Today’s post comes from Christopher Abraham at the Eisenhower Presidential Library. He answers a question each week on Facebook. This week’s Ask an Archivist query comes from Kansas.
“Did Knute Rockne ever box Dwight D. Eisenhower? I heard that this took place in Abilene, Kansas, around 1913.” – Anonymous
We have heard this story before. The legend goes that Rockne, who would later gain fame as a football coach for Notre Dame, traveled the country as an exhibition boxer and took on a young Dwight D. Eisenhower in Abilene. Rockne then attempted to convince him to become a professional boxer.
Unfortunately for presidential and sports historians, this event never took place.
In a 1947 letter to his former aide Harry Butcher, Eisenhower wrote “There is no truth whatsoever in the story about Knute Rockne trying to interest me in a professional boxer’s career. The people who got that story started took two or three little different incidents, put them all together into a single story, and came up with some weird and wonderful ideas.”
Ann Whitman, the president’s personal secretary, wrote in 1956 that, “the President says there is not a word of truth in this–-and that he never met Knute Rockne until he was grown up.”
Library staff answer every reference question we receive, but not all questions will be posted to Ask … [ Read all ]
Today’s post comes from Christopher Abraham at the Eisenhower Presidential Library. He answers a question each week on Facebook. This week’s Ask an Archivist query comes from Pennsylvania.
“Did Eisenhower teach Patton how to drive a tank at Camp Colt in Gettysburg?” Anonymous
Captain George S. Patton knew how to drive a tank by the time Captain Dwight D. Eisenhower was in command of Camp Colt. In November 1917, Patton visited a French light tank training session in the forest of Compiegne where he drove a Renault tank and fired its gun. He was so interested in the machine that his instructors had to find a mechanic to answer his questions.
After taking a course at the army’s first tank school at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, Eisenhower was ordered in November 1918 to report to Camp Meade, Maryland. There he joined the 65th Engineers and organized what would become the 301st Tank Battalion. In March he was told that the battalion would go to France and that he would be in command. To his disappointment, he was sent to Camp Colt in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, where he was placed in command of the Tank Corps. He was temporarily promoted to lieutenant colonel in October and was told he would leave for France in November to command an armored unit. The armistice was signed before he could … [ Read all ]
Posted by Hilary on February 25, 2013, under - Presidents, - World War I, - World War II, Myth or History.
Tags: Camp colt, Camp Meade, Christopher Abraham, Eisenhower, Fort Leavenworth, Gettysburg, guest post, Patton, tank command, tanks
On Monday, January 21, President Obama will be sworn in for a second term. It will be the 57th Presidential Inauguration. Beginning at 11:30 a.m., the President’s swearing-in ceremony will be shown live in the William G. McGowan Theater at the National Archives.
If you are in Washington, DC, don’t miss this chance to see several Presidential Inaugurations! We will be screening historic footage of previous Presidential Inaugurations from our holdings. The films will highlight different Presidential Inaugurations every day, starting with FDR and ending with Clinton. Check the schedule below to decide which historic Inauguration you want to see.
January 16, 17 & 18, at noon
William G. McGowan Theater
Screening schedule (subject to change)
January 16 at noon
First and Last Inaugurations of Franklin Delano Roosevelt (March 4, 1933, and January 20, 1945)
Inauguration of Harry S. Truman (January 20, 1949)
Inauguration of Dwight D. Eisenhower (January 20, 1955)
Inauguration of John F. Kennedy (January 20, 1961)
January 17 at noon
Inauguration of Lyndon Baines Johnson (January 20, 1965)
Inauguration of Richard M. Nixon (January 20, 1969)
Swearing-In Ceremony of Gerald R. Ford (August 9, 1974)
Inauguration of Jimmy Carter (January 20, 1977)
January 18 at noon
Inauguration of Ronald W. Reagan (January 20, 1981)
Inauguration of George H.W. Bush (January 20, 1989)
Inauguration of William J. Clinton (January 20, 1993)
On January … [ Read all ]
Once upon a time, space was quiet. This was before satellites had cluttered the orbit of the earth, beaming TV shows and text messages and GPS coordinates.
Before 1958, space was very quiet.
On December 18, 1958, the Air Force placed the first communications satellite, a Project SCORE relay vehicle, into orbit.
And then, on December 19, the sound of the a human voice was transmitted through space. It was the voice of President Eisenhower, broadcasting a message of peace to the world below.
This is the President of the United States speaking. Through the marvels of scientific advance, my voice is coming to you from a satellite circling in outer space. My message is a simple one. Through this unique means, I convey to you and all mankind America’s wish for peace on earth and good will to men everywhere.
Fewer than 100 people knew about the project, called SCORE (Signal Communications by Orbiting Relay Equipment). The goal was to put an Atlas missile into orbit and to show that communications satellites could transmit messages to Earth. It was a huge technological breakthrough and a milestone in the space race.
Sputnik 1 had been successfully launched in 1957 and had an onboard radio-transmitter. The satellite in the SCORE project used a tape recorder to store and forward voice messages—it was the first satellite … [ Read all ]
Posted by Hilary on December 19, 2012, under - Cold War, - Presidents, - Space Race, Letters in the National Archives, Pennsylvania Avenue.
Tags: 1958, Christmas, Eisenhower, satellite, SCORE, space, Sputnik
This week marks the 22nd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The National Archives holds many records that relate to American citizens with disabilities. From personal letters to historic legislation, these records from the Presidential Libraries provide insight into disability history.
For the opening of the Public Vaults exhibition at the National Archives Building in 2004, public affairs specialist Miriam Kleiman was assigned to track down and bring to Washington some of the people mentioned in the exhibition. This is her account of her search for John Beaulieu.
I was intrigued by the letters from children in the “Dear Uncle Sam” section of the “Form a More Perfect Union” vault. One unusual letter in the stack interested me a great deal—a letter written in Braille to President Dwight D. Eisenhower by a young boy in the fall of 1956.
Thirteen-year-old John Beaulieu offered the President the following campaign stump speech: “Vote for me. I will help you out. I will lower the prices and also your tax bill. I also will help the negroes, so that they may go to school.”
The return address listed Perkins School for the Blind (Helen Keller’s alma mater) in Watertown, Massachusetts. After my Internet searches led nowhere, I called the Perkins School but was not optimistic. After all, John had not been a student there for nearly 50 … [ Read all ]
Posted by Hilary on July 25, 2012, under - Presidents, Disability History, Letters in the National Archives, Pennsylvania Avenue, Unusual documents.
Tags: Beaulieu, Braille, Eisenhower, Helen Keller, letter, letter from the President, Miriam Kleiman, national archives, Perkins School, Public Vaults