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Press Release
Press Release · Friday, December 18, 1998

Press Release
October 30, 1998
Letters from Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson, and Elvis Presley Featured in New National Archives Exhibition

"My dear Mr. Secretary: It is hard to find a satisfactory ‘official' name for the war, but the best, I think, that has been suggested is "The World War," and I hope that your judgment will concur. . . . Cordially and faithfully yours, Woodrow Wilson" 31 July, 1919.

"Dear Mr. President: First I would like to introduce myself. I am Elvis Presley and admire you and have great respect for your office. I talked to Vice President Agnew in Palm Springs 3 weeks ago and expressed my concern for our country. . . Sir I can and will be of any service that I can to help the country out. . . .I can and will do more good if I were made a Federal agent at large. . . Respectfully Elvis Presley P.S. I believe that you Sir were one of the top ten outstanding men of America."

Washington, DC. . . These two letters are part of an entirely new selection of original documents featured in "American Originals: Part IV," a major exhibition opening in the National Archives Rotunda on December 18, 1998. The exhibition, which is free and open to the public, will remain on view through December 1999.

"American Originals" presents some of the most treasured documents in the holdings of the National Archives and Records Administration. The exhibition, displayed in the cases that flank the permanent display of the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights, offers glimpses of American history -- the glorious and the inglorious -- in its most unprocessed form. These letters, maps, photographs, and official documents have passed through the hands of Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Susan B. Anthony, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, and Elvis Presley, connecting us physically to another moment in time.

Highlights of this new exhibition include:

  • Ledger of Benjamin Franklin, Postmaster General of the colonies, 1776;
  • Journal of Continental Congress showing entry for July 4, 1776;