A Civil War Widow’s Story

Intriguing discoveries are made all the time in the National Archives. This tintype of a woman and child doesn’t look like the typical federal record, let alone one associated with military records. But it was found in one of the 1.28 million Civil War Widows Certificate Approved Pension Case Files. Since 2007, a team of … Continue reading A Civil War Widow’s Story

Hats off to Bess Truman!

Here at Prologue: Pieces of History, we have Facial Hair Friday. On the Harry S. Truman Library's Facebook page, they celebrate Millinery Monday! When I was very little, I loved poking through my mother's old hatboxes stored in the basement. Alas, the era of wearing hats for every occasion had passed, but she had saved her … Continue reading Hats off to Bess Truman!

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

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

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: Civil War Beards on Film

Yesterday was Veterans Day, and many of my friends on Facebook posted tributes to their family and friends, usually mentioning their grandfathers who fought in World War II. Now, World War II was over 60 years ago, but I personally know WWII vets—my own grandfather and great-uncle. And my father knew family members who were … Continue reading Facial Hair Friday: Civil War Beards on Film

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

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