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The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Center for Public Affairs is the presidential library and final resting place of President Ronald Reagan, the 40th President of the United States. The library is located in Simi Valley, California, about 40 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles. It is the largest of the thirteen federally operated presidential libraries. The street address is 40 Presidential Drive, numbered in honor of Reagan's place as the 40th President. I visited this library on April 30, 2006, and was highly impressed with this site.

Originally, the plan was to build the Reagan Library at Stanford University, and an agreement was reached with the university in 1984. Those plans were canceled in 1987, and the freestanding site in Simi Valley was chosen in place of Stanford the same year. Construction of the library began in 1988, and the center was dedicated on November 4, 1991. The dedication ceremonies were the first time in United States history that five United States Presidents gathered together in the same place: Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan himself, and George H. W. Bush. Six First Ladies also attended: Lady Bird Johnson, Pat Nixon, Betty Ford, Rosalynn Carter, Nancy Reagan, and Barbara Bush. Only Former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis did not attend.

At the time when the Reagan Library opened, it was the largest of the presidential libraries, with approximately 153,000 sq ft. It held that ranking until the dedication of the William J. Clinton Presidential Center and Park in Little Rock, Arkansas on November 18, 2004. But when the 90,000-square-foot Air Force One Pavilion opened in October 2005, the Reagan Library reclaimed the title in terms of physical size, although the Clinton Library remains the largest presidential library in terms of materials (documents, artifacts, photographs, etc.).

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Like all presidential libraries since that of Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Reagan Library was built entirely with private donations, at a cost of US$60 million. Major donors included Walter Annenberg, Lew Wasserman, Lodwrick Cook, Joe Albritton, Rupert Murdoch, Richard Sills, and John P. McGovern.

The Reagan Library is the repository of presidential records for Reagan’s administration. Holdings include 50 million pages of presidential documents, over 1.6 million photographs, a half million feet of motion picture film and tens of thousands of audio and video tapes. The Library also houses personal papers collections including documents from Reagan’s eight years as Governor of California.

The museum exhibits begin during Reagan's childhood in Dixon, Illinois and follows his life through his film career and military service, marriage to Nancy Davis Reagan, and political career. His 1980 and 1984 presidential campaigns are also highlighted, as well as his inauguration suit and a table from the White House Situation Room is on display. News footage of the 1981 assassination attempt on his life is shown, and information about the proposed Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI, colloquially known as "Star Wars") is also included. A full-scale replica of Reagan's Oval Office is included as well.

The hilltop grounds provide expansive views of the area and contains a piece of the Berlin Wall. An F-14 Tomcat is also located on the grounds. President Reagan's final resting place is located overlooking this view.

A 90,000-square-foot exhibit hangar serves as the setting for the permanent display of the Boeing 707 aircraft utilized as Air Force One during Reagan's administration. The aircraft, SAM 27000, was also used by six other presidents in its active service life from 1973–2001, including Richard Nixon during his second term, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush. The aircraft was flown to San Bernardino International Airport in September 2001, where it was presented to the Reagan Foundation. Boeing, the plane's manufacturer, disassembled the plane and transported it to the library in pieces. After the construction of the foundation of the pavilion itself, the plane was reassembled and restored to museum quality. The pavilion was dedicated on October 24, 2005, by Nancy Reagan, President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush. The plane is part of a comprehensive display about presidential travel that also includes a Johnson-era Sikorsky VH-3 Sea King helicopter, call sign Marine One, and a presidential motorcade — Reagan's 1984 presidential parade limousine, a 1982 Los Angeles Police Department police car (as well as two 1980s police motorcycles), and a 1986 Secret Service vehicle used in one of President Reagan's motorcades in Los Angeles.

The pavilion is also home to the original O'Farrell's pub from Ballyporeen in the Republic of Ireland that President and Mrs. Reagan visited in June 1984, now called the "Ronald Reagan Pub." The pavilion has been used on several occasions as the venue for televised Republican Party primary-related debates.

