Dear Mr. President: Letters to the Oval Office from the Files of the National Archives


"The letters provide a nostalgic timeline of American history told through the words and feelings of Americans, from regular folks to kings." —Star Gazette, Elmira, NY, Dec. '05

"There are more than 80 letters, reflecting both our history and our very American sense that when we speak, our president should listen." —The Arizona Republic, Dec. '05

Drawn from the extensive holdings of the National Archives—which includes all of the Presidential ...

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"The letters provide a nostalgic timeline of American history told through the words and feelings of Americans, from regular folks to kings." —Star Gazette, Elmira, NY, Dec. '05

"There are more than 80 letters, reflecting both our history and our very American sense that when we speak, our president should listen." —The Arizona Republic, Dec. '05

Drawn from the extensive holdings of the National Archives—which includes all of the Presidential libraries—these carefully chosen letters remind us that ours is a government "of the people, by the people, and for the people," which entitles us to make our views known to our leaders. Most of the letters come from working citizens; others were written by notable figures: John Glenn, Elvis Presley, Walt Disney, Ho Chi Minh, Nikita Kruschev, Upton Sinclair, John Steinbeck, Robert Kennedy, and many more.

Grouped thematically, the sections cover such topics as civil rights, the Cold War, physical fitness, joblessness, World War II, western expansion, and the space race. An introduction by NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams and essays by Dwight Young evoke the tenor of the times in which the letters were written. A wonderful gift book for any American, Dear Mr. President is both enlightening and fun to read.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781426200205
  • Publisher: National Geographic Society
  • Publication date: 1/16/2007
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 1,430,987
  • Product dimensions: 7.90 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Dwight Young has been actively involved in historic preservation for almost 30 years. He joined the staff of the National Trust in 1977, and moved to Trust headquarters in Washington in 1992. He is the author of Alternatives to Sprawl, and Saving America's Treasures. He is best known as author of the "Back Page" feature in Preservation magazine. In 2003, the National Trust published a collection of these essays titled Road Trips through History.

Brian Williams became the anchor of NBC Nightly News in 2004, taking over for Tom Brokaw, the first such announced change in the major network news anchors in two decades. He was the NBC News Chief White House correspondent, and was the anchor and managing editor of the Saturday edition of NBC Nightly News for six years. Williams has been awarded three Emmys, and in over 20 years of broadcasting, he has reported from 23 countries on countless stories of national and international importance.

