Epic History

Exploring American history, one epic record from the National Archives at a time

Run by the Foundation for the National Archives
todaysdocument:

fdrlibrary:

Did you know that FDR named his beloved Scottish terrier after a distant Scottish ancestor? Upon receiving the pet as a gift in 1940, Roosevelt changed the dog’s name from “Big Boy” to “Murray the Outlaw of Falahill” — “Fala” for short — in homage to the famous John Murray of Falahill.
Fala became Roosevelt’s constant companion and the most famous dog in America.   
#Scotland 

With both the Scottish Independence Referendum and The Roosevelts documentary in the news this week, here’s a little piece of Rooseveltian-Scottish trivia, courtesy of our colleagues at the fdrlibrary.

Fala Photographing the Photographers at the White House, Washington, DC, 04/07/1942

 What are you following this week, The Roosevelts, or the referendum?

todaysdocument:

fdrlibrary:

Did you know that FDR named his beloved Scottish terrier after a distant Scottish ancestor? Upon receiving the pet as a gift in 1940, Roosevelt changed the dog’s name from “Big Boy” to “Murray the Outlaw of Falahill” — “Fala” for short — in homage to the famous John Murray of Falahill.

Fala became Roosevelt’s constant companion and the most famous dog in America.  

#Scotland

With both the Scottish Independence Referendum and The Roosevelts documentary in the news this week, here’s a little piece of Rooseveltian-Scottish trivia, courtesy of our colleagues at the fdrlibrary.

Fala Photographing the Photographers at the White House, Washington, DC, 04/07/1942

What are you following this week, The Roosevelts, or the referendum?

As we continue to explore the Roosevelts through National Archives records this week in conjunction with Ken Burns's The Roosevelts documentary series on pbstv, today we turn our attention to Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.Eleanor Roosevelt was an active and focused First Lady, transforming the role during her 12 years in the White House. She pushed for a number of domestic and social reforms, and remained professionally active in journalism, penning a monthly column for Woman’s Home Companion magazine and Ladies Home Journal as well as a syndicated daily newspaper column called “My Day.”On March 6, 1933, Eleanor Roosevelt held the first of her 348 women’s-only press conferences. These press conferences were attended by the major female reporters of the day - including Lorena Hickok, Ruby Black, Bess Furman, May Craig, Emma Bugbee and Martha Stayer.Eleanor used these press conferences as a way to not only announce her schedule of activities but also as a platform to publicize the work of women leaders, answer her critics, and entertain questions on a variety of subjects. Topics covered everything from domestic issues like social programs, race, youth activism, etc. to international politics and the role of women in war and peace.Image of “Eleanor Roosevelt’s First Press Conference" and information via fdrlibrary.

As we continue to explore the Roosevelts through National Archives records this week in conjunction with Ken Burns's The Roosevelts documentary series on pbstv, today we turn our attention to Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.

Eleanor Roosevelt was an active and focused First Lady, transforming the role during her 12 years in the White House. She pushed for a number of domestic and social reforms, and remained professionally active in journalism, penning a monthly column for Woman’s Home Companion magazine and Ladies Home Journal as well as a syndicated daily newspaper column called “My Day.”

On March 6, 1933, Eleanor Roosevelt held the first of her 348 women’s-only press conferences. These press conferences were attended by the major female reporters of the day - including Lorena Hickok, Ruby Black, Bess Furman, May Craig, Emma Bugbee and Martha Stayer.

Eleanor used these press conferences as a way to not only announce her schedule of activities but also as a platform to publicize the work of women leaders, answer her critics, and entertain questions on a variety of subjects. Topics covered everything from domestic issues like social programs, race, youth activism, etc. to international politics and the role of women in war and peace.

Image of “Eleanor Roosevelt’s First Press Conference" and information via fdrlibrary.

When Franklin Delano Roosevelt stepped up to the microphones to give his first inaugural address as the President of the United States, the country was in the doldrums of the Great Depression: 40 million Americans were unemployed, the banks were closed in 40 of the 48 states, and Roosevelt himself had survived an assassination attempt just 17 days before. 
Despite the dire circumstances, FDR’s first inaugural address is most known for his statement that “the only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.” In that spirit, he went on to demand “action, and action now” to fight the Great Depression. That action would take the form of the New Deal, which would touch virtually every aspect of American economic life.
Check out the next episode of “The Roosevelts: An Intimate History” tonight on pbstv to learn more about FDR’s early presidency. We are shining the spotlight on some of usnatarchives and its fdrlibrary's records this week in conjunction with this new documentary series from our Board Vice President Ken Burns.
You can watch excerpts from the address and read the full text of the speech from the records of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum​.
Image from the FDR Library.