Following is more information about the Reagan Library:


Address: 40 Presidential Drive, Simi Valley, California

Hours of operation: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 7 days a week. Closed New Year's Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas

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Twitter: @RonaldReagan40
Last fall when I was at a conference in San Diego, I had planned a day to drive to Yorba Linda to see the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum. Unfortunately it was during the government shutdown, so I didn't go. I visited it once before in 2006, but was disappointed that they would not permit picture taking inside. I don't know if that has changed or not, but someday I will go back and visit it again.


The Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum is both the presidential library as well as the final resting place of Richard Milhous Nixon, the 37th President of the United States. It is located in Yorba Linda, California, and is one of 13 administered by the National Archives and Records Administration. It was officially opened in 1990, and it became a federal facility on July 11, 2007. Previously, the library and museum were operated by the Richard Nixon Foundation. The 9-acre campus is located at 18001 Yorba Linda Boulevard in Yorba Linda and incorporates the Richard Nixon Birthplace, a National Historic Landmark where Nixon was born in 1913 and spent his childhood.

In September 1974, Richard Nixon made an agreement with the head of the General Services Administration, Arthur F. Sampson, to turn over most materials from his presidency, including tape recordings of conversations he had made in the White House. However, under the agreement, the recordings were to be destroyed after September 1, 1979, if directed by Nixon or upon his death. Congress abrogated the agreement by passing the Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act, which was signed into law by President Gerald Ford in December 1974. It allowed the National Archives and Records Administration to take ownership of the materials and process them as quickly as possible. Private materials were to be returned to Nixon. As a result of the Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act, President Nixon's White House papers and tapes were held by the National Archives.

Funding to build the Nixon Library came from private sources. The estimated cost to build the institution was $25 million. Ground was broken by Julie Nixon Eisenhower, Nixon's daughter, in December 1988.

The original library and birthplace was officially dedicated on July 19, 1990. Former President Nixon and First Lady Pat Nixon were present, as were President George H. W. Bush, former President Gerald Ford, former President Ronald Reagan, and first ladies Barbara Bush, Betty Ford, and Nancy Reagan. A crowd of 50,000 attended the ceremony. At the dedication, Nixon said, "Nothing we have ever seen matches this moment, to be welcomed home again."


The President's VH-3A "Sea King" helicopter is on permanent display at this facility. Richard Nixon's birthplace as well as the graves of President Richard Nixon and First Lady Pat Nixon are also located on the library grounds. The museum, contained in a 52,000-square-foot building, offers a narrative of Nixon's life and career. Behind the museum is his birthplace, which was constructed by Nixon's father using a homebuilding kit, and restored to appear as it was in the 1910s. President Nixon and Pat Nixon are buried on the grounds, just a few feet from the birthplace.

The Nixon Library compound also contains the Katharine B. Loker Center and Annenberg Court, a 38,000-square-foot wing built in 2004, which includes a special exhibit room and an exact replica of the East Room of the White House. The Nixon Foundation leases the East Room for events such as weddings and business meetings.

There is an extensive collection of memorabilia, artifacts, formal clothing, and photographs of the Nixons and their children. This collection includes an assortment of bronze figures of world leaders who had important relations with Nixon as president or during his service as vice president under President Dwight D. Eisenhower from 1953 to 1961. The leaders have been accurately recreated in lightweight bronze over a papier-mâché frame. The U.S. government limousine used by President Nixon throughout his presidency, a customized 1969 Lincoln Continental, is also on display in the domestic affairs gallery. A 12 feet piece of the Berlin Wall is exhibited in the expansive foreign affairs gallery, which also includes statues of Nixon and Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai and pages of the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty I signed by Nixon and Soviet General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev in 1972.

Lieutenant Colonel Gene Boyer, President Nixon's chief helicopter pilot, secured the President's VH-3A "Sea King" helicopter, tail number 150617, to be on permanent display on the library grounds. The helicopter was in the presidential fleet from 1961 to 1976, transporting Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, and Ford, and many foreign heads of state and government. Boyer flew President Nixon dozens of times to Camp David, over the pyramids in Egypt, and on his final flight from the White House in this aircraft.

