The Three Mile Island Accident
Thirty-five years ago on March 28, 1979 the nuclear power plant at Three Mile Island in eastern Pennsylvania suffered a partial meltdown, triggering the worst nuclear disaster in U.S. history. These photos were taken in the days following the accident.
All photos from the series: President’s Commission on the Accident at Three Mile Island, March 29 - April 30, 1979
Peace Treaty between Egypt and Israel
On March 26, 1979, on the North Grounds of the White House, Presidents Jimmy Carter and Anwar Sadat and Prime Minister Menachem Begin joined hands in celebration of the signing of the “Treaty of Peace Between the Arab Republic of Egypt and the State of Israel.”
This is one of the most requested photographs from the Carter Library.
Deng Xiaoping in America
Jimmy Carter, Deng Xiaoping, Rosalynn Carter and Madame Zhuo Lin stop for a formal pose on their way to the state dinner for the Vice Premier of China., 01/29/1979
In 1949, the Communist Party seized power in China, and in response, the United States severed diplomatic relations. Thirty years later, the United States resumed diplomatic relations with China, and this 1979 photograph shows President Jimmy Carter in a formal, public ceremony greeting Vice Premier Deng Xiaoping. It was the first time a Communist Chinese leader had visited the United States.
Equal Rights Amendment
President Jimmy Carter signs the legislation proposing the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) before it was sent to the states for ratification in 1978. The Equal Rights Amendment was supported by those who believed that women did not have equal status to men in the United States and who hoped to force change. The ERA failed to gain ratification by the required number of states and therefore was not made into law.
Jimmy Carter signs House of Representative Resolution for Equal Rights Amendment., 10/20/1978
The Case of Dr. Samuel Mudd
On April 15, 1865, Dr. Samuel Mudd set the leg and allowed President Lincoln’s assassin John Wilkes Booth and his accomplice David Herold sleep at his house. Dr. Mudd was convicted of conspiring to help Booth escape because he did not alert the authorities to Booth’s presence at his farm. He was given a life sentence, but was pardoned by President Andrew Johnson on February 8, 1869 following his leadership and heroic action to help the sick during a yellow fever epidemic at Fort Jefferson where he was imprisoned.
Dr. Mudd’s grandson Dr. Richard Mudd worked hard to clear his grandfather’s of complicity in the assassination. He petitioned President Jimmy Carter who sent this reply on July 24, 1979.
"…Your petition and the petitions submitted to me on behalf of your grandfather by numerous members of Congress, several state legislatures, historians and private citizens have been exhaustively considered by my staff over the past two years. Regrettably, I am advised that the findings of guilt and the sentence of the military commission that tried Dr. Mudd in 1865 are binding and conclusive judgement, and that there is no authority under law by which I, as President, could set aside his conviction. All legal authority vested in the President to act in this case was exercised when President Andrew Johnson granted Dr. Mudd a full and unconditional pardon on February 8, 1869."
Read more documents about Dr. Samuel Mudd at the Jimmy Carter Library.
In 1978, former Governor Ronald Reagan, Supervisor Milk, President Jimmy Carter, and former President Gerald Ford all opposed a ballot initiative sponsored by California state senator John Briggs. The “Briggs Initiative” would have banned gay men and lesbians from being teachers or otherwise employed by California school districts.
On June 25, 1978, Milk—who had been elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977—gave a rousing speech at the city’s Gay Freedom Day celebration. In it, he challenged Briggs and others to reexamine American history.
In case the President had not read the speech, Milk sent him a copy along with a note. He hoped that the President would oppose the Briggs Initiative and “take a leadership role in defending the rights of gay people.”
You can read the full story here: http://go.usa.gov/bsf4
Image from the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library
Jimmy Carter’s White House Solar Panels
On this day, June 20, 1979, President Carter had solar panels installed on the roof of the West Wing. There were 32 panels that were used to heat water for the White House.
The solar panels were installed amid the oil crisis of the late 1970s as part of President Carter’s efforts to encourage alternative energy sources.
After the Carter administration, the solar panels were taken down in 1986. They eventually made their way to Unity College in Maine through the government surplus donations program. The panels were use to heat water for the student cafeteria. Upon the transfer in 1992, former President Carter sent a letter of congratulations to the school.
The panels were retired in 2004, twenty-five years after they were first used at the White House.
You can still see one of the panels on display at the Carter Presidential Library and Museum. The Smithsonian Institute, and Unity College of Maine also have single panels from the original White House system in their collections.
Solar energy has a come a long way—the roof here at Archives II is now home to a large solar array. (and we even have them at home! -D)
Happy Birthday Willie Nelson!
“When I was in trouble in the White House or when I wanted to have some deep thoughts, I had a very high quality hi-fi player, and the number one thing I played was Willie Nelson songs. All the good things I did as a president, all the mistakes I made — you can blame half of that on Willie.”
-Jimmy Carter in an interview with Rolling Stone Magazine
Photos: Jimmy Carter with Willie Nelson and his guests outside of the Old Executive Building. 4/25/78; President Carter on stage at a performance by country western singer, Willie Nelson at the Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland. 9/13/80.
The two remain friends today.
-from the Carter Library
The “Iron Lady:” Baroness Margaret Thatcher, Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, October 13, 1925 - April 8, 2013
- Photograph of President Reagan walking with Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher at Camp David, 11/06/1986. ARC Identifier 198578
- Jimmy Carter with Margaret Thatcher, 09/13/1977. ARC Identifier 176181
- President Bush Presents the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, 03/07/1991. ARC Identifier 672821
It’s time to Flashback Friday! In honor of our new exhibit “Searching for the Seventies,” we’re taking a look at 1970s-related records and asking you a question! This photo from 1977 shows President Carter, Rosalynn Carter, and Amy Carter with Marcel Marceau.
Mimes. Terrifying or fascinating?
Marceau was born on March 22, 1923. He was a part of the French Resistance and began miming to distract children who were waiting to escape Nazi-occupied France.
A thank you to the Foundation for the National Archives for bringing this great photo (175193) from the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library to our attention!
One follower commented on the photo of Jimmy Carter’s pioneering “Inaugural Walk”:
"I remember this day and gasping when they got out of the car!"
What’s your most memorable Presidential Inauguration moment?
Jimmy Started Something New
In 1977, Jimmy Carter started a tradition that has now become one of the most anticipated events on Inauguration Day.
While in the motorcade of the Inaugural Parade, Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter exited their car to walk the route to the White House.
Only the Secret Service had been notified of Carter’s decision to break with tradition, and at first, parade viewers thought the car had broken down.
Nine-year-old Amy Carter joined her parents for part of the parade route, jumping and skipping along Pennsylvania Avenue in her excitement.
-from the Carter Library