Mr. History,

When and for what reason were presidential libraries created?

Thank you,

Rob

? ? ?

Dear Rob,

The idea for a presidential library was first conceived by Franklin D. Roosevelt during his second term (1936–1940), when he saw the need to organize and preserve the documentation attending his presidency for generations who might want to consult it in future. He used private funds and contributions to put together his library (more like an archive and museum) and then bequeathed it to the Congress and the American people. This process was congressionally formalized in 1955. The presidential library was extended back to Roosevelt’s predecessor, Herbert Hoover, and the total currently stands at 13.

Sincerely,

 

Jon Guttman
Research Director
World History Group
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