In January 2004, the United States Congress passed legislation that provided for the establishment of a federally operated Nixon Presidential Library. The legislation amended the Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act of 1974. Under this new legislation, over 30,000 presidential gifts as well as millions of presidential records were moved to Yorba Linda.

In March 2005, the Nixon Foundation invited the National Archives to jointly operate the Nixon Library, and the Nixon Library became the twelfth federally funded presidential library. It is operated and staffed by National Archives and Records Administration in conjunction with the Nixon Foundation. In April 2006, Timothy Naftali was appointed director of the Library. On July 11, 2007, the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum was officially welcomed into the federal presidential library system. Before the National Archives took over its management, the Nixon Library had been accused by several media outlets of glossing over Nixon's 1974 resignation with "whitewashed" exhibits. In 2007, the National Archives removed the Watergate exhibit that had been in place for 17 years and, after three years of empty exhibit space, announced that the new exhibit was scheduled to open in July 2010. The Nixon Foundation objected to the proposed exhibit because it felt that it was not properly consulted. The exhibit opened on March 31, 2011. In November 2011, the director of the library, Tim Naftali, resigned his position. As of last month, there is still no library director.

The archives, which opened in March 1994, house approximately 46 million pages of official White House records from the Nixon Administration. The Nixon Library now holds all of President Nixon's presidential as well as his pre- and post-presidential papers. As of 2012, all processed Nixon presidential materials are available for research use at the Nixon Library in Yorba Linda, California. The National Archives in College Park maintains a small number of reference copies of Nixon White House tapes and White House Communications Agency (WHCA) videotapes. These are duplicates of material available for research in Yorba Linda.

Following is more information on this venue:


Location: 18001 Yorba Linda Boulevard, Yorba Linda, California

Hours of Operation: Monday - Saturday from 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.; Sunday from 11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. The Museum is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, and New Years Day.


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Two years ago in late August I visited the William McKinley Presidential Library and Museum, located in Canton, Ohio. The library is owned and operated by the Stark County Historical Society. Canton is where McKinley built his career as lawyer, prosecuting attorney, congressman, governor and president.


The library is adjacent to the McKinley Monument, where the William and Ida McKinley are entombed. The library contains a large collection of McKinley artifacts and chronicles McKinley's life and career from his birth to his death at the hands of an assassin. The exhibit also explores the construction of the McKinley National Memorial and the unfortunate fate of the McKinley’s Canton home, destroyed by fire in 1937.

As for the Museum itself it boasts a science center with some wildlife and fossils. The museum has a temporary exhibit space called the Keller gallery. The museum also has an planetarium show. The museum largely relies on volunteer staff for its operations. The current curator is Kimberly Kenney.

Behind the cut are some of the pictures I took on my visit there last summer.

The William McKinley Monument, Library and MuseumCollapse )

Following is more information about this venue:


Location: 800 McKinley Monument Drive NW, Canton, Ohio

Hours of Operation: 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday-Saturday; 12:00 Noon to 4:00 p.m. Sunday

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YouTube Channel:

Twitter: @MckinleyMuseum
The Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum is, as you might expect, dedicated to the Presidency of Herbert Hoover, the 31st President of the United States. It is located in West Branch, Iowa, next to the Herbert Hoover National Historic Site. It is one of thirteen presidential libraries run by the National Archives and Records Administration.


The Hoover Library contains 32,000 square feet. It was officially opened to the public on August 10, 1962, which was Hoover's 88th birthday. Former President Hoover and Former President Harry Truman were present at the dedication. At the opening, Hoover spoke. he told the audience:

"When the members of the Congress created these presidential libraries they did a great public service. They made available for research the records of vital periods in American history, and they planted these records in the countryside instead of allowing their concentration on the seaboard. Already the three libraries of President Roosevelt, President Truman, and President Eisenhower, by their unique documentation, serve this purpose, and today we dedicate a fourth, my own. Within them are thrilling records of supreme action by the American people, their devotion and sacrifice to their ideals. Santayana rightly said: 'Those who do not remember the past are condemned to relive it.' These institutions are the repositories of such experience, hot off the griddle. In these records there are no doubt, unfavorable remarks made by our political opponents, as well as expressions of appreciation and affection by our friends. We may hope that future students will rely upon our friends. In any event, when they become sleepy they may be awakened by the lightning flashes of American political humor."

