The National Archives presents Tokens and Treasures: Gifts to Twelve Presidents

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Introduction
About This Exhibit
Herbert Hoover
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Harry S. Truman
Dwight D. Eisenhower
John Fitzgerald Kennedy
Lyndon Baines Johnson
Richard Nixon
Gerald R. Ford
Jimmy Carter
Ronald Reagan
George Bush
William J. Clinton
Gifts of State

Presidential Library System
Exhibit Hall

 

Jimmy Carter

Jimmy Carter Library

Jimmy Carter Signature

Jimmy Carter
Democrat
39th President, 1977-81

 

American flag, ca. 1980
Gift of Anthony S. Rome, Jr., Baytown, Texas
Cotton, 29 x 53 inches

Click to see high-resolution version (JPEG)

American Flag

In November 1979, Iranian militants took 66 Americans hostage in the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. Of the 66 who were taken hostage, 13 were released on Nov. 19 and 20, 1979, and one was released on July 11, 1980. Despite attempts through diplomacy and economic sanctions, President Carter could not win the remaining 52 hostages their release, and a failed military raid in April 1980 took the lives of eight servicemen. After 444 days, Iran finally freed the hostages on January 20, 1981-moments after Carter officially turned the Presidency over to Ronald Reagan. During what Carter has called the most difficult crisis in his life, Americans expressed their support for his efforts with gifts, including this American flag.

. . . It was my original intent to fly the flag until [the hostages] were returned, as my voice of support. I was hoping, as I am sure you were, that they would be returned in a matter of days. This no longer seems possible. Although I may disagree with you on some major political matters, I will continue to pledge my support to you as President of this great land in all of your efforts to free our people. I was proud of your recent rescue attempt, and felt compassion for you as well as the hostages in its failure. God be with you, Mr. President, in your continued effort to resolve this emotional as well as political crisis.

–Letter from Anthony S. Rome, Jr.,
June 12, 1980

 

Olla (Jar), by G. Lucero, Laguna, New Mexico
Gift of Floyd R. Correa, Governor of the Pueblo of Laguna
Painted ceramic, 10 x 11 inches

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Olla (Jar)

During the Carter administration, an energy crisis gripped the United States. Declaring the crisis "the moral equivalent of war," President Carter proposed an all-out fight to reduce American dependence on foreign oil and develop domestic energy sources such as natural gas, solar energy, and nuclear power. In 1979 Carter visited the Laguna Pueblo in New Mexico, a site rich in the uranium needed for producing nuclear energy. The Pueblo's governor gave the President this gift to commemorate his visit–and to remind him of some of the costs of alternative energy production.

. . . We are very proud to be a small part of your Energy Independent America plan. Having suffered through twenty-seven years of impacts of energy development on our reservation, I can emphatically state that despite the discomforts and trying times of inadequate school facilities, unimproved roads, unmet housing needs, etc. the people of Laguna are strongly supportive of you as the Father of this Nation . . . .

I hope this pottery will serve as a memento of your trip to Pueblo Country . . .

–Letter from Floyd R. Correa,
October 11, 1979

 

 

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