Oscar de la Renta
July 22, 1932 - October 20, 2014
Oscar de la Renta’s career spanned several administrations and many First Ladies looked to the American fashion designer for just the right thing to wear on important occasions.
Here is a photo of Hillary Clinton in her 1997 inaugural gown designed by the great Oscar de la Renta.
President Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton dance at a 1997 Inaugural Ball. 1/20/97. Photo from the Clinton Library
President Ford dances with Queen Elizabeth II while Mrs. Ford partners with Prince Philip following a state dinner honoring Her Majesty on July 7, 1976.
Betty Ford attended the dedication of Bennington College’s new Visual and Performing Arts Center on May 22, 1976. The First Lady had studied dance there as a teenager in the 1930s.
In her remarks Mrs. Ford reflected on her time at Bennington and her appreciation for the arts. “For those of us who studied here, Martha Hill, Martha Graham and others gave us something else. They touched our hearts with fire and infused us with spirit,” she said. “Isn’t that what the arts are about? Nourishment for the soul. The arts, especially for me the dance, draw out our emotions and make us more alive. Very often the arts help me to see life in a new way.”
During the ceremony Mrs. Ford affixed a plaque to the building, officially dedicating the center. She and Martha Hill, who had been one of her dance instructors at Bennington, watched a presentation of pieces choreographed and performed by students from the college’s dance department in the new building’s West Dance Studio.
(White House photograph A9928-14A)
Reviews of a Revue
The Fords invited actress-singer-dancer Ann-Margret to entertain guests after the dinner honoring the Shahanshah and Empress of Iran. Known for her work in musicals and movies including Bye Bye Birdie and Tommy, she had also traveled to Southeast Asia on a USO tour to entertain troops stationed there.
Ann-Margret’s debut White House performance was based on her night club act. Her musical numbers included “I Won’t Last a Day Without You,” “Swedish Lullaby,” and a “Salute to the Bicentennial.”
Press reaction to the entertainment was mixed to negative. The Fords took it in stride. “We certainly didn’t please all of the people all of the time. We thought it was great, for instance, to ask Ann-Margret,” Betty Ford wrote in her memoirs. “Well, Betty Beale came out with a column in the Washington Star that ripped us up and down for having made that choice.” Other commentators called the Vegas-style revue tasteless and deemed it too low-brow for the White House and its royal guests.
Learn more about this film and others in the series at: Media Matters: The Women’s Army Corps Requests “The Pleasure of Your Company”
Love in the Archives?
A few of our colleagues get in the mood for St. Valentine’s Day, circa 1975:
"Photograph of St. Valentine’s Day Hop on the Mezzanine Level of the National Archives, 1975"
While Library Valentines are all the rage, we haven’t seen too many Archival-themed ones. Here’s a couple to get started:
- "Let’s declassify our love."
- "You’ve been accessioned by my heart."
- "We belong in the same record group."
Pretty cheesy — but we know Tumblr can do better. Maybe you can warm the Archives’ cold marble heart?
The Beatles ham it up during a press conference following their arrival at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport, on their first visit to the United States 50 years ago today on February 7, 1964.
This Week in Universal News: The Beatles Come to America
On this day, fifty years ago, the Beatles landed at New York City’s recently renamed John F. Kennedy airport. Here’s the report from Universal, complete with John, Paul, George, and Ringo’s trademark charm, screaming teenagers, and a condescending narrator that clearly does not take these Liverpudlians (or their fans) seriously.
From the release sheet:
QUICK, FRED, THE FLIT: There are rumors around that this is Britain’s revenge for the Boston Tea Party. You guessed it … the Beatles have arrived in the United States for their first appearance before an idolizing teen-age crowd, with the St. Vitus bounce. They take an airing in Central Park. No. There is no truth to the buzz that the Zoo’s laughing hyena was driven underground.
THE PERSHING MEMORIAL AUDITORIUM IS THE SCENE OF LINCOLN’S 33RD ANNUAL SQUARE DANCE FESTIVAL, 05/1973
Comes from Environmental Protection Agency
Grab a partner and do-si-do, it’s International Square Dancing Month.
It’s also the last weekend to catch the “Searching for the Seventies: the DOCUMERICA Photography Project” exhibit!
It closes Sunday September 8, 2013, at the National Archives in Washington, DC.
AUGUST BRINGS THE “D’AUG DAYS” TO FOUNTAIN SQUARE. “D’AUG DAYS” IS A MONTH LONG FESTIVAL OF ARTS PRESENTED TO, FOR, AND SOMETIMES BY, THE PEOPLE. MARILYN WOODS (CENTER, FACING) DANCES WITH HER CELEBRATIONS GROUP IN THE SQUARE, 08/1973
From the Records of the Environmental Protection Agency (12/02/1970-)
Happy first day of August! Now we really get into the D’aug Days of Summer! Fountain Square in Cincinnati, Ohio hosts a month long celebration of summer, including dancing as seen in this photograph.
Happy Birthday Bob Hope! The entertainer would be celebrating 110 years today.
Here, Hope and Betty Ford do a few steps to warm up during preparations for the State Dinner held in honor of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip on July 7, 1976. Hope was featured during the entertainment portion of the evening.
-from the Ford Library
This evening Midshipmen Wrong and Right could be headed to the Naval Academy’s Graduation Ball in this next installment of the U.S. Navy’s vintage Dating Dos and Don’ts training film: How to Succeed with Brunettes.
In case you missed it, some background from the previous posts:
Courtesy of our colleagues in the National Archives’ Motion Picture Preservation Lab we present How to Succeed with Brunettes (1967), a film produced by the Navy that demonstrates proper dating etiquette for officers. Part of a recentaccession of military instructional films from the Defense Visual Information Center (DVIC), the somewhat dated film features wonderful music, evocative of its era, and a fair bit of comedy, both intentional and unintentional.
What’s up, Doc?
75 years ago a prototypical “Wascally Wabbit” debuted in Porky’s Hare Hunt, although Bugs Bunny would not make his first official appearance in a more familiar form until 1940.
Footage from “Bond Rally, 1941.” Excerpted from Uncle Sam Speaks, ca. 1987, a compilation of U.S. savings bond and stamp promotions by celebrities used in a National Archives and Records Administration exhibit entitled “Uncle Sam Speaks: Posters and Broadsides.”
(Image of Bugs Bunny copyrighted by Warner Bros.)
Happy International Dance Day!
Carmencita, Spanish Dance, 03/1894
William Heise, cinematographer. William Dickson, producer. From the Motion Picture Films series of the Thomas Armat Collection
Likely the oldest motion picture in the National Archives’ holdings, this Kinetoscope is one of the first films produced by Edison Studios. (A longer clip is available on the National Archives’ YouTube Channel.)