January 31, 1865, was a busy day for the war-torn United States. The House of Representatives passed a constitutional amendment to abolish slavery. Meanwhile, Robert E. Lee was named general-in-chief of the Confederate armies. On January 31, 1919—50 years to the day after slavery was abolished—Jackie Robinson was born in Cairo, Georgia. On April 10, 1947—82 years after the … Continue reading Baseball and the 13th Amendment
"Charge 1 . . . Gross neglect of Duty." "Charge 2 . . . Disobedience of Orders." On January 28, 1831, a court-martial convened at the U.S. Military Academy found the defendant guilty of these charges and "adjudg[ed] that the Cadet E. A. Poe be dismissed." So ended Edgar Allan Poe's short career at West … Continue reading Edgar Allan Poe’s military career? Nevermore!
Jan Wilson, it's been a long wait, but you can now claim the honor of being our last captioner of 2010 and our first declared winner of 2011. President Truman was a practical (and frugal) guy, so why wouldn't he be able to step up and give tips on Christmas tree gadgetry? As far as … Continue reading Thursday’s Photo Caption Contest
Brad Meltzer’s new mystery novel—The Inner Circle, the no. 1 bestseller on the most recent New York Times list—is all about the National Archives. “I came to visit and I fell in love. Truly,” Meltzer says in an interview about the book in the forthcoming issue of Prologue, the quarterly magazine of the National Archives. … Continue reading The National Archives–now in a novel near you!
While poking around the web while I ate my lunch, I discovered that today is Squirrel Appreciation Day! I know many gardeners can't stand the little beasts, and when we tried to grow tomatoes a couple of summers ago, I didn't feel too friendly toward them, either. But usually I'm quite taken by these fluffy-tailed guys. … Continue reading Have you hugged a squirrel today?
I am convinced that if, in the future, our country is to meet the unparalleled opportunity to win friends and advance the cause of peace and freedom, thousands of additional Americans will have to step forward and say, "I will serve." —from the statement of Robert Sargent Shriver, given in Chicago, IL, on May 17, 1961 … Continue reading Sargent Shriver and his Peace Corps guerrillas
Martin Luther King, Jr., would have been 82 on January 15, and yesterday we observed the national holiday in his honor. The above photograph shows a January 18, 1964, White House meeting between four civil rights leaders—Roy Wilkins, James Farmer, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Whitney Young—and President Lyndon Johnson. A civil rights bill was stuck in the … Continue reading January 18, 1964 – Martin Luther King, Jr. & LBJ
It's always exciting to uncover a new piece of history, and even more exciting to discover a whole new treasure trove of thousands of pieces of history. Today the John F. Kennedy Library is launching a new Digital Archives that contains over 200,000 digitized documents; 300 reels of audiotape containing over 1,200 individual recordings of telephone … Continue reading Explore the new Digital Archives at the Kennedy Library
In 1943, you wrote a letter to President Roosevelt. In 2011, the National Archives featured your letter on YouTube! How would you feel? L. J. Weil feels pretty good, actually. “Wonderful! It’s great to be honored this way,” he said when National Archives staff reached him at his home in Lousiana. Weil's letter to the … Continue reading The few, the proud, the letter-writers to the Marines
On today's date in 1964, "Introducing the Beatles" was released. It was the Beatles' first album in the United States. For Janelle Blackwell, the album would have dire consequences, aging her 65 years. In April of 1964, she wrote to the U.S. Labor Department, ending her letter with the statement "I'm 15 and I feel like … Continue reading “I’m 15 and I feel like 80”