The National Archives’ Online Public Access (OPA) system will be down for maintenance from May 10 to May 25, 2013. We are in the process of rolling out a new version of OPA that will bring the catalog up to date. After the updated system is rolled out, the catalog will be updated on a weekly basis. We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience as we work to improve the system!
You may wish to use the Archival Research Catalog (ARC) for your research during this period of downtime. The descriptions or catalog records will be available in ARC, although all digital images in ARC will be unavailable for this period. Please check out OPA after May 25th!
If you have any questions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Please bear with us as we bring you a new and improved online public access catalog!
["Aircraft Schools. Boys training as maintenance men at Aero Industries Technical Institute, 05/01/1940. National Archives Identifier 532186]
Today’s post comes from Stephanie Stegman, Volunteer at the National Archives at Fort Worth
The Fort Smith Criminal Case Files, 1866-1900 used to be difficult to search, but not anymore. These Wild West court cases offer a glimpse of what life was like on the frontier between western Arkansas and the Indian Territory, which today is Oklahoma. The National Archives at Fort Worth has a new website designed to guide you step by step through these colorful records.
The United States District Court for the Western District of Arkansas was unusual because from 1851 until 1896 its jurisdiction extended westward, beyond the state of Arkansas, and into Indian Territory. Tribal courts heard cases involving crimes committed among their own members until 1885. However, most of the criminal offenses that occurred in this large area of 74,000 square miles were tried at the federal district court level. These cases include a large number of liquor violations and larceny, such as stealing horses, as well as instances of murder and mayhem that we commonly associate with classic Western television shows.
Acting Lt. Governor of Texas, Barnett Gibbs’s Proclamation for the Apprehension of John Middleton, 04/21/1885 (National Archives Identifier 5898031)
After a fire at the original court seat in Van Buren, the Western District of Arkansas moved to Fort Smith on the Arkansas River in 1871 and into the recently closed U.S. Army barracks building in 1872. For the next twenty years, the court heard cases from Indian Territory, where the lawless often went to hide out and ran into other criminals as well as law-abiding citizens. The Fort Smith court records mention not only the defendants, but also some of the victims, witnesses, U.S. marshals, deputy marshals, and other court employees.
The criminal case files (also called defendant jackets) have been scanned and are available online through Ancestry.com.
Sam and Belle Starr jacket on Ancestry.com screen capture
These records tell sensational (and sometimes graphic) stories from the history of the American West with cases involving infamous outlaws: the “Bandit Queen” Belle Starr, the Dalton Gang, Crawford Goldsby (alias Cherokee Bill), and murderer-turned-silent-movie-star Henry Starr, to name a few. Famous lawmen and jurists like the legendary black U.S. Deputy Marshal Bass Reeves and “Hanging” Judge Isaac C. Parker also make frequent appearances.
One researcher found 287 separate cases that mention Bass Reeves. A former slave from Texas, Reeves had a distinguished career as a deputy marshal and served the federal district court for 32 years. This number isn’t surprising, given his long career and his knack for capturing suspected criminals. The men (and a few women) who were deputy marshals did the majority of the court’s work. They served writs, gave testimony, and led posses as well as transporting and capturing or killing outlaws.
Oath of Office for Bass Reeves, 1889 (National Archives Identifier 6851120)
The National Archives at Fort Worth’s new research guide provides a description of these and other resources to explain the “who, what, when, and where” of the criminal case files. In addition to case files, related court records also may help researchers to create a more complete picture of a particular case. For a number of years, Fort Worth’s volunteers have worked to flatten documents, index records, and understand how these bits and pieces fit together. Now all of these efforts are available online.
To learn more, visit the National Archives at Fort Worth’s website: http://www.archives.gov/fort-worth/finding-aids/fort-smith-case-files/
Starting on Friday, March 15, the National Archives will reduce public hours at two locations in the Washington, DC, area as part of actions it is taking due to sequestration.
These reductions will affect exhibit spaces and research rooms at the National Archives Building in Washington, DC, and research rooms at the National Archives at College Park, Maryland.
In the past, the National Archives offered extended hours for exhibit spaces from March 15 through Labor Day, when the building stayed open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week. We will no longer offer these extended hours. Exhibit spaces at the National Archives Building in Washington DC will remain open to the public from 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., seven days a week, year round. Please note that the last admission will be at 5:00 p.m.
Research rooms at the National Archives Building in Washington, DC, and the National Archives at College Park, Maryland, are normally open to researchers six days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with extended hours from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. three days a week (Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday). We will no longer offer these extended hours. The research rooms will remain open to researchers from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday, year round.
