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Edith Lee-Payne: Accidental civil rights icon

This post comes to us from summer intern Hannah Fenster.

When Edith Lee-Payne stepped into the lobby of the National Archives last week, she came from a morning full of press interviews and national monument visits.

But the whirlwind of her recent rise to fame slowed when she entered the Rotunda to view a photograph of her 12-year-old self. Her hand rested on her heart as she bent over the glass case containing the original image.

On August 28, 1963, Lee-Payne attended the March on Washington, where photographer Rowland Scherman snapped her picture without her knowledge. While Lee-Payne went on to face constant struggles against still-prevalent racial discrimination, her image lived a life of its own, growing into an iconic symbol of the historic day.

Discovering herself in the photograph this year has allowed Lee-Payne the opportunity to harmonize her actual life with her archived existence as a symbol of a national movement.

She feels like the photo—and her recent fame—has afforded her new responsibility. “It gives me an opportunity to share with others what Dr. King shared with this country,” she said.

Just as she became a picture for the March on Washington, Lee-Payne says, “The March in 1963 was a picture of America. People from all walks of life came together for King’s message.” Her favorite quote comes from Martin Luther King, Jr’s “Letter … [ Read all ]

George Bush celebrates 89th birthday with colorful socks

Happy birthday, President Bush!

As a tribute to its namesake’s penchant for exuberant socks, the George Bush Presidential Library Foundation encouraged well wishers of George Bush, 41st President of the United States, to submit photos of their colorful socks as part of his 89th birthday celebration on Wednesday, June 12.

The George Bush Presidential Library Center staff celebrate President George Bush’s 89th birthday by wearing exuberant socks.

“We asked for sock photos, and we got them! It was wonderful to see the photos pour in,” said Fred McClure, CEO of the George Bush Foundation. “Thank you to everyone who took the time to participate. We can’t wait to see what socks you can find for next year.”

Photos were submitted from around the world, from friends, family, and current and former leaders. President Bush’s granddaughter, Jenna Bush Hager, submitted a photo of her daughter, Mila, in colorful socks. Leaders who contributed crazy sock pictures included former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice; former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates; former National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley; Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi; and former Governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney.

Well wishes were sent by the White House, the George W. Bush Presidential Center, the Ronald Regan Presidential Foundation and Library, the Richard Nixon Foundation, and the LBJ Presidential Library. Thousands of admirers also submitted photos and birthday wishes … [ Read all ]

LBJ Library opens new exhibits after multi-million dollar renovation

In honor of Lady Bird Johnson’s 100th birthday on December 22, 2012, the Lyndon B. Johnson Library unveiled a newly redesigned space to give visitors a new look at the 36th president. The library houses 45 million pages of historical documents, 650,000 photos, one million feet of film, 2,000 oral histories, and 5,000 hours of recordings from the public career of Lyndon Johnson and his close associates.

Following a massive year-long renovation, new exhibits have been installed on the three public floors of the library. Renovations were funded by private donations through the Lyndon B. Johnson Foundation.

“Renovations at Presidential Libraries allow us to keep our exhibits relevant and through technology, tell the history of our country in new, dynamic ways,” said Susan Donius, Director of the Office of the Presidential Libraries. ”Through these exhibits and dynamic education programs, we are able to reach new generations of visitors.”

The new exhibits also make the political and personal lives of Lyndon and Lady Bird Johnson come alive for visitors. The newly redesigned Library experience includes:

  • A downloadable app and handheld guide which give visitors the choice of several different tours, including a tour in Spanish
  • Unprecedented access to private telephone conversations of the President
  • An interactive Vietnam War exhibit where visitors experience elements of the President’s decision-making process
  • The ability to join the conversation through social media as visitors tour exhibits
  • [ Read all ]

Ford Library participates in Wikimedia’s GLAM project

“As soon as I left the session, I knew that this would be a ground-breaking project for us,” said Bettina Cousineau, Exhibits Specialist at the Gerald Ford Library and Museum.

Cousineau was at this summer’s Association of Midwest Museums Conference in Indianapolis, IN, and attended the session “Wikimedia: Commons and GLAM” presented by Lori Phillips, the Wikimedia Foundation’s U.S. Cultural Partnerships Coordinator.

GLAM (Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums), a small part of the Wikipedia group, plays a huge role in providing public access to copyright free images from cultural institutions all over the world. These images are then incorporated into articles written by Wikipedia editors.

“We already have an extensive website with thousands of digitized images, documents and artifacts for the public to view. But by uploading those same materials to Wikimedia, they can be used in any Wikipedia article written by anyone in the world in almost any language,” Cousineau said. “I imagined an article written by a Wikipedia editor in Finland, using a document from President Ford’s participation in the 1975 Helsinki Conference as his source and illustration. To me that is significant public access of our material.”

To date, Cousineau has uploaded over 200 artifacts and photographs onto the Wikimedia Commons site. She and her team have connected with volunteer Wikipedia administrators who provide technical and coding assistance. The next step includes … [ Read all ]

A White House Thanksgiving

This is what President Harry Truman had for Thanksgiving in 1947. (Click to enlarge.) What dishes are going on your table this year?

My favorite holiday is Thankgiving. No dispute.

After all, it’s a holiday that basically crafted entirely around the consumption of turkey. I’m not entirely sure that this is what Lincoln had in mind when he established Thanksgiving in 1863, but hey, it’s not called “Turkey Day” without reason.

But given that some people may want to give thanks without the hassle of cooking a turkey, we’ve selected a few recipes from our Presidential Libraries that would taste delicious with or without the traditional roasted bird. Many of these recipes could be served year-round: at picnics, for Sunday suppers, for potlucks, for anniversaries. After all, giving thanks and sharing meals with loved ones doesn’t come just once a year.

For starters:

George and Laura Bush’s Deviled Eggs

12 large eggs, boiled hard and peeled
1 tablespoon (plus) soft butter
1 tablespoon (plus) mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon Yucatan Sunshine Habanero sauce
Salt to taste

Cut eggs in half and set aside. Put egg yolks in food processor and add all ingredients. Process for 20 seconds or until mixture has blended. Check for taste and increase mustard, salt or Habanero sauce if desired.  Place mixture in piping bag with star tip and pipe into egg halves. Sprinkle with … [ Read all ]