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From PBS:

August 14, 1935: FDR Signs Social Security Act into Law
On this day in 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act, which was originally designed to provide economic security during the Great Depression.  Funded through a 2% payroll tax, the 1935 Social Security Act offered aid for the unemployed, the elderly, children and various state health and welfare programs.
Learn more about all the Roosevelts with preview videos from Ken Burns’s The Roosevelts.
Photo: Library of Congress

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From PBS:

August 14, 1935: FDR Signs Social Security Act into Law

On this day in 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act, which was originally designed to provide economic security during the Great Depression.  Funded through a 2% payroll tax, the 1935 Social Security Act offered aid for the unemployed, the elderly, children and various state health and welfare programs.

Learn more about all the Roosevelts with preview videos from Ken Burns’s The Roosevelts.

Photo: Library of Congress

Image description: In case you missed it, yesterday was Left Handers Day. Did you know several of our presidents were southpaws?

From the Presidential Libraries:

Left-Handed Presidents

If you’re a southpaw, you’re in good Presidential company.  Many of our U.S. Presidents have been left-handed, including Harry S. Truman, Gerald R. Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama.

Both Presidents Truman and Reagan were switched to writing with their right hands as young school children, but photos show them favoring the left in other activities.  It’s widely believed that Herbert Hoover was also left-handed, but archivists at the Hoover Library tell us that they’ve found no documentation - it’s just left hander’s lore.

Happy International Left Handers Day!

Image description: In case you missed it, Smokey Bear turned 70 over the weekend!

From the National Archives:

Smokey Bear turned 70 yesterday - debuting in a U.S. Forest Service poster on August 9, 1944.

In our online catalog we found two versions of a Smokey Bear poster, from that same 1940s-era as Smokey’s original debut. One image is of the original artwork; and the other a slightly different final poster. (In the final version it appears Smokey reverted from the academic regalia in favor his standard issue uniform of a ranger’s campaign hat and dungarees):

Smokey Bear in professor gown…lecturing a small bear cub.
From the series: Original Artwork for World War II Posters, 1942 - 1945

SMOKEY SAYS - HOLD `TIL IT’S COLD… PREVENT FOREST FIRES, 
From the series: World War II Posters, 1942 - 1945

Learn more at Smokey’s Journey!

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From the National Archives:

Why did George Washington draw this little hand?From medieval times to the present, the symbol above has been used to direct attention to important passages of text. This mark is called a manicule (from the Latin root ‘manus’, meaining ‘hand’). This manicule was drawn by George Washington while he was annotating the first draft of the US Constitution on August 6, 1787. National Archives Identifier: 1501555

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From the National Archives:

Why did George Washington draw this little hand?

From medieval times to the present, the symbol above has been used to direct attention to important passages of text. This mark is called a manicule (from the Latin root ‘manus’, meaining ‘hand’). This manicule was drawn by George Washington while he was annotating the first draft of the US Constitution on August 6, 1787. National Archives Identifier: 1501555

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From the National Archives:

Newly released and unedited video shows Richard Nixon speaking candidly about his resignation.  

Forty years ago this week, Richard Nixon resigned from the Presidency. The Nixon Library is releasing footage of the 37th President chronicling his final days in the White House, recorded in 1983.

The in depth and inside story begins with President Nixon recalling July 23, 1974, the day he learned that three pivotal members of the House Judiciary Committee were going to vote for his impeachment.

"I knew that we could not survive," Nixon says. "However, when I got back to Washington, in my usual methodical way—people think it’s methodical and I guess it is—I decided I should put down the pros and cons of what options I had."

Then came the unanimous U.S. Supreme Court ruling that the President had to turn over 64 White House tape recordings sought by the Watergate Special Prosecutor.

Among them was tape from June 23, 1972, the so-called “smoking gun.”

Referring to the impact of that tape, Nixon said,

"This was the final blow, the final nail in the coffin."  

Read More

"A President Resigns" will play continuously in the Nixon Library Theater from August 5-10 and available online at nixonfoundation.org and nixonlibrary.gov.