Happy 80th Birthday to the National Archives (that’s us)!
Today in 1934, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the National Archives Act, “to establish a National Archives of the United States Government.”
Five years later, in 1939, FDR planted the seed for the Presidential Library system when he donated his personal and Presidential papers to the Federal Government.
Before this, Presidents or their heirs often dispersed Presidential papers at the end of the administration. Though many pre-Hoover collections now reside in the Library of Congress, others are split among other libraries, historical societies, and private collections. Sadly, many materials have been lost or deliberately destroyed.
FDR’s decision stemmed from a firm belief that Presidential papers are an important part of the national heritage and should be accessible to the public. He asked the National Archives to take custody of his papers and other historical materials and to administer his library.
Act of June 19, 1934 (“National Archives Act”), Public Law 73-432, 48 STAT 1122, “to create a National Archives of the United States Government and for other purposes.”, 06/19/1934.
Franklin D. Roosevelt portrait, 1933. From the FDR Presidential Library.
The Constitution Avenue Entrance of the National Archives, Washington, D.C. 1935.
The National Archives is celebrating eight decades of history throughout today, learn more here.
Skydiving at 90? You betcha. George Bush is celebrating his birthday today with a parachute jump over Maine right now.
Here’s a photo of President Bush on his 75th birthday, when he marked the occasion with a skydive over the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum.
If you are near College Station, Texas, don your craziest pair of socks and join the celebration at the Bush Library for the birthdays of President and Mrs. Bush (Mrs. Bush’s 89th birthday was June 8, and President Bush’s 90th birthday is June 12.) There will be free cake, entertainment, and a Texas favorite, Blue Bell ice cream!
Happy Birthday George Bush!
Happy Birthday Stephen Colbert!
Dr. James Colbert, Stephen’s dad was not only a notable physician, but was named the national co-chair of Doctors for John F. Kennedy. Here’s a 1960 press release announcing Dr. Colbert’s appointment to the head of Doctors for JFK.
"Long before his candidacy for the President, Senator Kennedy made significant health proposals to improve the health of the nation…Senator Kennedy gives proper consideration to both the dignity and the self-respect of the patient as well as the needs of the country as a whole,” Dr. Colbert stated.
-from the JFK Library
Dr. Jonas Salk would have turned 99 on October 28.
On April 12, 1955 it was announced that Dr. Salk had developed a vaccine against polio. Here he is on April 22, 1955 after receiving a citation from President Eisenhower for his work.
-from the Eisenhower Library
Happy (belated) Birthday, Jimmy Carter!
Though we were unable to wish Mr. Carter a happy birthday on the day-of, we can still keep the birthday celebrations going (and give everyone an excuse to eat another slice of cake)!
James Earl Carter, Jr. was born on October 1, 1924, in the small farming town of Plains, Georgia and was raised in the nearby community of Archery. Read more about the thirty-ninth President here and see if you can find him among the Plains High School class of 1941 in the photo above!
Happy Birthday, LBJ!
Here’s the first photograph ever taken of Lyndon Baines Johnson. He was born approximately six months earlier, on August 27, 1908, in central Texas. No word on the teddy bear’s photographic history, but at least we know it had nicely brushed fur the day this was taken.
-from the LBJ Library
Herbert Clark Hoover was born on August 10, 1874, the son of Jesse Hoover, a blacksmith, and Hulda Minthorn Hoover, a seamstress and recorded minister in the Society of Friends (Quakers). Hoover was born in West Branch, Iowa, where he enjoyed fishing in the local creek and working in his father’s blacksmith shop.
He lived in Iowa only for the first decade of his life. Orphaned at the age of nine, he began an odyssey that would make him a multi-millionaire, international humanitarian, secretary of commerce, and 31st president of the United States.
-from the Hoover Library
Some DYK on JFK’s Birthday—
During World War II, John F. Kennedy joined the Navy. He was made Lieutenant (Lt.) and assigned to the South Pacific as commander of a patrol torpedo boat, the PT-109.
On the night of August 2, 1943, Lt. Kennedy’s crew patrolled the waters looking for enemy ships to sink. A Japanese destroyer suddenly became visible. But it was traveling at full speed and headed straight at them.
Lt. Kennedy was slammed hard against the cockpit, injuring his back. Patrick McMahon, one of his crew members, had horrible burns on his face and hands and was ready to give up. In the darkness,
At sunrise, Lt. Kennedy led his men toward a small island several miles away. Despite his own injuries, Lt. Kennedy was able to tow Patrick McMahon ashore, a strap from McMahon’s life jacket clenched between his teeth.
Six days later two native islanders found them and went for help, delivering a message Jack had carved into a piece of coconut shell.
Photo: Lieutenant John F. Kennedy in the South Pacific, circa 1943
More about JFK in World War II - From the JFK Library