Curt Smith, senior lecturer at the University of Rochester, and author of Windows on the White House: The Story of Presidential Libraries, offers strong views about the three leading contenders vying for the Barack Obama Presidential library and why Illinois’ proposal to raise $100 million in state funding for the project is creating quite a stir.
As the June 16 deadline for bids for the library approaches, universities in Chicago, Honolulu, and New York City have expressed interest in housing the project.
“Starting in 1941 with the Franklin Roosevelt library, there is no precedent for using public funds to lay the foundation for a presidential library,” says Smith, a former speechwriter for George H.W. Bush and author of a forthcoming biography (Potomac Books, Fall/Winter 2014) about the former president.
“Presidential libraries have been built through private funds and until now, no one has suggested a presidential library be paid for, even in part, by public funding.”
A former presidential speechwriter for George H.W. Bush and author of the upcoming book, George H.W. Bush: Character at the Core (Potomac, November 2014), Smith is a senior lecturer in the English department at Rochester where he teaches courses on presidential rhetoric and public speaking.
Curt Smith lays out the history of presidential libraries in the United States, beginning with the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum, which opened in 1941.