n.an archival repository within the National Archives and Records Administration that preserves and makes available the papers, records, and other historical materials of an individual elected to the Office of the President of the United StatesLloyd 1955, 99As Mr. Truman and the officers of our corporation view it, the presidential library is the best way of dealing with the vexed and difficult problem of presidential papers and mementos.Gersack 1961, 221More than 2,000 file drawers of papers accumulated at the White House during the Eisenhower administration, plus books and other materials, have been transferred to the Eisenhower Library at Abilene, Kans. The Library is one of the Presidential libraries administered by the National Archives and Records Service under the provisions of the Federal Records Act of 1950, as amended.Kirkendall 1966, 376Manuscript materials in this area, however, have traditionally become available much more slowly than sources on domestic affairs. Although the establishment of the presidential libraries constituted a break with the past, no break has taken place in the tradition governing control of materials.Cook 1975, 299The opposition by officials of the Nixon administration to attempts by government investigators to examine the files of the Office of the President, the suits and counter suits which have been brought in attempts to quiet the title to these records, and the unsettled condition of the presidential libraries system have revealed the weak legal and constitutional foundation supporting the traditional concepts and policies regulating presidential records.Fenn 1979, 440In the presidential libraries, access to documents which were security classified by a President, a member of his staff, or anyone acting in his behalf (“White House-classified documents”) is regulated by executive order (E.O.).Peterson 1982b, 199In addition to personal papers, some federal records are deposited in Presidential libraries, most frequently those of short-lived Presidential committees, commissions, and boards, which are part of a NARS collective record group.Geselbracht 1986, 154On 10 December 1938, however, President Franklin D. Roosevelt announced that he was giving his papers to the government and that a presidential library, administered by the National Archives, would be built on his estate in Hyde Park, New York.Haight 1989, 34More importantly for presidential libraries with classified holdings less than thirty years old, it established the mandatory classification review system which enabled members of the public to request agency reviews of specified security-classified documents.Montgomery 1993, 591In 1955, Congress, expanding on this concept, passed the Presidential Libraries Act to enable other presidents to follow Roosevelt’s example. The act established a nonmandatory system of presidential libraries, which explicitly recognized that presidential papers were the personal property of the chief executive.Boles 2005, 83Since World War II, for example, the papers of the president of the United States have been enshrined in special “presidential libraries,” which in some cases have become templelike complexes.Ferriero 2015, 19Chicago and a Federal Records Center. When the library, to be built by the Barack Obama Foundation with private funds, is complete, it will be turned over to the National Archives and be the fourteenth in our system of presidential libraries that date back to Herbert Hoover’s. Like some of the other libraries, it will be part of a larger entity, in this case the Barack Obama Presidential Center.Poole 2017, 312Serving the government, scholars, and the public, the institution [National Archives and Records Administration] took responsibility as well for presidential libraries, for federal records centers, for an expanded Federal Register program, and for a national historical publications program.an archival repository that holds the papers, records, and other historical materials of an individual elected to the Office of the President of the United States, whether or not that repository is part of the National Archives and Records AdministrationLloyd 1955, 99–100In the first place, let me point out that there are several different kinds of presidential libraries in existence. The Hayes Library is really the pioneer in the field. This is an institution established after the death of the President whose collections it houses, by the joint efforts of his estate and the Ohio State Government. . . . ¶ The second type of presidential library, the Hoover Library on War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University, is not so much a presidential library in the limited sense. Rather it is a research library housing several collections, including the papers of an ex-President whose generosity and interest in history have given impetus to the whole institution.Geselbracht 1986, 154The Library of Congress Manuscript Division held the major collections of papers of most of the presidents, with the remainder being held by several historical societies, one quasi-private presidential library, and a family trust.Montgomery 1993, 588Under the terms of the Nixon-Sampson agreement, the materials would be deposited with the government under a joint control arrangement and transferred from Washington to San Clemente until they could be placed in a new presidential library.Poole 2018, 417Even so, many benchmarks remained: no women had yet served as Archivist of the United States; no women at the time directed any of the presidential libraries; and only five state archivists were women.
The presidential library system is made up of multiple presidential libraries. These are not traditional libraries but rather repositories for preserving and making available the papers, records, and other historical materials of presidents starting with Herbert Hoover. Each presidential library contains a museum and provides an active series of public programs.