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Archive for 'National Archives Near You'

The First Dog, Fala Roosevelt

Eleanor Roosevelt, Fala, and MacKenzie King at Quebec, Canada for conference, 9/11/1944. (National Archives Identifier 196995)

Eleanor Roosevelt, Fala, and MacKenzie King at Quebec, Canada for conference, September 11, 1944. (National Archives Identifier 196995)

In celebration of National Dog Day, today’s post comes from Meagan Frenzer, graduate research intern for the National Archives History Office in Washington, DC.

The Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum maintains documents of critical participants within the FDR administration.

This list includes prominent figures such as Frances Perkins, Harry L. Hopkins, Henry Morgenthau, Jr., and, surprisingly, President Roosevelt’s dog, Fala.

The Scottish terrier became a national figure as President Roosevelt’s loyal, four-legged companion.

When his distant cousin Margaret “Daisy” Suckley gave the terrier as a Christmas gift in 1940, President Roosevelt renamed the terrier Murray the Outlaw of Falahill after his famous Scottish ancestor.

Photograph of Eleanor Roosevelt and the late President Roosevelt's dog, Fala, at the dedication of the Franklin D. Roosevelt home at Hyde Park, New York, 4/12/1946. (National Archives Identifier 199362)

Photograph of Eleanor Roosevelt and the late President Roosevelt’s dog, Fala, at the dedication of the Franklin D. Roosevelt home at Hyde Park, New York, April 12, 1946. (National Archives Identifier 199362)

Shortened to “Fala,” the terrier accompanied the President on trips and attended key meetings, including the 1941 Atlantic Charter Conference.

Fala enjoyed entertaining international dignitaries and famous visitors with his tricks.

In his travels, Fala met British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, the Queen of the Netherlands, and Mexican President Manuel Camacho.

During World War II, Fala served as an honorary Army private and became the national president of Barkers … [ Read all ]

The 60th Anniversary of the Presidential Library Act of 1955

Today’s post comes from Meagan Frenzer, graduate research intern for the National Archives History Office in Washington, DC.

Presidential Libraries Act of 1955, August 12, 1955. (General Records of the U.S. Government, National Archives)

Presidential Libraries Act of 1955, August 12, 1955. (General Records of the U.S. Government, National Archives)

Signed into law on August 12, 1955, the Presidential Libraries Act of 1955 (PLA) established a system to preserve and make accessible Presidential records through the creation of privately erected and Federally maintained libraries.

The precedent for the PLA began with President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Before President Roosevelt’s terms, Presidential records were considered private property, which Presidents took with them upon leaving office.

They then donated the papers to repositories like the Library of Congress, or their collections remained at their estates.

President Roosevelt hoped to change this tradition by creating a single location where all of his papers would be available for the public.

He proposed the creation of a library, which would be donated to the U.S. Government. This library would then come under the control of the National Archives, which was established during Roosevelt’s administration.

FDR speaking at the dedication of the FDR Library and Museum in Hyde Park, NY, June 30, 1941. (FDR Library, National Archives)

FDR speaking at the dedication of the FDR Library in Hyde Park, NY, June 30, 1941. (FDR Library, National Archives)

Though President Roosevelt’s actions regularized the procedures of preserving the papers of future Presidents, other Presidents encountered difficulties when trying to emulate their predecessor.

For instance, governmental budgetary concerns regarding Presidential libraries slowed the transfer process … [ Read all ]

Staff from St. Louis are “unofficial rock stars” at National Genealogical Society conference

This post comes to us from Communications intern Lia Collen.

Staff from the National Archives (NARA) at St. Louis participated in the annual National Genealogical Society’s (NGS) Family History Conference in St. Charles, MO, from May 13–16. More than 2,200 professional genealogists attended the conference.

Archivists Daria Labinsky, Ashley Mattingly, and Theresa Fitzgerald at the National Genealogical Society’s Family History Conference in May.

Archivists Daria Labinsky, Ashley Mattingly, and Theresa Fitzgerald at the National Genealogical Society’s Family History Conference in May.

Access Coordinator Bryan McGraw and archivists Theresa Fitzgerald, Daria Labinsky, and Ashley Mattingly gave presentations about the large collection of personal data series records available at NARA at St. Louis.

“While, individually, a particular record may not seem as critical as a landmark document or treaty, taken as a whole, these records are among the most powerful and essential to our existence,” McGraw said. “Furthermore, these records not only give insight into genealogy, but many of them are used decades and decades later for essential benefits, entitlements, and the like.”

In addition to their lectures, the St. Louis staff managed an information table to provide more detailed information on records. Staff used this as an opportunity to clear up misconceptions and provide a better understanding of the National Archives at St. Louis.

“It is important for NARA to take part in this conference as we hold a treasure trove of records that will assist any genealogist or researcher that wants to learn more about … [ Read all ]

Building Bridges between the Worlds of the Deaf and Hearing, Archives and Knowledge

Danica Rice is an archives technician at the National Archives at Seattle. The National Archives is participating in #DisabilityStories as part of the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. 

I have always seen myself as a bridge between two worlds, that of the Deaf and that of the Hearing. There are many purposes for bridges, but one is to connect and string two things, in this case two worlds, together.

My world is the Deaf, and has been since I was 18 months old. However, I’ve always been blessed with the ability to hear a good deal, speak reasonably clearly, and understand many nuances of the Hearing world. Make no mistake, the world of the Hearing and that of the Deaf are very different ones, but in some respects, much the same.

Danica Rice at work at the National Archives in Seattle.

Danica Rice at work at the National Archives in Seattle.

When I was growing up, I loved to read, and it became a lifeline of sorts for me, as I used it to explore new worlds, new ideas, new intellects. When I was feeling the very natural difficulties of being left out due to my hearing, reading became my escape.

When I was very young, my father took me to one of those old used bookstores, where books were squeezed in every available space, some on top of others, with rows upon rows … [ Read all ]

Ida Wilson Lewis, lighthouse keeper and fearless Federal worker

Today’s post comes from Ashley Mattingly, who is an archivist at the National Archives at St. Louis, where she manages the collection of archival civilian personnel records.

The most well-known lighthouse keeper in the world was an American woman who was a Federal civil servant. Ida Wilson Lewis, lighthouse keeper of Rhode Island, saved somewhere between 13 and 25 lives, including men stationed at Fort Adams and a sheep.

Ida Wilson Lewis was born Idawally Zorada Lewis in 1842. In 1870, she married Capt. William Wilson. Although they separated two years later, Ida used “Wilson” as her middle name for the rest of her life.

Photograph of Ida Wilson Lewis, from her official personnel folder. The image is from "New Idea Woman's Magazine," vol. XXI, January 1910. The magazine captioned the image "As Miss Lewis looked in 1869."

Photograph of Ida Wilson Lewis, from her official personnel folder. The image is from New Idea Woman’s Magazine, vol. 21, January 1910. The magazine captioned the image “As Miss Lewis looked in 1869.”

In 1853, Ida’s father, Capt. Hosea Lewis, was appointed the first lighthouse keeper at Lime Rock, an island in Newport Harbor. A few months after his appointment, Captain Lewis was stricken by a paralytic stroke. As a result, his wife, Zorada, and Ida carried out the lighthouse duties in addition to their everyday household chores.

Performing numerous lighthouse and domestic duties groomed Ida for an appointment as the official lighthouse keeper of Lime Rock in 1879 and sent her down the path to becoming a renowned rescuer. … [ Read all ]