eisenhower library

I am going to say exactly what I mean in there today. For twenty years, I watched the Republicans in Congress as though they had no function, no mandate, no capacity, to do anything more than constantly bite at Roosevelt and Truman. A party leader who can only say ‘no’ is no kind of party leader at all, in my book. Twenty years of screaming at Roosevelt and Truman got the Republicans this: the loss of power for twenty years and a reputation in the country for being only nay-sayers. I don’t believe that the sole duty of an opposition is just to oppose; I believe the United States Senate has a duty to have its own programs, too. Now that the Republicans at last are in the White House, I am not only interested in running a party that can only attack Eisenhower.
—  Lyndon B. Johnson, on his vision for his role upon his election as the Democratic floor leader in the U.S. Senate, January 3, 1953.

Eisenhower’s “Military-Industrial Complex” Speech Origins and Significance

Given on January 17, 1961, President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s farewell address, known for its warnings about the growing power of the “military-industrial complex,” was nearly two years in the making. This Inside the Vaults video short follows newly discovered papers revealing that Eisenhower was deeply involved in crafting the speech, which was to become one of the most famous in American history. The papers were discovered by the family of Eisenhower speechwriter Malcolm Moos and donated to the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum. Eisenhower Library director Karl Weissenbach and presidential historian and Foundation for the National Archives board member Michael Beschloss discuss the evolution of the speech.


Did you know that no one is sure what Eisenhower actually said on June 4 to launch the invasion?

Eyewitnesses to Ike’s historic decision could not agree on what he actually said. Was it “Well, we’ll go” or “All right, we move” or “OK, boys, we will go.”

Even Eisenhower himself was not consistent in his recollections of what he said. In a 1964 article for Paris Match, he recalled that he said: “We will attack tomorrow.”

Tim Rives, deputy director of the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum, tells the full story of the these lost words in Prologue magazine.

In this photograph, General Dwight D. Eisenhower talks with paratroopers of the 101st Airborne Division in Newbury, England, on June 5, 1944, prior to their departure to drop behind enemy lines as part of the D-Day invasion. The soldier with a “23” tag was a fellow Kansan, Lt. Wallace C. Strobel.


In honor of Veterans Day, here’s the story behind the famous wool jacket (a style worn by many veterans during their time of service) now in display in “Making Their Mark: Stories Through Signatures.”

General Dwight D. Eisenhower considered the Army’s World War II military uniform to be restricting and poorly suited for combat. Instead he had a standard issue wool field jacket tailored to be “very short, very comfortable, and very natty looking.” The resulting “Eisenhower jacket” or “Ike jacket,” as it came to be known, was standard issue to American troops after November 1944.

This “Ike jacket” was worn by Eisenhower, seen here in this photograph.

Ike urged theater-wide adoption of the shorter jacket in a May 5, 1943, letter to General George C. Marshall, the Army Chief of Staff:

“I have no doubt that you have been impressed by the virtual impossibility of appearing neat and snappy in our field uniform. Given a uniform which tends to look a bit tough, and the natural proclivities of the American soldier quickly create a general impression of a disorderly mob. From this standpoint alone, the matter is bad enough; but a worse effect is the inevitable result upon the general discipline This matter of discipline is not only the most important of our internal military problems, it is the most difficult. In support of all other applicable methods for the development of satisfactory methods we should have a neater and smarter uniform. I suggest the Quartermaster begin now serious work to design a better woolen uniform for next winter’s wear.”

Ike’s argument won the day, and the “Wool Field Jacket, M-1944” debuted in the European Theater of Operations in November 1944. The iconic jacket continued to be issued to American troops until 1956, when a general phase out begin. The Ike jacket was gone from the Army inventory by October 1960, according to the US Army Center of Military History.

Buried in a plain Army casket and adorned in his namesake jacket, Eisenhower rests in peace in the Place of Meditation on the grounds of the Eisenhower Presidential Library in Abilene, Kansas.

Image: Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum National Archives (63-92)


More Soviet artifacts at the Kansas Cosmosphere. The museum houses the largest collection of Soviet space artifacts anywhere in the world outside Russia. Kruschev’s desktop model of Sputnik was on display, as was a creepy bust of Yuri Gagarin.

In addition to the backup vehicles for Sputniks I and II, an engine from the R7 missile family was exhibited. The R7 was the parent vehicle for the Soyuz launcher which is still in operation today.

