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A Civil War Widow’s Story

Intriguing discoveries are made all the time in the National Archives. This tintype of a woman and child doesn’t look like the typical federal record, let alone one associated with military records. But it was found in one of the 1.28 million Civil War Widows Certificate Approved Pension Case Files. Since 2007, a team of volunteers has been working on a project to digitize these records and make them available online, and from time to time, unexpected treasures turn up.

The file of one widow, Adelia M. Fish, holds quite a story. Her first husband, Joseph Springer served as a private in Company A, Seventh Michigan Cavalry, and died at Andersonville Prison in October 1864. She had four children under the age of 16 when she applied for her pension in June 1865.

In July 1872 Adelia married Jason B. Webb, and she was dropped from the pension rolls. Webb left their home in Battle Creek, MI, in the fall of 1872, and Adelia never saw him or heard from him again. Presuming him dead, she married a third time to Washington A. Fish in 1883. Adelia had no children by either Webb or Fish.

After Fish died on August 11, 1915, Adelia, now 77, applied for restoration to the pension rolls based on her first husband Springer’s service.

Because Webb had disappeared and was … [ Read all ]

Facial Hair Friday: Herbert the Handsome

Herbert Hoover—successful businessman, international humanitarian, President during the Crash of 1929—and rugged mustachioed mining engineer? Yes, Bert Hoover started his career in the goldfields of Australia in 1897–1898. He then headed to China to develop coal mines, and he and his wife, Lou, were there during the Boxer Rebellion of 1900. Fun fact: Herbert is the only U.S. President to have been fluent in Mandarin Chinese.

Although we usually picture the 31st President as clean-shaven and impeccably turned out, pictures from his early days show a man with a bit of dash and swagger.

Today happens to be the anniversary of the dedication of Hoover Dam. The monumental dam across the Colorado River was dedicated on September 30, 1935. When construction was begun in 1930, the project was called the Hoover Dam, but after Hoover left office, Boulder Dam was the commonly used name and the name used at the dedication. Legislation in 1947 officially restored the name Hoover Dam.

If you want to learn more about Herbert Hoover’s pre-Presidential life, visit the Hoover Library. To learn about his humanitarian efforts during World War I, read “Herbert Hoover and Belgian Relief” in Prologue magazine.… [ Read all ]

9/11: The World Series and a President’s pitch

This post is part of a series on September 11. As the nation’s record keeper, the National Archives holds many documents related to the events of September 11. In this series, our staff share some of their memories of the day and their thoughts on the records that are part of their holdings.

Today’s blogger is Alan C. Lowe, who has served as the Director of the George W. Bush Presidential Library since April of 2009.

In 2001, it was so fitting that the World Series included the New York Yankees in a duel with the Arizona Diamondbacks. The city of New York and indeed the entire nation were still reeling from the attacks of September 11. As devastated as we were, as much resolve as we had, we still sought some normalcy, some sign that the world was not completely different. The World Series, the championship of our national pastime, helped start the healing.

President George W. Bush was asked to throw out the first pitch in Game 3 of the Series, the first game of that championship to be held in New York, played on October 30. At the Bush Library, we have the ball that the President threw, the jacket that he wore, and even the pitching rubber that he stood on at the mound. The jacket was a gift from New York City Fire Commissioner … [ Read all ]

Time for (school) lunch

Schools around the country are back in session, and while course loads may vary greatly, students from kindergarten to high school all have a slot in their schedules for lunchtime.

On Wednesday, September 8, the National Archives in Washington will be showing the documentary film Lunch Line as part of our series of programs related to the exhibit “What’s Cooking, Uncle Sam?” Lunch Line looks at the Federal National School Lunch Program, which began in 1946 and today feeds more than 31 million children a day. The film examines the origins of the program, shows how it works today, and brings together leaders from all sides of the school food debate to discuss its challenges and its future.

“What’s Cooking” contains several items related to the National School Lunch Program. One of these is a 1966 letter, handwritten on a school lunch menu, expressing to President Lyndon Johnson the “hope that this program can continue at a reasonable price for all students in our district.” There are also recipes for 100 portions of “ham shortcake” and other cafeteria offerings. The Today’s Document Tumblr blog is even dedicating this week’s posts to the school lunch, and you can find this poster and more there.

When I was in school, my lunches were packed by Mom (in a prized “Flying Nun” metal lunchbox for a couple of … [ Read all ]

9/11: An Address to the Nation

This post is part of a series on September 11. As the nation’s record keeper, the National Archives holds many documents related to the events of September 11. In this series, our staff share some of their memories of the day and their thoughts on the records that are part of their holdings.

Elizabeth Lanier, Malisa Lewis, and Jill Zawacki have been archivists at the George W. Bush Presidential Library since January 2010. They are currently processing textual records of the Bush administration.

As children, we recall asking family members questions such as “Where were you when John F. Kennedy was assassinated?” or “What was it like to hear about the bombing of Pearl Harbor?” We never anticipated that one day we would be able to answer a similar question: Where were you on September 11, 2001? Several future George W. Bush Presidential Library staff members were actually in New York City on that day, while others were listening to teachers in high school or college classes. Regardless of our location or age, we all felt a strong emotional response to an attack on our country.

On that Tuesday evening, President George W. Bush addressed the nation on the tragedies of that day and attempted to assuage the fears of citizens who had witnessed the unfolding events unfolding, both in person and on television screens … [ Read all ]