Press Release nr98-40
Press Release · Wednesday, January 14, 1998

Washington, DC

Press Release
January 14, 1998
Presidential Correspondence Available on National Archives Web Site

Washington, DC. . . The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has made available on its web site selections from two vastly different Presidential correspondence collections: correspondence between Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill, and letters from Harry Truman to Bess Wallace Truman.

The 518 documents from the correspondence between Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill date from the outbreak of World War II in Europe through June 1942. This assemblage of correspondence, cables and telegrams from the President's Map Room Files is one of the premiere collections of papers in the archives of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library in Hyde Park, NY. The letters characterize the unique friendship of two of the greatest world leaders of this century, and detail the nuances of alliance, leadership and decision making while chronicling the events of World War II.

The Harry S. Truman Library maintains 1300 surviving handwritten letters from Harry S. Truman to his wife Bess Wallace Truman written over a period of 50 years. Of these "Dear Bess" letters, 23 have been digitized by NARA. Dating from 1910 to 1919, these 23 letters document Truman's prolonged courtship of Bess Wallace; his farming career and business ventures; his misadventures with his 1911 Stafford automobile; and his service as an Army officer in France during World War I. In one letter, Truman calls himself a "clodhopper" with ambitions to be the President of the United States; in another, he assures Bess that French women "cannot hold a candle to American girls."

The Roosevelt and Truman material is among more than 4,000 recently digitized images from the Still Pictures Branch located at the National Archives at College Park; the Pacific Alaska Region (Seattle); the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library located in Hyde Park, NY; and the Harry S. Truman Library located in Independence, MO. These images are part of NARA’s ongoing Electronic Access Project, which currently includes 24,000 digitized documents.

Besides the 24,000 digitized documents, more than 307,000 descriptions are currently in NAIL (NARA ARCHIVAL INFORMATION LOCATOR). By mid-1999, approximately 120,000 items will be digitized and available electronically. The Electronic Access Project will enable anyone, anywhere, with a computer connected to the Internet to search descriptions of NARA's nationwide holdings and view digital copies of many important documents. The project is funded by the U.S. Congress with the support of Senator Bob Kerrey of Nebraska.

Other highlights of the recently added materials include:

  • 2,843 additional photographs documenting American environmental issues of the 1970's;
  • 71 recreational maps, 193 panoramic photographs, 217 "historical photos," and documents created by the Pacific Northwest Region of the United States Forest Service, 1920-1971;
  • 41 photographs of Native Americans and the archaeology of the Southwestern United States, 1879-1894.

    For additional PRESS information, please contact the National Archives Public Affairs staff at (301) 837-1700 or e-mail


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