Of the five propaganda medallion spheres launched on some of the early Luna missions, only two are known to remain on the Earth. Both are located in Kansas; one at the Cosmosphere and one at the Eisenhower Presidential Library in Abilene.

D-Day Begins

Seventy years ago, as dawn broke on June 6, 1944, German soldiers defending the French coast at Normandy beheld an awe-inspiring sight—the largest amphibious invasion force in history massed in the waters of the English Channel. The long-awaited invasion of northwest Europe was underway.

Enter the D-Day Normandy Landings immersive exhibit from the National Archives on Google Cultural Institute.


Robert Edsel, author of the book The Monuments Men, will speak at the National Archives tonight at 7 p.m.

The program is free and open to the public. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. (You also watch online at Ustream: http://www.ustream.tv/usnationalarchives)

Edsel and a panel will discuss his books, the recent film adaptation starring George Clooney, and the work of the Monuments Men.

The panel includes Greg Bradsher, senior archivist at the National Archives; Nancy Yeide, head of the Department of Curatorial Records at the National Gallery of Art; Michael Kurtz, former Assistant Archivist for Records Services at the National Archives; and Ambassador Stuart Eizenstat, President Clinton’s special representative on Holocaust-era issues.

Learn more about the Monuments Men and related documents in the National Archives: http://go.usa.gov/Bp6j

We’re excited to participate in #AskAnArchivist on October 30! Archivists from our locations across the nation are ready to answer your questions at @usnatarchives on Twitter tomorrow.

We have archivists that concentrate on the history of the National Archives, work with audiovisual materials, declassify documents, textual reference, Presidential materials and more.

This is your chance to find out how archivists came to have these jobs, what they like or dislike, and what they do! No question is too serious or too silly–so find out about FOIA or learn about the invention of the Beach Cart.

The schedule is below, but feel free to tweet us questions ahead of time!


8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET

Got a question for our Presidential libraries? Tweet a question to








Schedule for @usnatarchives

8:30-9 am EDT, Steve Greene

Steve Greene is an Archivist and the Special Media Holdings Coordinator for the Office of Presidential Libraries since 2010. Before that, Steve was the AV Archivist for the Nixon Presidential Library. Steve has worked with the Preservation, Processing and Reference Service on Stills, Sound Recordings and Moving Images at the Presidential Libraries for over 15 years.

9-9:30 am EDT, Amber Forrester

Amber Forrester is an Archivist in NARA’s National Declassification Center, where she has worked for four years. She spends her days working with NARA’s classified holdings and living the NDC motto: “Releasing all we can, protecting what we must.” Amber holds an MLS in Archives & Records Management from the University of Maryland and a BA in American Studies and History from Case Western Reserve University.

9:30-10 am EDT, Rebecca Collier

Rebecca Collier is a Supervisory Archivist of the Textual Reference Archives II Branch at the National Archives in College Park, MD. She has worked in reference at NARA for over 29 years. Her unit assists the public daily and responds to requests concerning many topics including diplomatic, labor, commerce, treasury, National Park Service, American Red Cross records as well as military unit records during the 20th Century (especially WWII, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War) and various intelligence agencies. She has a Master of Arts in History from Bowling Green State University in Ohio and a Bachelor of Arts in History from Ohio Northern University.

10-10:30 am EDT, Jessie Kratz

As Historian of the National Archives, Jessie promotes the history and importance of the agency. She regularly writes articles and blog posts, and gives talks on Archives history. Before becoming Historian, Jessie worked at the Center for LegislativeArchives from 2000 to 2013 where she created publications and exhibits that highlighted Congress’s role in American history. Jessie has an M.A. from the George Washington University in Washington, DC.

11-11:30 am EDT, Joseph Keefe

Joseph P. Keefe is an Archives Specialist and Reference Team Lead and Social Media co-coordinator with the National Archives Northeast Region-Boston and has worked for the National Archives for over 10 years. He began his National Archives career in the Federal Records Center where he worked in both research and the transfer of records into the facility. He moved to the archives in 2006 in his current position as an Archives Specialist. Joseph has a bachelor’s degree in History from Framingham State University in Framingham, Massachusetts, and a MA in American History from the University of Massachusetts, Boston.

