The Presidential Library system is made up of nine Presidential Libraries and two Presidential Projects. These nationwide facilities are overseen by the Office of Presidential Libraries within the National Archives and Records Administration, located in Washington, D.C. These are not traditional libraries, but rather repositories for preserving and making available the papers, records, and other historical materials of Presidents since Herbert Hoover. Each Presidential library contains a museum and provides an active series of public programs.

A Brief History

Before the advent of the Presidential Library system, Presidential papers were often dispersed after the close of each administration. Though many pre-Hoover collections now reside in the Library of Congress, others are split among other libraries, historical societies, and private collections. Sadly, many materials have been lost or destroyed.

The Presidential Library system formally began in 1939, when President Franklin Roosevelt donated his personal and Presidential papers to the Federal Government. At the same time, Roosevelt pledged part of his estate at Hyde Park to the United States, and friends of the President formed a non-profit corporation to raise funds for the construction of the library and museum building. Roosevelt's decision stemmed from a firm belief that Presidential papers are an important part of the national heritage and should be accessible to the public. He asked the National Archives to take custody of his papers and other historical materials and to administer his library.

Completed in 1946, the Roosevelt Library proved so successful that in 1955 Congress passed the Presidential Libraries Act. This act enabled other Presidents to donate their historical materials to the government and ensured that Presidential papers would be preserved and made available to the American people. Under the act, eight subsequent libraries have been established. In each case funds from private and non-Federal public sources were acquired to build the library, which was then turned over to the National Archives for operation and maintenance.

The Presidential Libraries have been built upon the traditional concept that a President's papers are his personal property. The Presidential Records Act of 1978 replaced this concept with the principle that the Presidential records which document the constitutional, statutory, and ceremonial duties of the President are property of the United States Government. The act allowed Presidents to continue to established Presidential libraries in locations of their choice. The Presidential Libraries Act of 1986 also made significant alterations, limiting facility size and requiring private endowments. Following the Watergate controversy, Nixon Presidential materials were ordered by Congress to be maintained in the Washington, DC, area. The National Archives is required to preserve and process the Nixon Presidential materials.

The Nixon Presidential Materials Staff, open to the public for research at the National Archives facility in College Park, MD, is one of two Presidential projects administered by the National Archives. The other is the Bush Presidential Materials Project, which is not yet open for research. Once a permanent facility in College Station, TX, is completed for the Bush materials, the Bush Project will become the Bush Library.

Holdings of the Presidential Libraries

The nine Presidential Libraries, and the two Presidential Projects, maintain over 250 million pages of textual materials; 5 million photographs; 13.5 million feet of motion picture film; 68,000 hours of disc, audiotape, and videotape recordings; and 280,000 museum objects. These varied holdings make each library a rich source of information and a center for research on the Presidency.

The most important textual materials in each library are those created by the President and his staff in the course of performing the official duties. All issues of public policy are covered in these documents.

Other significant holdings include the personal papers and historical materials donated by individuals associated with the President. These may include cabinet officials, envoys to foreign governments, political party associates, and the President's family and personal friends. Several libraries have undertaken oral history programs which have produced invaluable tape-recorded memoirs.

A third body of materials is comprised of the papers accumulated by the President prior to, and following, his Presidency. Such collections include documents realting to Roosevelt's tenure as Governor of New York and Dwight Eisenhower's long military career.

Audiovisual holdings supplement the paper materials in the libraries. Photographs and films provide a record of major events of the administrations and candid views of the Presidents and their families. Museum objects include family heirlooms, items collected by the President or his family, campaign memo- rabilia, awards, and the many gifts given to the President by American citizens and foreign dignitaries. These gifts range in type from homemade items to valuable works of art.

Programs for the General Public

Each library offers a variety of public programs designed to give visitors a better understanding of the President, the institution of the Presidency, and the American political system as a whole. Museum exhibits are one of the ways in which the libraries fulfill this goal. Exhibits utilize library holdings to depict the stages of the President's life, the important policy decisions of his administration, and the various world and national events that occurred during his term. Each library has a gift shop which offers books and souvenir items.

Libraries work with educators to foster the use of primary source materials by students, and serve to educate the general public by sponsoring lecture and film series on topics of historical or current interest.

