Yesterday, December 7, 1941, a date which will live in infamy — the United States was suddenly and deliberately attacked 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.
Be sure to check out FRANKLIN to discover archival documents and photos from the FDR Library!
On December 4, 2013, the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library launched FRANKLIN. What is FRANKLIN you ask?
FRANKLIN is a virtual research room and digital repository that provides free and open access to the digitized collections of the Roosevelt Library – to everyone, anywhere in the world. Whether you are a lover of history, a student working on a school project, or an experienced scholar and author, FRANKLIN opens a door to some of the most significant and in-demand historical materials our Library has to offer. Now you can search by keyword, browse through photograph galleries and document lists, and for the first time open whole folders of archival documents online – a level of discovery that till now was only possible in-person.
Many of the most important documents of the twentieth century are now available for you to view on FRANKLIN – from your living room, classroom, office or dorm room. With this initial launch, FRANKLIN makes 350,000 documents and 2,000 public domain photographs available to you now. And we will be adding even more digitized content in the months and years to come.
FRANKLIN is the result of a special cooperative effort — a unique combination of public, nonprofit, and corporate support. The Roosevelt Library and its parent agency, the National Archives, worked with nonprofit partner the Roosevelt Institute to digitize a large amount of microfilmed archival documents. The Library’s digital partner and web host, Marist College, then developed and implemented FRANKLIN’s underlying database infrastructure based on the Archon platform. Marist runs the system using powerful servers manufactured by Marist and Roosevelt Library corporate partner, IBM.
So go to the Roosevelt Library’s website www.fdrlibrary.marist.edu to start exploring FRANKLIN today!
The “Big Three” in Teheran, November 30, 1943
From November 28 to December 1, 1943, the “Big Three”—Franklin D. Roosevelt, Joseph Stalin, and Winston Churchill—met at Teheran, Iran to discuss the progress of the war and plans for what would become the D-day invasion of June 6, 1944.
Frames excerpted from:
THE CAPTURE OF TARAWA FROM JAPAN! [ETC.], 1943
1939: The Year of Two Thanksgivings
At the beginning of Franklin Roosevelt’s presidency, Thanksgiving was not a fixed holiday; it was up to the President to issue a Thanksgiving Proclamation to announce what date the holiday would fall on. President Abraham Lincoln had declared Thanksgiving a national holiday on the last Thursday in November in 1863 and tradition dictated that it be celebrated on the last Thursday of that month. But this tradition was difficult to continue during the challenging times of the Great Depression as statistics showed that most people waited until after Thanksgiving to begin their holiday shopping.
Roosevelt’s first Thanksgiving in office fell on November 30, the last day of the month, because November had five Thursdays that year. This meant that there were only about 20 shopping days until Christmas; business leaders feared they would lose the much needed revenue an extra week of shopping would afford them. They asked President Roosevelt to move the holiday up from the 30th to the 23rd; however he choose to keep the Thanksgiving Holiday on the last Thursday of the month as it had been for nearly three quarters of a century.
In 1939, with the country still reeling from the effects of the Great Depression, Thanksgiving once again threatened to fall on the last day of November. This time the President did move Thanksgiving up a week to the 23rd. Changing the date seemed harmless enough but it proved to be quite controversial as can be seen in this letter sent to the President in protest.
As opposition grew, some states took matters into their own hands and defied the Presidential Proclamation. Some governors declared November 30th as Thanksgiving. And so, depending upon where one lived, Thanksgiving was celebrated on the 23rd and the 30th. This was worse than changing the date in the first place because families that lived in states such as New York did not have the same day off as family members in states such as Connecticut! Family and friends were unable to celebrate the holiday together.
President Roosevelt observed Thanksgiving on the second to last Thursday of November for two more years, but the amount of public outrage prompted Congress to pass a law on December 26, 1941, ensuring that all Americans would celebrate a unified Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November every year.
State Senate campaign poster, 1910
Franklin Roosevelt entered politics at age 28. Handsome, engaging, and blessed with a celebrated, vote-getting last name, FDR began his rapid rise by winning a seat in New York’s state senate in 1910 and championing the kind of progressive reforms his distant cousin, Theodore Roosevelt, had called for.
This poster was distributed during FDR’s first election campaign in 1910. Running in a heavily-Republican district, he won by a narrow margin of 1,140 votes.
FDR Elected President for an Unprecedented Fourth Term — Today in History
Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected President of the United States four times: 1932, 1936, 1940, and on November 7, 1944.
Prior to the third-term election of 1940, it was a presidential tradition set by George Washington that presidents only held the office for two terms. As a result of FDR’s unprecedented four terms, the Twenty-second Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified in 1951, limiting all future presidents to two elected terms.
Photograph of President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivering his fourth Inaugural Address., 01/20/1945
-from the FDR Library
A Brief History of Camp David
The Presidential retreat was originally called “Shangri-La” by Franklin D. Roosevelt, but in 1953, Dwight d. Eisenhower re-named it “Camp David” in honor of his grandson David Eisenhower.
The name change rankled Democrats and there was talk of the name reverting to “Shangri-La” after Eisenhower’s presidency, but President Kennedy vetoed the idea and Camp David it remained.
Extensive redecorating and building took place at Camp David on Ike’s watch. Picnic tables, an outdoor cooking area, a bomb shelter and a projection booth were added during the remodeling.
Ike valued Camp David as a place to relax, but he also conducted official business there. Recuperating from a heart attack in late 1955, Eisenhower held Cabinet meetings and four meetings of the National Security Council at the camp.
In July 1957 he flew to Camp David by helicopter as part of the civil defense exercise “Operation Alert.” Ike was the first president to travel to Camp David by chopper. The helicopter cut the commute from Washington, D.C. down from two hours to just thirty minutes.
Eisenhower also used Camp David to entertain foreign leaders, a tradition that continues today.
In April 1961, former President Eisenhower traveled back to Camp David for the last time when he met President Kennedy there to review the failed Bay of Pigs operation.
Eisenhower’s many trips up the mountain, combined with his renaming of the compound and his highly publicized use of it for recreation and official business, helped make “Camp David” synonymous with the modern American presidency and international diplomacy.
Photo: David Eisenhower at the entrance to his namesake Presidential retreat, Camp David. 10/2/60.
Day 26: June 4
Controversial issues are part of every presidency. As a four term president Franklin D. Roosevelt had his share and as our exhibit design team and historians committee planned our new permanent museum exhibits we talked at great length about how to deal with them. Our decision was to address these issues head on.
Read more about our Confront the Issue interactives.