1-2 pm EDT, Alan Walker

Alan is an archivist in Textual Processing at Archives II. He works with records of civilian Federal agencies, including those of the National Archives itself. He loves photography and worked with our photographic holdings in the Still Pictures unit here at the Archives for many years. Alan received his M.A. in History from George Mason University.

2-3 pm EDT, Christina Jones and Ketina Taylor

Ketina Taylor started with the National Archives in 2000 in the Still Picture Unit in College Park, Maryland.  In 2005, she was promoted to archivist and moved to the State Department Reference Team and eventually the Civilian Records Processing Team. In 2007, Ketina accepted a position for the future George W. Bush Library, and in 2012, she was transferred to the National Archives at Fort Worth.

3 pm EDT, Gerald Ford Presidential Library

Elizabeth Druga and Stacy Davis will be available to answer questions. Elizabeth Druga is an archives technician at the Ford Presidential Library in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She works with textual and AV collections.

3:30 pm EDT, Richard M. Nixon Presidential Library

Jason Schulz, supervisory archivist; Meghan Lee-Parker, archivist; and Carla Braswell, archives technician, will be available to answer questions.

4:30 pm EDT (1:30 pm PDT) Sue Karren

Sue has been with the National Archives for 28 years and is now the director of the National Archives at Seattle. Previously she also worked in the Chicago and Washington, DC, offices and often says, “Come see what we’re saving for you!” Sue has a Master’s degree in 20th-century military history but after 25 years in Seattle thinks of herself as a Western history generalist.

Presidential Libraries

@FDRLibrary, 10-11 a.m. EDT

Bob Clark, the FDR Library’s Deputy Director and Supervisory Archivist will answer your questions.

@IkeLibrary, 10-11 a.m. CDT

Tim Rives, Deputy Director of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Library, will be on hand with archivist Chris Abraham.

@LBJLibrary, noon to 5 pm EDT

Liza Talbot is a digital archivist at the LBJ Presidential Library in Austin, TX, where her reference responsibilities include questions about President Johnson and politics, speeches, and science. She also works to make the LBJ Library’s holdings–especially the spectacular photo, audio, and video collections–available on the web for everyone to use. Liza has a BA in History and English from Oberlin College and an MSIS in Archives and Digital Libraries and from the University of Texas, and she is very interested these days in Public History on the web; she created the LBJ Time Machine blog (http://lbjlibrary.tumblr.com/) to experiment with telling stories in new ways.

@CarterLibrary, 8:30-10:30 am, 1:30-3 pm EDT

8:30-10:30 a.m. Ryan Rutkowski is an archivist at the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library. At the Carter Library, he processes records, responds to research requests, and assists the AV Archivist with her projects. In his eight years as an archivist (3 years with Carter), Ryan have developed skills in the areas of archives and records management, exhibit design, policy creation, and historical research and writing. Ryan received his MA in Public History from Loyola University Chicago.

11:30-12:30 Amanda Pellerin is an archivist at the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library working mainly with the foreign relations materials in the collections. Amanda also has responsibilities in digital projects at the Carter Library including the ongoing processing of oral history collections. She has worked in the archival profession for 10 years (4 years with Carter) gaining experience in processing sensitive collections, donor relations, outreach initiatives, and policy development. She has a Masters in Heritage Preservation from Georgia State University and Masters in Library and Information Sciences from Valdosta State University.

@WJCLibrary, 9 am-noon CDT

A group of archivists from the William J. Clinton Presidential Library will be available to answer questions: Brittany Gerke, Racheal Carter-Ragan, Jamie Metrailer, Kara Ellis, Kim Coryat, and Whitney Ross.

@bush41library, 10-11 am CDT

Michelle Bogart is a certified archivist with an MSIS in archives. She has worked in collecting and administrative archives and has been at the Bush Library for five years.

Image: An Archives staff member in the 1930sshows off the cellulose acetate used for the lamination of documents. (64-NA-464; National Archives Identifier 3493252)


The Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum is hosting a special commemoration of D-Day. Follow along on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram with #DDay70.

The “D-Day + 70 Years” commemorative weekend will kick off on Friday, June 6, with a Remembrance Ceremony and rifle salute. There will also be tours with the Library staff and you can meet historical reenactors.

WWII-era military equipment and vehicles will be on display throughout the library grounds, including a Sherman tank, tank destroyer, half track, jeeps, and a motorcycle.

