Franklin and Eleanor’s Marriage Certificate, March 17, 1905
Franklin asked his former Groton School headmaster, Rev. Endicott Peabody, to officiate at the wedding, saying “it would not be the same without you.” At the conclusion of the Episcopal ceremony, the official marriage certificate was signed. President Theodore Roosevelt and First Lady Edith Kermit Roosevelt signed as the witnesses.
Curious about Presidential History? Ask a Curator!
Do you have questions about Presidential history and artifacts? Tomorrow, the Presidential Libraries of the National Archives will be answering questions live for #AskaCurator Day on Twitter.
Over 600 museums from 40 countries will be participating, including our very own experts on Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, and Jimmy Carter. You can also ask curators at the National Archives Exhibits in Washington, D.C.
Museum Objects from the Presidential Libraries:
Rocking Chair used by John F. Kennedy in the Oval Office; RCA Radio Microphone used by FDR to deliver some of his Fireside Chats from the White House; HMS Resolute Desk replica at the JFK Library; Portrait by Octavio Ocampo presented to President Carter on the occasion of a state dinner honoring José López Portillo, President of Mexico, February 1979; 1957 Inaugural gown of Mamie Eisenhower; WWII POW Diary at the Truman Library;1952 Eisenhower campaign hat.
Today in history, September 16, 1940, FDR signed the Selective Training and Service Act. It authorized the first peacetime military draft in American history.
Selective Service Signing Pen
“We must be the great arsenal of democracy. For us this is an emergency as serious as war itself. We must apply ourselves to our task with the same resolution, the same sense of urgency, the same spirit of patriotism and sacrifice as we would show were we at war.”
- Franklin Roosevelt, Fireside Chat, December 29, 1940
In the spring of 1940 German armies swept across Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands, and Belgium. In June, France collapsed. Suddenly, Britain stood alone. FDR responded by increasing military spending and supporting a peacetime draft.
FDR used this pen to sign the Selective Training and Service Act on September 16, 1940. It authorized the first peacetime military draft in American history. The photo, taken on October 29, 1940, depicts the first drawing of the Selective Service.
Astronaut John Glenn presented President Kennedy with this Model of the Mercury spacecraft Friendship 7 on Atlas 6 booster rocket, painted silver and red, on round black base.
The Friendship 7 model is at the JFK Presidential Library and Museum in Boston, Massachusetts.
JFK Chooses the Moon
Today in history, President John F. Kennedy delivered a speech at Rice University on the nation’s space effort. In one of the most memorable passages JFK said:
"We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard…"
Images: Lunar sample made of mare basalt encased in a glass pyramid with rectangular base. This piece of moon rock was brought back to earth by Apollo 15 mission on August 7, 1971. The rock, called “breccia”, weighs 160 grams and is more than three billion years old. Courtesy of NASA Lunar Sample Display Program.
President John F. Kennedy Speaks at Rice University. 9/12/62.
"We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard,
because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills,
because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win … ”
President John F. Kennedy
40th Anniversary of the Nixon Pardon: The 1976 Election
As the country prepared for the next Presidential election in 1976 Watergate and President Ford’s decision to pardon Richard Nixon in 1974 was still on people’s minds.
Democratic candidate Jimmy Carter repeatedly said he would not make the pardon a campaign issue. “The American people know who pardoned Richard Nixon,” he stated. “They don’t need to have it raised by a candidate.” His running mate didn’t share that view. Vice Presidential nominee Walter Mondale mentioned it in his speech at the Democratic National Convention and continued to bring it up during the campaign.
The Harris Survey confirmed that it was still an issue. In August 1976 poll results showed a 59 to 33 percent majority of voters believed President Ford “was wrong to pardon Richard Nixon.” At the same time, a 52 to 34 percent majority felt that he had acted in the country’s best interests. Based on the data Louis Harris concluded “that any change in public attitudes towards the Nixon pardon could have an immediate impact on the race for the White House.”
Ford’s campaign advisers included a briefing sheet on the pardon in the President’s debate preparation materials. In the first campaign debate he was asked to address why former President Nixon received a full pardon while amnesty for Vietnam draft resisters had been conditional. He stood by both decisions, stating that “the need and necessity for me to concentrate on the problems of the country fully justified the action that I took” in pardoning Nixon.
On November 2, 1976, Jimmy Carter won the election by a slim margin, receiving 50% of the popular vote to President Ford’s 48%. Many believed that the pardon had contributed to President Ford’s defeat, including Betty Ford. “Many people who definitely were for Jerry could not bring themselves to vote for him because he pardoned Nixon,” she later said. One post election analysis of the factors motivating voters’ decisions reported that “seven points of the anti-Ford vote stemmed from Watergate.”
Image: President Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter Meet at the Walnut Street Theater in Philadelphia to Debate Domestic Policy during the First of the Three Ford-Carter Debates, 09/23/1976.
Today, the George W. Bush Library will be sharing President George W. Bush's schedule from September 11, 2001.
Additionally they will be sharing thoughts and memories left by visitors to the George W. Bush Library.
These events will show what the day was like from the point of view of a commander-in-chief, a husband, a father, and an American.
On June 27-28, 1976, President Gerald R. Ford hosted an International Economic Summit at the Dorado Beach Hotel near San Juan, Puerto Rico.
The main summit participants were the leaders of the G7 nations: Prime Minister James Callaghan of the United Kingdom; President Valery Giscard d’Estaing of France; Prime Minister Takeo Miki of Japan; Prime Minister Aldo Moro of Italy; Chancellor Helmut Schmidt of Germany; Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau of Canada; and President Ford.
Sessions were held in the Salon del Mar at a seven-sided table with the American delegation sitting in front of flags representing each country. Around the table, the French delegation sat to their right, followed by the Germans, Japanese, British, Italians and Canadians. The foreign and finance ministers of each country sat with their head of state.
You can see the Joint Declaration issued by the participants at the conclusion of the summit.
-from the Ford Library
On the Trail of John Ford’s D-Day Documentary
“When I came across the four reels prepared by SHAEF Public Relations, the lack of sound other than narration suggested the film was a rushed effort, completed perhaps days after the assault. My suspicions were aroused… How was this important production forgotten?”
Images from "D-Day to D plus 3" film reels created by the Depart of Defense, Department of the Army, Office of the Chief Signal Officer. June 6-9, 1944.