On August 8, 1992, former President Ronald Reagan rededicated the Hoover Library. The rededication came on the heels of a massive renovation project which expanded the library to 44,500 square feet . Among the additions to the library were a 180-seat auditorium, a multi-purpose room accommodating 60, a conference room that seats 30, and a private meeting room designed for 15 people. The $8-million facelift was a public-private partnership, with Washington supplying $5 million, and the remaining $3 million being raised by the Hoover Presidential Library Association for new exhibits and educational programming.

In addition to the papers of Herbert Hoover, the manuscript holdings include those of Lewis Strauss, Gerald P. Nye, Felix Morley, Clark Mollenhoff, Robert E. Wood, Westbrook Pegler, and Laura Ingalls Wilder, among others. The Library is considered to be a center for the study of conservative journalistic thought, agricultural economics, famine relief, atomic energy, and governmental reorganization.

Located several hundred feet behind the Library are the flat white marble gravestones of President Herbert Hoover and First Lady Lou Henry Hoover. The Hoovers rest in a large green area, with the backing semicircle constructed of a high hedgerow. Lou Henry Hoover was originally buried in Palo Alto, California, after her death from a heart attack at only 69, but following her husband's death in 1964, she was re-interred at the Library


The Hoover Library is located within the Herbert Hoover National Historic Site, which contains Hoover's birth house and Hoover's father's blacksmith shop, and the West Branch Commercial Historic District which preserves aspects of West Branch's Main Street.

Following is more information about this venue:


Location: 210 Parkside Drive, West Branch, Iowa

Hours of Operation: The Museum is open 7 days a week, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. with the exception of New Year's Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. The Hoover Museum Gift Shop is open from 9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. daily. The Research Room is open from 8:45 a.m. to noon and 12:30 - 4:45 p.m. and is closed on weekends and federal holidays.
Warren G. Harding House, also known as Harding Home, in located in Marion, Ohio and contains a museum dedicated to President Harding. It was the residence of Warren G. Harding, who was the twenty-ninth president of the United States. Harding and his future wife, Florence, designed the Queen Anne Style house in 1890, a year before their marriage. They were married there and lived there for 30 years before his election to the presidency.


Following the example of James Garfield, an earlier Republican president from Ohio, Harding conducted his election campaign mainly from the house's expansive front porch. During the 3 month front porch campaign, over 600,000 people traveled to the Harding Home to listen to Warren Harding speak. Harding paid $1,000 dollars to have a Sears catalog house built behind his home so newspaper reporters had a place to type their stories. George Christian, who was Harding's next door neighbor and Press Secretary, allowed his home to be used as Republican Headquarters for the campaign.

The house is surrounded by an expansive and elaborately detailed porch. One enters the house through a reception hall, with a parlor on the left. There is also a dining room as well as Harding's office on the first floor. There are four bedrooms on the second floor along with a bathroom.

After Harding died in 1923, Florence Harding bequeathed the house to the Harding Memorial Association. The Ohio Historical Society now operates the home as a historic house museum and a memorial. The restored house contains almost all original furnishings owned by President Harding and his wife. The adjacent press house features exhibits about the lives of President and Mrs. Harding. The collection at the Harding Home contains over 5,000 original artifacts that belonged to Warren and Florence Harding.


Here is more information about this venue:


Location: 380 Mount Vernon Ave. in Marion, Ohio

Hours of Operation: Open from Memorial Day to Labor Day, Wednesday-Sunday 12:00pm to 5:00pm. In September and October the home is open on the weekends from 12:00pm to 5:00pm. In November through May tours are available by advance appointment. An admission fee is charged: Adults $7, Seniors (60+) $6, Students (12-17) $4, Children (6-11) $3.