Conferences are another way in which the libraries serve the public, examining a variety of topics, ranging from public affairs and domestic policy to foreign affairs and world wars. To receive the latest information on library events, or further information on the holdings of each library, please contact the libraries directly.

*Hours of operation vary at each site. Visitors are encouraged to contact the libraries directly for more information.
Office of Presidential Libraries
National Archives and Records Administration
Washington, DC 20408
PHONE: (202) 501-5700
FAX: (202) 501-5709

Herbert Hoover Library
211 Parkside Dr.
P.O. Box 488
West Branch, IA 52358-0488
PHONE: (319) 643-5301
FAX: (319) 643-5825
Franklin D. Roosevelt Library
511 Albany Post Rd.
Hyde Park, NY 12538-1999
PHONE: (914) 229-8114
FAX: (914) 229-0872
Harry S. Truman Library
500 West U.S. Highway 24
Independence, MO 64050-1798
PHONE: (816) 833-1400
FAX: (816) 833-4368
Dwight D. Eisenhower Library
200 SE 4th St.
Abilene, KS 67410-2900
PHONE: (913) 263-4751
FAX: (913) 263-4218
John Fitzgerald Kennedy Library
Columbia Point
Boston, MA 02125-3398
PHONE: (617) 929-4545
FAX: (617) 929-4538
Lyndon Baines Johnson Library
2313 Red River St.
Austin, TX 78705-5702
PHONE: (512) 482-5137
FAX: (512) 478-9104

Nixon Presidential Materials Staff
National Archives at College Park
8601 Adelphi Rd.
College Park, MD 20740-6001
PHONE: (301) 713-6950
FAX: (301) 713-6916
Gerald R. Ford Library
1000 Beal Ave.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2114
PHONE: (313) 741-2218
FAX: (313) 741-2341
Gerald R. Ford Museum
303 Pearl St., NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504-5353
PHONE: (616) 451-9263
FAX: (616) 451-9570
Jimmy Carter Library
1 Copenhill Ave., NE
Atlanta, GA 30307-1406
PHONE: (404) 331-3942
FAX: (404) 730-2215

Ronald Reagan Library
40 Presidential Dr.
Simi Valley, CA 93065-0666
PHONE: (805) 522-8444
FAX: (805) 522-9621

George Bush Presidential Materials Project
701 University Dr., East, Suite 300
College Station, TX 77840-9554
PHONE: (409) 260-9554
FAX: (409) 260-9557

[Hoover Library] Hoover Library
West Branch, Iowa
Presidency: 1929-33
Dedication Date: August, 1962
Museum Admission: $2
Nearby: Hoover's Birthplace and Gravesite

[Roosevelt Library] Roosevelt Library
Hyde Park, New York
Presidency: 1933-45
Dedication Date: July, 1940
Museum Admission: $5 (includes admission to Roosevelt home)
Nearby: Roosevelt's Birthplace, Home and Gravesite

[Truman Library]Truman Library
Independence, Missouri
Presidency: 1945-53
Dedication Date: July, 1957
Museum Admission: $3
Nearby: Truman's Home and Gravesite

[Eisenhower Library]Eisenhower Library
Abilene, Kansas
Presidency: 1953-61
Dedication Date: May, 1962
Museum Admission: $2
On-site: Eisenhower's Boyhood Home and Gravesite

[Kennedy Library]Kennedy Library
Boston, Massachusetts
Presidency: 1961-63
Dedication Date: October, 1979
Museum Admission: $6
Nearby: Kennedy's Birthplace

[Johnson Library]Johnson Library
Austin, Texas
Presidency: 1963-69
Dedication Date: May, 1971
Museum Admission: Free
Nearby: Johnson's Birthplace and Ranch

[Ford Library]Ford Library
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Presidency: 1974-77
Dedication Date: April, 1981
Admission: Free

Ford Museum
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Dedication Date: September 1981
Museum Admission: $2

[Carter Library]Carter Library
Atlanta, Georgia
Presidency: 1977-81
Dedication Date: October 1986
Museum Admission: $4

[Reagan Library]Reagan Library
Simi Valley, California
Presidency: 1981-89
Dedication Date: November, 1991
Museum Admission: $4

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