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.
Fifty years ago, a mere two weeks after President Kennedy’s death, seven individuals met in Boston to begin creating the memorial to his life. Lem Billings, Nathan Pusey, Ed Hanify, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. and Evelyn Lincoln joined the president’s brothers Robert and Edward to form the organization that would build JFK’s presidential library: the John F. Kennedy Memorial Library Corporation (now known as the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation).
Pictured: One of the signed documents establishing the President John F. Kennedy Memorial Library Corporation.
-from the JFK Library
Let us pause and give thanks for the fact that Nelson Mandela lived — a man who took history in his hands, and bent the arc of the moral universe toward justice.
Construction of the Hoover Dam
Herbert Hoover drafted the agreement which allowed the dam on the Colorado River to move forward. Construction began during his Presidency in 1932.
Work began on the four tunnels that were needed to divert the river so that the dam could be built on dry land. These tunnels, 56 feet in diameter, were completed on November 14, 1932.
On June 6, 1933, after excavating the riverbed and clearing the canyon walls, the first concrete of the dam structure was poured.
Using cableways, concrete was transported in buckets over the canyon and poured into forms and cooled using a system of pipes. Concrete was also used to build intake towers, spillways, and penstocks.
The last concrete for the dam was poured on February 21, 1935. The completed dam, an amazing feat of engineering and logistics, was turned over to the federal government a little over a year later.
Photo of concrete being lowered to the Boulder Dam. December 5, 1934.
I think there is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.
Madeleine Albright, 2006
On this day in history — December 5, 1996 — Madeleine Albright was nominated for U.S. Secretary of State by President Bill Clinton. She was the first woman to hold the post.
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!
Did you know that Mr. Truman met Pablo Picasso?
During his 1958 trip to Europe, Mr. Truman met with Mr. Picasso outside his ceramics studio in Vallauris, France. Just because they met each other did not mean that they liked each other. Mr. Truman hated modern art, what he called “ham and eggs art,” and later referred to Picasso as a “French Communist caricaturist.”
-from the Truman Library
Ike’s Bourbon Egg Nog
Our Presidents is celebrating the holiday season with First Family foods! We’ll be serving up festive Presidential recipes and White House menus all month long.
To whet your appetite, here’s Dwight D. Eisenhower’s recipe for Egg Nog. The former President and Five Star General made some serious stuff — scaled to serve a small army of revelers. Make sure you’ve got a quart of bourbon and a pound of sugar on hand!
Ike was an avid cook and kept a personal collection of favorite recipes. These were either typed by his staff or clipped from newspapers and magazines. Take a look at more recipes from Ike’s cookbook here.
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.