Exhibition in Special Collections to Open on Presidents’ Day

From George Washington to Barack Obama, America’s past commanders in chief have provided domestic and international leadership during world wars, political unrest and the struggle for basic human rights. Their personal lives have been shaped by great joy and heartbreak, deep-rooted conflict and public scrutiny. Along the way, biographers and journalists have documented their every move and attempted to distill what it means to be an American president.

In honor of Presidents’ Day, a special exhibition of published biographies from the L. Hall Hardaway, Jr. Family Presidential Book Collection and rare documents from the James G. Stahlman Autograph Collection will open on February 19th in the Special Collections Library. These books and manuscripts, alongside artifacts from local museums including Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage and the James K. Polk House and Museum, serve as a reflection on 230 years of past executive leadership from the White House.

[Woodrow Wilson, David Lloyd George, Georges Clemenceau, and Vittorio Emanuele Orlando at the Signing of the Treaty of Versailles]. June 28, 1919. James G. Stahlman Autograph Collection, Vanderbilt University Special Collections
Vanderbilt University. [President John F. Kennedy at Podium at Graduation]. May 18, 1963. Vanderbilt University Photographic Archives

Additionally, Professor of History and Political Science Thomas Schwartz will give a talk: “Reflections on the Presidency in the Era of Donald Trump” in conjunction with the exhibition. Please join us for this event on Tuesday, February 20th at 4:10 p.m. in the Special Collections Library. All-American refreshments will be provided.


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