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 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 the Truman Library dedication, Herbert Hoover delivered remarks … [ Read all ]
Posted by Hilary on April 23, 2013, under - Presidents, National Archives Near You, Pennsylvania Avenue.
Tags: Bush, Carter, Clinton, Eisenhower, FDR, Ford, Hoover, JFK, Johnson, Kennedy, LBJ, Nixon, presidential libraries, Presidents, Reagan, Truman
Today’s guest post comes from Margaret Powell, MA, a decorative arts historian from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Her areas of concentration are textile and costume history. She is a graduate of the Smithsonian Associates–Corcoran College of Art and Design History of Decorative Arts Masters Program.
On September 13, 1953, the New York Times featured the wedding of John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Bouvier on the front page. The article contained a photograph of the bride’s intricate gown and a detailed description of its “ivory silk taffeta, embellished with interwoven bands of tucking, finished with a portrait neckline and a bouffant skirt.” The only thing missing from the coverage was the name of Ann Lowe, the dress designer.
Even today, as the Kennedy wedding gown resides in the permanent collection of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston, very few people realize that this dress is the work of an African American designer. It is no novelty or a fluke—it is just one example of the countless designs created by Lowe for the Auchincloss family between 1947 and 1957. In fact, when Jacqueline’s stepsister Nina appeared in a 1955 fashion editorial in Vogue, she was wearing an Ann Lowe debut dress.
Ann Lowe’s story is remarkable. With little more than a few years of education in the segregated schools of turn-of-the-century Alabama, sewing lessons … [ Read all ]
Posted by Hilary on March 28, 2013, under - The 1960s.
Tags: African American, Ann Lowe, debut gowns, fashion, First Ladies, Jackie Kennedy, JFK, Nina Auchincloss, Presidential Library, Women's History Month
Today’s post is written by archivist Dr. Greg Bradsher.
When one thinks about President Kennedy’s naval career in World War II, what most often comes to mind is his command of Motor Torpedo Boat PT-109.
Thanks to the 1963 movie PT 109, adapted from the 1961 book PT 109: John F. Kennedy in World War II by Robert J. Donovan, Kennedy’s wartime exploits with PT-109 were well-publicized and became part of the Kennedy legend (see Stephen Plotkins’s “Sixty Years Later, the Story of PT-109 Still Captivates” in the summer 2003 issue of Prologue.)
What few people realize is that after the loss of PT-109, Kennedy was given command of another boat: PT-59. Actually, the last scene in the movie PT 109 shows Kennedy and this boat sailing off into the sunset to begin new adventures on his path to the White House.
The story of Kennedy and PT-59 begins on the morning of August 2, 1943, in the Solomon Islands, when PT-109. Lt. (jg) John F. Kennedy, USNR, was in command when PT-109 was rammed by a Japanese destroyer and sunk. Kennedy and the surviving crew members were rescued on August 8, and Kennedy was then sent to Tulagi Island to recover.
But Kennedy was eager to get back into the fight, and he was soon was assigned to command PT-59. He reported … [ Read all ]
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
With all the hoopla over the upcoming release of the 1940 census on April 2, we haven’t really been thinking about facial hair all that much.
But then fellow National Archives staff member Jeannie (of the OurPresidents tumblr blog) sent me this photograph, and genealogy, facial hair, and St. Patrick’s Day all came together.
The mustachioed and bespectacled man to the left is Patrick J. Kennedy, the grandfather of President John F. Kennedy and—like many Americans—the child of Irish immigrants.
His mustache, while of Irish descent, was grown in the United States.
JFK’s great-grandfather was Patrick Kennedy. He left his work as a cooper in his hometown of Dunganstown, County Wexford, and made his way to the United States and settled in Boston.
In 1849, Patrick married another Irish immigrant, Bridget Murphy, who also came from County Wexford. But after just nine years of marriage, Patrick died and left Bridget a widow with four small children. The youngest was Patrick Joseph “P.J.” Kennedy, JFK’s grandfather.
P.J. continued the family line by marrying Mary Augusta Hickey, whose parents were also orginally from Ireland. The couple lived in East Boston and their son, Joseph Patrick Kennedy, was born on September 6, 1888. He was John F. Kennedy’s father.
Today’s guest post comes from David Coleman, associate professor at the University of Virginia and Chair of the Presidential Recordings Program at the Miller Center of Public Affairs.
On April 28, W.W. Norton will publish volumes 7 and 8 in the Miller Center’s Presidential Recordings of Lyndon B. Johnson series. (The original tapes are in the holdings of the LBJ Presidential Library and Museum.) The volumes, which span June through July 4, 1964, were edited by Guian McKee, Kent Germany, and David Carter.
At 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 28, the National Archives will host Dave Coleman, the editors, and Pulitzer Prize–winning author Taylor Branch to discuss these latest books.
“That’s a good bill, and there’s no reason why you ought to keep a majority from beating it. If you can beat it, go on and beat it, but you oughtn’t to hold it up. You ought to give me a fair shake and give me a chance to vote on it.”
—LBJ to House Minority Leader Charles Halleck, 6:24 p.m., June 22, 1964
Behind-the-scenes discussions between the White House and Capitol Hill can be an essential piece of the puzzle in understanding how and why legislation was passed, rejected, or changed, or even a government shutdown averted. But they’re typically obscured from public view.
It’s easy enough to imagine what might have been
Posted by Hilary on April 26, 2011, under - Civil Rights, - Cold War, - Presidents, - Spies and Espionage, - The 1960s.
Tags: David Coleman, debt ceiling, JFK, LBJ, Miller Center, President Johnson, secret tapes, White House