Happy 80th Birthday to the National Archives (that’s us)!
Today in 1934, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the National Archives Act, “to establish a National Archives of the United States Government.”
Five years later, in 1939, FDR planted the seed for the Presidential Library system when he donated his personal and Presidential papers to the Federal Government.
Before this, Presidents or their heirs often dispersed Presidential papers at the end of the administration. Though many pre-Hoover collections now reside in the Library of Congress, others are split among other libraries, historical societies, and private collections. Sadly, many materials have been lost or deliberately destroyed.
FDR’s decision stemmed from a firm belief that Presidential papers are an important part of the national heritage and should be accessible to the public. He asked the National Archives to take custody of his papers and other historical materials and to administer his library.
Act of June 19, 1934 (“National Archives Act”), Public Law 73-432, 48 STAT 1122, “to create a National Archives of the United States Government and for other purposes.”, 06/19/1934.
Franklin D. Roosevelt portrait, 1933. From the FDR Presidential Library.
The Constitution Avenue Entrance of the National Archives, Washington, D.C. 1935.
The National Archives is celebrating eight decades of history throughout today, learn more here.
Day 2: June 28
It’s almost time to open the new exhibit!
ARTICLE: The New York Times | Museum Review
ARTICLE: Poughkeepsie Journal | ”A New Look at the Roosevelts”
ARTICLE: Poughkeepsie Journal | Valley View: Library Director Lynn Bassanese
ARTICLE: Daily Freeman | ”FDR Library/Museum to be Rededicated Sunday”
ARTICLE: Times Herald-Record | ”FDR Museum to Unveil New Exhibits”
ARTICLE: YNN | ”Renovated FDR Presidential Library Opens Sunday”
Watch the Live Webcast of the FDR Library Rededication — June 30, 2013 11AM EST
Day 3: June 27
President Franklin D. Roosevelt commissioned the construction of a library and museum to house his vast collection of papers, books, and memorabilia. Many previous presidents donated their papers to the Library of Congress, but this was not the best fit for Roosevelt. Not only was his collection too expansive for that institution at the time, but Roosevelt was concerned about having all of the nation’s important documents housed in only one place. Instead, he built a new facility on a 16 acre section of his mother’s home in Hyde Park, NY – an institution that would become the nation’s first presidential library.
The official Library dedication was a small, quiet affair, with close friends and family attending the ceremony. No formal invitations were issued, but a small article appeared in the paper a few days before the ceremony inviting Roosevelt’s Hudson Valley neighbors to join them for the dedication at 4pm on June 30, 1941. A few speeches were given, and the Library was officially opened to the public.
“It is all here: the story of our time with the bark off…”
President Nixon gave a speech in which he called LBJ “a partisan of principle and not a partisan of party.” There were anti-war demonstrators, who released black balloons and chanted.
At the conclusion of the dedication, the fountain was ceremonially turned on and several guests were drenched.
Here’s a video of the dedication. Happy birthday LBJ Library!
Iconic Presidential Photos
The Presidential Libraries are now on Pinterest. You’ll find some of the most requested images from the holdings of all 13 Presidential Libraries.
We’re pinning the historic moments, meetings with world leaders, Air Force One, First Ladies, and much more. You’ll find a fair share of White House pet pics too.
Take a look and let us know what else you would like to see!
Photos: Lyndon B. Johnson gives Senator Richard Russell the “Johnson Treatment.” 11/7/63.
General Dwight D. Eisenhower Meeting the Troops Prior to the Normandy Invasion. 6/5/44.
The Big Three — Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Joseph Stalin at the Yalta Conference. 2/9/45.
John F. Kennedy points to a reporter at a news conference. 11/20/62.
Gerald R. Ford in the Oval Office. 3/25/75
President George W. Bush at work clearing brush at Prairie Chapel Ranch in Crawford, Texas. 8/28/02*.
The George W. Bush Presidential Library opens to the public today! If you aren’t in Dallas, there’s lots to do online, including:
- Discover the archives and museum objects from the Library’s digital holdings.
- Plan a research visit
- Explore the archived White House Website
Perhaps our favorite feature of the GWB Library website? The “Barney Cam” videos of the Bush family’s Scottish Terrier exploring the White House. Enjoy!
*Please note that we mistakenly published the year of the photo as 2005. The correct year of the photo was 2002.
Each change of Presidential administration requires a massive move of records and materials.
The George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum holds more than 70 million pages of textual records, 43,000 artifacts, 200 million emails (totaling roughly 1 billion pages), and 4 million digital photographs (the largest holding of electronic records of any of our libraries).
Collecting this material, cataloging and processing it, and making it available to the public was a task that began on January 20, 2009.
Read more about how National Archives staff got it all done on the Prologue blog.
Image: This moving van was outside the White House on January 20, 1993. From the Clinton Presidential Library.
George W. Bush Presidential Center Dedication
Today the National Archives and Records Administration will dedicate the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas. The facility will open to the public on May 1.
The Bush Library is the 13th of NARA’s federally owned Presidential libraries, whose holdings span eight decades of American history. It also increases our presence in Texas, where we already operate the Lyndon B. Johnson Library in Austin, George H.W. Bush’s library in College Station, and our regional archives and records center in Fort Worth.
We look forward to developing partnerships with the George W. Bush Presidential Center and with SMU to present joint programming, share our expertise, draw on our holdings, and bring together SMU’s academic departments and the library. These kinds of partnerships at the 12 other Presidential libraries have enriched the learning experience for students and scholars.
The new Bush Library holds 70 million pages of textual records, 40,000 artifacts (mainly gifts to the Bushes), four million photographs, and 80 terabytes of electronic information – including 200 million emails of about five pages each, or one billion pages.
Read the full post on the AOTUS blog.
Part of what has made past Presidential Library dedications so memorable is the candid manner in which former rivals have offered praise to one another. At the 1986 ceremony for the Jimmy Carter Library and Museum in Atlanta, GA, then-President Ronald Reagan gave a speech that underlined the qualities of his predecessor.
He opened by saying, “None of us today need feel any urge, in the name of good will, to downplay our differences. On the contrary, in a certain sense, we can be proud of our differences, proud because they arise from good will itself.”
Afterwards, Jimmy Carter began his own remarks by addressing President Reagan directly. He said, “As I listened to your talk, I understood more clearly than I ever did in my life why you won in 1980 and I lost.”
Live webcast of the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum dedication at http://www.bushcenter.org/live