CHICAGO, IL, USA, 2013
Communities (have) to be created, fought for, tended like gardens.
Barack Obama, Dreams from My Father
Although the presidential library is now as natural a part of our national trove of civic rituals and commemorations as the pledge of allegiance, it is, like the pledge, a fairly new one. The rst presidential library was FDR’s in Hyde Park, New York. Based on his own sketches, it opened in 1941, one year before the pledge was adopted by Congress and not long after the construction of the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials in Washington, DC.
The construction of the Roosevelt library established a series of precedents that have endured. First, the president himself is, in effect, the author of his own memorial. Second, the project is constructed with private funds and then conveyed to the care of the national archive. Third, every president gets one. Fourth, the president initially curates its holdings and materials. And finally, its location is completely discretionary; there are no presidential libraries in the nation’s capital.
Credits: Michael Sorkin, Makoto Okazaki, Ying Liu, Jie Gu, Trudy Giordano, Michael Parkinson