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.
Just in time for Valentine’s Day, 10 weeks worth of passionate love letters between Lady Bird and Lyndon Johnson.
Lyndon and Claudia Alta “Lady Bird” Taylor met in early September 1934 in Austin. On their first date, Lyndon Johnson proposed and for the next 2 ½ months the two exchanged approximately 90 letters. They also exchanged photographs, including the ones shown here.
Lyndon was working as a Congressional Aide in Washington, D. C. and impatient to marry. Lady Bird, who was living in her hometown of Karnack, Texas, was cautious but called her suitor “electric” and was sure she didn’t want to lose him.
On November 17, 1934, Johnson and Lady Bird drove to San Antonio to “commit matrimony” as she would later describe it.
LBJ didn’t have a wedding band and asked Dan Quill, friend and Postmaster of San Antonio, to get one. Quill bought a wedding band at the nearby Sears, Roebuck & Co. for $2.50.
Lyndon Johnson and Claudia Alta “Lady Bird” Taylor married on November 17, 1934, at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in San Antonio. They honeymooned in Mexico and were married for 39 years.
At 9am this morning, the LBJ library released all of the 1932 love letters between Lady Bird and Lyndon from the 10-week period between the time they met and they married. You can read the letters and see the photos they exchanged at www.lbjlibrary.org.
-from the LBJ Library
Letter from India
Lillian Carter, mother of President Jimmy Carter, wrote this letter to Mrs. Walter Spann while she was a Peace Corps volunteer in India. Mrs. Carter was 70 years old at the time.8/15/68.
Creation of the Manhattan Project
In August, 1939, Albert Einstein sent a letter to President Franklin Roosevelt warning that Nazi Germany was attempting to build a new weapon which was more powerful and more destructive than any weapon ever known to mankind.
That weapon was the Atomic Bomb. This letter would eventually change the course of history and would alter the face of the modern world.
Einstein’s letter and other correspondence about the A-Bomb and the Manhattan Project were locked up in Franklin Roosevelt’s White House Safe in Top Secret files on Roosevelt advisor, Alexander Sachs and on Manhattan Project Director, Vannevar Bush.
The Sachs and Bush links will lead you to digital images and text versions of the actual A-Bomb documents found in Franklin Roosevelt’s Safe. These documents have been declassified by the Atomic Energy Commission and the National Security Council and are held today by the FDR Library.
A List of Love and War
Today is the wedding anniversary of Harry and Bess Truman. Each year, Harry wrote Bess a letter on June 28. Over the course of their 60-year courtship, Harry devotedly wrote his wife more than 1,300 letters.
Pictured here is the first page of Harry’s 1957 anniversary letter to Bess. In it, Harry frankly lists the top news from each year including:
- 1920 One happy year.
- 1921 Going very well.
- 1922 Daughter 4 mo. old.
- 1925 Out of a job.
- 1926 Still out of a job.
- 1927 Presiding Judge - eating again.
- 1937 Good time in Washington.
- 1938 Very happy time Margie 14.
- 1945 V.P + President. War End
- 1948 A terrible campaign. Happy day.
- 1957 Well here we are again…
Happy Flag Day!
On June 14, 1777, the Continental Congress declared “that the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.” Since then, the 13 stars have expanded to 50. The most recent design of the flag was adopted in 1960, and suggestions and new designs were submitted during the 1950s.
This letter to President Eisenhower from 8-year-old Sheryl Byland suggests moving the stars so that they spell out “USA.”
The White House wrote back to Sheryl, and you can read the response here.
Letter from Jackie Robinson to President Eisenhower
Jack Roosevelt Robinson (1919-72) was the first African American to “officially” play in Major League Baseball. When he retired from the game, Jackie Robinson went on to champion the cause of civil rights from his position as a prominent executive of the Chock Full o’Nuts Corporation.
Robinson had grown increasingly impatient with what he regarded as President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s failure to act decisively in combating racism. In this letter, he expresses his frustration and calls upon the President to finally guarantee Federal support of black civil rights. Read more
As he exited the Apollo Lunar Module on July 20th of 1969, ready to set foot on the Moon, Neil Armstrong’s immediate safety was in the hands of an incredible feat of engineering that is often overlooked: his A7L Spacesuit and backpack. Built at Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center by ILC Dover and Hamilton Standard, respectively, this early Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) was required to provide, amongst other things, the following: a safe internal pressure; breathable oxygen; a regulated temperature; shielding from radiation; protection from micrometeorites, and a communications system. In addition, the suit’s eleven layers needed to provide ample levels of comfort and mobility so as to make it usable.
Below, a letter from Armstrong to the ‘EMU gang’, written in 1994 to mark the 25th anniversary of the Moon landing, in which he thanks them sincerely for their highly important work on what he calls his ‘spacecraft’.NEIL A. ARMSTRONG
P.O. BOX 436
LEBANON, OH 45036
July 14, 1994
The EMU gang at
Johnson Space Center
Houston, TX 77058
To the EMU gang:
I remember noting a quarter century or so ago that an emu was a 6 foot Australian flightless bird. I thought that got most of it right.
It turned out to be one of the most widely photographed spacecraft in history. That was no doubt due to the fact that it was so photogenic. Equally responsible for its success was its characteristic of hiding from view its ugly occupant.
Its true beauty, however, was that it worked. It was tough, reliable and almost cuddly.
To all of you who made it all that it was, I send a quarter century’s worth of thanks and congratulations.
Neil A. Armstrong