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Presidential Places: Sagamore Hill

Sagamore Hill was the home of Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States, from 1885 until his death in 1919. It is located in the Village of Cove Neck, New York, near Oyster Bay on the north shore of Long Island, 25 miles east of Manhattan. It's official name is now the Sagamore Hill National Historic Site, which includes the Theodore Roosevelt Museum.


Roosevelt was a native of New York City. He was born and raised in a home still located at 28 East 20th Street in Manhattan. (In an earlier post, found here, I journalled about my visit there.) But he had a second home on Long Island. Roosevelt spent many summers of his youth on vacations with his family in the Oyster Bay area. In 1880, at the age of 22, Roosevelt purchased 155 acres of land on Cove Neck, a small peninsula roughly 2 miles northeast of the village of Oyster Bay, for the sum of $30,000. The following year, his uncle James A. Roosevelt had designed his estate home several hundred feet west of the Sagamore Hill property. In 1884 Theodore Roosevelt hired the New York architectural firm Lamb & Rich to design a shingle-style, Queen Anne home for the property.

The twenty-two room home was completed in 1886 at a cost of $16,975. Roosevelt moved into the house in 1887. Roosevelt originally planned to name the house "Leeholm" after his wife Alice Hathaway Lee Roosevelt. However, she died in 1884 and Roosevelt remarried in 1887, so he decided to change the name to "Sagamore Hill". Sagamore was the title of the head of an Indian tribe on Long Island.

In 1905 Roosevelt decided to expand the house, adding the largest room, called the "North Room" at a cost of $19,000. The home now has twenty-three rooms. The house and its surrounding farmland became the primary residence of Theodore and Edith Roosevelt for the rest of their lives. Sagamore Hill became known as the "Summer White House" during the seven summers that Roosevelt spent there as President. Roosevelt died at Sagamore Hill in January 1919.

On July 25, 1962, Congress established Sagamore Hill National Historic Site to preserve the house as part of the National Park Service. Sagamore Hill was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 15, 1966. The home is normally open to the public by guided tour, but is currently closed for renovation until 2015. Almost all the furnishings are original. Also on the site is the Theodore Roosevelt Museum, which chronicles the life and career of the President. The museum is housed in the 1938 house called "Old Orchard", the former residence of Brigadier General Theodore Roosevelt Jr. and his family.


The grounds are presently open for visitation seven days a week from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The visitors' center and museum are open Wednesday through Sunday and closed Mondays and Tuesdays.
Since December 5, 2011, the house closed for a $6.2 million renovation, but it is expected to open in either December of this year or sometime next year. The visitors center, museum, and adjoining grounds remain open, and tours of the grounds are still conducted.

Following is more information about Sagamore Hill"


Location: 12 Sagamore Hill Road, Oyster Bay, NY

Hours of Operation: the house is currently closed for renovations, but the grounds and museum are open. The Roosevelt Museum at Old Orchard is open Wednesday-Sunday from 10am to 5pm. Admission to the building is free. The Park grounds are open every day from sunrise to sunset.
Grover Cleveland (who was both the 22nd and 24th President of the United States) was born on March 18, 1837, in Caldwell, New Jersey. His parents were Richard Falley Cleveland, a Presbyterian Minister from Connecticut, and Ann Neal Cleveland from Baltimore, the daughter of a bookseller. Today the Grover Cleveland Birthplace is a New Jersey State Historic Site and National Historic Place located in Caldwell, New Jersey. It is the only house museum dedicated to Grover Cleveland.


The building is also known as the Caldwell Presbyterian Church Manse and served as a Presbyterian church parsonage for the Cleveland family while Grover's father served as a pastor of the local church. Cleveland was originally named Stephen Grover in honor of the first pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Caldwell, but he did not use the name Stephen in his adult life. The family moved to New York in 1841. A group of private citizens purchased the house in the early twentieth century to open it as a museum. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1977.

