Raymond receives honor after visiting all Presidential Libraries

President Gerald Ford and then Captain Bill Raymond posing beside a piece of the Berlin Wall as it was unveiled at Ford’s Presidential Library on the campus of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan in honor of Ford’s accomplishment with the Helsinki Accords. Photo courtesy of Bill Raymond.

By Danielle Sabolik, The Circuit.

When Dr. Bill Ray­mond, associate profes­sor of political science, visited the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library in West Branch, Iowa, he forgot to bring his Presidential Libraries Passport which is neces­sary to receive credit for visiting one of the 13 Presidential Libraries.

Upon returning home, Raymond called the National Archives to see what they could do about his missing passport stamp and they offered to recognize not only his Herbert Hoover Library visit, but to all the libraries that he’s visited in the past.

This sent Raymond on a trip down memory lane as he gathered ma­terials pertinent to prov­ing that he visited every Presidential Library in the country.

The materials included stories, photographs and documentations from his visits including a piece from a trip he calls “forced family fun” to the Harry S. Truman Li­brary while he was living with his family in Fort Leavenworth, Kan.

One thing Raymond wants people to under­stand is that the Presi­dential Libraries are not simply a collection of the President’s favor­ite books or a library named after them.

“They are a place where the American people can come and understand the decisions that the President has to make,” Raymond said. He also notes that it is a place to house their artifacts, papers and gifts from when they served in office. “They are more than a memo­rial or celebration of the president’s life, it’s a celebration of who the person is.”

This graphic includes 12 presidential libraries, lacking the Presidential Library of George W. Bush located in Dallas, TX. Photo courtesy of National Archives and Records Administration.
This graphic includes 12 presidential libraries, lacking the Presidential Library of George W. Bush located in Dallas, TX. Photo courtesy of National Archives and Records Administration.

The Presidential Library system consists of 13 national libraries each in recognition of a U.S. President. To make it a Presidential Library, national archivists go through classified doc­uments that have been de-classified to deter­mine what should be included.

The purpose of the Presidential Library Passport program is an incentive to visit all the presidential libraries and promote a love of American history, the American Presidency and the United States.

Once someone makes a visit to all 13 libraries, the National Archives recognizes these people with a certificate and crystal paperweight. Raymond will be the 74th American to ac­complish this trip and receive this honor.

He still continues his tradition of visiting Presidential Libraries and sharing his love for them by organizing trips for Benedictine students.

There is a trip offered this March for students that would like to visit two of these libraries.

The fee is $40 which includes admission, transportation, lunch and dinner. Space is limited.

To learn more, contact Bill Raymond at bray­mond@benedictine.edu.