Crafting a Call to Arms: FDR’s Day of Infamy Speech

In the early afternoon of December 7, 1941, Franklin D. Roosevelt was just finishing lunch in his oval study on the second floor of the White House, preparing to work on his stamp album. The phone rang, and he was informed that the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, shortly before 1 p.m. Washington time, … Continue reading Crafting a Call to Arms: FDR’s Day of Infamy Speech

What’s Cooking Wednesday: Please Pass the Leftovers

The National Archives current marquee exhibit, "What's Cooking, Uncle Sam?", is drawing some good crowds and public press. It's showing in our main building in downtown Washington through Jan. 3, 2012. It's all about how the Government has tried through the decades to dictate, or influence, what we should eat and why we should eat something from each … Continue reading What’s Cooking Wednesday: Please Pass the Leftovers

Waiting All Night for a Look at History

Americans are used to waiting in line for things they really want: tickets to a rock concert, a World Series game or a controversial new movie, for example. At the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan, this week some people  waited all night for a brief look at one of the nation's most historic documents --- the … Continue reading Waiting All Night for a Look at History

Meatloaf by candlelight? Not for this President.

Like most boys from Missouri, Harry Truman developed simple tastes in food as he was growing up—especially things like his mother's fried chicken and that great American budget-friendly staple, meatloaf. According to the Truman Presidential Library in Independence, Missouri, the 33rd President also liked corn bread with Missouri sorghum, all kinds of fowl, and Ozark pudding, which included … Continue reading Meatloaf by candlelight? Not for this President.

“You’re Fired!”

Harry S. Truman was never really fond of Gen. Douglas MacArthur, especially after their frosty 1950 Wake Island meeting in the Pacific while the Korean War raged. Things had not gone particularly well since the North Koreans invaded South Korea in late June 1950. By October, South Korean troops had pushed across the 38th parallel, … Continue reading “You’re Fired!”

A Shaky, but Official, Signature

It had not yet been 24 hours since President Ronald Reagan was wounded in an assassination attempt—wounds far more serious than the public was told at the time. But on the morning of March 31, 1981, the three men he relied on most in these early days of his administration came to see him in … Continue reading A Shaky, but Official, Signature

Reverse the (Zero) Curse

When Ronald Reagan survived the attempt on his life on March 30, 1981, and went on to serve two full four-year terms, he broke what some people call “the year-ending-in-zero” curse. It goes like this: Every President elected in a year ending in zero since 1840 had died in office. William Henry Harrison, elected in … Continue reading Reverse the (Zero) Curse

The National Archives–now in a novel near you!

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!

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