When Franklin Delano Roosevelt stepped up to the microphones to give his first inaugural address as the President of the United States, the country was in the doldrums of the Great Depression: 40 million Americans were unemployed, the banks were closed in 40 of the 48 states, and Roosevelt himself had survived an assassination attempt just 17 days before. 

Despite the dire circumstances, FDR’s first inaugural address is most known for his statement that “the only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.” In that spirit, he went on to demand “action, and action now” to fight the Great Depression. That action would take the form of the New Deal, which would touch virtually every aspect of American economic life.

Check out the next episode of “The Roosevelts: An Intimate History” tonight on pbstv to learn more about FDR’s early presidency. We are shining the spotlight on some of usnatarchives and its fdrlibrary's records this week in conjunction with this new documentary series from our Board Vice President Ken Burns.

You can watch excerpts from the address and read the full text of the speech from the records of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum​.

Image from the FDR Library.

ourpresidents:

Curious about Presidential History? Ask a Curator!

Do you have questions about Presidential history and artifacts? Tomorrow, the Presidential Libraries  of the National Archives will be answering questions live for #AskaCurator Day on Twitter.  

Over 600 museums from 40 countries will be participating, including our very own experts on Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, and Jimmy Carter.  You can also ask curators at the National Archives Exhibits in Washington, D.C.

Museum Objects from the Presidential Libraries:

Rocking Chair used by John F. Kennedy in the Oval Office; RCA Radio Microphone used by FDR to deliver some of his Fireside Chats from the White House; HMS Resolute Desk replica at the JFK Library; Portrait by Octavio Ocampo presented to President Carter on the occasion of a state dinner honoring José López Portillo, President of Mexico, February 1979; 1957 Inaugural gown of Mamie Eisenhower; WWII POW Diary at the Truman Library;1952 Eisenhower campaign hat.

As part of our Roosevelt week theme, today we’re taking a look at Franklin Roosevelt’s pre-Presidency career, and a captured moment that would later gain notability.

Shortly after Theodore Roosevelt and his Bull Moose party lost the election of 1912 to Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt was appointed as the Assistant Secretary of the Navy. As part of his duties, FDR presided over a ceremony during which the keel for “Battleship No. 39” was laid. Here, he is seen arriving at the Navy Yard, walking at the front of the group in a stylish derby hat.

Battleship No. 39 would later be christened as the USS Arizona, which was sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, a defining point in FDR’s presidency. By that point, he had also been diagnosed with polio, confining him to a wheelchair for the rest of his life.

Learn more about the discovery of this remarkable photograph in the words of the archivist who discovered it, and watch Ken Burns’s “The Roosevelts: An Intimate History” on pbstv tonight for more about FDR’s early political career.

Image: "Laying Keel of U.S.S. Battleship Number 39, Arrival of Assistant Secretary of the Navy Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and Others" 03/16/1914

We are shining the spotlight on some of usnatarchives and its fdrlibrary's records this week in conjunction with our Board Vice President Ken Burns's new documentary series “The Roosevelts: An Intimate History,” premiering this week on pbstv.

In the summer of 1902, halfway through Theodore Roosevelt’s first term in the Oval Office, his niece Eleanor returns home to New York after finishing her schooling at Allenswood. During this time, she is reacquainted with her distant cousin Franklin Roosevelt and the two are secretly engaged by the fall of 1903.

Theodore Roosevelt wrote this letter to Franklin after the engagement had been made public, “greatly rejoiced over the good news.” He tells Franklin, “I am as fond of Eleanor as if she were my daughter; and I like you, and trust you, and believe in you.”

After this rousing endorsement from the President, Franklin and Eleanor marry on March 17, 1905. Teddy stood in for his deceased brother, Eleanor’s father, and gave the bride away.

Images: Photo of the newly wed Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt and Theodore Roosevelt letter via ourpresidents

Welcome to Roosevelt Week! In conjunction with our Board Vice President Ken Burns’s new documentary series "The Roosevelts: An Intimate History," this week we will be featuring related records from the holdings of the usnatarchives and the fdrlibrary.
Theodore Roosevelt and the regiment under his command, the 1st United States Volunteer Cavalry, known as the “Rough Riders,” became heroes after their victory at the Battle of San Juan Hill during the Spanish-American War. Shortly after the war ended, Roosevelt was elected as Governor of New York, thanks in large part to his wartime exploits, beginning his long and storied career in high-profile politics. 

Discover more about Teddy, Franklin, and Eleanor Roosevelt in “The Roosevelts: An Intimate History,” premiering tonight on pbstv at 8pm EST.
Image: “‘“Teddy’s colts,” at the top of the hill which they captured in the battle of San Juan.’ Colonel Theodore Roosevelt and his Rough Riders, 1898.”

