I Like Ike’s Birthday
Dwight D. Eisenhower was born in Denison, Texas on October 14, 1890. Ike, as the Eisenhower boys were called, was the third of seven sons. Ike’s family moved to Abilene, Kansas, and the years he spent in the town were among the most important of his life.
Ike relished the history of the Wild West and of ancient times. He named Hannibal, Caesar, Pericles, and Socrates as among his boyhood heroes, competing with cowboys and lawmen for his admiration. Ike’s devotion to the study of the past sometimes came at the expense of other homework and chores and once led his mother to lock up his history books as punishment for neglecting his childhood duties.
Eisenhower excelled at sports - baseball and football in particular, but he also boxed, fished, trapped, hunted, camped, and played poker - the latter learned at the hand of an eccentric outdoorsman and adventurer who taught him how to compute percentages and figure odds, invaluable skills for the future military and political leader.
Ike’s poker skills were enhanced by his powers of observation, some of which were recorded in the margins of his school books, where he rated his teachers as “good” or “cross.” Eisenhower continued his habit of writing character assessments throughout his military and political careers. Historians rate his personnel decisions in the Army and politics as among his greatest skills.
Other important character traits emerged in the Abilene years. Ike attended integrated schools, but when some of his football teammates refused to line up opposite a visiting African American player, Eisenhower volunteered for the position, and shook the player’s hand after the game.
To help bring money into the household, Ike baked and sold tamales; grew and sold sweet corn and cucumbers; harvested wheat, picked apples, and hammered out steel grain bins. He joined the Belle Springs Creamery after graduating high school in 1909, toiling as a fireman from 6:00 p.m. to 6 a.m. seven days a week. With his creamery proceeds he supported his brother Edgar through two years of college at the University of Michigan. The plan was for Edgar to work the next two years for Ike’s schooling. Instead Ike won an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, and left the creamery and Abilene in 1911.
Dwight David Eisenhower was born the year the US census pronounced the frontier closed and died the year man walked on the moon. In between those milestones he planned and led the greatest amphibious military assault in history and served two terms as President. Yet on reflection of this eventful life he declared: “The proudest thing I can claim is that I am from Abilene.”
Happy birthday Ike!
-from the Eisenhower Library
Happy 90th Birthday Jimmy Carter!
James Earl Carter, Jr., thirty-ninth president of the United States, was born October 1, 1924, in the small farming town of Plains, Georgia. His father, James Earl Carter, Sr., was a farmer and businessman; his mother, Lillian Gordy Carter, a registered nurse.
Jimmy was educated in the public school of Plains, attended Georgia Southwestern College and the Georgia Institute of Technology, and received a B.S. degree from the United States Naval Academy in 1946.
In the Navy, Jimmy became a submariner, serving in both the Atlantic and Pacific fleets and rising to the rank of lieutenant. Jimmy was chosen for the nuclear submarine program and took graduate work in reactor technology and nuclear physics. He served as a senior officer of the Seawolf, the second nuclear submarine.
Jimmy Carter served as president from January 20, 1977 to January 20, 1981. Significant foreign policy accomplishments of his administration included the Panama Canal treaties, the Camp David Accords, the treaty of peace between Egypt and Israel, the SALT II treaty with the Soviet Union, and the establishment of U.S. diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China. He championed human rights throughout the world.
On December 10, 2002, the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2002 to Mr. Carter “for his decades of untiring effort to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights, and to promote economic and social development.”
Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter volunteer one week a year for Habitat for Humanity, a nonprofit organization that helps needy people in the United States and in other countries renovate and build homes for themselves. He teaches Sunday school and is a deacon in the Maranatha Baptist Church of Plains. The Carters have three sons, one daughter, nine grandsons, three granddaughters, four great-grandsons and five great-granddaughters.
Jimmy at the age of one month with mother, Lillian Carter. November, 1924.
Jimmy in his Annapolis Naval Academy uniform. 1943.
Jimmy Carter, campaigning for the presidency. 1974.
The Carters walk to the White House from the Capitol building. Inauguration Day, 1/20/77.
Anwar Sadat, Jimmy Carter, and Menahem Begin at the signing of the Treaty of Peace Between Egypt and Israel. 3/29/79.
Jimmy Carter receiving the Nobel Peace Prize. 12/10/02.
Jacqueline Kennedy was born on this day in 1929, in Southhampton, New York. She was named Jacqueline Lee Bouvier. Her father, John, was a stockbroker on Wall Street whose family had come from France in the early 1800s. Her mother, Janet, had ancestors from Ireland and England.
As a child, Jackie loved to read. Before she started school, she had read all the children’s books on her bookshelves. Her heroes were Mowgli from Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book, Robin Hood, Little Lord Fauntleroy’s grandfather, Scarlett O’Hara from Gone With the Wind, and the poet Byron.
Photo: Jacqueline Bouvier, 1935. Photograph by David Berne in the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.
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