A mere toe-dip into the National Archives' vast holdings, "Dear Mr. President" presents a delirious potpourri of letters for perusal. The epistolary arts are every voyeur's secret pleasure, and the most public of public offices compels people of all......more
A mere toe-dip into the National Archives' vast holdings, "Dear Mr. President" presents a delirious potpourri of letters for perusal. The epistolary arts are every voyeur's secret pleasure, and the most public of public offices compels people of all walks of life, from children to the working man to the very famous, to put pen to paper. This carefully selected batch of letters, from over one hundred years of archiving letters to the President, includes such gems as the letter from a ten-year-old Fidel Castro to Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1940 requesting ten bucks; an offer from Annie Oakley to President McKinley to raise a company of fifty American lady sharpshooters in the event of a war with Spain; a scrawled note on American Airlines in-flight letterhead from Elvis Presley to Richard Nixon offering his services to fight "The Hippie Elements;" and a very moving letter about the state of civil rights from Jackie Robinson to President Eisenhower. The book opens with a 5,000-word introduction by Thomas Mallon, a well-known figure who can place these letters in the American consciousness and give some further information on some of them. The letters themselves are reproduced where possible as full-size facsimiles and are accompanied with commentary to help the reader place them within historical events. Some archival photos will also run with the letters, in cases where we have photos of the writer and the President together.
THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES: The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is an independent Federal agency that preserves our nation's history and defines us as a people by overseeing the management of all Federal records. Enshrined for posterity in the original building in Washington, DC, are the cornerstone documents of our government, the Charters of Freedom: the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States, and the Bill of Rights. But the National Archives and Records Administration is more than famous documents. NARA's 34 facilities hold about 2.9 million cubic feet of original textual materials-that's more than 8 billion pieces of paper from the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the Federal Government. Presidents and politicians, diplomats and soldiers, the famous, the infamous, and the ordinary citizen all have a place here. THOMAS MALLON: Thomas Mallon is a novelist and critic and the author of acclaimed works of historical fiction including Henry and Clara, Two Moons, Dewey Defeats Truman. His nonfiction work includes In Fact: Essays on Writers and Writing, Stolen Words, A Book of One's Own, and Mrs. Paine's Garage. He is the former literary editor of GQ and has contributed frequently to The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The American Scholar, and Harper's. His honors include Guggenheim and Rockefeller fellowships, and served in 1998 as chairman of the fiction judges for the National Book Awards. His 2004 novel, Bandbox, centers around New York magazine wars during the 'Roaring Twenties.' He lives in Washington, D.C.
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