Condolence letter to Jacqueline Kennedy from Dr. Martin Luther King Sr. and Jr.
"Again my thanks, my pledge and my passionate hope that your words may become history. And I believe they will!"
— John Steinbeck to JFK
A letter from author John Steinbeck to President Kennedy, thanking him for his dedication to the arts.
(From the White House Central Subject Files, Box 711, Folder: PP 6-1 Entertainers)
On this day in 2004, Ronald Reagan lost his nearly ten-year battle with Alzheimer’s Disease. President Reagan informed the nation of his condition in November of 1994. In a candid, handwritten letter he wrote:
"At the moment, I feel just fine… Unfortunately, as Alzheimer’s Disease progresses, the family often bears a heavy burden. I only wish there was some way I could spare Nancy from the painful experience."
In 1995, Ronald and Nancy Reagan established an institute dedicated to the study of Alzheimer’s Disease.
Ronald Reagan passed away at home in California at the age of 93.
I have recently been told that I am one of the millions of Americans who will be afflicted with Alzheimer’s Disease.
In 1943, General Eisenhower sat down to write a letter to Ruth Eisenhower, the 4 year old daughter of his younger brother Milton.
In reply to a double-sided sheet of penciled “waves” addressed to “Uncle Ike” and signed “Ruthie,” Eisenhower wrote: “I enjoyed your letter. I know exactly what you said. I am astonished that you have made such progress since last I saw you. Since I cannot write as well as you do, I will have to have this done on the typewriter so your Mother may have to read it to you.” 4/6/43.
-from the Eisenhower Library
In honor of Mother’s Day, here’s an entertaining letter from JFK’s mother, Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, to President Kennedy.
In 1962, Rose Kennedy wrote to Soviet Premier Khrushchev asking for an autographed photo. Learning that his mother had reached out to the Soviet Premier, JFK wrote her this letter asking her to please check with him before she took it upon herself to correspond with heads of state as requests like hers are “subject to interpretations.” The timing is interesting, considering JFK wrote back to Rose almost immediately after the Cuban Missile Crisis.
In response to this letter, Rose Kennedy wrote back, saying: “I understand very well your letter, although I had not thought of it before. …When I ask for Castro’s autograph, I will let you know in advance!”
From the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Papers/JFK Library
"I am a little country boy eight years old."
-Forest Delano Roosevelt Ferguson letter to FDR
A guest post from Sherri DeCoursey, who used the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library to find a special piece of history for her father.
For as long as I can remember, a photo of FDR and a letter have hung side-by-side in the den of Mom and Dad’s home. The yellowed letter, written by FDR’s secretary Missy LeHand, was in response to a letter my father wrote the President in 1941. My dad—Forest Delano Roosevelt Ferguson—was eight years old in 1941. Dad will be 80 in June of this year…
Wouldn’t it be amazing, I thought, to have a glimpse of my father at such a young age—however small that glimpse was—if only to expand what I already knew about him as a father, business professional, family provider, veteran, jokester, and as we’ve grown older—a friend. What in the world would eight-year-old Forest Delano Roosevelt Ferguson have to say to the man running the country during such perilous times?
Seventy-two years after my father penned his letter, I discovered the answer to these questions in the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library. Read more on The National Archives blog
“I do believe before the day was over he did ask me to marry him and I thought he was just out of his mind.”
-Claudia Alta “Lady Bird” Taylor
Two teenagers in love might exchange hundreds of texts on their phones. But during their two-and-a-half month courtship, Lyndon Baines Johnson and Claudia Alta “Lady Bird” Taylor were each writing a letter—and sometimes even two—every day in a constant overlapping correspondence between Washington, DC, and Karnack, Texas.
Today, on Valentine’s Day, the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library is releasing love letters between the future President and the First Lady. Most of the letters have not been seen before by the public, and they offer a glimpse into the feelings and thoughts of the couple during this intense courtship.
It was a whirlwind romance. LBJ was 26, and Lady Bird was just 22 years old. They met in the office of a mutual friend in Austin, Texas, in September of 1934. Although LBJ had a date that night, he asked Lady Bird to meet him for breakfast. The breakfast date turned into a day-long affair as the pair drove around Austin.
LBJ even proposed. Read More
Photo: Newlyweds Lyndon and Lady Bird Johnson pose in a boat on the Floating Gardens in Xochimilco, Mexico, during their honeymoon, November 1934.