Originally, the house had a two-story main section with a one-story kitchen to the east and a one-story lean-to at the rear. It was enlarged several times between 1848-1870 to meet the growing needs of the Presbyterian clergy. The historical significance of the Manse was first noted in 1881 when Cleveland was running for Governor of New York. As his political star ascended, so did the interest in preserving his birthplace as a museum. A group of Cleveland’s friends and admirers began negotiations to purchase the Manse in 1907. Their efforts culminated in the opening of the house to the public on March 18, 1913.

Most of the first floor rooms portray the Manse as it was in 1837, the year Grover Cleveland was born. Among the artifacts on display from Cleveland’s early years are his cradle and original family portraits. The exhibit gallery features a number of artifacts from Cleveland's life during the last quarter of the 19th century. The campaign of 1884, the public’s interest in his wife and children, and America’s political climate during the "golden age" are explored.

The Grover Cleveland Birthplace State Historic Site is the only house museum in the country dedicated to the interpretation of President Cleveland’s life. It is the nation’s leading repository of Cleveland artifacts and political memorabilia. The Grover Cleveland Birthplace is listed on the New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places.

Behind the Birthplace is a small Carriage House. The Grover Cleveland Memorial Association is working with architects, foundations and individuals to expand the Carriage House into a visitos center.

Following is more information about this venue:


Location: 207 Bloomfield Avenue, Caldwell, New Jersey

Hours of Operation: Closed Monday and Tuesday; Wednesday to Saturday 10am to 12pm, 1pm to 4pm, Sunday 1pm to 4pm


Twitter: @GCBMA
For some reason, just prior to his death, Chester Alan Arthur had all of his personal and political papers burned. This presents a challenge both to potential biographers and to those wanting to remember the man with some sort of historical sites. In spite of this, those jonesing for their fix of Chester A. Arthur memorabililia have a couple of options.


The State of Vermont operates the Chester Alan Arthur Historic Site at Fairfield, Vermont. The site is only open for tourists from July 4 through Octotober 13, this year, and then it's only open on weekends (Saturday and Sunday) and Monday holidays, from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The good news is that admission is free, but donations are appreciated. The site is located at 4588 Chester Arthur Road in Fairfield, a small village that can be reached from the west by taking Route 36 from St. Albans and traveling about seven miles to Fairfield. At the small village of Fairfield, one heads north and bear right after approximately one mile and then continues five miles to the Historic Site on a road that becomes a gravel road. To reach the site from the east, one takes Route 108 and approximately 4 miles from either Bakersfield or Enosburg, one proceeds west on a gravel road approximately two miles to the Historic Site.


The site contains Arthur's birthplace, as well as the Fairfield Baptist Church where Arthur's father William was a Minister. It featuring an interpretive center on Arthur in a recreation of the second house in which he lived as an infant.

If you happen to be in Manhattan, you can always visit Chester Arthur House, located at 123 Lexington Avenue. is privately owned. Only the commercial space on the first floor is open to the public. The house has been designated a National Historic Landmark.

In 1853, Arthur moved to New York City, passed the bar, and joined a law firm. At about this time, he moved into his Lexington Avenue residence. After President James Garfield's death, Arthur privately took the oath of office in his New York home in the early hours of the morning. He repeated the oath two days later at the United States Capitol. In 1885, after leaving the Presidency, Chester Arthur retired to this residence. He planned to resume his legal practice, but soon became ill and never recovered his strength. He died at his home in November 1886.


Subsequent owners have made many changes to the Lexington Avenue house after Arthur’s death. They moved the original main entrance on the first floor down to what had been the basement level, converted the first two floors into commercial space, and divided the upper floors into apartments. The front elevation has been stripped down to bare brick. On January 16, 1964, on the 81st anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Civil Service Act by Chester Alan Arthur, the Native New Yorkers Historical Association and the New York Life Insurance Company recognized the historic significance of the house by placing a bronze plaque on the building.

