Today’s guest post comes from Susan K. Donius, Director of the Office of Presidential Libraries at the National Archives.
Among the gifts from heads of state that are in the holdings of the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum is a menorah presented to President Truman by Israel’s first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion. The menorah dates back to at least 1767, when it was donated to a synagogue in Buergel, Germany.
The menorah was used in the synagogue until 1913, when it was found broken in pieces. A man by the name of Siegfried Guggenheim asked for the broken pieces and provided a replacement. The Guggenheim family restored the old menorah for their personal use, and brought it to the United States when they immigrated in the 1930s. Eventually, the menorah was acquired by the Jewish Museum in New York.
When Prime Minister Ben-Gurion visited the United States in 1951, he searched for a suitable gift to give to Harry S. Truman in light of the President’s recognition and support of the State of Israel. The Jewish Museum suggested the menorah, and Prime Minister Ben-Gurion presented it to Truman on his birthday, May 8, 1951.
In 1979, President Jimmy Carter participated in lighting a Hanukkah menorah on the Ellipse, just south of the White House. Each President since then has commemorated Hanukkah at the … [ Read all ]
Posted by Hilary on December 4, 2013, under Uncategorized.
Tags: Clifton Truman Daniel, David Ben-Gurion, George Bush, Hannukah, Harry Truman, Israel, Jimmy Carter, Presidents, Ronald Reagan, White House, William Cinton, Yariv Ben-Eliezer
It’s been a great two weeks, but American Archives Month is coming to an end. We’re saying good-bye to the series with a stop at the hometown of the 2013 World Series Champions: Boston, MA.
Full name: Stacey Chandler
Occupation: Archives Technician for Textual Reference at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library
How long have you worked at this library?
Five years total, including two years as an intern.
How/why did you decide to go into the archival field?
I interned in the archives at the Kennedy Library through graduate school, while trying to decide exactly what do to with my Public History degree. After two years working with the collections here, how could I choose to work in any other field?
What are some of your responsibilities at your library?
Mainly, I help researchers find and access documents on whatever they’re curious about in the life and times of John F. Kennedy. I also do tours and reference for the Ernest Hemingway collection, and keep on the lookout for preservation concerns, new books to add to the library, and chances to put cool documents in the spotlight.
What do you like best about your job?
The best part of my job is talking with all different kinds of people about history every day. The amazingly wide range of subjects people ask us about keeps … [ Read all ]
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 post comes from Christopher Abraham at the Eisenhower Presidential Library. He answers a question each week on Facebook. This week’s Ask an Archivist query comes from Kansas.
“Did Knute Rockne ever box Dwight D. Eisenhower? I heard that this took place in Abilene, Kansas, around 1913.” – Anonymous
We have heard this story before. The legend goes that Rockne, who would later gain fame as a football coach for Notre Dame, traveled the country as an exhibition boxer and took on a young Dwight D. Eisenhower in Abilene. Rockne then attempted to convince him to become a professional boxer.
Unfortunately for presidential and sports historians, this event never took place.
In a 1947 letter to his former aide Harry Butcher, Eisenhower wrote “There is no truth whatsoever in the story about Knute Rockne trying to interest me in a professional boxer’s career. The people who got that story started took two or three little different incidents, put them all together into a single story, and came up with some weird and wonderful ideas.”
Ann Whitman, the president’s personal secretary, wrote in 1956 that, “the President says there is not a word of truth in this–-and that he never met Knute Rockne until he was grown up.”
Library staff answer every reference question we receive, but not all questions will be posted to Ask … [ Read all ]
As the first President, Washington set many inaugural precedents, but his inaugurations were also very different in ways that would not be repeated. The oath of office is usually administered the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court during the ceremony. The first President had not yet appointed any Supreme Court Justices, and so he was sworn in by Robert R. Livingston, the Chancellor of New York. For his second inauguration, Washington was sworn in by Supreme Court Justice William Cushing. Washington is the only President whose inauguration was held in two different cities: New York and Philadelphia. Washington also set the precedent of swearing on a Bible, a tradition followed by succeeding Presidents.
The Constitution does not dictate where the inauguration should happen, and so the actual location has varied from city to building to room. Washington’s first inauguration took place in New York on a second-floor balcony of Federal Hall, with a crowd assembled in the streets below. Washington’s second inauguration and John Adams’s only inauguration were held in Philadelphia. Even when the ceremony was held in the new capital city, the location still varied. Jefferson, the first President to be inaugurated in Washington, DC, took the oath twice in the Senate Chamber of the Capitol. James Monroe caused a political firestorm in 1817 when he offered to take the … [ Read all ]