Tuesday, November 17, 2009

FDR Papers May be Released

The AP reports today that the last major collection of FDR's presidential papers "may soon be available to researchers and the public," pending the final passage of legislation relinquishing government claims to some of the documents. The fourteen-box collection, accumulated by FDR's secretary, Grace Tully, was purchased by Sun-Times Media Group Inc. in 2001 for $8 million. The group is prepared to donate the materials to the FDR Presidential Library and Museum, but the National Archives claims it already owns parts of the collection (including FDR's notes to Tully). In order for the donors to receive a full tax deduction, that claim must be settled. So the legislation states that "any claim of the United States to such property shall be treated as having been waived and relinquished on the day before the date of such gift."

The legislation passed the Senate by unanimous consent in October, and was agreed to by voice vote in the House yesterday. The Senate must act once more, and then the bill will go to President Obama for his signature.

Once the legislative process is completed the 5,000 documents should be available as soon as the archivists at the FDR library can process them.