In announcing the reduced hours, the Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero said “We don’t take these reductions lightly. We are working hard to achieve our mission and minimize disruptions to the services we provide to the public.”
Thanks for your patience and understanding as we adjust our hours and work to serve researchers and visitors.
*Update: Please note the research rooms will still be open until 9:00 pm on Friday, March 15th. This will be the last day for extended hours. As of Saturday, March 16th, the research room hours will be 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.
On South 9th Street on Nicollet Mall the Huge Clock provides the time and a Resting Place, 06/1973, National Archives Identifier 551447
So many songs, so many lawsuits. As February brings a plethora of romantic tunes to the airwaves and to people’s hearts, a copyright case recalls how one of the most popular Motown creations was alleged to have been plagiarized from another source.
When Baby Love was sung by popular “girl group” The Supremes, it became a number one song in 1964. It was written and produced by the prolific team of Holland-Dozier-Holland (H-D-H), a hit-making trio at the Detroit-based studio.
Record of Baby Love recorded by The Supremes in 1964, used as an exhibit in the court case.
However, in 1966, Lorenzo Pack, head of New York-based Packson Music Publishing Company, sued Motown Record Corporation, (subsidiary) Motown Sales Corporation, and the Jobete Music Company for copyright infringement. The civil action, case number 28687, was filed in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan, Southern Division, also located in Detroit.
Pack claimed his 1962 song I’m Afraid was copied in part by H-D-H. Pack, a former prize fighter, was questioned in painstaking detail about how he and co-writer Harper Evans came to compose the song together, with the opposing lawyer wondering how they were able to write the melody with only one of the men being able to read music “a little bit.” The retired pugilist explained that the two sang the song back and forth and wrote as much as they could until they were satisfied with it. Subsequently, they took the song to a musician who was able to formally write the music on “onion skin.”
Further, in Pack’s deposition he claimed he recorded I’m Afraid around 1962-1963, but did not release it immediately because he felt it was not quite complete. He waited a few months to go back to overdub the original. However, Packson Music ended up never releasing the song, even though it was recorded in a studio with several instruments, a lead singer, and backup singers. Moreover, it turns out there were 100 copies of the sheet music printed, but none were sold.
So that begs the question, if the song was not released, and the sheet music was not sold, how could H-D-H copy it? Pack claimed he played the song for and showed the music to a couple different companies in or around the famous Brill Building in New York, where many in the music industry were located. However, under intense questioning by one of the defendants’ attorneys, George Schiffer, Pack was unable to name most of the people who heard his song, although he was certain the wife and the sister of Berry Gordy, founder of Motown, were two of them.
The terse Schiffer finally asked Pack how I’m Afraid and Baby Love are similar. Pack claimed the first two bars of the songs are the same, the rhythmic structure is identical, the chord changes are similar, and that “there is an infringement in the melody.” Pack said he heard Baby Love on the radio and when he was humming it, “it struck me that ‘Baby Love’ was ‘I’m Afraid.’”
Exhibit used to compare the two songs named in the court case.
In addition to a few musicians who analyzed the songs and said they were dissimilar, there were depositions from those at Motown who, too, refuted Pack’s claims. Arranger Hank Cosby said Brian Holland, Eddie Holland, and Lamont Dozier brought him the song and that they had “very specific ideas about the whole arrangement and the sound they wanted to produce.” Cosby also said that “as an arranger of many years experience and a professional musician, it is obvious that the two songs…are very different…. The structure or form of the songs is not at all the same. I’m Afraid is in the old fashioned thirty-two (32) bar form. Baby Love is in the twelve (12) bar form. This form gives an entirely different feeling than a normal thirty-two (32) bar song. It would be much more emphatic and direct.”
Cosby concluded by stating that the only way the two songs are similar is they use a “two note theme.” But those themes have been used in numerous popular songs such as Till the End of Time, Dancing Cheek to Cheek, and It Might As Well Be Spring.
In April 1967, depositions were given by Holland, Dozier, and Holland. Lamont Dozier put it succinctly saying, in addition to his never having met Pack, “I had never heard the composition performed in any way and it was never sung to me by anyone. I have never seen…sheet music or any other written form of the composition I’m Afraid…. In no way was the song Baby Love based on anyone else’s ideas or suggestions.”
Brian Holland went into more detail about the creation of Baby Love. “When we write a song, we try to express real feelings about a real situation…. In writing the song for the Supremes it was obvious that we were writing for pretty young girls, of whom one is the so-called lead singer…. Therefore, in writing Baby Love, we pictured a simple story about a girl whose boyfriend has left her and who loves him very dearly and who would like the boy to come back. The music…fits this simple story.”
