Records We’re Thankful to Have at the National Archives
Thanksgiving is an anticipated time of year…unless you’re a turkey! While our traditions today may not even include the iconic bird (hello, Tofurkey!), this holiday is still cherished as a time to gather with friends and family and give thanks. But before you start setting the table, enjoy a “harvest” of some of our favorite Thanksgiving records!
What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?
The First Meeting
Following the May 8, 1945 surrender of Nazi Germany, the Allied leaders met from July 17 - August 2, 1945 at the Potsdam Conference. These meetings between the United States, Great Britain and the Soviet Union were to decide the fate of post-war Germany.
First meeting of Soviet leader Josef Stalin and President Harry S. Truman at the “Little White House,” residence of President Truman during the Potsdam Conference. L to R: Vyacheslav Molotov, Soviet foreign minister, Secretary of State James Byrnes, Charles Bohlen, interpreter for President Truman, Adm. William Leahy (behind Mr. Truman), President Harry S. Truman, V. N. Pavlov, interpreter for Stalin, Josef Stalin., 07/17/1945
April 12, 1945 - This letter was dictated by Truman before President Roosevelt’s death later that same day. Then Vice-President Truman prophetically informs his sister-in-law, May Wallace, that he has more work than he has ever had in the past and seems to have less time to complete it. A handwritten note by Truman at the bottom tells her that the letter was dictated “before the world fell in on me….you know what a blow it was. But - I must meet it.”
Dated March 15, 1946, this is the record of the appointment of Eleanor Roosevelt to the position of United States Representative to the General Assembly of the United Nations. She was appointed by President Truman to the United States Delegation, a position she held until 1953. She was chairman of the Human Rights Commission during the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which was adopted by the General Assembly on December 10, 1948.
Appointment of Eleanor Roosevelt as U.S. Representative to the United Nations, 03/15/1946
On March 12, 1947, President Harry S. Truman presented this address before a joint session of Congress. His message, known as the Truman Doctrine, asked Congress for $400 million in military and economic assistance for Turkey and Greece in the face of increased pressure from communist and Soviet interests. Truman declared:
"It must be the policy of the United States to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures."
via Our Documents »
Happy birthday to former First Lady Bess Truman! She would have been 127 years old today, February 13th.
Harry S Truman claimed that he fell in love with Bess at age 5 or 6, when they met at Sunday School in Independence, Missouri. Here ‘s a tintype portrait of the girl he first laid eyes on, Bess Wallace at about 7 years old.
-from the Truman Library
A Boy Scout salute to you-
The Boy Scouts of America were incorporated on this day, February 8, 1910.
Many Scouts have visited the Oval Office in the past century, including this delegation of Eagle Scouts. The youth group is presenting a report on their accomplishments to President Harry Truman. 2/6/51.
Were the Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts part of your childhood?
This press release announces that the United States is now extending de jure diplomatic recognition to Israel, in the wake of recent elections for a permanent government in that country. The document bears President Truman’s signature.
Press release announcing U.S. de jure recognition of the state of Israel, 01/31/1949
Truman and the No-Turkey Thursday
Faced with a post-war poultry-free-Thursday pledge, President Truman celebrated Thanksgiving in 1947 about the only way possible — he ate it on Wednesday, November 26.
White House Thanksgiving dinner menu for Wednesday, November 26, 1947. From the Truman Presidential Library.
June 27 - Authorizing Use of Force in Korea
Teletype conference message authorizing full use of Far East Command (FECOM) naval and air forces against the North Korean forces invading South Korea. Records of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff.
On June 27, 1950, in response to a call for aid from the United Nations Security Council, President Harry S. Truman ordered U.S. Air and Naval Forces to defend South Korea against invading North Korean forces, the start of the United States’ involvement in the Korean War.
May 14 - President Truman’s statement recognizing the State of Israel, May 14, 1948. Charles Ross Papers, 1904-1967, Alphabetical Correspondence File: “Handwriting of the President,” Harry S. Truman Library, National Archives and Records Administration. (via Today’s Document from the National Archives)