Archive for 'Uncategorized'
Bill of Rights Day is on December 15. The National Archives will celebrate on Friday with a naturalization ceremony. Today’s post comes from Jessie Kratz, the Historian of the National Archives.
On September 28, 1789, Speaker of the House Frederick Muhlenberg and Vice President John Adams signed the enrolled copy of the first proposed amendments to the new Constitution—the document later known as the Bill of Rights.
The final, signed copy contained the 12 constitutional amendments that Congress proposed to the states. Shortly after it was signed, clerks created 13 additional copies, which President George Washington sent to the 11 existing states and to Rhode Island and North Carolina—which had not yet adopted the Constitution.
The enrolled version of the amendments—the one signed on September 28, 1789—remained in New York until it was sent to Philadelphia when the seat of government moved there. In 1800 it came to the new capital of Washington, DC, and was only removed briefly during the War of 1812 when the British burned the capital.
The Department of State, previously responsible for safeguarding the Federal Government’s official records, kept the enrolled copy of the Bill of Rights until 1937, when they transferred it to the National Archives in 1937 along with other State Department records. The National Archives displayed the enrolled copy of the Bill of Rights several times until … [ Read all ]
Today’s guest post comes from Susan K. Donius, Director of the Office of Presidential Libraries at the National Archives.
Among the gifts from heads of state that are in the holdings of the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum is a menorah presented to President Truman by Israel’s first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion. The menorah dates back to at least 1767, when it was donated to a synagogue in Buergel, Germany.
The menorah was used in the synagogue until 1913, when it was found broken in pieces. A man by the name of Siegfried Guggenheim asked for the broken pieces and provided a replacement. The Guggenheim family restored the old menorah for their personal use, and brought it to the United States when they immigrated in the 1930s. Eventually, the menorah was acquired by the Jewish Museum in New York.
When Prime Minister Ben-Gurion visited the United States in 1951, he searched for a suitable gift to give to Harry S. Truman in light of the President’s recognition and support of the State of Israel. The Jewish Museum suggested the menorah, and Prime Minister Ben-Gurion presented it to Truman on his birthday, May 8, 1951.
In 1979, President Jimmy Carter participated in lighting a Hanukkah menorah on the Ellipse, just south of the White House. Each President since then has commemorated Hanukkah at the … [ Read all ]
Posted by Hilary on December 4, 2013, under Uncategorized.
Tags: Clifton Truman Daniel, David Ben-Gurion, George Bush, Hannukah, Harry Truman, Israel, Jimmy Carter, Presidents, Ronald Reagan, White House, William Cinton, Yariv Ben-Eliezer
The National Archives presents a musical tribute on December 3 in honor of President and Mrs. John F. Kennedy’s commitment to the arts, celebrating their legacy of musical performances in the White House.
On November 13, 1961, Pablo Casals performed the Mendelssohn Trio in D minor at the White House. Kenneth Slowik (cello), James Stern (violin), and Lura Johnson (piano) will present that program on Tuesday, December 3, at 7 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.
“We wanted to honor the memory of President and Mrs. Kennedy with a special tribute to their outstanding commitment to the performing arts, and our William G. McGowan Theater is a wonderful venue to recreate the historic Pablo Casals performance,” said Susan Clifton, producer for Public Programs at the National Archives in Washington, DC.
Following the performance, Kenneth Slowik, Artistic Director of the Smithsonian Chamber Music Society, will lead a discussion with Col. John R. Bourgeois, Director Emeritus, “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band; Leslie Jones, Curator, White House Historical Association; and Edith Mayo, Curator, Smithsonian Museum of American History.
Pablo Casals, considered one of the greatest cellists of all time, was born in El Vendrell, Catalonia, Spain. When he was invited to perform at the White House in 1961, he was living in Puerto Rico, where he had begun the annual Casals … [ Read all ]
Posted by Hilary on November 29, 2013, under Uncategorized.
Tags: Casal, cello, Kenneth Slowik, Mendelssohn Trio, music, Pablo Casals, President Kennedy, Smithsonian Chamber Music Society
In June of 2003, the National Archives Preservation Programs received a call for help from Iraq. Sixteen American soldiers had found tens of thousands of documents and 2,700 Jewish books while searching in the flooded basement of Saddam Hussein’s intelligence headquarters. The historic material was soaking wet.
And so Doris Hamburg and Mary-Lynn Ritzenthaler boarded a C-130 cargo plane and flew to Iraq.
“It was fascinating and exciting,” said Hamburg, Director of Preservation Programs at the National Archives. “We didn’t know quite what we were heading toward—but we were told everything would be fine.”
After Hamburg and Ritzenthaler arrived in Baghdad, they went to a warehouse on the banks of the Tigris River. Inside the warehouse was a freezer truck, and inside that truck were 27 metal trunks.
The trunks held masses of documents and books that had been submerged in four feet of water in the flooded basement of Saddam Hussein’s intelligence headquarters in Baghdad. And although the contents had been frozen to preserve them, Hamburg and Ritzenthaler could smell mold when they climbed into the truck.
“Freezing is a common way to stabilize materials when they become wet,” said Ritzenthaler, Chief of the Document Conservation Laboratory. “They acquired a freezer truck—it was quite a feat in those days in Baghdad to find a truck and to keep it fueled.”
The two women began … [ Read all ]
Posted by Hilary on November 7, 2013, under Uncategorized.
Tags: books, conservation, Doris Hamburg, free contests, Iraq, Iraqi Jewish Archives, Jews, Mary Lynn Ritzenthaler, mold, NEH, State Department, texas, Torah
It’s been a great two weeks, but American Archives Month is coming to an end. We’re saying good-bye to the series with a stop at the hometown of the 2013 World Series Champions: Boston, MA.
Full name: Stacey Chandler
Occupation: Archives Technician for Textual Reference at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library
How long have you worked at this library?
Five years total, including two years as an intern.
How/why did you decide to go into the archival field?
I interned in the archives at the Kennedy Library through graduate school, while trying to decide exactly what do to with my Public History degree. After two years working with the collections here, how could I choose to work in any other field?
What are some of your responsibilities at your library?
Mainly, I help researchers find and access documents on whatever they’re curious about in the life and times of John F. Kennedy. I also do tours and reference for the Ernest Hemingway collection, and keep on the lookout for preservation concerns, new books to add to the library, and chances to put cool documents in the spotlight.
What do you like best about your job?
The best part of my job is talking with all different kinds of people about history every day. The amazingly wide range of subjects people ask us about keeps … [ Read all ]