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Table of Contents

Foreword   Allen Weinstein     12
Introduction   Brian Williams     14
Brian Williams to President Lyndon B. Johnson, November 25, 1966
First President     18
John Langdon to George Washington, April 6, 1789
The King and I     20
King Mongkut of Siam to Abraham Lincoln, February 14, 1861
Equal Pay     24
James H. Gooding to Abraham Lincoln, September 28, 1863
Freedom     26
Annie Davis to Abraham Lincoln, August 28, 1864
Lincoln Assassination     28
Lincoln's Cabinet to Andrew Johnson, April 15, 1865
The "Indian" Question     30
Wolf Chief to James Garfield, December, 1881
Gov. Edmund Ross and others to Grover Cleveland, August 14, 1886
The Spanish-American War     34
Annie Oakley to William McKinley, April 5, 1898
Muckraking     36
Upton Sinclair to Theodore Roosevelt, March 10, 190
Anti-Semitism     38
Charles D. Levy to Calvin Coolidge, June 24, 1924
Anti-Immigration     40
Women of the Ku Klux Klan to Calvin Coolidge, May 15, 1924
Prohibition     42
Alva P. Jones, National Cigarette Law Enforcement League, to Herbert Hoover, May 25, 1929
Womans Home Missionary Sociery to Herbert Hoover, June 15, 1932
Mr. and Mrs. William E. Wilson to Herbert Hoover, June 15, 1932
Lindbergh Kidnapping     46
Citizens of South Dakota to HerbertHoover, April 26, 1932
Lynching     48
Henry Johnson to William McKinley, June 5, 1899
Ara Lee Settle to Warren G. Harding, June 8, 1922
Horace Robinson to Herbert Hoover, November 20, 1929
Aviatrix     54
Amelia Earhart to Franklin D. Roosevelt, November 10, 1936
The Federal Arts Project     56
Gisella (Lacher) Loeffler to Eleanor Roosevelt, July 27, 1939
Social Security     62
Petra E. Harthun to Eleanor Roosevelt, August 7, 1941
Cuba     64
Fidel Castro to Franklin D. Roosevelt, November 6, 1940
Separate but Equal     66
C. Dearman to William H. Taft, July 18, 1912
George A. Murray to Woodrow Wilson, February 14, 1920
The Holocaust     70
Stephen S. Wise to Franklin D. Roosevelt, December 2, 1942
Pearl Harbor     72
J.B. Manual to Franklin D. Roosevelt, February 23, 1942
The Draft, WWII     74
French R. Massey to Franklin D. Roosevelt, November 12, 1943
Anna Rush to Franklin D. Roosevelt, November 18, 1943
Carolyn Weatherhogg to Franklin D. Roosevelt, October 14, 1943
Friendship     78
Winston Churchill to Franklin D. Roosevelt, May 1, 1944
Japanese War Atrocities, WWII     80
Wilma Lindsay to Franklin D. Roosevelt, February 9, 1944
Japanese Internment, WWII     82
Harold Ickes to Franklin D. Roosevelt, June 1, 1944
The Bomb     84
Albert Einstein to Franklin D. Roosevelt, August 2, 1939
Concerned Scientists to Harry S. Truman, July 17, 1945
Raoul Wallenberg     88
Guy von Dardel to Harry S. Truman, March 27, 1947
The Postwar Recovery     90
Ella Leber to Harry S. Truman, 1948
Presidential Pets     92
Phyllis Bamberger to Harry S. Truman, January 7, 1948
Edwin Burtis to Lyndon B. Johnson, April 30, 1964
John Starnes to Lyndon B. Johnson, June 20, 1966
John Nabors to Dwight D. Eisenhower, April 3, 1955
Racism     98
Ray Fadden to Harry S. Truman, September 3, 1951
Polio     100
Ralph Ziegler to Harry S. Truman, January 31, 1949
Margaret M. Powers to Dwight D. Eisenhower, April 18, 1955
Douw Fonda to Dwight D. Eisenhower, August 8, 1955
The King is Drafted     104
Linda Kelly, Sherry Bane, Mickie Mattson to Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1958
The Queen's Scones     106
Queen Elizabeth II to Dwight D. Eisenhower, January 24, 1960
Discrimination     108
Jackie Robinson to Dwight D. Eisenhower, May 13, 1958
Civil Rights Unrest     110
Woodrow W. Mann to Dwight D. Eisenhower, September 23, 1957
Martin Luther King, Jr. to John F. Kennedy, September 15, 1963
Leah Russell to Dwight D. Eisenhower, September 25, 1957
Civil Rights Act     114
Roy Wilkins to Lyndon B. Johnson, November 5, 1964
Vietnam Begins     116
Ho Chi Minh to Harry S. Truman, February 28, 1946
Ngo Dinh Diem to John F. Kennedy, February 23, 1963
Vietnam      120
Bobbie Lou Pendergrass to John F. Kennedy, February 18, 1963
John F. Kennedy to Bobbie Lou Pendergrass, March 6, 1963
John Steinbeck to Lyndon B. Johnson, May 28, 1966
The Smothers Brothers to Lyndon B. Johnson, October 31, 1968
Lyndon B. Johnson to the Smothers Brothers, November 9, 1968
Physical Fitness     128
Gladys D. McPherson to John F. Kennedy, March 14, 1963
Richard Millington to John F. Kennedy, February 11, 1963
Presidential Signatures     132
Leonard Lyons to John F. Kennedy, October 2, 1961
John F. Kennedy to Leonard Lyons, October 11, 1961
Leonard Lyons to John F. Kennedy, October 16, 1961
Pierre Salinger to Leonard Lyons, November 15, 1961
Presidential Advice     136
Harry S. Truman to John F. Kennedy, June 28, 1962
Herbert Hoover to Harry S. Truman, December 19, 1962
Barry Goldwater to Gerald Ford, May 7, 1976
Richard Nixon to Ronald Reagan, August 13, 1987
Ladybird     142
Lady Bird Johnson to Lyndon B. Johnson, August, 1964
Undercover Elvis     144
Elvis Presley to Richard Nixon, December 21, 1970
Nixon in China     148
Mary Ann Grelinger to Richard Nixon, July 16, 1971
Mrs. John Shields to Richard Nixon, July 16, 1971
Nixon's Pardon     150
Jackie Ann Lucas to Gerald Ford, November, 1974
Robert Lind to Gerald Ford, September, 1974
Anthony Ferreira to Gerald Ford, September 11, 197
Betty Ford     154
Tyson Garrison to Betty Ford, August 13, 1975
Dorothy Tabata to Betty Ford, August 18, 1975
Mother Teresa     158
Mother Teresa to Jimmy Carter, November 17, 1979
The Economy     160
Roy Klober to Jimmy Carter, 1980
L. W. McKenzie, Jr. to Jimmy Carter, 1980
Iran Hostage Situation     162
Cyrus Vance to Jimmy Carter, April 21, 1980
Natural Disasters     164
Andy Smith to Ronald Reagan, April 18, 1984
Ronald Reagan to Andy Smith, May 11, 1984
First Gulf War     168
Patricia J. Elvin to George H. W. Bush, November 27, 1990
Eric Colton to George H. W. Bush, February 12, 1991
Space     172
Thaddeus Zagorewicz to Richard Nixon, July 20, 1969
John Glenn to Bill Clinton, November 6, 1998
About the Presidential Records Act and the Freedom of Information Act     176
About the Authors
About the Foundation for the National Archives     177
About the Presidential Library System     178
Acknowledgments     180
Letter Citations and Permissions     181
Selected Transcriptions     184
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