Happy birthday, President Dwight D. Eisenhower!
Born 124 years ago today, Eisenhower was a product of Abilene, Kansas, where he spent most of his early years. After working for two years to help pay for his brother’s college education, he won an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and went on to an eventful military career, eventually serving as Supreme Allied Commander in Europe during World War II. As commander, he planned and led the greatest amphibious military assault in history when the Allied forces landed at Normandy 70 years ago on June 6, 1944.
After the war, he served as Army Chief of Staff under President Truman, and then later ran for and won the Presidency. During his two terms, Eisenhower launched many key programs and departments including NASA, DARPA, and the Interstate Highway System. However when asked about his illustrious career, he said, “the proudest thing I can claim is that I am from Abilene.”
LBJ Signs the Nurse Training Act — This Week in 1964
For all they do for us, the LBJ Library is offering free admission throughout September for nurses and nursing students, in honor of the anniversary of the 1964 Nurse Training Act, signed on Sept. 4, 1964.
Photo # A4357-7, 06/24/1967. First Grandchild of President & Mrs. Lyndon B. Johnson, Partick Lyndon Nugent, born June 21, 1967.
-from the LBJ Library
It’s the Birthday of LBJ!
Lyndon Baines Johnson was born on August 27, 1908, in central Texas, not far from Johnson City, which his family had helped settle.
In 1937 he campaigned successfully for the House of Representatives on a New Deal platform, effectively aided by his wife, the former Claudia “Lady Bird” Taylor, whom he had married after a whirlwind courtship in 1934.
During World War II, Lyndon Johnson served briefly in the Navy as a lieutenant commander, receiving a Silver Star in the South Pacific. After six terms in the House, he was elected to the Senate in 1948. In 1953, he became the youngest Minority Leader in Senate history, and the following year, when the Democrats won control, Majority Leader. With rare legislative skill he obtained passage of a number of measures during the Eisenhower Administration. He became, by many accounts, the most powerful Majority Leader of the twentieth century.
LBJ’s “Great Society” program included aid to education, Medicare, urban renewal, beautification, conservation, development of depressed regions, control and prevention of crime and delinquency and removal of obstacles to the right to vote. Read More
Studio portrait of Lyndon B. Johnson at 18 months old, ca. 1910.
Portrait of President Lyndon B. Johnson in the Oval Office. December, 1963.
-from the LBJ Library
Happy Birthday President Clinton!
Here’s a list of Bill Clinton’s favorite books, in alphabetical order by author:
- I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou.
- The Denial of Death, Ernest Becker.
- Parting the Waters: America in the King Years 1954-63, Taylor Branch.
- Living History, Hillary Rodham Clinton.
- Lincoln, David Herbert Donald.
- Four Quartets, T.S. Eliot.
- Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison.
- The Way of the World: From the Dawn of Civilizations to the Eve of the Twenty-First Century, David Fromkin.
- One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel García Márquez.
- The Cure at Troy: A Version of Sophocles’ Philoctetes, Seamus Heaney.
- King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story of Greed,Terror,and Heroism in Colonial Africa,Adam Hochschild.
- The Imitation of Christ, Thomas à Kempis.
- Meditations, Marcus Aurelius.
- Moral Man and Immoral Society: A Study in Ethics and Politics, Reinhold Niebuhr.
- Homage to Catalonia, George Orwell.
- The Evolution of Civilizations: An Introduction to Historical Analysis, Carroll Quigley.
- The Confessions of Nat Turner, William Styron.
- Politics as a Vocation, Max Weber.
- You Can’t Go Home Again, Thomas Wolfe.
- Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny, Robert Wright.
- The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats, William Butler Yeats.
Photo: President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore view the Constitution of the United States in the Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom at the National Archives. Washington, DC. 7/19/95.
-from the Clinton Library
Happy 130th Birthday, Harry S. Truman! (5/08/1884 - 12/26/1972)
Abbie Rowe, photographer.
The photo of Truman smiling while he announces the end of the war in Europe (on his 61st birthday no less) is always one of our favorites. It was also a big hit with our “junior digital curator” who was helping out during our Take your Child to Work Day here at the National Archives—and who also shares a birthday with the 33rd President. In his words: “He’s probably thinking ‘This is an AWESOME birthday present!’”
It’s the Birthday of President Harry S. Truman
A brief timeline on what would have been Harry’s 130th birthday-
- 1884: Harry S. Truman is born in Lamar, Missouri on May 8. As a young man, he works briefly as a timekeeper for a railroad construction contractor, then as a clerk in two Kansas City banks.
- 1906: Harry begins working with his father to run the family farm. He continues working as a farmer for more than ten years.
- 1905-1911: Harry serves in the Missouri National Guard. When the United States enters World War I in 1917, he helps to organize the 2nd Regiment of Missouri Field Artillery, which is quickly called into Federal service as the 129th Field Artillery and sent to France.
- 1919-1922: Harry runs a men’s clothing store in Kansas City with his wartime friend, Eddie Jacobson. The store fails in the postwar recession. Harry narrowly avoids bankruptcy, and through determination and over many years he pays off his share of the store’s debts.
- 1922: Harry is elected to be one of three judges of the Jackson County Court.
- 1934: Harry is elected to the United States Senate.
- July, 1944: Harry is nominated to run for Vice President with President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
- January 20, 1945: Harry takes the vice-presidential oath. After President Roosevelt’s unexpected death only eighty-two days later on April 12, 1945, Harry is sworn in as the nations’ 33rd President.
- May 7, 1945: Germany surrenders unconditionally one day before Harry’s 61st birthday.
- 1948: Harry wins reelection despite a widely expected defeat.
- 1953: Harry leaves the Presidency and retires to Independence, MO.
- 1972: Harry S. Truman dies on December 26, 1972.
Photo: President Truman on the celebration of his 61st birthday, the day after the unconditional surrender of Germany in World War II. May 8, 1945.
-from the Truman Library
"In the royalty of American music, no man swings more or stands higher than the Duke.”
— Richard Nixon
On this day in 1899, Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington was born in Washington, D.C. Seventy years later, Ellington celebrated his 70th birthday at the White House where he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Ellington was a personal hero to Richard Nixon, who had played the piano since childhood. Afterwards, the President played “Happy Birthday” on the piano for the Duke while guests at the White House sang along.
-from the Nixon Library