Presidential Libraries

LBJ's Final Year in Office Released on Tape

The LBJ Library in Austin has released the final batch of recordings of private telephone conversations by former President Lyndon Johnson. Pretty interesting stuff, forty years later, particularly the conversation between Johnson and Humphrey regarding Daniel Inouye.

Coverage fromYouTubeCBS and News8Austin.

Light Fingered Lincoln Librarian Gets the Ax

The head of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield has been fired after his second shoplifting arrest. Director Rick Beard had been on administrative leave since the arrest was made public last week.

Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich fired Beard on Tuesday. A state spokesman says Beard was notified by phone. Beard was arrested in August and charged with stealing $40 worth of DVDs from a Springfield Target store. The 61-year-old has pleaded not guilty. Chicago Tribune.

This was the press release announcing Beard's appointment two years ago. President Lincoln's Bicentennial is coming up shortly; I wonder what Beard's firing will mean for the celebration.

Update...from the AP: Jan Grimes, director of the Historic Preservation Agency, will run the Lincoln museum and library temporarily. Robert Coomer, a former director of Historic Preservation, will replace Beard at the foundation.

Nixon Library Celebrates Inaugurations From G. Washington to G. W. Bush

Anybody remember the Nixon inaugural??

Wonder who will be the next POTUS?!?! (don't forget to Vote)

When the next president takes the oath of office on January 20, 2009, he will continue a tradition that began with George Washington in 1789. To celebrate this ritual of democracy, the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum has created "Called Upon By the Voice of My Country," an exhibit looking at the history and the pageantry of presidential inaugurations. The exhibit will run from October 30, 2008, until April 19, 2009.

Among the exhibits, First Lady Laura Bush's 2005 inaugural gown, publicly displayed for the first time, on loan from the White House. Report from MarketWatch.

Clinton Presidential Library presents "The Art of the Chopper"

Why choppers? Why the Clinton Library?

""Just as (Bill Clinton) defines the end of the 20th century, so does the chopper," Clinton Center Director Terri Garner said.

The Oval Office replica at the Clinton Presidential Library is there to give visitors a look at what they'd see if they could get inside the working area of the White House. For the next several months, the view comes with some horsepower.

The center's new "Art of the Chopper" exhibit displays 30 gleaming, handcrafted motorcycles from around the country. That may be a curious choice for a presidential library, but it reflects American culture in the late 20th century, which Clinton center director Terri Garner says is part of the museum's mission. Vroom vroom!

Lincoln Memorabilia Up for Grabs But Not to LOC

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum has one less competitor for a $20 million collection of Lincoln artifacts...the Library of Congress has pulled out of the bidding.

When Lincoln Museum in Fort Wayne, IN closed earlier this year, the owners decided to bequeath the entire collection of Lincoln photographs, signed documents, historic textiles and other artifacts to another institution. Several museums and historical groups bid for the collection, but only a few finalists were chosen. A winner is supposed to be announced by the end of the year.

Among the memorabilia are hand-colored engravings with an image of a tousled Abe that were dropped on the crowd at the 1860 Republican National Convention. Story from Gatehouse News.

Rutherford B. Hayes Library Visited by Light-Fingered Trio

Some say that President Hayes stole the 1876 election from his Democratic opponent, Samuel Tilden, but now it's the Hayes Library that has suffered a loss. Two of the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center Library's rarest books, with a total value of about $130,000, are missing.

While authorities have arrested three people believed connected to the disappearances, it's still not known where the books are. The books are the Maxwell Code and the Freeman Code, some of Ohio's first laws, dating back to the 1790's.

One of the thieves was previously arrested in 2007 in connection with the theft of $20,000 worth of antique maps from a bookstore in Harrisburg, IL. He also has a prior arrest record for felony theft and receiving stolen property. Toledo Blade reports.

Bush library in a closet (Cheney gets a bunker)

A Pittsburgh Tribune-Review 'article' states that the presidential papers accumulated over the eight years of the George W. Bush administration can "fit comfortably in a single cardboard box" and that library planned for them at SMU might end up smaller as a result.

Also, the new curator for Dick Cheney's library, "Scooter" Libby (yes, that one), says the address for his completely underground facility will not be made available to the general public. Funding for the library comes 100% from Halliburton.

The Board President's Watching the Library, but Who's Watching the Board President

We reported last month on the disastrous condition of the FDR Library in Hyde Park; now the Nassau County (NY) DA's office is investigating the former board president Natalie Connor, who is suspected of having misused as much as $42,000 in library grants and renovation-related donations on such items as beauty supplies, car payments and plane tickets.

New York Newsday reports: Connor allegedly opened an account without anyone's knowledge, depositing $48,000 of foundation and library funds. Records show she started spending the money in May 2007. The library trustees thought the foundation funds were being deposited in the library's operating account, a library source said.

Presidential Libraries...Not Just in the United States

No, there are big ($6 million) plans for one in Nigeria too.

Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library Foundation [OOPLF] has sealed a $6.1 million contract with Ralph Applebaum & Associates (RAA), an American firm of designers and architects, for the development of the museum component of the Presidential Library project. RAA was responsible for the Bill Clinton Library and Holocaust Museum among others.

Former Nigerian High Commissioner to the UK, Dr. Christopher Kolade described the library as a repository of African objects and artifacts. He justified the rationale for initiating the Presidential Library project in the former president's home state (Abeokuta, 48 miles south of Lagos) and also organising a fund raising ceremony for it while still in office.

Kolade said it was global practice for a President of a nation to initiate such a project while in office, citing for example the incumbent President of the United States of America, George W. Bush who had raised more than $500 million for his library.

Freedom from Mildew

The infrastructure of the FDR Library is in shambles. The roof leaks, the basement floods, asbestos is flaking from old steam pipes, an ancient electrical system could send the whole place up in smoke. This sorry situation is an insult to the person the library and museum honor: the founder of the New Deal, the greatest investment in our nation’s modern development.

Op-ed calling for congressional support of our existing Presidential Libraries by author Nick Taylor in today's New York Times. Some interesting commentary on the subject of Presidential Libraries too.

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