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
White House Reunion at the Nixon Library
Although Presidential Library dedications are not the only settings for Presidential camaraderie, the ceremonies offer rare opportunities for the rest of us to see these men interact with each other.
When the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum first opened as a private facility on July 19, 1990, it marked the first time that four Presidents were seen together at a public event. The ceremony featured speeches from then-President George Bush, and former Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald R. Ford, and Ronald Reagan.
Seventeen years later, the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum officially became a part of the Federally operated Presidential libraries system. On July 11, 2007, a ceremony was held to announce the partnership between the Richard Nixon Foundation and the National Archives.
Photo: The Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum dedication. July 19, 1990. Courtesy of the Richard Nixon Foundation.
A Quick History of Presidents and Presidential Library Dedications
It’s not often that all the living U.S. Presidents are together at one time, but on April 25, the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum will be dedicated to the American public. Although many dignitaries from around the world will attend, all eyes will likely focus on the gathering of men who have called the White House home.
In addition to George W. Bush, guests of honor will include current Commander-in-Chief Barack Obama, and former Presidents William J. Clinton, George Bush, and Jimmy Carter. Read More
-Gerald R. Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George Bush, and Richard Nixon at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library dedication. 11/4/91.
-Dwight D. Eisenhower looks at a key to his Presidential Library at the dedication ceremony. 10/31/59.
-The George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum.
Sandra Day O’Connor was born on this day — March 26, 1930
Ronald Reagan had the opportunity to fill three Supreme Court seats during his tenure as President. Among those confirmed was Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman to sit on the Supreme Court.
On September 25, 1981, O’Connor was sworn in as Supreme Court Justice by Chief Justice Warren Burger. This photo was taken with the Justices and President Reagan on the day she was sworn in.
Caption: Supreme Court Justices pose with President Reagan in the Supreme Court Conference Room. From left to right: Justice Harry Blackmun, JusticeThurgood Marshall, Justice William Brennan, Chief Justice Warren Burger, President Reagan, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, Justice Byron White, Justice Lewis F. Powell, Jr., Justice William Rehnquist and Justice John Paul Stevens. 9/25/81.
Happy 83rd Birthday Sandra Day O’Connor!
Shave and a haircut, three Presidents
Ulysses Davis was a barber in West Savannah, Georgia. He cut hair for nearly fifty years and when business was slow at his barbershop, Davis whittled and carved wooden sculptures, including all of the U.S. Presidents through George H.W. Bush.
Davis’ collection of Presidential busts is on exhibit now at the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum. Learn more here.