White House Reunion at the Nixon Library
Although Presidential Library dedications are not the only settings for Presidential camaraderie, the ceremonies offer rare opportunities for the rest of us to see these men interact with each other.
When the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum first opened as a private facility on July 19, 1990, it marked the first time that four Presidents were seen together at a public event. The ceremony featured speeches from then-President George Bush, and former Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald R. Ford, and Ronald Reagan.
Seventeen years later, the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum officially became a part of the Federally operated Presidential libraries system. On July 11, 2007, a ceremony was held to announce the partnership between the Richard Nixon Foundation and the National Archives.
Photo: The Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum dedication. July 19, 1990. Courtesy of the Richard Nixon Foundation.
A Quick History of Presidents and Presidential Library Dedications
It’s not often that all the living U.S. Presidents are together at one time, but on April 25, the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum will be dedicated to the American public. Although many dignitaries from around the world will attend, all eyes will likely focus on the gathering of men who have called the White House home.
In addition to George W. Bush, guests of honor will include current Commander-in-Chief Barack Obama, and former Presidents William J. Clinton, George Bush, and Jimmy Carter. Read More
-Gerald R. Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George Bush, and Richard Nixon at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library dedication. 11/4/91.
-Dwight D. Eisenhower looks at a key to his Presidential Library at the dedication ceremony. 10/31/59.
-The George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum.
George H.W. Bush visits the life-size sculpture of Franklin D. Roosevelt seated in a wheelchair at the FDR Memorial in Washington, D.C.
The FDR Memorial was first dedicated on May 2, 1997. Landscape architect Lawrence Halprin had designed the memorial with special attention to accessibility, however, the original design did not include a statue of FDR in a wheelchair. The 32nd President had used one after his legs were paralyzed from polio in 1921.
Advocates for the disabled protested that there should be an accurate depiction of FDR. A statue of FDR in a wheelchair would, they argued, increase awareness of disability history and of the accomplishments of people with disabilities.
President Clinton agreed, and sent legislation to Congress to modify the memorial with a sculpture of FDR in his wheelchair. The statue was unveiled in January 2001, and now greets visitors at the entrance to the FDR Memorial.
Photo: George H.W. Bush, Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton, advocates for the disabled Michael Deland and Alan Reich, and other dignitaries visit the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial. 2/12/03.
Babe Ruth and George Bush
On January 29, 1936, the Baseball Hall of Fame elected its first members. Among the five men was Babe Ruth, seen in this photograph taken in 1948, donating the manuscript of his autobiography to Yale.
The young man in uniform is the captain of the Yale baseball team and a future President. George H. W. Bush was an older college student—he had delayed going to college and joined the Navy after the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Practice Makes Perfect
Military personnel act as stand-ins for President-elect George H.W. Bush, Barbara Bush, Vice President-elect J. Danforth Quayle and Marilyn Quayle during a rehearsal prior to the Inauguration Day ceremonies of the 41st president of the United States, 01/15/1989