Top Ten Pieces of History for 2010

Since April 2010, we've brought you more than 100 Pieces of History. Nothing too small, too strange, or too obscure has escaped the spotlight of our blog or the scalpel of your clever comments. And we are still discovering new pieces of history every day here at the National Archives! But before we go forward into … Continue reading Top Ten Pieces of History for 2010

A hot dog for the King

Following upon the spate of movies in recent years about British female royalty (the Elizabeths and Victoria), we now have one about British male royalty, The King’s Speech, starring Colin Firth as George VI. It focuses on George VI (the current monarch's father) and his struggle to overcome stuttering and stammering, especially when he spoke … Continue reading A hot dog for the King

The must-have Christmas gift of 1776

Today's post comes from National Archives Office of Strategy and Communications staff writer Rob Crotty. In 1864, Savannah, Georgia, was offered to Abraham Lincoln as a Christmas present. But in 1776, George Washington delivered one of the greatest gifts in American history: the United States. Winter was a bad season for Washington. His Continental Army … Continue reading The must-have Christmas gift of 1776

The CIA’s catalog of covert conundrums

Today's post comes from National Archives Office of Strategy and Communications staff writer Rob Crotty. In 1992, George Washington University's "National Security Archive" submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), soliciting information from the Central Intelligence Agency. Their request was inspired by a 1973 memorandum issued from then-CIA Director James R. Schlesinger, who requested that … Continue reading The CIA’s catalog of covert conundrums

A temporarily insane Congressman

Today's post comes from National Archives Office of Strategy and Communications staff writer Rob Crotty. The first use of the temporary insanity plea to beat a murder charge happened in 1859 and was employed in the defense of a man named Dan Sickles, who had killed his wife's lover. A story such as this might be … Continue reading A temporarily insane Congressman

Mole in place at the Archives

Researching in original records often provides the researcher with surprises. Usually the surprise takes the form of an unknown letter, a reference to your topic in an unexpected place, or a lead that directs you to a new set of records to mine. Once in a great while, the surprise is something no one could … Continue reading Mole in place at the Archives

Four paragraphs, five years of war

Today's post comes from National Archives Office of Strategy and Communications staff writer Rob Crotty. Today in 1860, 169 delegates convened in Columbia, South Carolina, to discuss the fate of their state. The decision was unanimous: South Carolina would secede from the Union. Declared in a terse four paragraphs, the Declaration of Secession set out … Continue reading Four paragraphs, five years of war

FHF: Merry Christmas … Or else

Today's post comes from National Archives Office of Strategy and Communications staff writer Rob Crotty. While the holiday season is a time for togetherness and reflection, some holiday posters leave you wondering, "did Santa just threaten me?" Yes, even bearded Old St Nick was recruited during World War II to keep the war factories churning, but … Continue reading FHF: Merry Christmas … Or else

Thursday’s Photo Caption Contest

Today's post comes from National Archives Office of Strategy and Communications staff writer Rob Crotty. Carolyn Grey, you hit our funny bone hardest last week, when you added a snappy caption to a Civil War telegraph snipper. While we're not sure whether Apple will be rolling out the iPole anytime soon (though ostensibly it would have fewer … Continue reading Thursday’s Photo Caption Contest

Inside the Vaults – The Bill of Rights

Today's post comes from National Archives Office of Strategy and Communications staff writer Rob Crotty. After more than 40 years of research and more than 14,000 documents, new discoveries are being made as scholars at the George Washington University continue to collect every scrap of paper associated with the First Congress of the United States. … Continue reading Inside the Vaults – The Bill of Rights