238 years ago, the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence. And John Adams envisioned future celebrations of the event. In a letter to his wife, he wrote: “It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It out to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward for ever more.”
A Stilt-Walking “Uncle Sam,” 06/1973. National Archives Identifier 549573
That vision of the future got off to a slow, but no less passionate start. On July 5th 1777, John Adams wrote to his daughter from Philadelphia describing events of the first anniversary: Invited to dine with President Washington aboard the frigate Delaware, Adams wrote: “…we were saluted with a discharge of thirteen guns, which was followed by thirteen others, from each other armed vessel in the river; then the gallies followed the fire, and after them the guard boats. The President and company were saluted with three cheers, from every ship, galley, and boat in the river. The wharves and shores, were lined with a vast concourse of people, all shouting and huzzaing, in a manner which gave great joy to every friend to this country, and the utmost terror and dismay … [ Read all ]
Today marks the 70th Anniversary of the D-Day invasion. To commemorate this anniversary, this month’s patent is Andrew Higgins’s landing boat. It is dated February 15, 1944, less than four months before D-Day.
LCVPs–or Higgins boats, as they are now commonly known –transported troops from the 1st Infantry onto Omaha Beach. They could each carry 36 combat-equipped infantrymen or 8,000 pounds of cargo. In all, 23,398 Higgins boats were produced during the war.
From the holdings of the National Archives at Kansas City, “Lighter for Mechanized Equipment,” Patent Case Files, 1836-1993, NAID 302050… [ Read all ]
This month we celebrate the one year anniversary of the launch of Founders Online – a tool for seamless searching across the papers of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and Alexander Hamilton. In the past year, the site has received over 400,000 visits.
An example of the power of the site shows in its great search results. When I searched for “Cotton,” “Beverly,” and “Washington,” the results returned the exact document I had in mind – a diary entry by George Washington written in 1789 remarking on his visit to the cotton manufactury in my home town of Beverly, Massachusetts.
The photograph was taken at Soldier Field, Chicago, in July of 1967. The Navy’s Recruit Training Command at Great Lakes provided the manpower to create The Living Flag. In the upper right corner of the blue field, wearing a blue plastic bag over whitehat, stands recruit David S. Ferriero!
Remembering boot camp on this Memorial Day weekend.
“Soldier Field, Chicago, Illinois, July 8, 1967: 10,000 sailors from the Great Lakes Naval Training Center form a living flag. Mayor Richard J. Daley and Rear Admiral William S. Guest, Commandant, Ninth Naval District, are the principal speakers at the event during which several classes of recruits graduated from the Training Center” . . . 428-N-1124035… [ Read all ]
It gives me great joy to be able to share the treasures of the National Archives with kids and their families.
In January, we held the first-ever National Archives Sleepover in the Rotunda. It was a great way to create a meaningful experience for families, while giving us the opportunity to explain the important role of the Archives in preserving government records and making them accessible to the public.
The first sleepover drew families from around the country- many of whom had never visited the National Archives before! The response was so positive that we decided to invite more families during summer vacation and again in the fall.
Our next sleepover will be held on August 2. It will feature an “Explorers Night” night theme, complete with hands-on activities to help young explorers investigate, – through music, chats with historical figures, games, and more – some of the greatest adventures of all time.
You might even see me flipping pancakes again!
Archivist of the United States David Ferriero (right) and author Brad Meltzer (center) serve breakfast at the first National Archives sleepover.
Despite the challenges of the past year–sequestration, the government shutdown, and other obstacles we have had to face– the staff of the National Archives has consistently risen to the occasion and has done some extraordinary work.
