Presidential Libraries

Presidential Librarians Can Learn From Their Predecessors

Looking back almost 40 years, the director of Texas' first presidential library says he should have been tougher on Lyndon Baines Johnson.

Harry Middleton, 86, said he and fellow staffers in the 1971 opening of the LBJ Library and Museum at the University of Texas at Austin were too close to the former president to give a highly critical account of the controversies that defined his tenure – especially the Vietnam War.

More reminiscences in this story from the Dallas News and from the former director of the LBJ Library, who suggests that there are lessons to be learned by the staff of the GWB Library at SMU.

Do you think the GWB librarians will be too kind to the next former president?

Four Presidential Libraries to Be Renovated Says Four of the 13 presidential libraries operated by the National Archives are slated to undergo some type of renovation or repairs this year owing to expansion needs and crumbling infrastructure. The National Archives plans to spend $20 million on the projects. The biggest is the expansion of the Nixon library.

Bill Clinton won't be welcome at First Ladies Library

Ohio's National First Ladies Library won't make a special place for Bill Clinton if Hillary Rodham Clinton is elected president.

Library president and founder Mary Regula says if former President Clinton or others become "first men," they'll have to "build their own thing," in her words.

Bush library searches for Web site name

While President Bush's advisers were taking offers on an ideal spot for his library and museum, they probably should have paid more attention to the virtual real-estate market. Officials finally settled on Southern Methodist University in Dallas to house the $250 million complex.

But online, some of the very best addresses are gone — snapped up for a mere fistful of dollars by squatters who have no connection to the library yet hope to make fun of the president, protect him or simply cash in on his name.

Want More Info on Hillary? How About 11,000 Pages?

Hillary Clinton just released 11,000 pages of her schedule as First Lady. The papers were released as a result of a lawsuit by the conservative legal group, Judicial Watch and they give a glimpse into her priorities as First Lady. She frequently refers to her work as First Lady as a credential for her White House bid, but until now the Clinton Library has not released her day-to-day schedules. WNYC’s political director Andrea Bernstein invites listeners to pour through the pages. Story from, an NPR affiliate.

And here's the link from the Clinton Library; some pages apparently have portions blacked out (to protect the innocent?)

Archivists block release of Clinton papers

Federal archivists at the Clinton Presidential Library are blocking the release of hundreds of pages of White House papers on pardons that the former president approved, including clemency for fugitive commodities trader Marc Rich.
That archivists' decision, based on guidance provided by Bill Clinton that restricts the disclosure of advice he received from aides, prevents public scrutiny of documents that would shed light on how he decided which pardons to approve from among hundreds of requests.

Archives to Clear Clinton Logs in March

Archives to Clear Clinton Logs in March: The National Archives said Monday it expects to release Hillary Rodham Clinton's schedules as first lady later this month, but has asked a judge to delay the release of thousands of her telephone logs for one to two years.

Presidential libraries have historical problem

While researching a book on presidential libraries in the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library in Hyde Park, N.Y., Benjamin Hufbauer came across a Chicago Tribune editorial cartoon from December 1938 that crystallizes the problem with presidential libraries. The cartoon shows FDR dressed as Santa leaving a present in his own stocking, with a card that says: "Hyde Park Memorial to Franklin D. Roosevelt. To be enlarged by public subscription and forever maintained at government expense. To be grander than Mt. Vernon and Monticello."

Bush undecided on disclosure policy for SMU library donors

After settling on SMU to house his library, President Bush said Thursday he doesn't know yet whether donors to the multimillion-dollar project will be identified but he probably will accept money from foreign sources. Mr. Bush said at a news conference that some people "like to give and don't particularly want their names disclosed ... and so we'll take that into consideration."
Mr. Bush, asked whether the public has a right to know who is helping to finance his library, said: "You know, we're weighing, taking a look. Taking consideration, giving it serious consideration."

Some SMU professors relieved Bush library won't be part of school but remain wary

Some Southern Methodist University professors say they are relieved a partisan policy institute won't be identified as part of the school but remain concerned the relationship with the institute will harm the campus.

Ever since SMU became the lone finalist for the library 14 months ago, debate among professors has focused not on the library or museum, but rather the related institute "inspired by the principles of George W. Bush's administration," as described by a library search committee.


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