Perk up your Monday with a memo about coffee.
Staff Secretary Jim Connor’s note on this memo from Deputy Chief of Staff Dick Cheney from October 20, 1975, succinctly sums up why the coffee bill for Donald Rumsfeld’s office was over $100: "They are drinking too much coffee and have too many people drinking it!"
The Mess records showed that the bill covered 200 pots of coffee, meaning that the Chief of Staff and his eight staff members would have consumed about 10 pots per day during a five-day work week.
Too much coffee: do you agree or disagree?
Forty years ago: Desegregation in Boston Public Schools
Boston, Massachusetts, has long been a crucible for social, cultural, and political change. But Boston is also a city of contradictions.
Forty years ago, a group of parents filed a formal complaint in the U.S. District Court for Massachusetts. The case beings with this simple sentence: “This is a class action brought by black children attending the Boston public schools and their parents.”
Tallulah Morgan et al. v. James W. Hennigan et al., United States District Court Civil Action Case File No. 72-911-G—known as the Boston schools desegregation case—occupies 54 large storage boxes in the National Archives at Boston. The case was presented over a period of two years, and on June 21, 1974, Federal Judge W. Arthur Garrity ruled that the School Committee of the City of Boston had “intentionally brought about and maintained racial segregation” in the Boston public schools.
The response to the implementation was protest, at times violent, but eventually the Boston Public Schools would change.
During the summer of 2014, a group of educators from across the country—elementary through college—spent a week at the National Archives at Boston and Chicago studying issues of civil rights.
They scanned documents like the above letter from Mrs. Sumner Bernstein. She wrote to Boston Public Schools Superintendent Leary explaining how her initial support of Boston school desegregation turned to anger and fear after her daughter’s experience at Boston English (10/22/1974, from the Records of District Courts of the United States). All of the newly digitized documents are available online by entering “Primarily Teaching 2014” in the documents search box.
They also used these newly digitized primary sources to create online teaching activities related to education equality:
- What does it mean? Boston School Desegregation
- Formulating Questions About A Primary Source from Morganv. Hennigan
- Different Perspectives: Boston School Desegregation
- An Introduction to Morgan v. Hennigan
- Civil Rights in Education: Legal Complaints in Morgan v.Hennigan
- Who were the stakeholders in the desegregation of Boston Public
- Minority groups during desegregation of Boston Public Schools
- Evaluating Police Protection during Boston Schools Desegregation
- Alleged Segregation in Chicago Public Schools in 1960s
- School Experience in Chicago, 1950–1961
You can create your own activities on this subject with the tools available on DocsTeach!
40th Anniversary of the Nixon Pardon: Congressional Testimony
President Ford’s sudden announcement of his decision to pardon Richard Nixon raised many questions. People felt that the pardon circumvented justice, continuing the Watergate coverup by preventing the possible indictment of the former President that could have provided answers to lingering questions. Among the overwhelming negative responses from the public was the idea that the pardon was part of a “secret deal” between Ford and Nixon.
Several Representatives requested answers to specific questions regarding the pardon and the circumstances surrounding it. On October 17, 1974, President Ford appeared on Capitol Hill before the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, becoming the first sitting President to give sworn congressional testimony. He delivered an opening statement and answered questions posed by the committee members regarding when and with whom he had discussed the pardon, and why he decided to grant it.
"I hope…that I have at least cleared the air so that most Americans will understand what was done and why it was done," he said at the end of the two hour session. "And again I trust that all of us can get back to the job of trying to solve our problems both at home and abroad."
The Department of Education Was Established 35 Years Ago, Today
On October 17, 1979, President Jimmy Carter signed into law the Department of Education Organization Act. The ED opened officially in May, 1980.
President Jimmy Carter - Signing ceremony for the Department of Education. 10/17/1979.
National Archives Identifier: 841821
(via the Carter Presidential Library)
This letter from then-House Minority Leader Gerald Ford to President Richard Nixon lists Ford’s recommendations to fill the Vice Presidential vacancy following Spiro Agnew’s resignation on October 10, 1973. President Nixon ultimately nominated Congressman Ford to be Vice President, and less than one year later Ford would find himself serving as President following Nixon’s resignation.
October is American Archives Month. To celebrate, we are highlighting our staff around the country and their favorite records from the holdings in the National Archives.
Today’s staff member is Audrey Amidon, a Motion Picture Preservation Specialist at the National Archives at College Park. Her favorite record is Curious Alice, an anti-drug film made by the National Institute for Mental Health in 1971. On YouTube: http://youtu.be/f1fc-h018Uo.
“This film just never gets old. The animation is wonderful, and it’s a hilarious misfire. It’s a very early example of a large-scale government anti-drug campaign targeting children, but unfortunately, it does a better job of making drugs seem interesting than of demonstrating proper decision making skills. Mostly, though, I like that every time I see it, it makes me think of Charles Joholske, a co-worker we lost to cancer several years ago. Charlie made this gorgeous print to replace our beat-up copy when we found a new negative at an abandoned film lab.”
Online Public Access record: http://research.archives.gov/description/2602586
"I know now that what is most sustaining and healing in the immediate days and weeks following breast surgery is the love and understanding that come in such abundance from one’s husband and children. In addition, to have the good wishes and encouragement of so many other people is to feel especially blessed.” —Betty Ford
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Betty Ford was diagnosed with breast cancer just a few weeks after moving into the White House. She underwent a mastectomy on September 28, 1974, at Bethesda Naval Hospital. President Ford tried to visit her twice a day until she was released on October 11. In addition to the support of her family the First Lady also received thousands of get well messages from the public, including those who lives had also been affected by breast cancer.
