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Tag: FDR

Thanksgiving with the Presidents

Today’s guest post comes from Susan Donius, Director of the Office of Presidential Libraries at the National Archives. This post originally appeared on the White House blog.

Did you know that before the 1940s, Thanksgiving was not on a fixed date but was whenever the President proclaimed it to be?

George Washington issued the first Presidential proclamation for the holiday in 1789.  That year he designated Thursday, November 26 as a national day of “public thanksgiving.”  The United States then celebrated its first Thanksgiving under its new Constitution.   Seventy-four years later, in 1863, Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a national holiday on the last Thursday in November.

By the beginning of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Presidency, Thanksgiving was not a fixed holiday; it was up to the President to issue a Thanksgiving Proclamation to announce what date the holiday would fall on.  Tradition had dictated that the holiday be celebrated on the last Thursday of the month, however, this tradition became increasingly difficult to continue during the challenging times of the Great Depression.

Roosevelt’s first Thanksgiving in office fell on November 30, the last day of the month, because November had five Thursdays that year. This meant that there were only about 20 shopping days until Christmas and statistics showed that most people waited until after Thanksgiving to begin their holiday shopping.  Business leaders feared they would … [ Read all ]

Thursday Photo Caption Contest: June 21

Nothing is sweeter than a girl and her dog . . . competing for treats? We enjoyed your captions suggesting the competition between a girl and her same-size canine companion, but like this little girl, the winner seemed just out of our grasp.

So we turned to guest judge Sarah Malcolm, who writes for the blog “In Roosevelt History” for the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library. Sarah has had experience with historic dogs: the blog has featured Fala’s Christmas stocking and little sailor hat!

Congratulations to Amanda! Sarah chose your caption as the winner! Check your e-mail for a treat—er, code for 15% in the eStore.

Although Fala might be the most famous of the Roosevelts’ dogs, this is a different Scottish terrier from decades before Fala joined the family. This photograph was taken in 1907. The dog, Duffy, is competing with Anna Roosevelt for a treat from the hand of FDR (who is standing over them, not yet stricken by polio).

It’s very, very hot in Washington, DC, today and so we couldn’t resist a picture that made us feel cool. Give us your wittiest caption in the comment below!… [ Read all ]

Thursday Photo Caption Contest: March 8

Your captions were as sweet and delicious as cold beer on a hot summer’s day!

And we knew just who to ask to serve as guest judge: beer enthusiast and information technology specialist Crystal Brooks. Even though Crystal modestly claims to still be a novice when it comes to home brewing, we knew that she had the discerning palate to choose a winner.

Congratulations to Denise! Check your email for a discount code for 15% off in the eStore. Crystal was impressed that you correctly identified the beer as Ruppert’s Knickerbocker Beer, and she was delighted that you connected the contest date to Rupert’s birthday. We raise a glass to Denise’s captioning skills and Rupert’s birthday!

This photograph comes from the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and the original caption reads:  “Sgt. Henry Klein sells T/4 Ralph Lohman his ration of American beer. Seven cans were rationed in Sept. but future deliveries were uncertain.”

Today’s photograph looks like the result of several cases of Knickerbocker beer. Put your wittiest caption in the comments below!… [ Read all ]

Thursday Photo Caption Contest–March 1

Apparently the sight of a scantily clad man engrossed in his knitting fired up the imaginations of our readers! We made a cup of tea and settled down to knit one, purl two our way through your many caption submissions. Leg warmers! Greek mythology! Puns! Poor fashion sense!

We became so tangled that we turned to guest judge Lynn Bassanese, the Acting Director of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library, to decide which captions to cast off.

Congratulations to James! (Check your email for a code for 15% off in your eStore.) Lynn chose your caption as the winner. “Eleanor Roosevelt was a knitter and we have many of her knitting needles and projects in our museum collection,” said Lynn. ”She would applaud this young man’s efforts!”

This photograph comes from the holdings of the FDR Library, but its World War II  context is not quite so sunny as the stoop in the picture. The original caption reads:  ”Believed to be Italian nationals in a U. S. Detention camp.”

Today’s photo also features men, but they seem to be engaged in a more traditionally masculine activity! Give us your wittiest caption in the comments below!… [ Read all ]

Prohibition and the Rise of the American Gangster

As Prohibition commenced in 1920, progressives and temperance activists envisioned an age of moral and social reform. But over the next decade, the “noble experiment” produced crime, violence, and a flourishing illegal liquor trade.

The roots of Prohibition date back to the mid-19th century, when the American Temperance Society and the Women’s Christian Temperance League initiated the “dry” movement. In 1917, Congress passed a resolution calling for a constitutional amendment to implement nationwide Prohibition.

After the 18th Amendment was ratified in 1919, Congress followed with the National Prohibition Act. Commonly referred to as the Volstead Act, the legislation outlawed the production, distribution, and transportation of alcohol. Prohibition officially went into effect on January 16, 1920.

But while reformers rejoiced, famous gangsters such as Al Capone capitalized and profited from the illegal alcohol market.

From Los Angeles to Chicago to  New York, organized crime syndicates supplied speakeasies and underground establishments with large quantities of beer and liquor. These complex bootlegging operations used rivers and waterways to smuggle alcohol across state lines. Eventually, other criminal enterprises expanded and diversified from the bootlegging profits.

As organized crime syndicates grew throughout the Prohibition era, territorial disputes often transformed America’s cities into violent battlegrounds. Homicides, burglaries, and assaults consequently increased significantly between 1920 and 1933.

In the face of this crime wave, law enforcement struggled to keep up. Although three Federal agencies were … [ Read all ]