Helen Keller was born on this day, June 27, 1880.
Helen Keller wrote letters to eight U.S. Presidents, from Theodore Roosevelt through Lyndon B. Johnson, on behalf of her work for the disabilities community. You can find more Presidential records featuring Helen Keller here.
Photo: Eleanor Roosevelt and Helen Keller (both far left) and others in Martha’s Vineyard. 8/25/54.
Eleanor Roosevelt’s First Press Conference - March 6, 1933
On March 6, 1933 Eleanor Roosevelt held the first of her 348 women’s only press conferences. Before this time, First Ladies had little contact with reporters. Eleanor recognized that holding regular conferences could enhance the public role of the First Lady - a role she transformed during her 12 years in the White House.
About 35 women attended Eleanor’s first press conference which was held in the Monroe Room on the second floor of the living quarters in the White House. The press conferences were attended by the major female reporters of the day - including Lorena Hickok, Ruby Black, Bess Furman, May Craig, Emma Bugbee and Martha Stayer.
Eleanor used these press conferences as a way to not only announce her schedule of activities but also as a platform to publicize the work of women leaders, answer her critics, and entertain questions on a variety of subjects. Topics covered everything from domestic issues like social programs, race, youth activism, etc. to international politics and the role of women in war and peace.
March 4, 1933: First Inauguration of Franklin D. Roosevelt
On this day in 1933, the first inauguration of Franklin D. Roosevelt was held in Washington, D.C. The longest-serving president in U.S. history, and leader through the Great Depression and World War II — two of the nation’s worst crises — Franklin Delano Roosevelt is considered by many to be our greatest president.
Photo: Franklin D. Roosevelt, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Joseph Robinson in Washington, Washington, D.C., March 4, 1933 (National Archives).
(Nice use of the Content Source link, pbsthisdayinhistory!)
Shirley Temple Black (April 23, 1928 - February 10, 2014)
Today we remember Shirley Temple. During her early years as an actress, Shirley visited with the Roosevelts at the White House and in Hollywood. In her March 19, 1938 “My Day” column, Eleanor Roosevelt had this to say about Shirley:
Our first visit was to Shirley Temple, whom I have had the pleasure of meeting before and who is, without exception, one of the most charming children I know. She is simple and unaffected and accepts the inevitable photographers and her as naturally as if this was the way every little girl lived her life
While visiting the White House in June 1938, Shirley presented FDR with a “Shirley Temple Police” Badge. She signed her letter from “Chief Shirley Temple.”
In July of 1938, Shirley and her parents visited Hyde Park for a picnic. Mrs. Roosevelt wrote all about the day in her July 11, 1938 “My Day” column.
Shirley Temple Black (April 23, 1928 - February 10, 2014)
We are sorry to mark the passing of Shirley Temple Black. She started as a child actress at at 3 and in her later life left Hollywood for a life as a diplomat. She was a representative to the 24th United Nations General Assembly; Ambassador to Ghana under President Ford, the first female Chief of Protocol, and then Ambassador to Czechoslovakia under George H. W. Bush.
Top: Eleanor Roosevelt and Shirley Temple, 07/1938
Bottom left:: Photograph of Shirley Temple Black Shaking Hands with President Gerald Ford in the Cabinet Room after Being Sworn-in as Chief of Protocol, 07/20/1976
Bottom right: Shirley Temple Black, left, the U.S. ambassador to Czechoslovakia; listens to a reporter’s question following an informal ceremony marking the presentation of 130,000 pounds of donated medical supplies to the Czech government. The supplies are flown to Prague from Rhein-Main Air Base, Germany, aboard a U.S. Air Force cargo aircraft, 10/25/1990
(Ed. note: amended list of positions. 2/11/2014)
The First French President to Formally Visit the United States
As French President Francois Hollande begins his visit to the United States today, our colleagues at the State Department’s historyatstate tumblr take us back to the first formal visit by a President of France in 1951.
