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Thanksgiving is an anticipated time of year…unless you’re a turkey!  While our traditions today may not even include the iconic bird (hello, Tofurkey!), this holiday is still cherished as a time to gather with friends and family and give thanks.  But before you start setting the table, enjoy a “harvest” of some of our favorite Thanksgiving records!

 

Thanksgiving turkeys have been granted a presidential pardon as early as President Lincoln, and it is a White House tradition that is still enjoyed in the modern day:

The President Receives Thanksgiving Turkey from Poultry and Egg National Board, Accompanied by Senator Everett M. Dirkson , 11/19/1963

The President Receives Thanksgiving Turkey from Poultry and Egg National Board, Accompanied by Senator Everett M. Dirkson , 11/19/1963. NARA ID 6817149

 

Though some turkeys granted an audience with the President had seen better days:

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Photograph of Sen. Olin Johnston of South Carolina presenting President Truman with a turkey from Wilton E. Hall of Anderson, South Carolina, as Colonel Lewis Jackson looks on., 11/25/1946. NARA ID 199536

 

And some turkeys, feeling the heat of the kitchen, attempted to escape!:

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President Reagan Attending Ceremonies to Receive the Annual Thanksgiving Turkey from Representatives of the National Turkey Federation on the South Lawn, ca. 1985. NARA IDs 6728685, 6919294, and 6919300

In the mood for more fowl hijinks?  Check out the Thanksgiving set on Flickr.

Outside of the White House, Thanksgiving is a tradition observed by Americans everywhere:

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Photograph of President George H. W. Bush Enjoying Thanksgiving Dinner with Troops, 11/22/1990. NARA ID 186423

 

How many people do you have coming over for dinner?  I bet you’re not making a vat of sweet potatoes like this “pilgrim:”

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A mess management specialist helps prepare Thanksgiving dinner aboard the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS CARL VINSON (CVN 70), 11/24/1984. NARA ID 6393176

 

The Thanksgiving menu is often deeply rooted in tradition and certain merits can be hotly debated.  But do you have room on your table for Consomme and Braised Celery?

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White House Menu, 11/25/1948. NARA ID 6882375

Do you have a hankering for more presidential noms?  Don’t forget to follow OurPresidents on Tumblr and see what the White House has cooked up for the holidays!

 

This video clip certainly brings new meaning to “dressing the turkey:”

And this is certainly not your typical Thanksgiving Day Parade:

Working up an appetite for Thursday? Check out this playlist of other Thanksgiving-themed films recently digitized by our Motion Picture Preservation Lab.

Wild turkeys can fly, and we often see them feeding on the ground, but sometimes they even find themselves out to sea:

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Arabian Sea. A mess management specialist slices a turkey for Thanksgiving dinner aboard the amphibious assault ship USS OKINAWA (LPH 3), 11/26/1987. NARA ID 6432428

 

Sometimes we have a hard time squeezing in watching football and eating dinner, but this airman has holiday multitasking down to a science:

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An air controlman airman eats his Thanksgiving dinner while keeping an eye on the radar scope in the helicopter direction center aboard the amphibious assault ship USS OKINAWA (LPH 3), 11/26/1987. NARA ID 6430796

 

But no matter where you are, Thanksgiving is a time to spend time with those you love, and enjoy a good meal:

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Thanksgiving cheer distributed for men in service. New York City turned host to the boys in service today and cared for every man in uniform. Underwood and Underwood., ca. 1918. NARA ID 533729

What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?  Let us know in the comments!

 



Halloween is right around the corner, and at the National Archives we are well versed in the creepiest, weirdest records of the Federal government. Here’s our list of favorites that are sure to make you shudder with fear!

 

What’s more dangerous- a poison bottle equipped with spikes or the poison itself?:

Patent Drawing for T. Newman's Poison Warning Bottle, 06/02/1908

Patent Drawing for T. Newman’s Poison Warning Bottle, 06/02/1908, NARA ID 7369165

 

 

In doubtful cases of actual death:

Drawing for a Life - Preserving Coffin, 11/15/1843 - 11/15/1843

Drawing for a Life – Preserving Coffin, 11/15/1843 – 11/15/1843, NARA ID 595517

 

But if you are buried alive, you’ll want someone to find you, right?:

Patent Drawing for J. G. Krichbaum's Device for Indicating Life in Buried Persons, 12/05/1882

Patent Drawing for J. G. Krichbaum’s Device for Indicating Life in Buried Persons, 12/05/1882, NARA ID 6277693

 

 

A fire mask that looks like it will do more harm than help:

Patent Drawing for C. McIntosh's Fire Mask, 05/01/1883

Patent Drawing for C. McIntosh’s Fire Mask, 05/01/1883, NARA ID 6277700

 

 

A rascal officer in front of a creepy house:

Photograph of John F. Kennedy as a "Keystone Kop", ca. 1925

Photograph of John F. Kennedy as a “Keystone Kop”, ca. 1925, NARA ID 595979

 

