Today’s blog post comes from Jennifer Johnson, curator at the National Archives.
The National Archives is known as the nation’s record keeper. But you may be surprised to learn that we also have a vast collection of gifts, given to Presidents, Vice Presidents, and their wives, that is astonishing in its variety.
At the National Archives in Washington, DC, we currently provide storage and preservation for over 7,000 Vice Presidential gifts given to Vice President Gore and Vice President Cheney during their administrations, including both domestic and Foreign Official Gifts.
In 2006, this 18-karat white gold sapphire and diamond jewelry set was given to Vice President Dick Cheney’s wife, Lynne Cheney, by the King of Saudi Arabia, His Majesty Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud. (It is currently on display through December 27, 2012.)
The Foreign Gifts and Decorations Act allows the President and Vice President to accept, for our nation, gifts that are given as part of a centuries-old diplomatic tradition by a foreign official to the President on behalf of his country. The President or Vice President may keep a foreign official gift of less than the minimal value of $350. Most Presidential foreign official gifts go to the administration’s Presidential library.
A Vice President may choose to ask the Archivist of the United States to store his gifts at another National Archives facility, a choice made by both Vice President Gore and Vice President Cheney.
You can read more about the President Libraries on their web page.