November 2, 1948: Truman Defeats Dewey
On this day in 1948, Democratic incumbent Harry S. Truman defeated his Republican challenger, Governor Thomas E. Dewey of New York. Truman won with just over two million popular votes, and the election is considered the greatest upset in presidential election history. Political analysts and polls in the days preceding the vote practically guaranteed a victory for Dewey. On election night, before all of the votes had been counted, the Chicago Tribune published an early edition with the inaccurate headline “DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN.”
American Experience’s “Presidential Politics” details the unprecedented campaign and election between Truman and Dewey.
Photo: National Archives
RFK Records Related to the Cuban Missile Crisis Released
The National Archives and the John F. Kennedy Presidential Museum are releasing more than 2,700 pages from the Robert F. Kennedy Papers, including documents relating primarily to the Cuban Missile Crisis.
The materials were accumulated by RFK in his capacity as both Attorney General and advisor to President Kennedy.
The files relate to matters that ordinarily do not come under the jurisdiction of the Attorney General or the Justice Department. They include memos, correspondence, reports, notes from Executive Committee meetings, as well as CIA and State Department telegrams and cables chiefly related to the United States relationship with Cuba during the years 1961 to 1963 – a time which included the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Bay of Pigs invasion.
The records will be available in the Research Room at the JFK Library in Boston and you can explore them here.
Recently discovered Air Force One tapes recorded after President Kennedy’s assassination-
An original audiotape recording that includes taped conversations on Air Force One during its flight following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy has been donated to the National Archives by The Raab Collection.
The conversations were between pilots and other individuals on the flight and various individuals in Washington, DC, on the flight back from Dallas, TX, to Andrews Air Force Base. It is two hours and 22 minutes long.
The Raab Collection recently discovered two ¼” open-reel audiotapes containing identical excerpts from the Air Force One flight on November 22, 1963, among the papers of Army General Chester “Ted” Clifton, Jr. General Clifton served as senior military aide to President John F. Kennedy and had received the tapes from the White House Communications Agency (WHCA).
Photo: Swearing in of Lyndon B. Johnson as President aboard Air Force One, with Lady Bird Johnson, Jacqueline Kennedy, and others.
On December 2, 1970, the Environmental Protection Agency opened for work for the first time. Earlier that year, President Richard Nixon and Congress had established the EPA with overwhelming support from the public.
It may be hard to imagine that before 1970, a factory could spew black clouds of toxic into the air or dump tons of toxic waste into a nearby stream, and that was perfectly legal. They could not be taken to court to stop it.
The pictures shown here are from the EPA’s 1970s photography project, DOCUMERICA. These shots were selected from the “In Praise of Forests” collection: Forest snail on an alder leaf, Alder Catkins on the ice, Mushroom lit briefly by the sun, Seedlings.
Happy anniversary to the EPA!
Inspired by these photos? The National Archives in collaboration with the Environmental Protection Agency is inviting students aged 13 and up to snap a picture, write a poem, or create a video that is inspired by one of our many Documerica photos and enter it into the Document Your Environment contest on Challenge.gov.
Look who’s judging: Graphic artist and former Documerica photographer, Michael Philip Manheim, will judge the Graphic Art category; Cokie Roberts, author and news analyst for National Public Radio and ABC News will judge the Video category; and Sandra Alcosser, the first Poet Laureate of Montana and professor of poetry at San Diego State University will judge the poetry category. A finalist will be chosen for each category in each of the three age groups, and one grand prize winner will be chosen by the Archivist of the United States, David Ferriero. The grand prize winner will also be awarded $500, courtesy of the Foundation for the National Archives.
“That’s the way it is.”
-Walter Cronkite’s nightly sign-off for the CBS evening news
Walter Cronkite, the iconic newsman, was born on November 4, 1916. His career as a broadcast journalist spanned 5 decades and 9 U.S. presidents. From the 1930s to the 1980s Cronkite reported on the biggest news of the day including D-Day, the Nuremberg Trials, the Vietnam War, civil rights, the moon missions, and Watergate. It was Cronkite who broke the news of President Kennedy’s assassination, and he covered the subsequent killings of Martin Luther King, Jr., Robert Kennedy, and John Lennon.
Cronkite’s broadcasts seemed to capture the emotions of the country. His excitement for the Apollo 11 moon mission was so great that he reported live on the event for 27 hours straight and exclaimed, “Go, baby, go!” at blast off.
In 1972, a nationwide poll determined that Walter Cronkite was “the most trusted man in America.” Other choices in the poll had included contemporary journalists, the Vice President, and the President.
