Holley is a writer & historian. She has worked for two presidential sites & has been published in American Heritage Magazine. https://www.holleysnaith.com/

How a “good old boy” from Missouri went from the halls of the Senate to the Oval Office

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“I felt like the moon, the stars, and all the planets had fallen on me.” ~ Harry Truman on Becoming President in 1945

Harry Truman was known around the halls of the Senate as being a persistent man. By 1940, he had held his Senate seat for five years, but he remained scarcely known in the town full of brash and ambitious men. When World War II broke-out in Europe, Truman saw its arrival as the perfect opportunity to change that.

In 1940, a year into the war, Congress authorized $10 billion in defense contracts in a short six months…


How Winston Churchill’s month-long trip to the United States in the winter of 1941 changed his relationship with Franklin Roosevelt

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“In this century of storm and tragedy, I contemplate with high satisfaction the constant factor of the interwoven and upward progress of our peoples. Our comradeship and our brotherhood in war were unexampled. We stood together, and because of that fact the free world now stands.” ~ Winston Churchill, 1963

Prime Minister Winston Churchill famously said that meeting President Franklin Roosevelt was akin to “opening your first bottle of champagne.” “Knowing him,” said Churchill, “was like drinking it.” This was a high compliment coming from Britain’s most beloved prime minister, who was known to have a fondness for Pol Roger.


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“Somebody else can have Madison Avenue. I’ll take Bird.” ~ Lyndon Baines Johnson

It was rare for sitting presidents before Lyndon Johnson to openly show affection for their wives, but he was not timid in displaying love for the woman he depended on for everything: Lady Bird Johnson. He would unabashedly hold her hand in public and sometimes even kiss her in front of the cameras. While the marriage was far from perfect, it was apparent to all who observed the pair together that he would be lost without her. …


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Eleanor Roosevelt, Marian Anderson, and the courage to do what is right

“Do what you feel in your heart to be right — for you’ll be criticized anyway.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

These words not only strike me as being powerful: they are also remarkably truthful. Eleanor Roosevelt didn’t sugarcoat the fact that doing what you feel to be right does not eliminate the possibility of being criticized for your actions.

Being the historian that I am, every time I think about this quote and the harsh reality of its truth, my mind naturally wanders to what Eleanor Roosevelt would have to say if she were here today to witness the millions of…


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Pat Nixon is one of the most underappreciated, and misinterpreted, first ladies in American history. Her five years of accomplishments as first lady are overshadowed by her husband’s presidency and, of course, the Watergate scandal. In 2017, I worked for the Nixon Foundation and embarked upon months of research on Pat Nixon. In doing this, I came to admire this unique woman for her kindness, hard work ethic, strong character, and the love she had for her family. …


How the leadership of four U.S. presidents held the country together during times of crises.

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Leadership, particularly presidential leadership, has been a topic of interest to me for years. I have asked myself: What makes a president a great leader? What kind of leader makes the best president? What did the presidents remembered for being great leaders have that others did not? What life events molded them? I began reading historian Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book Leadership in Turbulent Times just as I was wrapping up a course in my graduate studies on leadership, so the timing could not have been more perfect.

In this book, Goodwin looks at four presidents, the presidents she has researched…


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Growing up, my favorite comedienne was, and remains, Lucille Ball. It was a mystery to me why my fellow classmates in elementary school did not know who Lucy was. How shameful! Didn’t they watch Nick at Nite every single night like I did? For almost two decades I have read too many Lucy books to count and watched hundreds of hours of her performances and interviews, yet I still find myself laughing at her as much as I did the first time I discovered this perennial talent. Over that time the rose-colored glasses came off as I realized that, like…


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Exploring some of the underrated first lady’s groundbreaking accomplishments

Introduction

Pat Nixon has all too often been misinterpreted by historians, as well as reporters when she was first lady. She herself felt as though the public did not really understand who she was or her personality. She believed that her husband deserved the public’s attention, therefore, when she undertook a trip, whether as Goodwill Ambassador or for one of her domestic causes, she brought as small of an entourage as possible. …


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March is Women’s History Month. It’s a time for us to honor (though we should EVERYDAY) the remarkable women who blazed the trails before us, who shattered glass ceilings, and who were fearless in terrifying situations. This is a personal journey I have taken with one of those indomitable women in history: Eleanor Roosevelt.

So many young people today learn about the Eleanor Roosevelt who was first lady longer than any other (12 years), the brave woman who stood up for civil rights when it was unpopular for white, upper-class women to do so, the woman who defied the KKK…

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