 

Some spooky visitors in the Oval Office:

Halloween Visitors to the Oval Office. Caroline Kennedy, President Kennedy, John F. Kennedy, Jr. White House, Oval Office., 10/31/1963  http://research.archives.gov/description/194260

Halloween Visitors to the Oval Office. Caroline Kennedy, President Kennedy, John F. Kennedy, Jr. White House, Oval Office., 10/31/1963, NARA ID194260

 

 

Food safety is a big concern on Halloween.  Let’s hope this doesn’t show up in a trick or treat bag:

Early ketchup was made from fermented skins and cores. These fermenting tomato leftovers could explode and burst their containers, so benzoate of soda was added a preservative. However, the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906, signed by President Theodore Roosevelt, meant that ketchup—and its rotting, explosive tomato ingredients—was now regulated. In the image above 1909, the company making “Squire Tomato Catsup” was prosecuted and fined $50 for making ketchup from “Decomposed Material.”

Early ketchup was made from fermented skins and cores. These fermenting tomato leftovers could explode and burst their containers, so benzoate of soda was added a preservative.
However, the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906, signed by President Theodore Roosevelt, meant that ketchup—and its rotting, explosive tomato ingredients—was now regulated. In the image above 1909, the company making “Squire Tomato Catsup” was prosecuted and fined $50 for making ketchup from “Decomposed Material.”  See the Prologue Blog for the full story.

 

 

This kind of mystery meat is more trick than treat:

Postcards Regarding the Chicago Meatpacking Industry, 10/09/1907

Postcards Regarding the Chicago Meatpacking Industry, 10/09/1907, NARA ID 2657925

 

 

This creeping doll is just creepy:

Drawing of Creeping Baby Doll, 03/14/1871 - 03/14/1871

Drawing of Creeping Baby Doll, 03/14/1871 – 03/14/1871, NARA ID 595011

 

 

But not as creepy as this wall of “heads”:

Holyoke, Massachusetts - Paragon Rubber Co. and American Character Doll. Spraying face, hands, and arms (Jewish) A plus., 1936 - 1937

Holyoke, Massachusetts – Paragon Rubber Co. and American Character Doll. Spraying face, hands, and arms (Jewish) A plus., 1936 – 1937, NARA ID 518351

 

 

A very scary rodent trap:

Drawing of an Animal Trap by J. A. Williams, 12/26/1882

Drawing of an Animal Trap by J. A. Williams, 12/26/1882, NARA ID 6037260

 

 

Animals in the Archives make us squeamish, especially when they are a part of the record:

Letter from Charity Snider, with accompanying mole skin, from her Civil War Widow's Pension Application File. The paper bears the discoloration from the unusual enclosure. (WC843258, Record Group 15)

Letter from Charity Snider, with accompanying mole skin, from her Civil War Widow’s Pension Application File. The paper bears the discoloration from the unusual enclosure. See Prologue blog for the full story.

 

Many thanks to Today’s Document and the Prologue blog for their spooky contributions.  What is the creepiest, most skin crawling record you’ve found at the National Archives?  Let us know, and have a very spooky Halloween!



This post was written by Addie Nguyen, a student intern in the Office of Innovation.


Who could ever pass up on using the mega-addictive Instagram? It makes a photographer out of anyone – just snap an ordinary, hum-drum pic of, say, a building as you’re walking down a street, then apply an ultra-hip, vintage-looking filter on it and voilà! Instant art! And because this is a social networking site after all, you can share your masterpiece with all your friends on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Flickr. Yes, The National Archives is pleased to say that—finally—we have joined the fun and are now a part of Instagram!

The National Archives has, since 1934, faithfully preserved, conserved, and captured American moments through photographs, videos, drawings, and documents in black-and-white, grayscale, color, sepia, cyanotype, monochrome, and many other formats.. Instagram allows us to continue capturing those precious American moments and put on our own artistic filter flair. How could we resist? #excited

Connect with us and take a peek of what the Archives is up to now, whether it be behind-the-scenes looks into our workplace, shots from upcoming and current exhibits, or special events in DC and around the country. And don’t shy away from sharing your photos and videos as well as you tour through our archival holdings! Find a cool document? Share it with us!

So ready your cameraphones, click away, and remember this: a picture is worth a thousand hashtags.



Congress has restored funding of appropriated activities and the National Archives has begun to resume normal operations.

The National Archives Building in Washington, DC and the National Archives at College Park, MD will be closed to the public today, October 17 to give staff time to ensure the proper protection of holdings.

Facilities around the country, including Presidential Libraries, will open to the public as they complete re-start procedures and are ready to accept visitors from the public.

Please check http://www.archives.gov/ for updates, and we will keep you posted as the situation changes.



Due to the Federal Government shutdown, the National Archives (www.archives.gov) is closed.  We are unable to post or participate in any of our social media channels during this closure. All National Archives facilities are closed, with the exception of the Federal Records Centers and the Federal Register until the Federal government reopens.

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