The “Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law” from October 1967 by Judge Talbot Smith stated that the song entitled I’m Afraid is “dissimilar in every material respect” from Baby Love except that they each use a “two-note motive” for their melodies, and that is common in “musical literature.” Also, “the Court further concludes that there was no evidence that the writers of Baby Love had access to the musical composition I’m Afraid.”
In the “Judgment,” from December 1967, Judge Smith ordered in favor of the defendants “dismissing the action with costs and disbursements to be taxed by the Clerk in favor of the Defendants and against the Plaintiff.”
Within a couple weeks of the dismissal, the plaintiff filed an appeal. Whether that case uncovered any more interesting testimony remains to be seen. But given the facts of the original case, Motown would have no cause to be afraid.
Photograph of Mrs. Adelaide Minogue Checking Humidity Recorder in Stacks, 1942 (National Archives Identifier: 3493247)
The National Archives, with the generous support of the Foundation for the National Archives, is now inviting proposals for the 2013 Regional Residency Fellowship Program.
The Residency Fellowship Program gives researchers the opportunity to conduct original research using records held at National Archives locations in Boston, MA; Denver, CO; Fort Worth, TX; Riverside, CA; San Francisco, CA; and St. Louis, MO. Researchers can explore overlooked records and experience what many researchers have discovered: that it is not necessary to go to Washington, DC, to do research at the National Archives.
For 2013, one fellow will be assigned to each of the participating National Archives facilities, for a total of six fellowships. Each fellow will receive a $3,000 stipend, funded by the Foundation for the National Archives, to assist with travel and research expenses.
The Fellowship recipients are expected to complete a research project that results in a publishable product. Each recipient will also prepare a short report (within one year of receiving the Fellowship) for publication by the National Archives that describes the research experience: the discovery, method, and use of the records.
We encourage our Fellowship recipients to use social media to talk about their experience. At the end of their research visit, Fellows will also conduct a staff briefing to share their discoveries.
Academic and independent historians, public and local historians, and writers are encouraged to apply. Current National Archives employees and contractors or their immediate family members are not eligible.
Submit proposals by e-mail or mail. Proposal must be received by March 15, 2013. Awards will be announced May 1, 2013.
What to send:
- A description and justification for the project, not to exceed six pages. This proposal should include:
- a description of the records to be used for research (there should be enough records in your location for a research visit of at least one week);
- a listing of the records that will be used at the location;
- the proposed final product; and
- the significance of the project to historical scholarship.
- Please also include:
- Vita (no more than three pages) including current contact information; and
- two letters of recommendation.
Proposals should be sent by mail or email to the NARA facility the researcher intends to use for the fellowship.
2013 Fellowship locations
National Archives at Boston
2013 Fellowship Program
380 Trapelo Road
Waltham, MA 02452-6399
National Archives at Denver
2013 Fellowship Program
17101 Huron Street
Broomfield, CO 80023
Fort Worth, TX
National Archives at Fort Worth
2013 Fellowship Program
1400 John Burgess Drive
Fort Worth, TX 76140
National Archives at Riverside
2013 Fellowship Program
23123 Cajalco Road
Perris, CA 92570-7298
San Francisco, CA
National Archives at San Francisco
2013 Fellowship Program
Lee J. Ryan Federal Building
1000 Commodore Drive
San Bruno, CA 94066-2350
St. Louis, MO
National Archives at St. Louis
2013 Fellowship Program
Attn: Ashley Mattingly (RL-SL)
P.O. Box 38757
St. Louis, MO 63138
For FedEx and UPS deliveries ONLY:
National Personnel Records Center
1 Archives Drive
Room 340, Ashley Mattingly
St. Louis, MO 63138-1002
Jennifer Johnson, an exhibit curator at NARA, would love your help finding records in the National Archives with signatures. She’s working on an exhibit and would love your suggestions.
At the National Archives, we have a range of signatures from the infamous (Lizzie Borden), to signatures of individuals before they were famous (Julia Child’s OSS paperwork), as well signatures that had the power to change someone’s life or to change history, such as a Presidential pardon.
We would like your help to tag records with “signature” in our online catalog. Don’t be restricted to any categories of records. Tag records that you think are interesting or surprising.
To get started tagging, you’ll need to:
If you know of interesting signatures in records that are not yet available in our online catalog, let us know in the comments below with as much information as possible about the record.
Today’s post comes from Stephanie Greenhut, Education Technology Specialist, in the Education and Public Programs division.
