A look back at 2014

What a year! Here's some of the highlights of the last 12 months of the National Archives that we shared on our blog. Thanks for reading in 2014--we'll see you in 2015 with more pieces of history! The National Archives turned 80 The Historian of the National Archives, Jessie Kratz, shared the stories of an agency … Continue reading A look back at 2014

An airing of grievances: A pension clerk’s appeal

In honor of Festivus, this seems like the perfect document for the airing of grievances. This feature was originally published in Prologue: Quarterly of the National Archives (Summer 2013). At the National Archives, and almost any other archival institution, one of the principal rules for using original records is to keep the records in the same order … Continue reading An airing of grievances: A pension clerk’s appeal

Illuminating the National Archives

This photo from August 29, 1954, shows the National Archives Building lit up for the very first time, its beautiful columns and attic story glowing while onlookers gather to witness the occasion. Surprisingly, while other Washington, DC, landmarks were illuminated, the National Archives stood dark every night for the first 19 years it was open. … Continue reading Illuminating the National Archives

A WASP’s Story

Today's post comes from Ashley Mattingly, an archivist at the National Archives in St. Louis. The year was 1943, and Elizabeth “Betty” Maxine Chambers was a young mother and a widow. Betty’s husband, Army pilot Lt. Robert William Chambers, had died in 1942 when his P-38F Lightening aircraft crashed at Mills Field in San Mateo, … Continue reading A WASP’s Story

Mystery lady identified!

Alan Walker, an archivist in the Textual Processing unit in the National Archives at College Park, MD, just solved a mystery that staff have wondered about for many years. Mark down this auspicious date, for I shall reveal to you the identity of this longtime mystery woman. You've probably seen this photo many a time … Continue reading Mystery lady identified!

Remembering the Geneva Convention through the words of Clara Barton

Today’s post comes from Christina James, intern in the National Archives History Office. This year marks the 150th anniversary of the Geneva Convention of 1864. At a gathering in Geneva, Switzerland, 16 countries established protocol for treatment of individuals wounded in armed conflicts. Among the points agreed upon by the representatives in attendance were aid to … Continue reading Remembering the Geneva Convention through the words of Clara Barton

Carting the Charters

Visitors to downtown Washington, DC, on December 13, 1952, were treated to an interesting sight—armored vehicles escorted by a barrage of military and police personnel. It wasn’t a holiday or the Presidential motorcade or a visiting dignitary. On that chilly December morning, passersby saw the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States … Continue reading Carting the Charters

Crafting the “Day of Infamy” Speech

Early on a quiet Sunday afternoon in December 1941, the President of the United States was in his study at the White House working on his stamp album. It was a favorite activity and one that allowed him to shut out the troubles of the world, if only for a little while. The telephone rang, … Continue reading Crafting the “Day of Infamy” Speech

A Very Special “Make It Work” Christmas Story

Tim Gunn will be at the National Archives on December 11, hosting “Deck the Halls: Holidays at the White House.” Join us in person or watch live on our YouTube channel. Details at the bottom of this blog post! It was 40 years before his famous catchphrase, but Tim Gunn knew he needed to “make it … Continue reading A Very Special “Make It Work” Christmas Story