Presidential Libraries Celebrate 50th Anniversary of the Presidential Libraries Act
On August 4, 2005, the United States Postal Service released a new postage stamp commemorating Presidential Libraries and the 50th anniversary of the Presidential Libraries Act of 1955.
Signed into law by President Eisenhower on August 12, 1955, the Presidential Libraries Act provides for the transfer of Presidential papers and artifacts to the Federal Government. The law also provides for the construction of "presidential libraries" at no expense to the Government and for the transfer of these facilities to the Government along with the President's personal property.
First-Day-of-Issue dedication ceremonies were held simultaneously at the National Archives' eleven Presidential Libraries and the Richard Nixon Library and Birthplace, scheduled to become the National Archives' twelfth Presidential Library in 2006.
The Libraries Honored by Presidents, Presidential Families, and Public Officials
In an official written greeting, President George W. Bush offered congratulations on the commemorative stamp stating,
"Our Presidential Libraries house important cultural materials and historical documents that reflect America's rich heritage and are important resources for preserving the records of the leaders who have helped shape our country."
Former President Bill Clinton, Archivist of the United States Allen Weinstein, and Vice Chairman of the United States Postal Service Board of Governors Alan C. Kessler participated in the First-Day-of-Issue ceremony at the Clinton Library in Little Rock, AR.
In his address, President Clinton said, "These Libraries are priceless repositories of American history..." He went on to say that Presidential Libraries are "the best way to look at the history of America."
Archivist Allen Weinstein said,
Presidential Libraries Stamp First Day Covers
The Office of Presidential Libraries also developed a set of First Day Covers in conjunction with the stamp release. A First Day Cover is a specially designed envelope that marks the first day of issue for commemorative stamps. The stamp is affixed on this decorated envelope and canceled with the date of issue and the city in which the stamp was first released. Each First Day Cover in the set features an image of the exterior of a Library and bears the Presidential Libraries stamp, cancelled in each Library's city. The set of First Day Covers is available at each of the Presidential Libraries as well as the National Archives Building in Washington, DC.
The Celebration Across the Country
The dedication ceremonies held across the country were attended by public officials and Presidential family members (View Dedication Ceremony Photos).
- The Hoover Library welcomed the President's grandson Andy Hoover and his family. U. S. Representatives Jim Leach and Leonard Boswell also attended the ceremony
- President Roosevelt's grandson, David Roosevelt, and United States Representative John E. Sweeney attended the ceremony at the Roosevelt Library, in Hyde Park, NY.
- President Truman's grandson, Thomas Washington Daniel attended the Truman Library ceremony along with United States Representative Ike Skelton and former United States Senator Thomas F. Eagleton.
- President Eisenhower's granddaughter, Mary Eisenhower, attended the ceremony at the Eisenhower Library.
- John F. Walsh, member of the USPS Board of Governors, visited the Kennedy Library.
- President Johnson's daughter, Lynda Johnson Robb, gave remarks at the Johnson Library.
- The Nixon Library welcomed United States Representative Gary Miller and Bill Johnstone, Secretary of the Board of Governors, USPS.
- The Ford Library ceremony was attended by United States Representative Thaddeus McCotter as well as former Archivist of the United States Robert Warner.
- The Ford Museum welcomed United States Representative Vernon J. Ehlers.
- Jason Carter, grandson of President Carter, attended the ceremony at the Carter Library along with former United States Senator Max Cleland and Bert Lance, Carter Campaign advisor and former Director of OMB.
- The Reagan Library welcomed James C. Miller III, Chairman of the USPS Board of Governors.
- Carolyn Gallagher, member of the USPS Board of Governors, visited the Bush Library.
- Senator Mark Pryor attended the Clinton Library ceremony.
Sharon Fawcett, Assistant Archivist for Presidential Libraries, reflected on the 50th anniversary of the Presidential Libraries Act and the First Day of Issue of the Presidential Libraries stamp by stating,
"This commemorative stamp will be used across the country, helping friends and family connect and reconnect with each other. Since the Roosevelt Library, Presidential Libraries have connected and reconnected Americans with the history of their nation and their leaders, and it is an honor to have this recognized through through a U.S. postage stamp."