Site search

Site menu:

Find Out More

Subscribe to Email Updates

Archives

Categories

Contact Us

Archive for '- The 1960s'

Finding the girl in the photograph

Today’s guest post is from Edith Lee-Payne.

Edith Lee-Payne at the March on Washington. The original caption reads “Photograph of a Young Woman at the Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C., with a Banner, 08/28/1963,” photographed by Rowland Scherman (National Archives Identifier 542030)

The dedication of the Martin Luther King, Jr., memorial will take place this Sunday, October 16. One of the women in attendence will be Edith Lee-Payne.

You might recognize her. Photographer Rowland Scherman snapped a photo of Edith, then a 12-year-old girl with her mother, holding a banner at the March on Washington.

But although the photograph was taken in 1963, Ms. Lee-Payne did not know about the image until 2008. With the help of a librarian and an archivist, she was able to locate the photograph of herself at the march.

Here, in her own words, is her story of attending the march on August 28 and finding her record in the National Archives more than 40 years later.

********

Washington, DC, was home for my mother before settling in Detroit, Michigan. After Dr. King led a march in Detroit on June 23, 1963, my mother scheduled our vacation to attend the March on Washington on August 28, 1963, which also happened to be my twelfth birthday.

I lived the dream Dr. King spoke of. My neighborhood was integrated. We attended the same schools and sometimes shared … [ Read all ]

What’s Cooking Wednesdays: Lookout cookouts

This week’s edition of What’s Cooking Wednesday comes from Kathleen Crosman, an archivist at the National Archives at Seattle.

Those who manned fire lookout towers were essentially camping out for weeks at a time. They had to pack their rations, which were mostly canned or nonperishable food, and prepare what meals they could.

Today’s high-tech, freeze-dried camping supplies are a vast improvement over even what was available in the 1960s, as any dedicated camper can tell you. At the National Archives at Seattle, we have a Historical Collection created by the Region 1 Office of the Forest Service in Missoula, Montana. In it are lookout cookbooks from 1938, 1942, 1943, and 1966. David Ferriero, the Archivist of the United States, visited us on August 31, and we presented him with a facsimile copy of the 1966 cookbook.

In addition to recipes, the cookbook offers nutritional guidance, such as lists of foods rich in particular vitamins and minerals, and daily serving suggestions. The cookbooks include everything from sandwiches and main meals to desserts and candy. If you grew up in the 1960s you might recognize some of the recipes below! (Jell-o salad anyone?)

Of course, there is always the really odd item in any cookbook. Check out the peanut butter and mayonnaise sandwich listed under Novelty Sandwiches!

[ Read all ]

From Our Film Archives: “The March”

Scenes like this one of food service workers preparing lunches for the March on Washington are featured in The March. (306-SSM-4C(22)10; ARC 541999)

This Sunday is the anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington. To commemorate the event, the National Archives is displaying a program from the march in the East Rotunda Gallery and screening The March on August 27 and 28.

But if you are not in Washington, DC, you can still watch the entire film on our YouTube channel.

The first reel of this documentary (embedded below) shows the lead-up to the march—from assembling thousand of picket signs to making 80,000 cheese sandwiches for bagged lunches to the long bus rides into the Washington, DC. The first 12 minutes gives a different view of the event from the usual clips of the March on Washington.

The film was directed by James Blue, who was later nominated for an Oscar in 1969 for another documentary, A Few Notes on Our Food Problem.

The March was made as part of a series of films created by the United States Information Agency (USIA), founded by President Dwight Eisenhower in 1953. These films were meant to promote American policies in foreign countries, without being overt propaganda. (You can read about the agency’s anticommunism message in this Text Message post about the race to the Moon.)

But these USIA films were rarely seen in America because … [ Read all ]

The Berlin Wall, now a vital piece of history

President Bush is presented with a piece of the Berlin Wall by West German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher in the Oval Office, 11/21/1989 (Bush Library, ARC 186404)

Americans often associate the month of August with family vacations and the summer heat, but that was not the case in 1961. Fifty years ago this month, a Cold War chill filled the air as construction began on the Berlin Wall.

After the end of World War II, the United States, Great Britain, France, and the Soviet Union each occupied a piece of postwar Germany. The four powers intended to jointly govern through the Allied Control Council until the country could be reunified under one government. But as relations between the West and the Soviet Union deteriorated in the late 1940s, Germany became a central part of the Cold War.

In 1949, the the three western zones merged to form the Federal Republic of Germany, and the Soviet Union responded by establishing the German Democratic Republic. Although the capital city of Berlin was located within Soviet-controlled East Germany, it remained divided as a multinational area.

Between 1949 and 1961, millions of East Germans defected from the German Democratic Republic by crossing into West Berlin. The mass exodus of young, well-educated individuals—which led to both economic stagnation and political turmoil—compelled Communist leaders to refortify East Germany’s borders.

On August 21,

[ Read all ]

Facial Hair Friday: A mustache, a funny man, and a President

Page of the World War I draft card for Groucho Marx, from the holdings of the National Archives

Julius Henry Marx–better known by his stage name Groucho Marx–passed away on August 19, 1977. He left behind a legacy of humor on stage, radio, and film. I was not able to find to find any images of him in our holdings, which was disappointing as his trademark mustache was a fine candidate for Facial Hair Friday.

However, I did find something unexpected. Groucho had been corresponding with President Truman.

What would a funny man and a President have in common? Well, it turns out that the young Harry Truman was an avid vaudeville fan, attending shows at the Orpheum Theatre and the Grand Opera House whenever he was Kansas City. He even took his future wife Bess to vaudeville shows on dates. Truman especially enjoyed the Marx Brothers, later recalling that he never missed a chance to see them when they were in town.

So Truman was a fan of the famous brothers, but how did he come to correspond with Groucho (and later Harpo Marx)?

It started with the displaced persons, the survivors of the Holocaust who had lost their homes and families and were now living in temporary camps. Truman had issued a directive in 1945 to allow some of them to immigrate to the United States. In … [ Read all ]