Profile Response: Kirsten Strigel Carter, Supervisory Archivist, Franklin Delano Roosevelt Library and Museum, Hyde Park, New York

HWWLT Logo on yellowThe Franklin Delano Roosevelt Library was the first presidential library, and the only one actually used by a president. Prior to FDR, presidential papers were considered private, and kept (or not) without any particular system. FDR decided to donate his papers to the nation, so he planned the library, built it with private funds and gifted it to the United States toward the end of his second term. When he broke tradition and ran for a third (and fourth) term, the fieldstone building on his estate in Hyde Park became his workplace away from Washington, DC.

imgresSince FDR, all presidents have built libraries dedicated to maintaining their legacy and preserving their documents. To date, I have toured six, and hope to visit five more (sorry, Ford and Hoover). The libraries offer fascinating glimpses of their period and creatively reinterpret (spin?) the man they celebrate. Like all libraries, they are fact full, though that is not always the same as being objective.

images-1All presidential libraries have a museum component, and FDR’s museum seems more balanced than most. In part, because the building constricts the extent of hoopla allowed; the limousines, helicopters and even planes at other libraries simply won’t fit here. In part, because FDR’s presidency is more distantly past, history has sorted out his successes and shortcomings. In part because, the events of his presidency were so momentous that the dramatic displays, updated in 2013, don’t come off as hyperbole. They match the tenor of those tumultuous times.

imagesKirsten Strigel Carter is the supervisory archivist at the library, the custodian of seventeen million documents arranged in 400 collections, available for unrestricted use in the research area by anyone who registers with the National Archive. Over a million documents have been scanned and are available online. Kirsten and her staff supply documents to over 700 in-person researchers every year and field over 2,000 online requests for FDR related information.

Kirsten is from Arkansas, a graduate of Little Rock’s famous Central High School, where she met Bill Clinton when he spoke at the 1997 Commemorative Event of that school’s integration. She came east for college, majored in Cultural Studies and went on to Library School. She settled in the Hudson River Valley because, ‘this place has everything, beauty and culture and history.”

How will we live tomorrow?

IMG_6856“We will live more flexibly than we have in our past. How we access and use the information in our past, the records of the people who came before us, will continue to expand.”


About paulefallon

Greetings reader. I am a writer, architect, cyclist and father from Cambridge, MA. My primary blog, is an archive of all my published writing. The title refers to a sequence of three yoga positions that increase focus and build strength by shifting the body’s center of gravity. The objective is balance without stability. My writing addresses opposing tension in our world, and my attempt to find balance through understanding that opposition. During 2015-2106 I am cycling through all 48 mainland United States and asking the question "How will we live tomorrow?" That journey is chronicled in a dedicated blog,, that includes personal writing related to my adventure as well as others' responses to my question. Thank you for visiting.
This entry was posted in Responses and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Profile Response: Kirsten Strigel Carter, Supervisory Archivist, Franklin Delano Roosevelt Library and Museum, Hyde Park, New York

  1. Gorman, Cleo says:

    Visite the Clinton Presidential Library when in Little Rock on business and set the goal to see them all, eventually.


  2. paulefallon says:

    That is the plan! Next up – Jimmy Carter in Atlanta before I head out to Birmingham.


Leave a Reply to Gorman, Cleo Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s