Site search

Site menu:

Find Out More

Subscribe to Email Updates



Contact Us

Tag: Eisenhower Library

Eisenhower Library: From Life to Legacy

October is American Archives Month! We’re celebrating the work of archivists and the importance of archives with a series of blog posts about the Presidential libraries. The records created by Presidents while in office will become part of the National Archives, and eventually will be used by researchers. Here’s how it happens! 

Today’s post comes from Rebecca Brenner, an intern in the National Archives History Office in Washington, DC.

Photograph of Eisenhower Library Abilene, Kansas, ca. 1962. (National Archives Identifier 12170294 )

Photograph of the Eisenhower Library Abilene, Kansas, ca. 1962. (National Archives Identifier 12170294 )

When President Dwight D. Eisenhower left the White House in 1960, he almost immediately began work on his Presidential library in his hometown of Abilene, KS.

His involvement with his library continued until the end of his life, when the library’s staff took over the responsibility of preserving his legacy.

The Eisenhower Presidential Library holds documents of President Eisenhower’s administration, as well as manuscript materials from General Eisenhower’s military career.

As early as February 1961, a small staff of archivists and a photographer worked to arrange 11 million pages of manuscript material that was pouring in from the White House. They also received books, photographs, and sound recordings.

The formal building dedication took place on May 2, 1962.

In March 1969, the library changed dramatically when President Eisenhower died.

Portrait of Dwight Eisenhower  which hangs in the Eisenhower Library in Abilene, Kansas. (Eisenhower Library)

Portrait of Dwight Eisenhower, which hangs in the Eisenhower Library in Abilene, KS. (Eisenhower

[ Read all ]

A glimpse into the Civil War experience of Company F

Today’s blog post comes from Mary Burtzloff, archivist at the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library.

The black leather-bound journal had water stains and mold around the edges. It looked a bit icky, but the contents of the Civil War journal fascinated me.

One hundred and fifty years after our nation’s bloodiest conflict, we are  reminded of the lives and accomplishments of famous men like Abraham Lincoln and Robert E. Lee. The experiences of ordinary Americans (31 million or so who are not featured in films and books) are much more mysterious. What sort of people were they? How did they experience the war? George Boardman’s story helps me relate to those missing multitudes.

I began identifying Civil War–related holdings at the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library as I worked on a proposed exhibit. Believe it or not, a 20th-century Presidential library may have records from the 19th (and even 18th) century, too!

My favorite find was the journal of George Boardman, a young man who served in Company F of the 22nd Maine Infantry from October 1862 to August 1863. Mrs. M. Hobart gave the journal to President Eisenhower in 1967. It is currently displayed in the exhibit “Civil War: Lincoln, Lee and More!” at the Eisenhower Museum in Abilene, Kansas.

The diary entry for George Boardman's Christmas dinner in 1862 (click to enlarge). He

[ Read all ]

Facial Hair Friday: Elvis has NOT left the building

The most popular photograph at the National Archives (ARC 1634221)

Are these the most famous sideburns in music history? They might be the most famous sideburns in the National Archives.

If you are a fan of Elvis, you’ve seen the photograph: Nixon and Elvis shaking hands in the White House. This is the most-requested image in our holdings. The quirky story behind the meeting of the King of Rock and Roll and the President of the United States is featured in this online exhibit.

But it’s not the only record we have of Elvis.

In December of 1957, Elvis was drafted for the U.S. Army. This career change was an upsetting event for fans. The Eisenhower Library has a letter from three girls in Montana who despaired over a possible shaving of  the singer’s sideburns: “You don’t no how we feel about him, I really don’t see why you have to send him in the Army at all, but we beg you please please don’t give him a G.I. hair cut, oh please please don’t!  If you do we will just about die!”

But their letter writing was in vain. On March 24, 1958, Presley signed his acknowledgement of service obligation and entered the Army. (Alas, his sideburns did not.)

Since Elvis served in the military, his file is part of the permanant holdings of the National Personnel … [ Read all ]