We’re going to ring in the new year here at the National Archives with a special celebration to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation.
Visitors to the National Archives Building in Washington, DC, can view the original document from Sunday, December 30, to Tuesday, January 1. The commemoration will include extended viewing hours, inspirational music, a dramatic reading, and family activities and entertainment for all ages.
For those who can’t make it to Washington or want to learn more, the National Archives presents The Meaning and Making of Emancipation. This eBook places the Emancipation Proclamation in its social and political context by presenting related documents from the National Archives’ holdings. These illustrate the efforts of the many Americans, enslaved and free, white and black, by whom slavery was abolished in the United States.
The Meaning and Making of Emancipation is available for free for multiple devices on our new eBooks page at http://www.archives.gov/publications/ebooks.
- For iPad, download the interactive Multi-Touch book with iBooks on your iPad, or on your computer with iTunes.
- For iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, download it with iBooks, or on your computer with iTunes.
- For Android phone, Android tablet, iPhone, iPad, Nook, SONY Reader, other mobile device or eReader, or PC or Mac, download the ePub file from http://www.archives.gov/publications/ebooks. Open it with an eReader app on your phone or tablet, your eReader device, or an online ePub reader for your Mac or PC.
- Read it online on Scribd or on your iPhone, iPad, Android phone, or Android tablet using the Scribd app.
President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, during the Civil War. It formally proclaimed the freedom of all slaves held in areas still in revolt. After hosting a traditional New Year’s Day reception at the White House, and shaking hands with several hundred people, he signed the document with a shaky hand. President Lincoln said, “I never, in my life, felt more certain that I was doing right than I do in signing this paper.” Learn more and read excerpts from the eBook on the National Archives’ Pieces of History blog.
The Meaning and Making of Emancipation is the second commemorative eBook created by the National Archives. Exploring the United States Constitution celebrated the 225th anniversary of the signing of the Constitution. Each chapter connects one or more of the billions of records in the holdings of the National Archives to the principles found in the U.S. Constitution. This eBook is also available at http://www.archives.gov/publications/ebooks
How do you like to get your news and information from the National Archives? Do you have access to what you need? How can we serve you better?
Tell us what you think! Take this 10-minute survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/naraexternal
The survey will be available until midnight, December 6. Thank you!
* Update! The survey will now be available until midnight on December 13th. We look forward to your feedback!
PFC Isabella Hardacre, Chicago, Illinois, a WAC telephone operator in U. S. headquarters at the Potsdam Conference in Germany disposes of hundreds of inquiries a day on the information phones of the headquarters switchboard., 07/15/1945
The National Archives is glad to announce that you may now connect with us on Google+! Come on over and follow us for exciting posts about news, exhibits, research, genealogy tips, resources, citizen archivist updates and so much more.
Google+ is an online social community that aims to make sharing on the web more like sharing in real life. With over a million users already, Google+ allows users to participate in events, video chat in a hangout, and subscribe to circles with information that is most interesting to them. The National Archives is ready to start sharing with you, and we’d love to offer you circles to join that will streamline the content we are posting. To see information in your news feed about a specific circle, all you need to do is click on the cover photo, and +1 the circle you’d like to join.
Are you interested in public programs and events in DC or from around the country? Would you just like information about research, like record releases, genealogy events, or citizen archivist initiatives? Or are you really looking for information for teachers to use in their lesson plans and classrooms? Let us know on Google+!
We’re excited about Google+ all over the National Archives, and that includes the Archivist of the United States, David Ferriero. In fact, he’s so excited, he will be hosting our very first hangout! Do you have a question for the Archivist that you’re dying for him to answer? Here’s your chance to be heard! Send your questions to the Archivist through Google+, Facebook, Twitter, or the blogs, and include the #AskAOTUS hashtag. We’ll compile the questions and pass them on to the Archivist, who will answer as many as he can during the hangout. If you can’t think of a question before the hangout, join us anyway, and continue to tweet us your questions with the #AskAOTUS hashtag throughout the session. Ask him anything from what his favorite records are to what a day in his office is like. Or maybe you are interested in what book he’s reading or his favorite museum in DC (besides the National Archives, of course!). We’ll keep you posted on the date and time of the hangout, so circle the National Archives on Google+ for our latest updates!
As Halloween approaches, our thoughts turn to candy — and court cases. A sweet combination of both can be found in Record Group 21, the U.S. District Court, the Northern District of Illinois, Chicago. Civil case number 47C1770 was filed in 1947, when the Life Savers Corporation sued the Curtiss Candy Company for trademark infringement.
