Archive for July, 2010

The Grace Tully Collection of FDR Papers

Written on: July 29, 2010 | 3 Comments

Yesterday I welcomed members of Congress to the National Archives to celebrate the donation of the Grace Tully Collection. After almost 30 years of effort, the National Archives and the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library have obtained the papers that Grace Tully collected and maintained during her time as secretary of Franklin D. Roosevelt. My sincere appreciation goes out to Senator Charles E. Schumer and Representative Louise M. Slaughter, Senator Tom Carper, Senator Joseph Lieberman, Representative Lacy Clay, and Representative Edolphus Towns, who all helped to make this happen. My thanks also to Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Representative Henry A. Waxman, who worked on this effort in the last Congress.

The collection consists of over 5,000 documents and includes: memorabilia, printed items, and framed pieces; the papers of Missy LeHand, who preceded Grace Tully as Roosevelt’s primary personal secretary and was her close associate and friend; and many documents and notes that FDR sent to his staff for action or information.

Below is one document from the Tully Collection, a personal letter dated October 3, 1939 sent from US Ambassador to the United Kingdom Joseph P. Kennedy to Missy LeHand a month after the outbreak of World War II. From this letter, it is obvious that there was a personal connection between Kennedy, LeHand, and Tully, perhaps because all three were devout Catholics and all … [ Read all ]

Coming Soon: Federal Register 2.0

Written on: July 22, 2010 | 2 Comments

On July 26, we will celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Federal Register Act by launching Federal Register 2.0.  In a special event in the Rotunda of the National Archives, I will be joined by the Public Printer of the United States and distinguished guests from regulatory agencies and the open government community to introduce the web 2.0 version of the daily Federal Register.

What is the Federal Register?

The Federal Register is the legal newspaper of the U.S. government and contains rules, proposed rules, and public notices of federal agencies, as well Presidential documents. It’s an important, crucial part of our democracy. The Office of the Federal Register is a component of the National Archives and Records Administration.

Have you ever tried to find something in the Federal Register?

As you might expect, the Federal Register is dense and difficult to read whether in print or online as a PDF.  It’s also difficult to find what you’re looking for.

Federal Register 2.0 takes into consideration the 21st century user and turns the Federal Register website into a daily web newspaper. The clear layout will have tools to help users find what they need, comment on proposed rules, and share material relevant to their interests. In addition to greatly improved navigation and search tools, the site will highlight the most popular and newsworthy documents and … [ Read all ]

My Top Ten YouTube Videos

Written on: July 14, 2010 | 3 Comments

Since June 2009, the National Archives has made videos available on its YouTube Channel at  We now have 292 videos available, which have been viewed over 160,000 times.  Most videos are from our archival collections, including some from Presidential Libraries. Other videos represent current lectures and educational events. I hope you take some time to explore the videos and let me know your favorites.  Here are my top ten videos:

10. Fourth of July at the National Archives – Montage. Check out the National Archives float, new logo, and all of the activities at this year’s celebration.

9. We Were There When Nixon Met Elvis – January 25, 2010. This is fascinating discussion with those who were present when Elvis Presley came to the White House on December 21, 1970.

8. Carl Lewis – 1987. This is a powerful short clip from a longer video created by the U.S. Information Agency.

7. Space for Women – 1981. This video features interviews with women and shows the variety of positions they hold at NASA.

6. Who’s Out There – 1975. Orson Welles narrates this NASA video exploring the possibility and implications of extraterrestrial live.

5. Harry S. Truman – The Lobster Story. President Truman tells an amusing campaign story involving a lobster.

4. The March, Part 2 of 3. This video from the U.S. … [ Read all ]

Celebrate Good Times, Come On!

Written on: July 6, 2010 | 3 Comments

I celebrated Independence Day in the most spectacular way. I wasn’t really prepared for how amazing the day would be. I felt proud and honored to be the Archivist of the United States. I was truly moved by the enthusiasm of the crowds lined up along Constitution Avenue to cheer as our float went by, and those streaming into the National Archives building until 8:00 p.m. to see the Declaration of Independence.

It was a full day of events at the National Archives Building, which included a ride down Constitution Ave on our first ever National Archives float, and wrapped up the day watching fireworks set to the 1812 Overture.


David Ferriero, Congressman Lacy Clay, and Thomas Jefferson
Aboard the National Archives Float on July 4, 2010
(Photo courtesy of Trevor Plante, National Archives)

Congressman Lacy Clay and Thomas Jefferson joined me on the National Archives float and a group of enthusiastic NARA employees escorted us down Constitution Ave. Many thanks to those NARA employees who walked proudly along the parade route, including: Chidinma Achebe, Ann Baker, Nick Baric, Bianaca Black, Rick Blondo, Rita Cacas, Jason Clingerman, Stephanie Coon, Evan Coren, Cathy Farmer, Barbara Gordon, Steven Haversack, Heidi Holmstorm, Darrell Jackson, Thomas Jenkins, Megan Jones, Mary Knill, Denise LeBeck, John Legloahec, Carrie McGuire, Bryan Oklin, Alfie Paul, Rebecca Sams, and Roger Wilson.

The day was … [ Read all ]

Citizen Archivists Making an Impact at the National Archives

Written on: July 2, 2010 | 1 Comment

On June 16, I joined Carl Malamud and members of the International Amateur Scanning League (IASL) in the Still Picture Research Room at the National Archives in College Park, Maryland. I was lending my support to their newest citizen archivist project — scanning and making available online approximately 15,000 State Department photographs of diplomatic events and facilities within the records of the National Archives. This is yet one more example of the work of Carl Malamud, esteemed citizen archivist, who has worked tirelessly over the years to put public information in the public domain. Since February, Carl and the members of the IASL have been working to make over 1,500 videos from the records of the National Archives available online.

Carl Malamud and Members of the International Amateur Scanning League

Carl Malamud (right) and Members of the International Amateur Scanning League

(Photo Courtesy of the National Archives)

I got the chance to do some scanning and see the new equipment supplied by the Scanning League in action. State Department International New Media Strategist, Dean Cheves was on hand to share his enthusiasm and support for the project. Volunteers from the State Department will also be scanning photographs, which will be valuable for U.S. Embassies around the world. I’m hoping this project will be inspiration for more departments and agencies to send volunteers to the National Archives to work on digitizing their records.

The Archivist Scanning Images

The Archivist of … [ Read all ]