Presidential Libraries

Holdings of the Presidential Libraries

The fourteen  Presidential Libraries maintain over 400 million pages of textual materials; nearly 10 million photographs; over 15 million feet of motion picture film; nearly 100,000 hours of disc, audiotape, and videotape recordings; and approximately half a million 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. In recently established Presidential libraries, these documents can also be in electronic form. Researchers will also find  that each library contains a rich audiovisual and photographic record of a President at work. Taken together, these historical materials form the substantive record of public policy in each administration. Libraries also house numerous museum objects including family heirlooms, items collected by the President and his family,  campaign memorabilia, 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. Curators in Presidential libraries and in other museums throughout the country draw upon these collections for historical exhibits.

Other significant holdings include the personal papers and historical materials donated by individuals associated with the President. These individuals 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 that have produced valuable tape-recorded memoirs. A third body of materials comprises the papers accumulated by the President prior to, and following, his Presidency. Such collections include documents relating to  Roosevelt's tenure as Governor of New York and Dwight Eisenhower's long military career.