In 1947, Life Savers parent company filed suit claiming Curtiss violated Trade-Mark Reg. 355,158, which is a Life Savers candy wrapper design. In the “Complaint,” Life Savers Corporation said its “exclusive right in its trade-mark and distinctive package design and color scheme each exceeds the sum of Three Thousand Dollars ($3,000), exclusive of interest and costs, and the acts of defendant herein complained of have damaged plaintiff in excess of said amount and if not restrained, will greatly impair, if not destroy said value.”
Life Savers Corporation Patent Application, October 1937
Life Savers wanted to protect its brand, which celebrates its centennial this year; Pep O Mint was first introduced in Ohio in 1912. Wint O Green followed in 1918, and the five-flavor roll, the primary product in the case, came out in 1935.
The Curtiss Candy Company, too, had been around for a long time when the suit was filed. Curtiss was founded in Chicago in 1916. Known most famously for Baby Ruth and Butterfinger candy bars, Curtiss began making rolled hard candies, varying its product line.
The “Memorandum Opinion” states the main issue with the case. The style and colors of the packaging were so similar that Life Savers claimed there would be “actual confusion of goods between the products of the plaintiff and defendant.” Curtiss, however, said its own label was “distinctive and totally different,” and “great pains and much care have been taken to avoid any possible confusion.”
Curtiss Assorted Fruit Drops wrapper, 1947
The court realized that the profit margin on a “simple disk-like piece of hard candy of different colors and flavors” was large, so it was not surprised that a “simple sugar concoction” would have many others entering the market. However, it understood that Life Savers, as one of the leaders in that business, wanted to “maintain its position.”
There was an analysis of the wrappers, including the positioning of two blue squares with “Curtiss Assorted Fruit Drops” and three “Life Savers Five Flavors” printed across the entire roll “as to be visible and prominent in whatever position that package may lie….” However, the court was inundated with witness testimony acknowledging “there has been some actual confusion of goods.”
Life Savers wrapper, 1947
Depositions of witnesses were taken in different cities to show that consumers were so used to simply reaching for the multi-colored packaging of Life Savers that Curtiss would be able to take advantage of this with its own colored label. One witness, Lillian Poshkus of St. Louis, when asked about her candy purchase, answered, “I just go right up to the counter and I see the different colored package and I pick that up, put it on the counter and pay for it.” Several others answered similarly.
But the court considered more than just the colors. For instance, the diameters and dimensions of all the packages were identical. Moreover, buying mints is typically an impulse purchase, so consumers are not inclined to take such “care and caution in the selection of goods” as they would take to buy clothes or shoes, the judge said.
“It is probable that a great majority of purchasers do not care particularly what they get so long as they get a package of mints, and it is just as probable that the confusion can be attributed to the size and shapes of the various packages as to the exact wording and coloring of the labels,” the opinion stated.
Indeed, that was one of Curtiss’s claims, saying the “Defendant has not adopted the registered trademark of Plaintiff nor any ‘colorable imitation’ of any registered mark.” Further the position of the defendant said the “striped effect produced by the picture or representation of the contents of a package is a functional device equally available…and widely used by manufacturers of candy of this type.”
Even in 1948, when the defendant filed its brief, an issue came up that continues to affect the contemporary marketplace. Curtiss used examples from testimony where some witnesses refer to generic small candy drops as Life Savers. “Typical of marks of this kind are the marks Frigidaire for the household mechanical refrigerator, Vaseline for petroleum jelly, Kodak for small cameras, Aspirin for the familiar headache remedy, etc. The term Life Savers itself may have suffered this deterioration because of a developing usage of this word by consumers to mean any small round candies, regardless of the brand.”
Curtiss concluded that Life Savers was attempting “to prevent anybody from putting out assorted fruit drops in a multi-colored label. If successful, Plaintiff will thus insure that all people who want assorted fruit drops will of necessity be compelled to purchase those of the Plaintiff,” and endowing it “with a monopoly of assorted fruit drops.”
U.S. District Court Judge Elwyn Shaw dismissed the complaint, concluding, “I believe that the defendant has taken every reasonable means to prevent confusion of goods, and unless Life Savers Corporation is to be given a patent on all colored and candy mints it must be held that the trade-mark is not infringed.”
The case was then appealed by the plaintiff, and went to the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, Chicago, shortly after the civil case was completed in 1949. It supported the lower court decision, again siding in favor of the Curtiss Candy Company. Nevertheless, Life Savers’ value was not destroyed as the complaint alleged. Although its ownership has changed hands over the years and they are now made by Wrigley, a division of Mars, Incorporated, the round disk candies with the holes have remained afloat.