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Tag: Roosevelt

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

"Underdog Bess readies for the hand to drop, certain that, in this heat of the race, she shall be faster than Fido."

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!

Your caption here!

[ Read all ]

Records from the Day of Infamy

World War II poster, ARC 535235

The National Archives holds many records that tell the story of the attack on Pearl Harbor. To commemorate the 70th anniversary of that day, we’ve gathered links from across our blogs and on Tumblr to show you some of these moving documents that we hold in safekeeping.

Memo to the President

This memorandum was one of the first written damage assessments presented to the President.  In his own hand, Roosevelt indicated the date and time he received it.

“Day of Infamy” Speech

The drafts for this short speech show how Roosevelt crafted his request for a declaration of war.

Deck Logs

In our newest “Inside the Vaults” video short, staff at the National Archives talk about the deck logs from ships stationed at Pearl Harbor and the stories found in the entries for December 7, 1941.

Over at the Text Message blog, a student finds a family friend  in the deck logs he is processing.

Letters

Twenty-three sets of brothers died that day on the USS Arizona. William Wells was one of them. His service record was salvaged from the ship and treated by conservators at the National Archives.

Photographs

One photo is of Japanese carrier planes taking off for the attack; the other shows the wreckage-strewn Naval Air Station.

Maps

This 22- x 31-inch radar plot was made by Privates Joseph L. Lockard … [ Read all ]

Crafting a Call to Arms: FDR’s Day of Infamy Speech

In the early afternoon of December 7, 1941, Franklin D. Roosevelt was just finishing lunch in his oval study on the second floor of the White House, preparing to work on his stamp album.

The phone rang, and he was informed that the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, shortly before 1 p.m. Washington time, 8 a.m. Hawaii time.

“It was just the kind of unexpected thing the Japanese would do. At the very time they were discussing peace in the Pacific, they were plotting to overthrow it,” he remarked to his assistant.

Roosevelt delivers the "Day of Infamy" speech to a joint session of Congress on December 8, 1941. To the right, in uniform, is Roosevelt's son James, who escorted his father to the Capitol. Seated in the back are Vice President Henry Wallace and Speaker Sam Rayburn.

For the rest of that afternoon, Roosevelt and his advisers were busy at the White House receiving fragmentary reports about the damage to U.S. installations, ships, and planes in Hawaii.

Security was increased around the White House, and plans were under way for a bomb shelter for the President underneath the nearby Treasury Department building. Across the nation, news of the attack spread by radio and word of mouth, and Americans began thinking about what life in a nation at war was going to be like.… [ Read all ]

The Presidents are expecting you!

Is there a Presidential Library near you? Check this page of the President Passport to find out.

Did you know that the 13 Presidential libraries are part of the National Archives?

The National Archives is a nonpartisan agency, and we care for all the paper and digital records—as well as Presidential gifts and other items—that are part of the President’s legacy. These documents are preserved and made accessible at the 13 Presidential library and museums.

Before the Presidential libraries were created by Franklin Roosevelt, the papers of each President met varying fates at the end of each term. Papers were divided up, given to private collections, and even destroyed. 

In 1939, FDR donated his personal and Presidential papers to the Federal Government. He asked the National Archives to take custody of his papers and other historical materials and to administer his library. (For a full history of the creation of the Presidential libraries and how they operate, go to  this Prologue article)

The buildings, grounds, museum, and collections of each library are as different as the 13 Presidents whose records they preserve—and now you can commemorate your visit to each one with an official “Passport to the Presidential Libraries.”

Each page features facts, pictures, quotes, and a description of that President and his library. They are available at any Presidential library and at the Archives Shop … [ Read all ]