Trump Presidential Library

I’ve just seen an articlespeculating about a possible location for the Trump Presidential Library in coastal Florida.

Leaving aside his well-known dislike of books and reading, and that the discussed site just looks like one high tide away from being swept into the Atlantic, it got me thinking about Presidential Libraries, which are not a thing we have here in the rest of the non-US world.

  • Why are they private entities and not part of the National Archives system?

  • Have you ever been to one and what have you used them for - historical research, clean toilets, education, adding to your presidential mouse-pad collection?

  • The ancient Floridians are all slavering at how much money they will make from this. Will a presidential library bring in significant business or turn their inter-tidal trailer park into Classy Heights?

  • Do PreLibs play an active role in attempting to promote a more positive view of their guy as history unfolds? I suspect that would keep them busy as, so far, Trump is not leaving what is likely to be an easily nostalgised legacy.

That will do for starters.

The ronald Reagan library in Simi Valley is pretty cool. I’d call it more of a museum than a library. But it gets rented out for events. My wife was an event coordinator and they would often have high school proms and such there. I’m not sure I answered any of your questions, however.

Clarification: some of presidential libraries ARE part of the National Archives system; the National Archives and Records Administration currently operates 13 presidential libraries, with the 14th (Obama’s) under development and scheduled to open as a fully-digital archive after 2022.

Until the middle of the 20th century, a president’s papers were considered to be his private property, to be kept or destroyed as he desired. Franklin Roosevelt started the practice of creating a public institution to house his papers, using a nonprofit corporation to raise the money to build his library and then turned it over to the National Archives. The next several presidents followed his lead (Hoover did so retrospectively), but it was still a voluntary arrangement: the president agreed to donate, a private foundation raised the money, and then the Archives assumed responsibility.

After Nixon’s resignation, he proposed destroying his tapes and some other materials, turning over the remainder to the Archives; in reaction, Congress passed laws a set of laws forbidding the destruction of presidential materials and establishing that they were governmental records that must be preserved by the Archives.


It looks like you’re attempting to ask factual questions here, which makes this thread not a good fit for non-GQ forums. But you’re also framing the questions in a way that makes it not a good fit for GQ, either. I therefore find that this thread doesn’t fit anywhere on the board. Make up your mind on what thread you want: If you want to complain about Trump, then write an OP to that effect, and put it in either Politics or the Pit. If you want to ask factual questions about presidential libraries, then write an OP to that effect, and post that OP here.