The Jimmy Carter Presidential Library & Museum is excited to announce the official start of its online Digital Library with the “release” of approximately 89,000 pages of digitized textual records from the Presidential “Handwriting” Files of the Office of Staff Secretary. These documents, previously only available in physical form, have been digitized and placed online for easier access. Each file unit has been digitized into a single PDF.
The Staff Secretary is a position in the White House Office responsible for managing communications to the president and circulating documents among senior staff for comment. Sometimes described as “the nerve center of the White House,” the position was first created under President Dwight D. Eisenhower. In the Carter White House, this office consisted of three full-time employees: The Staff Secretary (Rick Hutcheson), the Deputy Staff Secretary (Bill Simon), and the Confidential Assistant (Patty Maloomian.) The Presidential Files of the Staff Secretary Office primarily consist of the daily contents of the President’s outbox, filed chronologically according to the date when each item left the Oval Office.
To access these documents, visit us online. You will notice several expandable sections with descriptive information about the collection. Scroll down further and you will see the Presidential Files series. This series contains several thousands of pages of digitized records available for research. Each “container” is expandable and contains PDFs of each scanned file unit.
So, here’s the big question… What can YOU find in these records?
When the National Archives & Records Administration launched the Citizen Archivist initiative, the goal was to encourage the public to interact with the records of the National Archives by contributing to efforts to make historical records more available and easier to access. In that same vein of thought, we are curious as to what YOU can find in these newly digitized records!
- Do you wonder what kind of paperwork the President had in his outbox on the date of your birth? (Or your actual birthday if you were born in 1977 or 1978!)
- Or guess which particular document in file “2/25/77 ” in Container 9 of the Presidential Files made me chuckle… (Hint: Vice President Walter Mondale writes what I think many will find to be amusing and endearing commentary in the margins of a particular memo…)
- Or pick a “day in history” and let us know what you find! On today’s date (July 21) in 1978, I discovered that President Carter signed a letter welcoming the first class of Presidential Management Interns. The Presidential Management Intern Program was established by Carter via Executive Order 12008 on August 25, 1977, “…the purpose of which is to attract to Federal service men and women of exceptional management potential who have received special training in planning and managing public programs and policies.” Nowadays, there is the Presidential Management Fellows Program, which is still an ongoing opportunity. I was not familiar with this program until I began exploring this particular set of records… What will you learn more about?
Share what you find here in the comments section or on our Facebook page. (Sharing the URL of specific file units works best.) We would like to be able to feature select discoveries on our blog and Facebook in October for American Archives Month and Georgia Archives Month!
Good luck searching!