Explore the new Digital Archives at the Kennedy Library

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

Exploring the polar regions

As frigid temperatures cover much of the country, and many areas are still dealing with record amounts of snow, my thoughts turn to the polar explorers of the early 20th century. They didn't have Goretex jackets with superwarm linings, satellite communications, or portable computers. Our "Pieces of History" blog takes its name from a regular … Continue reading Exploring the polar regions

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

Mole in place at the Archives

Researching in original records often provides the researcher with surprises. Usually the surprise takes the form of an unknown letter, a reference to your topic in an unexpected place, or a lead that directs you to a new set of records to mine. Once in a great while, the surprise is something no one could … Continue reading Mole in place at the Archives

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

The Medal of Honor

Today's post comes from National Archives Office of Strategy and Communications staff writer Rob Crotty. According to Army Regulation 670-1, a soldier can now receive 31 military decorations "as a distinctively designed mark of honor denoting heroism, or meritorious or outstanding service or achievement." During the Civil War, there was only one: the Medal of … Continue reading The Medal of Honor

Facial Hair Friday: “Howe” do they do it?

We may be a litttle short-staffed on this quasi-holiday, but I couldn't let Facial Hair Friday go by without a nod to some historic beards. Today's honoree is Gen. Albion P. Howe, veteran of the Mexican War and the Civil War. When a captain in the U.S. Army,  Howe served under Col. Robert E. Lee at … Continue reading Facial Hair Friday: “Howe” do they do it?

Thanksgiving: Another FDR Experiment

Yesterday we celebrated Thanksgiving, as usual, on the fourth Thursday of November. Today shoppers are hitting the stores for "Black Friday" super discounts to kick off holiday shopping. But until 1939, Thanksgiving Day was traditionally the last Thursday in November. That year there were five Thursdays in the month, and concern about a shortened shopping season prompted President Franklin … Continue reading Thanksgiving: Another FDR Experiment

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

The peculiar story of Wilmer McLean

Today's post comes from National Archives Office of Strategy and Communications staff writer Rob Crotty. Today Part Two of "Discovering the Civil War" opens at the National Archives in Washington, DC. The exhibit is divided into a few sections, the last of which is entitled "Endings and Beginnings," a reference to the end of the … Continue reading The peculiar story of Wilmer McLean