Happy Birthday Gerald Ford

On July 14, 1913 (101 years ago today) Gerald Rudolph Ford, Jr., the 38th President of the United States, was born in Omaha, Nebraska. His birth name was Leslie Lynch King, Jr., but he changed his name when his mother remarried Gerald Rudolph Ford Sr. because his birth father had been an abusive bully. Ford served from August 9, 1974 to January 20, 1977, and prior to this, was the 40th Vice President of the United States serving from 1973 to 1974 under President Richard Nixon.

Ford was the first person appointed to the Vice Presidency under the terms of the 25th Amendment, after Spiro Agnew resigned. He became president following Richard Nixon's resignation on August 9, 1974, earning him the distinction of being the first and to date the only person to have served as both Vice President and President of the United States without being elected to either office. Before becoming Vice President, Ford served nearly 25 years as the Representative from Michigan's 5th congressional district, eight of them as the Republican Minority Leader.

As President, Ford is best remembered for his controversial pardon of Richard Nixon for Nixon's role in the Watergate scandal. But there was more to his presidency than this. Ford signed the Helsinki Accords with the Soviet Union, continuing Nixon's policy of détente in the Cold War. With the conquest of South Vietnam by North Vietnam nine months into his presidency, U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War ended on his watch. Domestically, Ford presided over the worst economy in the four decades since the Great Depression, with growing inflation and a recession during his tenure. He also survived two assassination attempts, occurring 17 days apart.

In 1976, Ford ran for election to the presidency in his own right, but first he had to fend off a challenge for for the Republican nomination from Ronald Reagan. Despite this challenge and lingering dissatisfaction over his pardoning of Nixon, Ford narrowly lost the 1976 presidential election to Democrat Jimmy Carter, 297 to 240 in the electoral college and 50.1% to 48% in the popular vote.

Following his years as president, Ford remained active in the Republican Party. After experiencing health problems, Ford died in his home on December 26, 2006. Ford lived longer than any other U.S. president, living 93 years and 165 days.


Gerald Ford's Presidential Library and Presidential Museum are located in different cities. The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library is located on the north campus of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. The library houses archival materials on Ford's life, career, and presidency. The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library is a part of the National Archives and Records Administration's presidential library system. While still a member of the United States Congress, Ford began donating his congressional papers to the Bentley Historical Library at the University of Michigan, his alma mater, in 1965. As his presidency drew to a close, Ford offered to donate his presidential materials to a presidential library that would be built on the university's campus and administered by the National Archives. Construction of the library started on January 15, 1979, and it was opened to the public on April 27, 1981.


The Ford Library is currently the only National Archives presidential library that is physically separate from its presidential museum, although both sites share a common director. The majority of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library collection is made up of presidential and White House staff papers from 1974-1977. Papers from Betty Ford, research interviews and various Federal records are also included in the collection. In total, there are 3,500 hours of audio, 25 million pages of documents, 3,500 hours of motion picture film, 450,000 photographs, and 3,500 hours of video housed in the collection

The Gerald R. Ford Museum is located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Ford's old congressional district and hometown, 130 miles west of Ann Arbor. It is located at 303 Pearl Street NW (at Scribner Street), near Grand Valley State University's Pew Campus in Grand Rapids, on the banks of the Grand River. The main floor contains exhibits on President Ford's life and career and the Office of President. It exhibits candid photographs of Ford interacting with his family and colleagues and a full-scale replica of the Oval Office furnished as it was during Ford's presidency. Special exhibits highlight the 1976 Bicentennial celebration and Mrs. Ford's role as first lady. Other exhibits include one in which visitors travel by video with President Ford and Secretary Kissinger to various hot-spots around the globe; take a holographic tour of the Ford White House; and experience a day in the Oval Office through a sound and light show. A Watergate gallery includes a six minute, multi-screen history beginning with the June 1972 break-in and a display the actual burglary tools. An interactive Cabinet Room allows visitors to take part in presidential decision making. Visitors can see gifts presented by heads of state and other foreign dignitaries, as well as personal gifts to President Ford from the American people. The award-winning film, "A Time To Heal," is shown hourly in the museum auditorium. A section of the Berlin Wall stands in the museum's Meijer Lobby. The Museum Collections houses approximately 20,000 artifacts from the life and career of President Ford.

