dewey [of New York] and went back to the White House, still without dinner, and here began the funniest part of this crescendo of a day. When the astronauts’ wives came in, I took them back to my office-dressing room and opened up the closet where my evening dresses hang, because what does any woman think about when she hears she’s going to Paris—clothes!”
After a “fashion show” to select the evening gowns they’ll borrow and bring to Paris, Lady Bird also arranges for laundry, noting that their visitors been traveling for several days, and asks the kitchen to prepare dinner for a “starving, bewildered Governor Dewey.”
LBJ Library image A684-17A, public domain. Lady Bird quote from A White House Diary, New York: Dell Books, 1971, pg 317-318.
Iconic Presidential Photos
The Presidential Libraries are now on Pinterest. You’ll find some of the most requested images from the holdings of all 13 Presidential Libraries.
We’re pinning the historic moments, meetings with world leaders, Air Force One, First Ladies, and much more. You’ll find a fair share of White House pet pics too.
Take a look and let us know what else you would like to see!
Photos: Lyndon B. Johnson gives Senator Richard Russell the “Johnson Treatment.” 11/7/63.
General Dwight D. Eisenhower Meeting the Troops Prior to the Normandy Invasion. 6/5/44.
The Big Three — Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Joseph Stalin at the Yalta Conference. 2/9/45.
John F. Kennedy points to a reporter at a news conference. 11/20/62.
Gerald R. Ford in the Oval Office. 3/25/75
Ping Pong Diplomacy
President Richard Nixon’s trip to China in 1972 ended 25 years of isolation between the U.S. and the People’s Republic of China. During the week of February 21-29, the President traveled to Beijing, Hangzhou, and Shanghai - thawing relations with a country that had long been closed to the West.
Forty years later, Our Presidents will be revisiting the iconic events of Nixon in China. Stay tuned for behind-the-scenes details about this landmark trip.
Photos: President and Mrs. Nixon’s arrival in Peking, China. Nixon reviews troops at the airport; Air Force One in Peking, 02/21/1972.
-from the Nixon Library
Recently discovered Air Force One tapes recorded after President Kennedy’s assassination-
An original audiotape recording that includes taped conversations on Air Force One during its flight following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy has been donated to the National Archives by The Raab Collection.
The conversations were between pilots and other individuals on the flight and various individuals in Washington, DC, on the flight back from Dallas, TX, to Andrews Air Force Base. It is two hours and 22 minutes long.
The Raab Collection recently discovered two ¼” open-reel audiotapes containing identical excerpts from the Air Force One flight on November 22, 1963, among the papers of Army General Chester “Ted” Clifton, Jr. General Clifton served as senior military aide to President John F. Kennedy and had received the tapes from the White House Communications Agency (WHCA).
Photo: Swearing in of Lyndon B. Johnson as President aboard Air Force One, with Lady Bird Johnson, Jacqueline Kennedy, and others.
Lyndon B. Johnson takes the Presidential Oath of Office, November 22 1963
At 2:38 p.m. Lyndon B. Johnson stood in the tight, crowded compartment of Air Force One and took the oath of office. U.S. District Court Judge Sarah Hughes administered the ceremony moments before take-off from Love Field in Dallas, Texas. Lady Bird Johnson and Jacqueline Kennedy both stood next to the new president.
Interested in Air Force One, Marine One, or presidential pilots? Tell us what POTUS-related aviation history you would like to see.
November is National Aviation History Month!
Are you a big fan of female fliers? Giddy over gyrocopters? Or do you get excited about experimental aircraft?
What aviation history themes would you like us to explore this month? Naval aviators? Dogfights? Lighter-than-air aircraft? Test Pilots?
Air Force 0.1
During Harry Truman’s presidency a new plane was issued for his travel. Named The Independence after his home town in Missouri, the plane was a four engine DC-6. The exterior was painted gold, blue, and silver with a distinctive eagle face on the nose. The interior featured mahogany, elk hide, and “transparent plastic.”
According to the makers, it was equipped with “every known device for flying safety” including a pressurized cabin for high-altitude flying, whereas the previous presidential plane required individual oxygen supplies.
The call sign Air Force One would not be used for presidential aircrafts until the Fifties.
Here, The Independence prepares for a flight to Rio de Janeiro. August 31, 1947.
-from the Truman Library