37¢ Presidential Libraries
Issue Date: August 4, 2005
City: Various Presidential Libraries across America
Printed By: Banknote Corporation of America for Sennett Security Products
Printing Method: Lithographed
Perforations: Serpentine Die Cut 10.75
Presidential Libraries preserve and give access to material about the lives and careers of U.S. Presidents, their administrations, and the eras in which they lived. The buildings are privately funded; the National Archives provides for their maintenance and operation.
Franklin Roosevelt believed that Presidential papers were part of the national heritage and should be open to the public. The papers of many previous Presidents had been lost, destroyed, or sold. In 1939, Roosevelt bequeathed his papers to the government and donated part of his Hyde Park, New York, estate for a library.
The Presidential Libraries Act of 1955 enabled the Presidents to donate their materials to the government, but did not require them to do so. The Harry S. Truman Library, located in Independence, Missouri, was the first Presidential Library created under the 1955 Act.
Until 1978, Presidents had regarded White House files as their personal property after they left office. The Presidential Records Act of 1978 established that Presidential records belonged to the U.S. government.
The eleven libraries now in the Presidential Library system house materials of 20th-century Presidents Hoover, Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, and Clinton.