Presidential Libraries

Mr. Lincoln Was A Prankster

According to the Pantagraph, Abraham Lincoln, whose bicentennial will be celebrated later this week was kind of a cut-up.

Few people who dine on cheeseburgers at the Dairy Queen know Abraham Lincoln almost burned down a building on that site in Monticello, Illinois.

That’s why Sue Gortner, director of the Monticello Chamber of Commerce, had a sign erected across the street, explaining Lincoln was a regular visitor to Monticello’s Tenbrook Hotel when he tried cases at the nearby courthouse. The 9-foot sign tells the story of how Lincoln, known for his keen sense of humor, almost burned down the hotel during an apparent prank.

With the help of Lisa Winters, librarian of the Monticello’s Allerton Public Library, Gortner discovered several stories that revealed Lincoln’s character, including his irrepressible sense of humor.

While staying at the Tenbrook, the first hotel in Monticello, Lincoln told some children that they should heat their inflated pig bladder, a precursor to a balloon, in the hotel’s fireplace. When the bladder exploded, hot coals were spread across the room. When Lincoln tried to sweep up the coals, the broom caught on fire.

Nice to know the Great Emancipator was also a regular guy (and that the building went on to become a Dairy Queen?).

Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Exhibition at LOC

The Library of Congress' Presents an Online Exhibit "Malice Towards None".

The exhibit commemorates the two hundredth anniversary of the birth of the nation’s revered sixteenth president Abraham Lincoln. More than a chronological account of his life, the exhibition reveals Lincoln the man, whose thoughts, words, and actions were deeply affected by personal experiences and pivotal historic events.

The exhibit will be up through May 9.

Overdue Book Borrowed by JFK Will be Returned to Library of Congress

The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum said it will display, as part of a weeklong celebration of Presidents' Day, a 1930 biography of Abraham Lincoln that was apparently borrowed by Kennedy, or a member of his staff, when he was serving in the Senate in the 1950s.

The Library of Congress book, "A. Lincoln" by Ross F. Lockridge, was found in Kennedy's pre-presidential papers. It has been listed as missing in the Library of Congress online catalog, and will be returned to its collection after the display.

"It has just always been assumed to have been one of his books," said library spokesman Tom McNaught, but the library recently learned "it had been checked out since he was a senator and he had just kept it."

Lincoln Library Will Be Without a Director For a While

...the search will not begin til mid-February and a Director will not be named til after the Bicentennial.

With Abraham Lincoln’s birthday looming and Gov. Rod Blagojevich on trial in the state Senate, officials at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum don’t expect to name a new director anytime soon.

The governor will select a replacement for former director Rick Beard, who was fired in October after two shoplifting arrests came to light. Beard, who pleaded guilty to trying to steal neckties from Macy’s in 2007, also admitted attempting to take $40 worth of DVDs from Target last summer.

Alas, there have been more than a few lapses of truth in Illinois as of late. Lincoln would not have been happy. Story from State Journal-Register in Springfield.

Lincoln Cathedral (UK) Magna Carta on Display at Reagan Library

A copy of the Magna Carta is the centerpiece of a new exhibition at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Simi Valley.

USA Today reports on the exhibition that runs til June 20 and will include scenes from life in England in 1215, the year the Magna Carta was recorded.

According to the cathedral's website, the bishops of Lincoln were among the magnates of medieval England and when the Magna Carta was drawn up in 1215, one of the witnesses was Hugh of Wells, Bishop of Lincoln, who returned with his copy to the city. Today Lincoln's copy of the document is only one of four originals from 1215 that still exist.

A Library for the Ladies

Did you know there's a National First Ladies Library?

Reading about the Obama daughters moment in the sun yesterday, this article in MSNBC referenced the library located in the home of Ida McKinley in Canton, Ohio and the librarian, Carl Sferazza Anthony. From the article:

When the (Obama) girls stood next to their father during the oath, they were participating in only a recent tradition. Bill and Hillary Clinton began it in 1997 with daughter Chelsea. George W. Bush followed suit with twin daughters Jenna and Barbara.

Amy Carter, then age 9, didn't stand on the podium in 1977, but she did get to walk the parade route at front with her parents, who abandoned their limo in what was called the "People's Inaugural." Her brothers, Jack, Jeff and Chip, though, walked behind.

Kids weren't always a part of inaugural ceremonies at all. The Kennedy kids, for all the attention on them, were not at the inauguration of their dad, John F. Kennedy. Caroline, 3, and John, an infant, were at the family home in Palm Beach, Fla.

An Unlikely Place to View the Inauguration: The Nixon Library

From L.A. Times Blogs:

The lifelong Republican from the city of Orange, after all, cast her first Democratic vote in November for Obama. Candice Katayama and her former boss went to an unlikely place, the Richard Nixon Library and Birthplace in Yorba Linda, joining about two dozen employees and schoolchildren who applauded as they sat in rows of chairs watching the ceremony on a large TV mounted outside an exhibit on inaugurations throughout history. "It's a little weird," Katayama admits. "But I came to this evolution that this country isn't about labels anymore. It's about hope."

Man finds a gold mine in Bush library Web site

Two years ago, George Huger found a scrap of treasure in an Internet bargain bin -- a lucky turn that just won him $35,000 from President Bush's sheepish advisers.

A Raleigh Web developer, Huger was flipping through a list of expiring domain names when he noticed that www.GeorgeWBushLibrary.com was about to expire. He picked up the rights for five bucks and sat on them for two years, waiting to cash in.

"It was a wonderful turn of events," said Huger, 26, whose company is called Illuminati Karate. "We just bumped into it accidentally."

Alan C. Lowe Named Director of the George W. Bush Presidential Library

Alan C. Lowe Named Director of the 'not a George Bush Is a Wonderful Person Center': Acting Archivist of the United States Adrienne C. Thomas announced today the selection of Alan C. Lowe as the new Director of the George W. Bush Presidential Library. The appointment is effective April 12, 2009.

In announcing his selection, Thomas said she "is delighted that Lowe has agreed to become the director of the new George W. Bush Library. He brings a wealth of experience including 14 years of working with the National Archives Presidential Libraries system. During his tenure at the National Archives, he helped to oversee twelve Presidential libraries located throughout the nation. He also served as interim Director of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library in Hyde Park, New York. Most recently he has led the building and development of the Howard H. Baker, Jr. Center for Public Policy. We are pleased to welcome Alan back to the National Archives and Presidential Libraries."

What's Next for GWB? Not a "George Bush Is a Wonderful Person Center"

What does our current President have on tap for later this week?

Well, after handing over the reins of power to President-Elect Obama, Bush will be returning to Texas, moving into a new home in Dallas, and participating in the construction of the George W. Bush Presidential Center at SMU.

Bush, who has said he will likely pen a memoir and eventually hit the lecture circuit, has talked glowingly about his hopes for the policy center, and insists that his vision for it extends far beyond his own presidency.

"This is not going to be a 'George Bush Is a Wonderful Person Center,' or 'The Center for Republican Party Campaign Tactics,' " Bush said during one of his last media interviews as president. "It's going to be a place of debate, thought, writing, lecturing." Washington Post.

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