Here are photos of Cronkite and a CBS news crew with Marines during the Battle of Hue City in Vietnam, interviewing President Kennedy, and with President Carter in the White House.
Happy birthday Walter Cronkite
November 4, 1916 - July 17, 2009
“Welcome Home From the Crow-Eaters”
A sign on the front of the Washington Post Building greets President Harry S. Truman. President Truman and V.P. Alben Barkley had just returned to Washington D.C. after their victory in the 1948 election - a victory not predicted by the Washington Post.
Obit of the Day: The Reporter Wore Tennis Shoes
Robert Pierpoint was assigned to the biggest stories throughout his career. His first job was with CBS Radio, where he worked with legendary broadcaster Edward R. Murrow. When the Korean War began, he travelled there to cover the first conflict of the Cold War. When the cease fire was signed in July 1953, he announced it for CBS. (Thirty years later, it was Pierpoint’s broadcast that was heard on the final episode of the CBS series, M*A*S*H.) As the network’s White House correspondent from 1957 until 1980 he covered and interviewed six presidents: Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, and Carter. He was in Dallas when President Kennedy was shot and won two Emmys for his coverage of Watergate.
His most memorable moment, though, occurred off-camera in 1970. Scheduled to play tennis with a member of President Nixon’s staff, Pierpoint received a call about an assignment at the White House. Knowing he would still have a chance to make his match, Pierpoint threw on a shirt, tie, and jacket but left his tennis shoes, socks, and shorts on. Although it went unseen by the television audience, someone else caught the moment on film. CBS was none too happy.
Pierpoint, who died at the age of 86, got a kick out of the episode and will be buried in a jacket, tie, shirt…and tennis shorts.
(Image is copyright of the Roger Pierpoint Collection at the University of Redlands and courtesy of Nieman Watchdog.)
Day 5 - Cuban Missile Crisis
October 20, 1962
President Kennedy, in Chicago campaigning for congressional candidates, decides to return to the White House as the crisis reaches a new urgency. After five hours of discussion with top advisors, a quarantine is decided upon.
To avoid public suspicion the president consults his physician and together they fabricate the diagnosis of a cold, allowing JFK to return to Washington without arousing panic.
Plans for deploying naval units are drawn and work begins on a speech to notify the American people.
“I witness as his world and ours changes”
This post is part of a series on September 11. The George W. Bush Library holds many documents related to the events of September 11. In this series, our staff share some of their memories of the day and their thoughts on the records that are part of their holdings.
Like so many, I lost dear friends and acquaintances on September 11.
Father Mychal Judge, chaplain of the NYFD and first confirmed casualty, had baptized our son just months earlier. Fellow commuters with whom I’d shared the train, their dusty cars now bearing grim news to family and friends who awaited their return to the Glen Ridge Station. At the time, I was photo editor at the Associated Press, and I watched and felt and cried for those who perished, for those who responded, and for my news colleagues who risked their lives so through their cameras, we would never forget.
And I watched in awe as we pulled together as a nation, led by a President—who like us had watched and felt his world change in too short of a time.
It’s with that same awe that I now look at our records from that day, especially a video captured in a second-grade classroom in Sarasota, Florida. I watch as the teacher leads her “butterflies” through a reading demonstration for their special guest, tapping the pages of The Pet Goat and urging them to “Get ready!”
And I watch as the Chief of Staff whispers in the President’s ear. I witness as his world and ours changes.
“Next line…Get ready! “
Why did he stay instead of leaving immediately?
Viewing this footage in our holding ten years later, I think that I understand. As those seconds ticked like hours, it wasn’t about the planes. It wasn’t about the reading. It was about the kids. And it was about the nation—about what the President as a leader was about to do for us.
It was a deep breath, a five-minute-and-eight-second reminder of what is good about us and what we can accomplish, as a second-grade class or one nation.
Jodie Steck is the audiovisual specialist at the George W. Bush Presidential Library. Previously, she has worked as the deputy director of photography at the White House, and as a photo editor at publications including the Associated Press and the New York Times.
The George W. Bush Presidential Library will be located in Dallas, TX, on the campus of Southern Methodist University. The permanent facility is expected to open in Spring 2013. George W. Bush Presidential Records are not yet available to the public under the requirements of the Presidential Records Act. The records will become available toFreedom of Information Act requests on January 20, 2014. The images contained in this series were previously released.
The George W. Bush Presidential Library will be located in Dallas, TX, on the campus of Southern Methodist University. The permanent facility is expected to open in Spring 2013.
George W. Bush Presidential Records are not yet available to the public under the requirements of the Presidential Records Act. The records will become available toFreedom of Information Act requests on January 20, 2014. The images contained in this series were previously released.