Bill of Rights Day is on December 15. The National Archives will celebrate on Friday with a naturalization ceremony. Today’s post comes from Jessie Kratz, the Historian of the National Archives.
On September 28, 1789, Speaker of the House Frederick Muhlenberg and Vice President John Adams signed the enrolled copy of the first proposed amendments to the new Constitution—the document later known as the Bill of Rights.
The final, signed copy contained the 12 constitutional amendments that Congress proposed to the states. Shortly after it was signed, clerks created 13 additional copies, which President George Washington sent to the 11 existing states and to Rhode Island and North Carolina—which had not yet adopted the Constitution.
The enrolled version of the amendments—the one signed on September 28, 1789—remained in New York until it was sent to Philadelphia when the seat of government moved there. In 1800 it came to the new capital of Washington, DC, and was only removed briefly during the War of 1812 when the British burned the capital.
The Department of State, previously responsible for safeguarding the Federal Government’s official records, kept the enrolled copy of the Bill of Rights until 1937, when they transferred it to the National Archives in 1937 along with other State Department records. The National Archives displayed the enrolled copy of the Bill of Rights several times until … [ Read all ]
Today’s guest post comes from Susan K. Donius, Director of the Office of Presidential Libraries at the National Archives.
Among the gifts from heads of state that are in the holdings of the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum is a menorah presented to President Truman by Israel’s first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion. The menorah dates back to at least 1767, when it was donated to a synagogue in Buergel, Germany.
The menorah was used in the synagogue until 1913, when it was found broken in pieces. A man by the name of Siegfried Guggenheim asked for the broken pieces and provided a replacement. The Guggenheim family restored the old menorah for their personal use, and brought it to the United States when they immigrated in the 1930s. Eventually, the menorah was acquired by the Jewish Museum in New York.
When Prime Minister Ben-Gurion visited the United States in 1951, he searched for a suitable gift to give to Harry S. Truman in light of the President’s recognition and support of the State of Israel. The Jewish Museum suggested the menorah, and Prime Minister Ben-Gurion presented it to Truman on his birthday, May 8, 1951.
In 1979, President Jimmy Carter participated in lighting a Hanukkah menorah on the Ellipse, just south of the White House. Each President since then has commemorated Hanukkah at the … [ Read all ]
Posted by Hilary on December 4, 2013, under Uncategorized.
Tags: Clifton Truman Daniel, David Ben-Gurion, George Bush, Hannukah, Harry Truman, Israel, Jimmy Carter, Presidents, Ronald Reagan, White House, William Cinton, Yariv Ben-Eliezer
The National Archives presents a musical tribute on December 3 in honor of President and Mrs. John F. Kennedy’s commitment to the arts, celebrating their legacy of musical performances in the White House.
On November 13, 1961, Pablo Casals performed the Mendelssohn Trio in D minor at the White House. Kenneth Slowik (cello), James Stern (violin), and Lura Johnson (piano) will present that program on Tuesday, December 3, at 7 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.
“We wanted to honor the memory of President and Mrs. Kennedy with a special tribute to their outstanding commitment to the performing arts, and our William G. McGowan Theater is a wonderful venue to recreate the historic Pablo Casals performance,” said Susan Clifton, producer for Public Programs at the National Archives in Washington, DC.
Following the performance, Kenneth Slowik, Artistic Director of the Smithsonian Chamber Music Society, will lead a discussion with Col. John R. Bourgeois, Director Emeritus, “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band; Leslie Jones, Curator, White House Historical Association; and Edith Mayo, Curator, Smithsonian Museum of American History.
Pablo Casals, considered one of the greatest cellists of all time, was born in El Vendrell, Catalonia, Spain. When he was invited to perform at the White House in 1961, he was living in Puerto Rico, where he had begun the annual Casals … [ Read all ]
Posted by Hilary on November 29, 2013, under Uncategorized.
Tags: Casal, cello, Kenneth Slowik, Mendelssohn Trio, music, Pablo Casals, President Kennedy, Smithsonian Chamber Music Society
The best thing about Thanksgiving is gathering around the table, stuffing your faces with turkey, and enjoying the pleasant and agreeable conversation with your extended family. Right? Well, to keep the happy conversation flowing, here’s some fun facts about Thanksgiving to keep your family distracted from explosive topics (you know what they are at your house) while they digest that second slice of pumpkin pie.
We associate Thanksgiving with the Pilgrims, but the holiday wasn’t official until October 3, 1789, when President George Washington issued a proclamation naming Thursday, November 26, 1789, as an official holiday of “sincere and humble thanks.” The nation then celebrated its first Thanksgiving under its new Constitution.
It’s the sesquicentennial of President Lincoln’s Thanksgiving declaration. One hundred and fifty years ago, he declared Thanksgiving a national holiday, and asked that those being thankful also “commend to His [God's] tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged.” The President declared that Thanksgiving would be commemorated each year on the fourth Thursday of November.
The tug-of-war between Thanksgiving and holiday shopping started years ago during the Great Depression. In 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt moved the holiday to the third Thursday of November to lengthen the Christmas shopping season and boost the economy, which was … [ Read all ]
Posted by Hilary on November 27, 2013, under - Civil War, - Presidents, Abraham Lincoln, Myth or History, Unusual documents.
Tags: Carter, FDR, George H. W. Bush, green peas, lincoln, military, Pilgrims, Roosevelt, thanksgiving, turkey pardon, washington
Today’s blog post comes from Corinne Porter, curator at the National Archives Building in Washington, DC.
November 22, 2013, marks the 50th anniversary of the death of President John F. Kennedy. On that day in 1963, the news of President Kennedy’s tragic death shocked the world and plunged the United States into mourning.
Although five decades have passed, the memory of the day remains vivid to the generation of Americans that lived through the experience. Many of you may know a relative or neighbor who can recall in detail where they were when they heard the tragic news.
In the days and weeks following the death of President Kennedy, the White House received a flood of condolence mail—over 800,000 letters in the first six weeks, a figure that would eventually rise to over 1.5 million letters.
Condolences arrived from around the world. Men, women, and children from diverse backgrounds—social, economic, political, ethnic, racial, and religious—wrote to Jacqueline Kennedy and her children. They declared their shock and disbelief, supplied words of support and encouragement, shared their memories of President Kennedy, and expressed what he meant to them. They also sought to assure the Kennedy family that John F. Kennedy and his legacy would be remembered.
Many correspondents acknowledged that they were just one of the “little people,” and that they did not expect the First … [ Read all ]
Posted by Hilary on November 22, 2013, under - Presidents, - The 1960s, Letters in the National Archives.
Tags: assasination, condolence letters, Jackie Kennedy, JFK, letters, November 22, President Kennedy