Day 56: FDR’s Cruise to Hawaii
On July 1, 1934, FDR boarded the USS Houston to begin his three week journey to the Territory of Hawaii. During the cruise FDR and his party made stops in the Bahamas, Haiti, Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, St. Croix, Colombia, Panama, Cocos Island and Clipperton Island. These stops included visits with foreign leaders and dignitaries, sightseeing through various countries and lots of fishing. FDR landed in Hawaii on July 24th to begin his historic visit.
FDR and the GI Bill of Rights
June 22 marks the 70th anniversary of the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944, more popularly known as the GI Bill of Rights. Although World War II was far from over, FDR was determined to plan ahead for a smooth transition to peace, both abroad and at home. The President proposed to Congress a way to level the economic impact of the war’s end and to integrate returning veterans back into American society.
The result was the GI Bill. Now widely credited with creating the post-war middle class, the GI Bill of Rights provided returning veterans with educational benefits, work training, hiring preferences, and subsidized loans for buying homes, businesses and farms. It continues today to be one of the lasting legacies of the Roosevelt administration.
“With the signing of this bill a well-rounded program of special veterans’ benefits is nearly completed. It gives emphatic notice to the men and women in our armed forces that the American people do not intend to let them down.”
President Franklin Roosevelt’s Statement on Signing the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act, June 22, 1944
Seventy years ago, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act into law on June 22, 1944, just days after the D-day invasion of Normandy.
Also known as the GI Bill of Rights, it offered World War II veterans grants and loans for college and vocational education, unemployment insurance, and low interest loans for housing. The bill had unanimously passed both chambers of Congress in the spring of 1944.
The act put higher education, job training, and home ownership within the reach of millions of World War II veterans. By 1951, nearly 8 million veterans had received educational and training benefits, and 2.4 million had received $13 billion in Federal loans for homes, farms, and businesses.
The GI Bill is on display in the East Rotunda Gallery of the National Archives Building from June 6 through July 14.
“AN ACT To establish a National Archives of the United States Government…
Be it enacted by the Senate and the House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That there is hereby created the Office of Archivist of the United States, the Archivist to be appointed by the President of the United States, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate.”
Act of June 19, 1934 (“National Archives Act”), Public Law 73-432, 48 STAT 1122, “to create a National Archives of the United States Government and for other purposes.”, 06/19/1934
From the series: Enrolled Acts and Resolutions of Congress, 1789 - 2011
Eighty years ago, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed this act on June 19, 1934, establishing the National Archives to centralize federal record keeping, with the Archivist of the United States (aotus) as its chief administrator. It was the culmination of a 25-year campaign by the historical community to create a National Archives building to house the national government’s records.
Day 20: Visit of the British Royals
“I think it would be an excellent thing for Anglo-American relations if you could visit the United States.”
-Franklin Roosevelt to King George VI, September 17, 1938
With war looming, FDR searched for ways to bolster ties with democratic nations opposing Hitler. When he invited England’s King George VI for a state visit in June 1939, the message was clear. No reigning British monarch had ever visited America. The invitation signaled a new era in Anglo-American cooperation.
FDR and ER planned every detail to ensure the King won sympathy and support. Their efforts paid off. The public heartily welcomed the King and Queen in Washington. The royals visited Mount Vernon, where the King laid a wreath at George Washington’s grave. Later, they accompanied the Roosevelts to Hyde Park, where they enjoyed simple American pleasures, including a hot dog picnic. FDR and King George developed a real rapport. More important, press coverage of the royal visit fostered public sympathy with Britain.
During the British Royal visit of June 1939, King George VI president FDR with this House of Windsor gold inkwell, made by Garrard & Co. Ltd. of London.
You can read more about the 1939 Royal Visit here on our website.
Day 19: Visits by Winston Churchill
“It is fun to be in the same decade with you.”
-Franklin Roosevelt to Winston Churchill, January 1942
The friendship between Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill formed the core of the Anglo-American alliance during World War II.
On September 11, 1939—ten days after Germany invaded Poland— FDR wrote a confidential letter to Churchill, who had just entered the British cabinet as First Lord of the Admiralty. Roosevelt wanted to open a direct line of communication with him. He encouraged Churchill to “keep me in touch personally with anything you want me to know about.”
FDR’s note was the start of an extraordinary six-year correspondence between the two men that totaled almost 2000 messages.
Between 1941 and 1945, they would also spend 113 days together, beginning with an August 1941 meeting in the North Atlantic and ending at the Yalta Conference in February 1945. Churchill made visits to the United States in 1941, 1942, 1943 & 1944, including a trip to Washington, D.C. shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
FDR and Winston Churchill - the original #BFF’s?
FDR officially opens the Golden Gate Bridge to vehicular traffic via remote telegraph button on May 28, 1937:
"Press Button — Opening Golden Gate Bridge"
The Golden Gate Bridge opened on this day, May 27, 1937.
On the first day only pedestrian traffic was allowed to cross. On the second day, May 28th, President Franklin D. Roosevelt ceremonially opened the bridge to vehicular traffic.
FDR pushed a golden telegraph button from the Oval Office of the White House that was transmitted across the coast to the festivities in San Francisco.
Here is the White House Stenographer’s Diary entry for May 28th, 1937, recording FDR’s Golden Gate telegraph appointment. FDR telegraphed at three o’clock Eastern Standard Time so the California procession could begin promptly at noon.
-from the FDR Library
FDR’s First Fireside Chat
Today in history, March 12, 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered his first Fireside Chat. Using the radio to speak directly to the nation, FDR laid out his plan to address the banking crisis of the Great Depression.
-from the FDR Library
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!)
Issued by President Franklin Roosevelt on February 19, 1942, this order authorized the evacuation of all persons deemed a threat to national security from the West Coast to relocation centers further inland. In the next 6 months, over 100,000 men, women, and children of Japanese ancestry were moved to assembly centers. They were then evacuated to and confined in isolated, fenced, and guarded relocation centers, known as internment camps.
The U.S. Government would eventually be compelled to compensate surviving internees for their treatment in 1988.
Executive Order 9066 dated February 19, 1942, in which President Franklin D. Roosevelt Authorizes the Secretary of War to Prescribe Military Areas, 02/19/1942
Read more at Our Documents
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.
Fred Shipman, Monuments Man
Dr. Fred W. Shipman, first Director of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, was asked to join the Roberts Commission (the American Commission for the Protection and Salvage of Artistic and Historic Monuments in Europe) in January 1944.
In a letter to President Roosevelt, Shipman described his new position, saying, “It would be my job to survey the problem relative to records and archives in this theater and to organize plans to preserve, salvage and make available important records for use in the continued administration and future reconstruction of the area and to preserve cultural materials.”
Roosevelt granted Shipman leave from the Library and the Director soon began his tenure as Temporary Archives Advisor to the Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives Subcommission of the Allied Control Commission. Members of this Commission are now famously referred to as “Monuments Men.”
Shipman left Washington, D. C. on March 17, 1944. He flew to Naples, Italy where he spent the next month meeting military personnel and getting his orders. From April 18 to May 4, Shipman traveled through Occupied Italy visiting archival repositories. The purpose of his mission was to help protect and preserve Italian archives and records. These materials included both the current administrative records of government and private organizations, as well as the older archives of historical and cultural value.
Read more about Shipman and his time as a Monuments Man.
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.)
Cheers, Prohibition Ends!
Eighty years ago on December 5, 1933, the 21st Amendment was ratified, as announced in this proclamation from President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The 21st Amendment repealed the 18th Amendment of January 16, 1919, ending the increasingly unpopular nationwide prohibition of alcohol.