Image: President Gerald Ford, Carrying a Football, and First Lady Betty Ford returning to the President’s Suite at Bethesda Naval Hospital, Bethesda, Maryland, following the First Lady’s Breast Cancer Surgery, 10/04/1974 [digitally colored].
Sometimes Laughter Is the Best Medicine
Photograph of President Gerald Ford and Comedian Bob Hope Visiting First Lady Betty Ford in the President’s Suite at Bethesda Naval Hospital, Bethesda, Maryland, Following the First Lady’s Breast Cancer Surgery, 10/05/1974
“Photograph of Betty Ford, Frankie Welch, the designer of the gown being donated, and S. Dillon Ripley, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, with the gown Betty Ford is donating in the First Ladies Hall at the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of History and Technology on 6/24/1976."
This sequined chiffon gown embroidered in a chrysanthemum pattern was her State Dinner Dress in 1975.
Courtesy of the Gerald R. Ford Library. National Archives Identifier: 7347186
Fascinated by First Ladies’ Fashion? Don’t miss the First Ladies’ Fashions panel moderated by Tim Gunn, star of Project Runway on Wednesday September 30th at the National Archives!
40th Anniversary of the Nixon Pardon: The 1976 Election
As the country prepared for the next Presidential election in 1976 Watergate and President Ford’s decision to pardon Richard Nixon in 1974 was still on people’s minds.
Democratic candidate Jimmy Carter repeatedly said he would not make the pardon a campaign issue. “The American people know who pardoned Richard Nixon,” he stated. “They don’t need to have it raised by a candidate.” His running mate didn’t share that view. Vice Presidential nominee Walter Mondale mentioned it in his speech at the Democratic National Convention and continued to bring it up during the campaign.
The Harris Survey confirmed that it was still an issue. In August 1976 poll results showed a 59 to 33 percent majority of voters believed President Ford “was wrong to pardon Richard Nixon.” At the same time, a 52 to 34 percent majority felt that he had acted in the country’s best interests. Based on the data Louis Harris concluded “that any change in public attitudes towards the Nixon pardon could have an immediate impact on the race for the White House.”
Ford’s campaign advisers included a briefing sheet on the pardon in the President’s debate preparation materials. In the first campaign debate he was asked to address why former President Nixon received a full pardon while amnesty for Vietnam draft resisters had been conditional. He stood by both decisions, stating that “the need and necessity for me to concentrate on the problems of the country fully justified the action that I took” in pardoning Nixon.
On November 2, 1976, Jimmy Carter won the election by a slim margin, receiving 50% of the popular vote to President Ford’s 48%. Many believed that the pardon had contributed to President Ford’s defeat, including Betty Ford. “Many people who definitely were for Jerry could not bring themselves to vote for him because he pardoned Nixon,” she later said. One post election analysis of the factors motivating voters’ decisions reported that “seven points of the anti-Ford vote stemmed from Watergate.”
Image: President Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter Meet at the Walnut Street Theater in Philadelphia to Debate Domestic Policy during the First of the Three Ford-Carter Debates, 09/23/1976.
DC Fashion Week is finally here!
On Wednesday, September 24, the opening night event will be held at the National Archives, and Wednesday September 30th we will be hosting a panel on First Ladies Fashions moderated by Tim Gunn, star of Project Runway. Be sure to follow along with all of the Fashion Week activities, programs, and exhibits on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, as we bring the fashion from the Archives to you!
Our last week in Six Weeks of Style at the National Archives is one of the grooviest weeks yet, and we kick it off with the signing of the Equal Rights Amendment. This controversial bill, which was first introduced to Congress in 1923, finally passed in both houses of Congress in 1972. When it came to the deadline for ratification by the state legislatures ten years later, however, it was three states short of the 38 and was never ratified. The Equal Rights Resolution is currently on display at the National Archives in the Records of Rights exhibit. Courtesy of the Jimmy Carter Library.
National Archives Identifier 181970
Pieces of Silver
Betty Ford reviewed the table settings in the State Dining Room as preparations for the state dinner honoring the President of Liberia were underway.
For the centerpieces the White House borrowed 19th century silver presentation pieces from the Museum of the City of New York. These pieces, which had been given to individuals in recognition of service or accomplishment, had all be manufactured in America.
The decorations also featured arrangements of flowers and greenery that included Boston ivy, pink cabbage roses, eucalyptus, Gerber daisies, and mums. A pink lily was tucked in each napkin, which rested on the wildflower-patterned Johnson china.
Ahoy, mateys! ‘Tis Talk Like a Pirate Day.
Here be President Gerald “Arrr” Ford talkin’ wit’ Al Oliver, a Pirate from t’ three rivers o’ Pittsburgh, before t’ Major League All-Starrr Game on July 13, 1976.
Be ye lookin fer pirates of a different stripe?
"They should be allowed the opportunity to earn return to their country, their communities, and their families, upon their agreement to a period of alternate service in the national interest, together with an acknowledgement of their allegiance to the country and its Constitution."Presidential Proclamation 4313 of September 16, 1974, by President Gerald R. Ford announcing a program for the return of Vietnam era draft evaders and deserters., 09/16/1974
(Not the first controversial pardon issued by President Ford in September 1974.)
Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin of Israel arrived in Washington, D.C., on September 10, 1974. The state dinner in his honor was held on September 12.
Maria Downs, Mrs. Ford’s Social Secretary, provides a description of the welcoming ceremony for visiting heads of state:
This official greeting by the President and the First Lady was a very impressive occasion which included the herald trumpet greeting, honors to the President, Ruffles and Flourishes, both national anthems, a 21 gun salute, reviewing of the troops, the welcoming remarks of our President and the honored guest’s response….In their homeland, millions of our guest’s countrymen would be scrutinizing the manner in which their leader is received – the respect shown – the guests present – all these details and many others are looked upon as significant symbols.