Here is more information on the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum:


Museum Address: 303 Pearl Street, NW, Grand Rapids, Michigan

Museum Hours: 9:00am-5:00pm Daily (Closed New Year's, Thanksgiving, & Christmas Days)

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Library Address: 1000 Beal Avenue, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Library Hours: 8:45am-4:45pm (M-F) (Closed Federal Holidays)

Library Facebook:
The University of Kansas Press has a wonderful series of books (for political junkies and potus_geeks) about American Presidential Elections. I just finished reading Party Over Section: The Rough and Ready Presidential Election of 1848 by Joel H. Silbey and enjoyed it very much. There is much to be learned from Professor Silbey's recounting of the US Presidential election of 1848 and the author covers all of the bases. He discusses the political climate going into the election, the issues of the day, the divisions within the two major political parties (leading to formation of the third party, the Free Soil Party), the battles within each party for the presidential nomination, and the campaign for the presidency.


Elections were much different in the antebellum period, long before the electronic media and the 24 hour news cycle, and this is what I especially enjoyed about this book - the author's description of what living in the times was like: what it was like to attend a convention, to campaign, to get out the vote and to actually cast one's ballot in 1848. The era had its still spin doctors and campaign managers, but at a time when candidates did not make speeches, and when their message was spread through letters published in partisan newspapers, the author gives the reader a wonderful flavor of the 1848 presidential election experience.

In 1848, the United States had undergone great expansion following the Mexican War and the treaty with Britain settling the boundaries of the Oregon Territory. While many may regard James K. Polk as a great president today, contemporary opinions of his presidency were mixed, not unlike with 20th and 21st century presidents. His lowering of tariffs had helped and hurt various parts of the nation, as had his vetoing spending on national improvements. But the main issue was slavery. Would the newly acquired territories become free states or slave states, that was the question on everyone's minds. This issue divided parties geographically and led to the formation of a significant third party. National campaigns of the two parties had to walk a tightrope on this issue, trying to maintain support in all areas of the country, while avoiding defections to the Free Soil movement.


The Democrats settled on the selection of Lewis Cass from Michigan as their candidate. Cass was considered by many to be a "doughface" (a northerner with southern sympathies). At the convention a number of Democrats opposed to the expansion of slavery left the convention and the party. They would meet subsequently in Buffalo and form the Free Soil Party, led by former President Martin Van Buren.

The Whig Party had its share of controversy as well. The party selected Mexican War hero General Zachary Taylor as its candidate, leaving many supporters of the iconic Kentucky Senator Henry Clay outraged. Whigs opposed to the expansion of slavery were also unhappy with the selection of a southerner and a slaveholder as their candidate. Some left and joined the Free Soil Party, while others like Abraham Lincoln and William H. Seward, remained and campaigned for Taylor.

Professor Silbey's analysis of this historically overlooked campaign and his post mortem of the election results are fascinating. He gives the reader an understanding of what significance to place on voting patterns in the various states and regions, the importance of issues nationally and regionally and how each party spun their own candidate as well as their opponents. For the most part, slavery was the major issues of the campaign, though in some areas like Pennsylvania where Polk's tariff policy had hurt the economy, voters punished the Democrats, regardless of their position on slavery. The author analyzes the results, with particular attention to those voters who stayed home. At a time when close to 80% of eligible voters turned up at the polls, a drop of over 7% had a significant effect on the result.


Silbey ably makes the case for why the election of 1848 was a pivotal one for the future of the nation, and how conditions at the time were the kindling for what would later become the national crisis of the Civil War. In 156 pages, Professor Silbey gives the reader a tremendous understanding of the issues and the times. His analysis is brilliant and his detail is fascinating. This book will delight anyone with an interest in antebellum United States. It is also enlightening for anyone curious about what it was like to politic over 160 years ago.


Presidential History Geeks

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