(Find more photos from President Vincent Auriol’s 1951 visit in our online catalog.)
The first formal visit by the President of a French Republic to the United States was Vincent Auriol in Spring 1951. The trip sought to convince U.S. lawmakers and the public that France was steadily recovering from wartime destruction, thanks to Marshall Plan aid, and reinforce the Fourth Republic’s commitment to the transatlantic alliance.
President Auriol took daily English lessons to prepare for his visit because, according to the New York Times, he wanted to “speak at least a few words of English in each of the many talks he expects to make in the United States, notably in an address he will make before a joint session of Congress.”1 In March 1951, Auriol sailed for New York from Le Havre aboard the Ile de France with his wife, son, and Robert Schuman, French Foreign Minister, among others.2 The French presidential party landed in New York then took a train to Washington D.C.’s Union Station on March 28.
Auriol made another notable “first” when he became the first French head of state to address a joint session of the U.S. Congress on April 2. He was also awarded the Legion of Merit, Degree of Chief-Commander, by President Harry Truman. Returning to New York on April 2, Auriol received an honorary doctorate from Columbia University. On Wednesday, April 4, the Auriols visited Eleanor Roosevelt in Hyde Park, NY, and presented her with the Order of Commander of the Legion of Honor before sailing for France that evening.
View the video retrospective of French presidential visits to the United States via France’s Institut National Audovisuel (INA).
The Roosevelt Grandchildren, 1945
Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt pose with their 13 grandchildren at the White House on January 20, 1945. In total the Roosevelts had over 20 grandchildren, including several who were born after the President’s death in 1945.
Franklin D. Roosevelt and E.R. with their 13 grandchildren in Washington, D.C, 01/20/1945
A Roosevelt Family Christmas
Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt were married in the spring of 1905. For Christmas that year, Franklin’s mother gave the newlyweds this sketch of a double townhouse she planned to build in New York City - one side for her and the other for them. Completed in 1908, the house had connecting doors on several floors.
-from the FDR Library
What was under your tree this morning? (We’re assuming no blueprints to a new townhouse.)
“WHEREAS a Governmental Commission should be charged with the responsibility for developing recommendations for overcoming discrimination in government and private employment on the basis of sex and for developing recommendations for services which will enable women to continue their role as wives and mothers while making a maximum contribution to the world around them…”
Executive Order 10980 dated December 14, 1961, in which President John F. Kennedy establishes the President’s Commission on the Status of Women., 12/16/1961
The President’s Commission on the Status of Women ran until October 1963 when it issued its final report. President Kennedy appointed former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt as the first chair of the commission, serving until her death in 1962.
Eleanor Roosevelt casts her ballot in Hyde Park, NY, in 1936 and 1960.
Mrs. Roosevelt was not able to vote in a Presidential election until the age of 36, when the 19th amendment was added to the Constitution.
The Nineteenth Amendment, ratified on August 18, 1920, prohibits any United States citizen from being denied the right to vote based on sex.
Image: Eleanor Roosevelt votes in Hyde Park, 11/03/1936 (ARC 196125), FDR Presidential Library
Image: Eleanor Roosevelt votes in Hyde Park, 11/06/1960 (ARC 195612), FDR Presidential Library
October is American Archives Month—and it’s also the birth month of Eleanor Roosevelt, born on October 11 in 1884.
Did you know that FDR established the first Presidential Library? So for today, in honor of the First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and in honor of American archives, we’re highlighting the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum on our blog: http://go.usa.gov/Y8cF
Princess Party, 1940s-style
Picnic for Princess Juliana of the Netherlands at Val-kill, Hyde Park, New York, October 9, 1943.
L-R: Secret Service, Secret Service, Princess Irene, Princess Beatrix, Princess Juliana, Mrs. J.R. Roosevelt, Eleanor Roosevelt in background with unidentified man, FDR, children’s nurse, Grace Tully, Ethel Roosevelt (Mrs. FDR, Jr.). Photo by Margaret Suckley.