Presidential Libraries

SMU settles George W. Bush library land dispute

The dispute between Southern Methodist University and condominium owners over land for the George W. Bush presidential library is over.

Presidential records a time capsule of Bush years

The gifts, documents and electronic records accumulated during Bush's two terms have gone from the White House to a warehouse in suburban Dallas, just a few miles north of a turnpike named for his father. They will remain there until Bush's $300 million presidential library — the nation's 13th and the third in Texas — opens in 2013 on the Southern Methodist University campus near downtown Dallas.

"It's a wonderful eight-year time capsule," said Jennifer M. Schulle, the registrar for the Bush library. "It's everything that was going on — politically, personally and socially."

Gearing Up For Its Opening in 2013, Bush Wants to Display Saddam's Gun @ His Library

From the NY Times: When the library for George W. Bush opens in 2013 on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, visitors will most likely get to see one of the former President's most treasured items: Saddam Hussein’s pistol.

The gun, a 9 millimeter Glock 18C, was found in the spider hole where the Iraqi leader was captured in December 2003 by Delta Force soldiers, four of whom later presented the pistol to Mr. Bush. Among the thousands of gifts Mr. Bush received as president, the gun became a favorite, a reminder of the pinnacle moment of the Iraq war, according to friends and long-time associates.

Douglas Brinkley, an author and history professor at Rice University, said the pistol opened a psychological window into Mr. Bush’s view of his presidency.

“It represents this Texas notion of the white hats taking out the black hats and keeping the trophy,” Mr. Brinkley said. “It’s a True West magazine kind of pulp western mentality. For President Bush, this pistol represents his greatest moment of triumph, like the F.B.I. keeping Dillinger’s gun. He wants people generations from now to see the gun and say, ‘He got the bad guy.’ ”

More Nixon Tapes Available to Public

Glutton for punishment (true crime writer? historian)? Now you can listen to as many Nixon tapes as you want!

UPI reports: The Richard Nixon Presidential Library has opened up access to 154 hours of White House tapes and other documents the U.S. government once classified.

In a statement, the library in Yorba Linda, Calif., said some of the materials made available to the public Tuesday include conversations about the Vietnam War, Nixon's second inauguration, the Supreme Court's landmark abortion decision, Roe v. Wade, and the first Watergate trial. The recordings from January and February 1973 consist of approximately 994 conversations, the library said.

The new Nixon tapes and documents will be available on the Internet and at the Richard Nixon libraries in California and Maryland.

Hawaii: A Lincoln Document, and a Mystery

From the AP: A document with Abraham Lincoln’s signature and dated Sept. 22, 1862, has been found in the Hawaii State Archives, but no one seems to know how it got there. A project of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Illinois has confirmed its authenticity. It orders the secretary of state to affix the seal of the United States to his “proclamation of this date.” The Emancipation Proclamation was issued on that date. The document appears to have been at the archives since at least 1935. In the 1860s, Hawaii was an independent kingdom.

Anyone care to suggest how the document arrived at the Hawaii State Archives?

Reagan Library Case Stays Put in New York

A federal judge in Manhattan denied the Ronald Regan Presidential Foundation's request to dismiss a complaint that it misused donations, or to transfer the case to Los Angeles Federal Court. Richard Stills said he donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to establish education programs at the foundation's Presidential Learning Center, but the center improperly used it for "general purposes."

Edith Roosevelt and her librarian

The New Yorker has a nice piece on the bygone days when a president's widow wrote letters to her librarian requesting books:

About a year and a half ago, Harriet Shapiro, who is the head of exhibitions at the New York Society Library, was, in the manner of modern-day researchers everywhere, randomly Googling—looking for information about Marion King, the institution’s longtime librarian, who died in 1976. To Shapiro’s surprise, a link came up to Harvard’s Theodore Roosevelt collection, in which lay a cache of nearly six hundred letters written to King by Edith Kermit Roosevelt. ...

The letters spanned the period of Mrs. Roosevelt’s widowhood, beginning in 1920, the year after Theodore Roosevelt died. In them, she requested books to be sent to her home, Sagamore Hill, near Oyster Bay.

Condo owners want Bushes to answer questions

Attorneys for former President George W. Bush and his wife, Laura, are fighting efforts by two condominium owners to pull the Bushes into a lawsuit questioning whether Southern Methodist University used unfair tactics to buy out owners at low prices.

The condo owners want to question the Bushes about what SMU officials told them in private meetings before SMU was selected as the site of the presidential library.

Airmen escort presidential papers into history

Airmen escort presidential papers into history : Air Force District of Washington Airmen took their place in history Feb. 23 as they were honored for moving presidential documents safely and in "record" time.

Standing before the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights, Airmen from AFDW, the 316th Wing and the 89th Aerial Port Squadron were presented certificates by officials from the National Archives and Records Administration for their efforts in providing airlift and ground support in the transport of the George W. Bush presidential papers from NARA to the temporary library facility at Lewisville, Texas.

Details emerge about Bush library, policy center

George W. Bush's presidential library is taking shape in early designs, evolving from separate buildings at SMU into a single, multi-story complex with a policy institute nearly two-thirds bigger than first proposed.

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