Last week, this North Dakota girl had the opportunity to spend two full days in the Madison building of the Library of Congress.
Within the Madison building is the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress where the papers of twenty-three presidents are held. President Theodore Roosevelt issued an Executive order on March 9, 1903 that transferred papers of various presidents and statesmen, such as George Washington, from the Department of State to the Library of Congress, which effectively began the presidential papers collections. Considering TR's interest in those collections, it is perhaps unsurprising that he chose the Library of Congress as the repository for his presidential papers.
Reading about the provenance of the Theodore Roosevelt Papers at the Library of Congress is a fascinating endeavor as it appears the papers were given at various times. TR gifted the library with six locked boxes of papers two years before his death. Upon receiving a request for the keys to these boxes, TR responded, "The Lord only knows where the key is. Break the cases open, and start working on them!" (History of the Collection) Further installments of his papers were presented to the Library of Congress over the next forty years, until it became one of the largest presidential collections in the library.
This collection forms a large portion of our digital library. I feel fortunate that I was able to meet with our partners at the Library of Congress and to work with the collections from which so many of our digital items have been taken.
Index to the Theodore Roosevelt Papers. Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, 1969.
About the Manuscript Division. Library of Congress, 14 October 2010. Web. <http://www.loc.gov/rr/mss/mss_abt.html> Accessed 11 December 2012.