Saturday events will begin with the film “D-Day Plus 20 Years: Eisenhower returns to Normandy.” The afternoon features panel discussions sharing stories of those on the home front and on the battlefields. Award-winning biographer and historian Nigel Hamilton will also discuss this important anniversary.

A C-47 will fly over Saturday evening around 5 p.m. More than 1,000 C-47s dropped paratroopers behind enemy lines as part of Operation Overlord. The aircraft will be on view at the Abilene Municipal Airport.

The third annual Symphony at Sunset D-Day Commemoration Concert begins at 7 p.m. Admission is a $5 minimum suggested donation. (There’s no charge for children ages 12 and under). The 1st Infantry Division Band will perform the opening act, followed at 8:30 p.m. with the headline performance by the Salina Symphony.

Image: D-Day equipment on display the Eisenhower Presidential Library via the @IkeLibrary instagram.

May 21st 1865

I have received the letter, which Your Majesty has had the kindness to write & am deeply grateful for its expressions of tender sympathy, coming as they do, from a heart which from its own sorrow, can appreciate the intense grief, I now endure. Accept, Madam, the assurance of my heartfelt thanks & believe me in the deepest sorrow, Your Majesty’s sincere and grateful friend.

Mary Lincoln

President Lincoln died on April 15, 1865, at 7:22 a.m. after being shot in the head by John Wilkes Booth. His widow, Mary Todd Lincoln, wrote this letter–bordered with black for mourning–just over a month later.

She thanked Queen Victoria of England, who had sent Mrs. Lincoln a letter of condolence earlier. Mrs. Lincoln notes that the Queen, whose husband Albert had died in 1861, truly knows the “intense grief” which she is feeling.

A copy of the letter sent to Mrs. Lincoln from Queen Victoria can be seen here  http://ow.ly/LEdIC in the Library of Congress​.

The letter is part of the holdings of the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum​.


Are these the same children? (Or, the same ruffly pantaloons and bunny ear hats?)

The black and white image is from 1958, and is part of the holdings of the Eisenhower Presidential Library. The children are identified as Bunny, Hazel, Fred and Darlene Johansen.

The color photograph is from 1961, and is part of the holdings of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library. 

What do you think?


Thank you to everyone who shared their posters, signs, and brochures for the first week of #ElectionCollection with @usnatarchives and @americanexperiencepbs!

We’d like to give a special shout out to @americanantiquarian and@thedamlibrarian for Rather Disturbing Campaign Memorabilia while @nixonlibrary and@minnesotahistoricalsociety were Most Groovy!  

Check out all the great finds and fascinating history at #ElectionCollection here.

We can’t wait for next week’s challenge. See you on Tuesday!

Participant Images:

William McKinley/Teddy Roosevelt poster from the 1900 campaign from the Hervey A. Priddy Collection of American Presidential and Political Memorabilia.  @culdigital

“I Like Ike” hanging signs from the Eisenhower Presidential Library. 

Humbert Humphrey 1968 Presidential Campaign Poster from the @minnesotahistoricalsociety.

“Happy days are here again!” proclaimed this 1932 banner celebrating the election of Franklin D. Roosevelt and end of Prohibition from @amhistorymuseum National American History Museum.

1872 anti-Horace Greeley lithographed fan includes anti-Greeley cartoons on the verso from @AmericanAntiquarian. 

Advertisement for tin puzzles created by artist Everett Shinn of 1908 presidential nominees William Taft and William Jennings Bryan. The trick was to place the pupils, which were steel balls, in their eye sockets. From @damlibrarian Delaware Art Museum.

Nixon-Agnew campaign catalog filled with groovy MOD MODES FOR NIXON paper clothes that local campaign offices could order from the @RichardNixonLibrary Nixon Presidential Library. 


Happy National Libraries Week! Did you know that David S. Ferriero, who is the head of the National Archives, is actually a librarian?

But before he became the tenth Archivist of the United States, “Dave Ferriero” was a boy who wrote to President Eisenhower and requested an autographed photograph. The letter was saved in the holdings of Eisenhower Presidential Library!

The Archivist’s letter to President Eisenhower is currently on display in our exhibit “Making their Mark: Stories Through Signatures.”

You can read more about the Archivist’s career on our website.

Letter and autographed photograph from the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum