Nixon and HopeBob Hope's fifty-year commitment to public service has made him one of the most honored and esteemed performers in history. His charitable work and tours on behalf of the armed forces have brought him the admiration and gratitude of millions and the friendship of every President of the United States since Franklin D. Roosevelt.

In a recent act of generosity, Hope donated his personal papers, radio and television programs, scripts, and his treasured Joke File to the Library of Congress and the people of the United States. Preserved at the Library is the full record of Bob Hope's extraordinary creativity, his unselfish contributions to his country, and the testimonials and thanks he has received from those whose lives he has enriched.

Photo Album

Members of the armed forces gave Bob Hope many items in appreciation of his performances. Mr. William Gwin, a member of the U.S. Marine Corps in Vietnam, created this album for Bob Hope. Gwin recalls that he had two wishes when he enlisted: that he would survive Vietnam and that he would have the opportunity to see a Bob Hope show. His wishes were fulfilled. He remembers seeing Hope's show and shaking astronaut Neil Armstrong's hand as highlights of his life.

Photo Album given to Bob Hope by Marine William Gwin, 1969. Bob Hope Collection, Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division, Library of Congress (167)

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Dolores Hope

The singing talents of Dolores Reade Hope were shared with troops on many of Bob Hope's overseas tours. The classics of American popular song, as sung by Mrs. Hope, have been a highlight of many U.S.O. shows.

Dolores Hope singing to troops, ca. 1990. Copyprint. Bob Hope Collection, Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division, Library of Congress (168)

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Prisoner of War Writes to Bob Hope

"Thank you, Bob, for being such a large part of America . . ." U.S. Air Force Captain Fredric Flom was a prisoner of war (POW) in North Vietnam for over six and one-half years. A few days before his release Capt. Flom wrote to Bob Hope to thank him for his work on behalf of POWs.

Letter from prisoner of war, Frederic Flom, written on back of wrapper, February 24, 1973. Bob Hope Collection, Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division, Library of Congress (169a)

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"Your programs ... make us feel that home is much closer than it really is."

Bob Hope's dedication to the armed forces of his country included diligent attention to fan mail. Many U.S. troops fighting abroad in World War II could enjoy Hope's radio program as carried by the Armed Forces Radio Service. Those who wrote Hope letters often received a response such as this one from 1944, which includes a little Bob Hope humor in addition to the star's best wishes.

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"Hey Rob--Get me out'a this place"

Bob Hope's dedication to the armed forces of his country included diligent attention to fan mail. Many U.S. troops fighting abroad in World War II could enjoy Hope's radio program as carried by the Armed Forces Radio Service. Those who wrote Hope letters often received a response such as this one from 1945, which includes a little Bob Hope humor in addition to the star's best wishes.

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Letter from Teenage Girl

Civilians as well as troops were grateful for Bob Hope's efforts on behalf of the armed forces. This letter was written by a fourteen-year-old girl who enjoyed the Bob Hope Christmas Show documenting the 1969 U.S.O. tour. With her letter she enclosed some love beads for Hope.

Letter from Denise Colasuonno to Bob Hope, January 15, 1970. Bob Hope Collection, Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division, Library of Congress (169b)

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1983 Appointment Book

In Bob Hope's eightieth year he was almost as active as he had been throughout his life-playing golf, doing benefit appearances for charity, and preparing for television appearances. As is evident from this appointment book, Hope's personal appearances on behalf of charitable causes formed a substantial portion of his work life. It has been reported that in his prime Hope performed at 200 such functions a year.

Appointment book, 1983. Bob Hope Collection, Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division, Library of Congress (170)

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Bob Hope and President Richard M. Nixon

Bob Hope enjoyed a long, close relationship with Richard Nixon which began when Nixon was Vice President. President Nixon's correspondence with Hope often makes light of Hope's superior ability on the golf course. In this handwritten letter from the President, Mr. Nixon expresses gratitude to Bob Hope for his services to the armed forces. Hope felt close enough to the President to make light of Watergate in a letter to President Nixon's secretary.

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Making the Presidents Laugh

Given the enormous contributions Bob Hope has made to the United States armed forces it is not surprising that he has enjoyed warm relationships with every President of the United States since Franklin D. Roosevelt. In his classic self-deprecating style, Hope claimed that "I have performed for twelve Presidents and entertained six."

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Bob Hope with Prominent Political Figures

Bob Hope posed with some of the most prominent members of the Democratic Party at a dinner held in honor of Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt in 1960, after the presidential election.

Bob Hope with President-elect John F. Kennedy, Vice President-elect Lyndon Johnson, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Stuart Symington, 1960. Copyprint. Bob Hope Collection, Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division, Library of Congress (173)

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"Honor America Day"

During the period of contentious debate and political demonstrations over the U.S. military involvement in Vietnam, Bob Hope helped to coordinate a rally intended to "show Americans can have a good time together despite their differences." "Honor America Day" was held in Washington, D.C., on July 4, 1970. The day was intended to be non-partisan event but was interpreted by many as a pro-war rally and marred by violent anti-war demonstrators.

Honor America Day. Landmark Records, 1970. Bob Hope Collection, Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division, Library of Congress (174)

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Vietnam Controversy

The political divisiveness of the 1960s took a toll on Bob Hope as well as the country. Throughout his career, Hope delivered topical monologs which gently poked fun at public officials, but he worked hard to stay above the fray of politics and not antagonize any segment of his audience. Bob Hope's service to the armed forces in Vietnam was criticized by some as strong support for the war. Hope believed that, whatever the reason, when American men were fighting and dying for their country, he should support them. When criticized for his service during the Vietnam conflict he took a public stand in support of the policies of President Nixon.

Excerpt from monolog delivered at the Academy Awards, 1970. Typewritten manuscript. Bob Hope Collection, Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division, Library of Congress (174a)

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Presidential Medal of Freedom

On his last morning in office, President Lyndon B. Johnson awarded Presidential Medals of Freedom to twenty individuals, including Bob Hope. Bob Hope's citation noted that, "With his gifts of joy to all the American people, he has written his name large in the history of our times."

Presidential Medal of Freedom, 1969. Courtesy of Bob Hope Archives (178)

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Congressional Gold Medal

Of the thousands of awards bestowed upon Bob Hope the Congressional Gold Medal is among those he has treasured the most. President John F. Kennedy presented Hope with the medal on September 11, 1963. The medal reads, "Bob Hope" Humorist, Humanitarian, Patriot Presented to Bob Hope by President Kennedy in recognition of his having rendered outstanding service to the cause of Democracy throughout the world.

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