Staff receive awards at the 2014 Archivist’s Awards Ceremony at the National Archives in College Park
For me, every week is Public Service Recognition Week and I have come to look forward to the Archivist’s Awards day when we celebrate our staff’s accomplishments. All of our staff members are winners based on feedback supplied by our customers–the day-to-day work that doesn’t always get heralded. Here are some of the terrific things customers have to say about the staff of the National Archives:
An IRS agent was “taken aback by the professionalism and personal attention she received” at San Bruno. And another IRS person praised the FRC staff in Boston, Pittsfield, Seattle, and Lee’s Summit who “really went the extra mile to locate some very old Form 1120s––corporate tax returns.”
A Department of Commerce records officer wrote: “Thank you again for coming and providing ERA training. You did fantastic, and the feedback was very good…. You are welcome to come back any time.”
At the National Personnel Records Center, a daughter searching for the military records of her late father wrote that “it is apparent you did a great deal
I recently attended the Institute of Museum and Library Services’ public hearing on broadband access, hosted at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in Washington, DC. I was joined by colleagues from Federal agencies, universities, museums and libraries to examine the need for high speed broadband access in America’s libraries, and how this access is essential in meeting the educational, cultural, and information needs of all citizens.
As the leader of an agency dedicated to providing access to the permanent records of the federal government, I support this initiative to increase broadband access. Tom Wheeler, Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, spoke eloquently of his own experience in using archival records and the value of electronic access to those records. Broadband access is the crucial piece in this equation; we need to ensure that our holdings and content can reach the eyes of many more people in order to truly make access happen.
Watch the full recording of the IMLS Public Hearing: “Libraries and Broadband: Urgency and Impact”:
The Managing Government Records Directive (OMB M12-18) charges the National Archives and Records Administration to lead the efforts to modernize records management in the Federal Government.
The Directive focuses on two main goals:
agencies will require electronic recordkeeping by managing all their email in an accessible electronic format by the end of 2016 and managing all their permanent records as electronic records by the end of 2019.
agencies must demonstrate compliance with all records management laws and regulations.
I talked about the importance of the Directive in a post when it was issued in 2012. Since then, we passed several milestones. Agencies have identified Senior Agency Officials to lead records management in their programs and I have met with them to discuss the challenge and collaborate on solutions. And they have reported on their progress.
Staff members Meg Phillips, Don Rosen, and Chief Records Officer Paul Wester mingle with vendors at “The Managing Government Records Directive: A Grand Challenge for Industry” event in September 2013.
In September, we hosted a successful industry day for the Federal information management community and vendors with automated electronic records management solutions and services. It was an opportunity to meet and discuss the solutions and tools needed to meet the goals of the Directive.
During my years at MIT and Duke, Commencement was always a special day for me. It put into perspective all of the work during the previous year to ensure that students and faculty had the information resources and support they needed in their coursework and research—a morning to celebrate the launch of another class of educated men and women.
So, I am taking this assignment seriously. I will certainly be taking FDR’s advice to heart—“Be sincere, be brief, be seated.”
But I need your help. What advice would you give this graduating class? What special message would you deliver to undergraduates? Graduate students? Parents and other family members? Faculty and staff of the university? Send me your ideas!
In the video below, Jennifer Pahlka, U.S. Deputy Chief Technology Officer, invites you to make a difference and serve your country by applying to become a Presidential Innovation Fellow. This is the third round of the Presidential Innovation Fellows. Projects from the first two rounds included: making government data more openly available, programs to assist Veterans, streamlining processes for citizens to find information and government services, and projects to assist American businesses. You can find out more about these first and second round projects on the Innovation Fellows website.
We are excited that this is the first time a National Archives project is featured! For our project, “Crowdsourcing Tools to Unlock Government Records,” innovators will lead the open development of crowdsourcing tools for the public to easily contribute to government records at the National Archives and improve the effectiveness of crowdsourcing across the government.
Presidential Innovation Fellows will build upon our crowdsourcing efforts, which have included the Citizen Archivist Dashboard, transcription projects, scan-a-thons, and collaboration with Wikipedia, to usher in a new generation of open development of crowdsourcing tools.
Do you want to make a difference in government? Apply today!
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