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Tag: FDR

Spielberg Film Festival: Saving Private Ryan

Steven Spielberg is being honored by the Foundation for the National Archives for his film legacy, which has brought history to life on the big screen. The National Archives is celebrating the award with a film festival, and Saving Private Ryan is the first film to be screened. Join us tonight, Friday, November 15. For details on the award and the times of the free screenings, go here.)

In Spielberg’s film Saving Private Ryan, a squad of Army Rangers search for Pfc. James Francis Ryan (played by Matt Damon) who is the last surviving brother of four servicemen. Seems like something that could only happen in the movies?

Unfortunately, history is stranger, and sadder, than fiction. Many stories of lost and missing brothers can be found in our records.

Twenty-three sets of brothers were killed on the USS Arizona during the attack on Pearl Harbor. The photo below shows a service jacket and salvaged service record, with Navy envelope, for William Wells. Wells enlisted at Kansas City, MO, on January 1, 1940, and died December 7, 1941, at Pearl Harbor after achieving the rank of Signalman 3rd class. His brother, Raymond Virgil Wells, was also on the Arizona and died that day.

Service record for William Wells. (National Archives Identifier 299693)

Service record for William Wells. (National Archives Identifier 299693)

Sometimes the decision to preserve these kinds of records means not treating … [ Read all ]

American Archives Month: Sarah Malcolm, Roosevelt Library

We’re kicking off Halloween week by heading over to the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum in Hyde Park, NY.

We asked archivist Sarah Malcolm about public misconceptions of her profession.

“The word archivist is a misconception in and of itself, since unfortunately most people aren’t sure what that word means,” Malcolm said. “Usually, the first question I get from people when I say that I am an archivist is, ‘So what do you do?’

“What an archivist is can be a range of things. Archivists work with collections and papers ranging from centuries ago to digital files being created today. We take care of these documents, photographs, audio and video recordings to make them accessible for people now and for generations to come. We preserve collections, create exhibits, answer peoples questions, and spend a lot of time getting dusty and dirty. We work in small historical societies, colleges and universities, corporate headquarters, government institutions, and everywhere else in between. We get to work with history every day, and that’s what makes being an archivist so unique and fun.”

Read on to learn more about Malcolm’s archival experiences!

Sarah Malcom is an archivist at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library in Hyde Park, NY.

Sarah Malcolm is an archivist at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library in Hyde Park, NY.

Name: Sarah Malcolm

Occupation: Archivist at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library

How long have you worked at this library?

Three years, plus four summers … [ Read all ]

White House Reunions: Presidential Library Dedications

Today’s blog post comes from Susan Donius, Director of the Office of Presidential Libraries at the National Archives.

It’s not often that several Presidents are together at one time, but on April 25, the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum will be dedicated to the American public. Although many dignitaries from around the world will attend, all eyes will likely focus on the gathering of men who have called the White House home. In addition to George W. Bush, guests of honor will include current Commander-in-Chief Barack Obama, and former Presidents William J. Clinton, George Bush, and Jimmy Carter.

The George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum.

The first Presidential Library and Museum was conceived and built under President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s direction from 1939 to 1940 in Hyde Park, NY. The official FDR Library dedication was a small, quiet affair, with close friends and family attending the ceremony. Over the years, the ceremonies have grown larger, and dedications have become notable for the atmosphere of nonpartisan goodwill and respect among former Presidents.

The Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum was dedicated on July 6, 1957, in Independence, MO. During Truman’s Presidency, Herbert Hoover offered his services to help with post–World War II humanitarian efforts. Despite being Presidents from opposing parties, the two forged a working relationship that eventually grew into a strong friendship. At … [ Read all ]

“I am a little country boy eight years old.”

Today’s guest post is from Sherri DeCoursey, who used the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library to find a special piece of history for her father.

Forest Delano Roosevelt Ferguson holds his prized possession: a photo of FDR and a letter from the President's secretary.

For as long as I can remember, a photo of FDR and a letter have hung side-by-side in the den of Mom and Dad’s home.  The yellowed letter, written by FDR’s secretary Missy LeHand, was in response to a letter my father wrote the President in 1941. My dad—Forest Delano Roosevelt Ferguson—was eight years old in 1941. Dad will be 80 in June of this year.

Letter from Missy LeHand, FDR's secretary, replying to the letter sent by 8-year-old FDR Ferguson

As familiar as that letter and the President’s photograph were to me, what I had never even pondered until last year was what my father wrote in his letter to FDR.

While visiting my parents in the fall of 2012, I looked at the framed letter and photograph and asked Dad what he included in his letter to the President. He couldn’t recall the details. Who could after 72 years? I continued to ponder what my father as a boy might have written.

What would an eight-year-old Forest Delano Roosevelt Ferguson write to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt? Perhaps about school? … [ Read all ]

See 13 Inaugurations in Four Days at the National Archives

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 ]