Archive for December, 2011

Together We Can Do It!

Written on: December 23, 2011 | 2 Comments

Today we launch the Citizen Archivist Dashboard ( and encourage you to get involved in elevating the visibility of the records of the United States.

Citizen Archivist Dashboard Screen Shot

Did you know that many grade school children aren’t taught cursive handwriting anymore and can’t read cursive?  Help us transcribe records and guarantee that school children can make use of our documents.  I have transcribed one myself!

Recognize someone or someplace in one of our photographs?  Add a tag!

Have a photograph in your personal collection you want to contribute?  Upload it!

Have you been researching in the records?  Share what you’ve discovered!  Write an article and post it to the Dashboard so others can learn from your work.

This is very much a work in progress and we are interested in your ideas for improving the Dashboard.  Other activities we might include?  Send us your suggestions or comments:

I am HUGE fan of the wisdom of the crowd.  Don’t disappoint me!… [ Read all ]

Becoming a Citizen

Written on: December 23, 2011 | 3 Comments

Last week we celebrated Bill of Rights Day here at the National Archives in my favorite activity—a Naturalization Ceremony in the Rotunda.  On December 15, 1791, the first ten amendments the Constitution were adopted and for many years we have been marking the anniversary by hosting the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia’s swearing-in ceremony for new citizens of the United States.

This year, 19 individuals became citizens.  They came from Armenia, Canada, El Salvador, Dominican Republic, Ethiopia, Ghana, Honduras, India, Nigeria, Venezuela, Pakistan, Peru, United Kingdom, Trinidad and Tobago, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Sri Lanka.  If you have never seen the course of instruction and examination which prospective citizens complete, it is worth a look.   Take the test yourself and see how you do!  I always find it a good reminder of how lucky we are and how much we take for granted about our rights and freedoms.

The Honorable Royce C. Lamberth, Chief Judge of the U.S. Court for the District of Columbia, administered the Oath of Allegiance and then shared the story of discovering his own family’s French Huguenot background.  I had an opportunity to remind them of their new responsibilities as citizens (see my remarks) and to share the story of my grandparents’ arrival from Italy.

Our special guest speaker stole the show with his story of … [ Read all ]

Annual Archivist’s Awards Ceremony

Written on: December 14, 2011 | 1 Comment

Last week I hosted our Annual Archivist’s Awards Ceremony.  It was an opportunity for me, along with the other senior leaders of the National Archives to acknowledge outstanding service over the past year, and to thank the entire staff for their hard work and focus on the mission of the agency.  I said:

For those of you who might be tweeting my remarks, I’m about to make your task very easy for you. You can sum up what I’m going to say today in just ten characters… including an exclamation point: Thank you!

I’m here this afternoon to express my profound appreciation, my heartfelt thanks for the terrific work you do—which I have seen firsthand in almost all of our sites.

When I came to the archives two years ago, I had heard that the employees here were dedicated, hard-working, professional and loyal. Every day since then, as I’ve wandered around and talked with you and your customers or users I see more and more proof of that.  I’ve also had an opportunity to visit other agencies and I can honestly say that you are the most dedicated of all Federal employees and have the most pride in what you do.  Every one of you also makes a difference every single day in the lives of American citizens.  The list of your accomplishments over the … [ Read all ]