Welcome to Roosevelt Week! In conjunction with our Board Vice President Ken Burns’s new documentary series "The Roosevelts: An Intimate History," this week we will be featuring related records from the holdings of the usnatarchives and the fdrlibrary.

Theodore Roosevelt and the regiment under his command, the 1st United States Volunteer Cavalry, known as the “Rough Riders,” became heroes after their victory at the Battle of San Juan Hill during the Spanish-American War. Shortly after the war ended, Roosevelt was elected as Governor of New York, thanks in large part to his wartime exploits, beginning his long and storied career in high-profile politics.

Discover more about Teddy, Franklin, and Eleanor Roosevelt in “The Roosevelts: An Intimate History,” premiering tonight on pbstv at 8pm EST.

Image: “‘“Teddy’s colts,” at the top of the hill which they captured in the battle of San Juan.’ Colonel Theodore Roosevelt and his Rough Riders, 1898.”

200 years ago today, British forces began bombarding Fort McHenry in Baltimore’s harbor. The attack continued throughout the say and night. All the lights were extinguished in Baltimore, so the only light was given off by the exploding shells over Fort McHenry, illuminating the flag that was still flying over the fort.
Witnessing the attack from a British ship was American lawyer Francis Scott Key, who was being held captive. Inspired by the sight, Key wrote a poem called “Defence of Fort M’Henry.” His poem would later be set to music and renamed “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

A letter from Maj. Gen. Samuel Smith to James Monroe about the bombardment of Fort McHenry and a list of those killed and wounded in the battle are currently on display at the National Archives Museum’s “Featured Documents” exhibit.
Image: "An aerial view of historic Fort McHenry guarding the harbor entrance… 08/25/1994"

200 years ago today, British forces began bombarding Fort McHenry in Baltimore’s harbor. The attack continued throughout the say and night. All the lights were extinguished in Baltimore, so the only light was given off by the exploding shells over Fort McHenry, illuminating the flag that was still flying over the fort.

Witnessing the attack from a British ship was American lawyer Francis Scott Key, who was being held captive. Inspired by the sight, Key wrote a poem called “Defence of Fort M’Henry.” His poem would later be set to music and renamed “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

A letter from Maj. Gen. Samuel Smith to James Monroe about the bombardment of Fort McHenry and a list of those killed and wounded in the battle are currently on display at the National Archives Museum’s “Featured Documents” exhibit.

Image: "An aerial view of historic Fort McHenry guarding the harbor entrance… 08/25/1994"

Happy 101st birthday, Jesse Owens! Born today in 1913, Owens would become one of America’s most prominent athletes.  Owens first came onto the national radar at the 1935 Big Ten Track Meet where he broke three world records (the long jump, 220 yard dash, and the 220 low hurdles) and tied another (the 100 yard dash), in under an hour - a feat now referred to as “the greatest 45 minutes ever in sport.” After his astounding collegiate performance, Owens went on to represent the United States in the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, Germany, where he won 4 gold medals (the 100 meter dash, 200 meter dash, the long jump, and the 4X100 meter relay). He was the most decorated athlete at the Berlin games, shattering Adolf Hitler’s myth of Aryan superiority. Image: "Photograph of Olympian Jesse Owens," undated

Happy 101st birthday, Jesse Owens! Born today in 1913, Owens would become one of America’s most prominent athletes.

Owens first came onto the national radar at the 1935 Big Ten Track Meet where he broke three world records (the long jump, 220 yard dash, and the 220 low hurdles) and tied another (the 100 yard dash), in under an hour - a feat now referred to as “the greatest 45 minutes ever in sport.”

After his astounding collegiate performance, Owens went on to represent the United States in the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, Germany, where he won 4 gold medals (the 100 meter dash, 200 meter dash, the long jump, and the 4X100 meter relay). He was the most decorated athlete at the Berlin games, shattering Adolf Hitler’s myth of Aryan superiority.

Image: "Photograph of Olympian Jesse Owens," undated

ourpresidents:

JFK Chooses the Moon

Today in history, President John F. Kennedy delivered a speech at Rice University on the nation’s space effort.  In one of the most memorable passages JFK said:

"We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard…"

Listen to the famous speech here, from the JFK Library.

Images: Lunar sample made of mare basalt encased in a glass pyramid with rectangular base.  This piece of moon rock was brought back to earth by Apollo 15 mission on August 7, 1971.  The rock, called “breccia”, weighs 160 grams and is more than three billion years old.  Courtesy of NASA Lunar Sample Display Program.

President John F. Kennedy Speaks at Rice University. 9/12/62.

Learn more about JFK and America’s quest for the moon in Moon Shot: JFK and Space Exploration by jfklibrary curator Stacey Bredhoff!