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Archive for '- Presidents'

American Archives Month: Regina Greenwell, Johnson Presidential Library

We are continuing to celebrate American Archives Month by showcasing the work of our Presidential Libraries archivists. This edition takes us to Austin, TX.

Name: Regina Borders Greenwell

Occupation: Senior Archivist at the Lyndon B. Johnson Library and Museum

How long have you worked at this library?

Thirty-seven years, since March 1976. Prior to coming to the library, I worked at NARA for an additional two years. I’ll have my 40th anniversary this December.

How/why did you decide to go into the archival field?

I’ve always had a love of history, and particularly presidential history. As a 13-year-old, I persuaded my parents to let me go downtown and see President John F. Kennedy’s motorcade when he came to Dallas on November 22, 1963. I saw him just minutes before the assassination.

I later majored in history at the University of Texas. When my husband got an engineering job in Washington, DC, after graduation, I learned that the Archives was gearing up for a new declassification effort headed up by Alan Thompson. I was lucky enough to get the job, and worked with some great collections covering Army intelligence. Later, I was detailed to work with the Watergate Special Prosecutor’s Office with Nixon materials, which was a fascinating experience. That led to a job with the Johnson Library when we moved back to Austin, and I’ve been here ever since.

What are some of [ Read all ]

American Archives Month: Valoise Armstrong, Eisenhower Presidential Library

We continue with celebrating American Archives Month by showcasing some of our amazing archivists in the Presidential Libraries.

This post takes continues our journey through the heartlands of America: Abilene, KS.

Name: Valoise Armstrong

Occupation: Archivist at the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum

How long have you worked at this library?

After working for five years at the National Archives at Seattle office, I transferred to the Eisenhower Library in July 2004.

How/why did you decide to go into the archival field?

I went to college many years after I graduated from high school and majored in my passion, which is history. I didn’t have any desire to teach, but being an archivist was a way I could immerse myself in history every day, so it was a very easy choice to focus on Archival Management in graduate school.

What are some of your responsibilities at your library?

I am responsible for three main areas in our archival operations: I am in charge of manuscript preservation activities; I maintain our oral history collection; and I oversee all of my library’s entries in the National Archives online description catalog. Among the duties shared by all the archivists at my library, I also answer reference questions, work with researchers in the research room, assist with public programs and process collections.

What do you like best about your job?

I … [ Read all ]

On display: Siamese-American Treaty of Amity and Commerce

The Siamese-American Treaty of Amity and Commerce is on display from September 20 to October 31, 2013, (new extended display time!) in the National Archives Building in Washington, DC. Today’s post comes from education and exhibit specialist Michael Hussey.

The start of official diplomacy between the United States of America and the Kingdom of Siam (now Thailand) was marked by the signing of the Treaty of Amity and Commerce in 1833–the first treaty between the United States and an Asian nation.

In February 1832, President Andrew Jackson sent Edmund Roberts as his emissary to Southeast Asia to negotiate treaties of friendship and commerce with nations in the region, including Thailand—then referred to as Siam. Leaving Boston in March, 1832, aboard the U.S.S. Peacock, Roberts stopped in the Philippines, Macao, Vietnam, and Thailand.

Nearly a year later, Roberts was presented to the King of Thailand. On March 20, 1833, the two sides agreed to a Treaty of Amity and Commerce. Key sections of the agreement stipulated that “There shall be a perpetual Peace between the Magnificent King of Siam and the United States of America.”

Further, American trading vessels would be free to enter Thai ports “with their cargoes . . . and they shall have liberty to sell the same to any of the subjects of the King.”

The scroll is approximately 90 inches long, … [ Read all ]

Executive Order 9981: Equality in the military

Cast your vote for Executive Order 9981 to be displayed first in the new “Records of Rights” gallery. Polls close on November 15!

Today’s post comes from Tammy Williams, archivist at the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library

President Harry S. Truman spent his entire young adulthood in Missouri, a border state during the Civil War. Both of his sets of grandparents owned slaves. Many voters and politicians believed that Truman would carry his region’s prejudices to the White House and would do comparatively little to advance the cause of civil rights. And so Truman’s decision to issue Executive Order 9981 to provide for equality of treatment and opportunity in the military surprised many people.

What led President Truman to this decision? As African American soldiers returned to the United States from fighting overseas in World War II, they hoped to return to a more equitable society. However, many soldiers experienced openly hostile reactions from white Southerners as they wore their uniforms in their hometowns.

Two such cases made national headlines. In Aiken, South Carolina, a bus driver kicked Sergeant Isaac Woodward off a bus for allegedly being disruptive, and a police officer beat him and gouged out his eyes, blinding him. In Monroe, Georgia, a group of white men dragged two soldiers and their wives from a car and shot them.

In September 1946, shortly … [ Read all ]

Enemy Aliens in Kansas City

Today’s post comes from Kimberlee Ried, public programs specialist at the National Archives in Kansas City, MO.

After war was declared by Congress in April 1917, non-naturalized “enemy aliens” were required to register with the Department of Justice as a national security measure. A Presidential Proclamation of November 16, 1917, meant that “all natives, citizens, denizens or subjects of the German Empire” age 14 and older who were “within the United States” needed to register as “alien enemies.”

The National Archives at Kansas City has a collection of the Enemy Alien Registration Affidavits for the state of Kansas. These documents are full of valuable information for researchers.

Alexander Walter was born May 18, 1828, in Hanover, Germany. He was also a Civil War veteran who lived in the National Military Home in Leavenworth, KS. He had to fill out this registration form in 1918—at the age of 90.

 

The registrations occurred from November 1917 to April 1918.  Initially the registration included only men; the regulations stated, “females are not alien enemies.” However, an act of April 16, 1918, extended the definition of “enemy aliens” to include women age 14 and older. This was followed three days later by a Presidential proclamation that included women of American birth who were married to enemy aliens. (American-born women eventually had their citizenship reinstated in the 1920s.)

Each enemy … [ Read all ]