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
Have you looked at your money lately? Among the nickels and quarters and dimes, only the copper penny has a bearded profile.
But although Lincoln’s facial hair eventually became an iconic part of his image, he originally ran for President as a clean-shaven candidate.
Why grow the beard? The answer may lie in a letter written to Lincoln on October 15, 1860, exactly 150 years ago
Eleven-year-old Grace Bedell of Westfield, NY, wrote a letter to Abraham Lincoln, then a Presidential candidate, suggesting he should grow a beard. “You would look a great deal better for your face is so thin,” she wrote, noting that “all the ladies like whiskers.”
Lincoln wrote back, wondering ”As to the whiskers, having never worn any, do you not think people would call it a piece of silly affection if I were to begin it now?” But a month later, Lincoln was sporting a full beard as he campaigned.
What do you think? Does the beard make you want to vote for him?… [ Read all ]