Top 10 of 2021

As we move into the new year, we’re looking back on the most popular posts published on Pieces of History in 2021. We would like to give a big thank-you to the National Archives staff who work so hard to Make Access Happen through their numerous contributions. And thank you all for sticking with us through the challenges of the new blog platform—here’s to smooth sailing in 2022!

10. At the number 10 spot, just eking out Russian Wild Boars at Great Smoky Mountains National Park, is A Promise to Faithfully Execute the Office: Presidential Inaugurations, a look back on Presidential inaugurations highlighted through the records at the National Archives. 

9. Honoring those who died while serving in the U.S. military, Rachel Bartgis’s post, 100th Anniversary of the Return of the Wheaton, highlights the National Archives collection of questionnaires to the next of kin of those who died during World War I overseas, asking them if they wanted their relative to be permanently buried in a military cemetery overseas or returned to the United States.

8. For International Archives Week, Bryan Cheeseboro blogged about two NARA staff members, John Heyn and Jesse Wilinski, teaming up to create a video on Civil War soldier Charles Sprout.

7. In celebration of American Archives Month, Rachel Bartgis’s Holding It Together: Before Passwords—Ribbons and Seals for Document Security, is the first in a series looking at some of the many fasteners and seals found in records at the National Archives.

6. Michael J. Hancock’s post, ‘Roger, go at throttle up’: The 35th Anniversary of the Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster remembers the loss of the crew and their courage in pursuing space exploration.

5. As part of a series on records at the National Personnel Records Center, Thomas Richardson explains the process of Recognizing Service: How to Determine Entitlement to Medals.

4. To celebrate Black History Month, Thomas Richardson’s post, The Fight for the Right to Marry: The Loving v. Virginia Case, explores the landmark Supreme Court civil rights case. 

3. In third place is a post from Rachel Bartgis about a group of National Archives records related to Confederate Slave Payrolls and the people contained in those records.

2. Coming in at number two is Michael J. Hancock’s post Brush with Catastrophe: The Day the U.S. Almost Nuked Itself, about two Mark 39 hydrogen bombs that were accidentally dropped over Goldsboro, North Carolina, on January 23, 1961.

1. At our top spot comes a post from former National Archives History Office Intern Rebecca Brenner Graham—Sam Anthony Brightened NARA remembers our beloved colleague who passed away in August. 

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