Medal of Honor is now on display at the National Archives

  The Medal of Honor is the highest honor in recognition of “gallantry in action.” Yet when President Abraham Lincoln signed “An act to further promote the efficiency of the Navy” into law on December 21, 1861, the creation of this honor is just a paragraph in section seven. Only 200 “medals of honor” were … Continue reading Medal of Honor is now on display at the National Archives

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

Facial Hair Friday—Edward Bates

Edward Bates was living quietly and comfortably in 1860. He had been out of public life for two decades but now was being courted by backers for the highest office in the land. The new Republican Party's nomination for President of the United States was wide open, and a number of contenders were vying for … Continue reading Facial Hair Friday—Edward Bates

It’s Washington’s Birthday—really

Monday is a federal holiday, but what holiday is it? So many ads on television and in print tell us it's Presidents/President's/Presidents' Day. Images of Lincoln and Washington sometimes accompany these ads. But here at the National Archives, we know it's still officially Washington's Birthday. This year the holiday is actually close to GW's birthday … Continue reading It’s Washington’s Birthday—really

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

Lincoln to slaves: go somewhere else

Today's post comes from National Archives Office of Strategy and Communications staff writer Rob Crotty. The issue of slavery divided the country under Abraham  Lincoln's Presidency. The national argument was simple: either keep slavery or abolish it. But Abraham Lincoln, known as the Great Emancipator, may have also been known as the Great Colonizer when … Continue reading Lincoln to slaves: go somewhere else

Thanksgiving, as American as apple pie

Today's post comes from National Archives Office of Strategy and Communications staff writer Rob Crotty. Here, in short, are the documents that made Thanksgiving. On October 3, 1789, President George Washington issued a proclamation naming Thursday, November 26, 1789, as an official holiday of "sincere and humble thanks." The nation then celebrated its first Thanksgiving … Continue reading Thanksgiving, as American as apple pie

Rare photo of Lincoln at Gettysburg

Today's post comes from National Archives Office of Strategy and Communications staff writer Rob Crotty. In 1952, the chief of the Still Photo section at the National Archives, Josephine Cobb, discovered a glass plate negative taken by Mathew Brady of the speaker's stand at Gettysburg on the day of its dedication as a National Cemetery. … Continue reading Rare photo of Lincoln at Gettysburg

The must-have Christmas gift of 1864

Today's post comes from National Archives Office of Strategy and Communications staff writer Rob Crotty. Each year in America it seems there is one holiday gift that is heavy on demand and short on supply. In 1996, there was the Tickle-Me-Elmo fiasco. In 1983, it was the Cabbage Patch Doll. In 1864, the gift of … Continue reading The must-have Christmas gift of 1864

Teddy Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln in the same photo

Today's post comes from National Archives Office of Strategy and Communications staff writer Rob Crotty. History is full of strange coincidences, and the Civil War is no exception. In the 1950s, Stefan Lorant was researching a book on Abraham Lincoln when he came across an image of the President's funeral procession as it moved down … Continue reading Teddy Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln in the same photo