Temple of Our History

On February 20, 1933, President Herbert Hoover and First Lady Lou Henry Hoover left the White House by car just before 2:30 p.m. with an escort of nine motorcycle policemen. Their destination was the corner of 7th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, to lay the cornerstone of the National Archives Building in Washington, DC. The event … Continue reading Temple of Our History

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

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

Surrender? Nuts!

On Victory in Europe (V-E) Day, May 8, 1945, Nazi Germany officially surrendered to the Allied Forces at the end of World War II. That same day in the United States, President Harry S. Truman issued a proclamation announcing the war in Europe had ended. Soon after, Archivist of the United States Solon Buck and President … Continue reading Surrender? Nuts!

Making Room for Records

Continuing our celebration of American Archives month, today’s post comes from Christina James, intern in the National Archives History Office. Since it opened and began accepting records in 1935, the National Archives has had to face the issue of space. Housing the records of the Federal Government is no small task, even when only 1-3 … Continue reading Making Room for Records

Symbols of Significance: The Pediments of the National Archives Building

October is American Archives Month! To celebrate the month dedicated to all things archives, we will feature weekly posts on the history of the National Archives. Today’s post comes from Christina James, intern in the National Archives History Office. Measuring 118 feet wide and 18 feet high at their peaks, the pediments on the north and south sides of … Continue reading Symbols of Significance: The Pediments of the National Archives Building

John Russell Pope’s Lincoln Memorial designs

Today's post comes from Christina James, intern in the National Archives History Office.  Walking through our nation’s capital, you will inevitably come across at least one structure adorned with triangular pediments, massive columns, or a majestic dome. Many of Washington, DC’s most iconic buildings and monuments feature these elements and exemplify neoclassical architecture. John Russell Pope, … Continue reading John Russell Pope’s Lincoln Memorial designs

Doors of Monumental Proportions

Today’s post comes from Jessie Kratz, Historian of the National Archives. On June 24 the National Archives celebrates its 80th anniversary. If you have ever visited the National Archives in Washington, DC, you may have noticed two very, very large bronze doors that mark the original Constitution Avenue entrance to the building. Visitors enter through the … Continue reading Doors of Monumental Proportions

Happy 80th Birthday National Archives

Today's post comes from Jessie Kratz, Historian of the National Archives. June 19 marks the 80th Anniversary of the establishment of the National Archives.  Eighty years ago on June 19, 1934, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed legislation creating the National Archives. It was the culmination of a 25-year campaign by the historical community to create … Continue reading Happy 80th Birthday National Archives

A warning from the Surgeon General about air conditioning

Rick Blondo, management and program analyst at the National Archives, reflects on the logistics of maintaining records in the sweltering humidity that is summer in Washington, DC. Summer in Washington can be a wilting experience for tourists and locals alike, but not so for the holdings maintained in the National Archives. The National Archives was … Continue reading A warning from the Surgeon General about air conditioning