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Why working at the National Archives is so interesting

Today’s post is written by David Langbart.   To a large degree, working with the records at the National Archives is a never-ending series of fascinating encounters with the original documentation of U.S. history. The following document, a memorandum of conversation (memcon) drafted by Secretary of State John Foster Dulles in January 1954, gives an idea […]

A personal prologue at the National Archives

The motto of the National Archives is “What is Past Is Prologue.” Recently, while assisting a researcher at Archives II, I ran into my Dad, even though he died several years ago.  A bit of background will help you understand.  My father’s first Government service, like most in his generation, came in the military during […]

Yugoslavia 1970: The Writing on the Wall

From time to time while working in the records, NARA staff find documents that provide new perspectives on events through which they lived.  I recently had that experience. I remember well the terrible humanitarian disaster that befell local populations as Yugoslavia ripped itself apart during the 1990s.  I remember, too, how many commentators expressed surprise […]

Remembering Dave Brubeck

Jazz great Dave Brubeck died on December 5, one day short of his 92nd birthday.  Since then, there have been many retrospectives – in print, on television, on radio, and on line.  Almost all of those remembrances mention the goodwill tour of Poland and the Far East that Brubeck and his quartet made in 1958 […]

Remembering Pearl Harbor

In the aftermath of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor 71 years ago today, agencies of the U.S. government swung into action.  The Army and Navy immediately went on a war footing as did American diplomats in the Department of State and at embassies and consulates around the world.  Since the formal outbreak of war […]

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