Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Presidential Libraries

There are currently 13 presidential libraries, one for every former president since Hoover.  And the site of the 14th presidential library has been revealed:  the Obama Presidential Center will be located in Chicago.

Where did the presidential papers go before the era of presidential libraries?  According to a CRS Report describing the legislative history of the Presidential Libraries Act, the papers were initially thought of as personal property, and many of them were lost or destroyed. 

With the advent of presidential libraries, these papers are much better preserved.  For example, although his time in office was relatively short, the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library & Museum offers some fascinating digital material, from state dinner menus and programs to National Security Council meeting agendas and minutes – fodder for lawyers and nonlawyers alike.