Site search

Site menu:

Find Out More

Subscribe to Email Updates



Contact Us

Archive for '- Exploration'

1924 round-the-world fliers complete their mission

The proposed route for the Army's 1924 Round-the-World Flight. (342-FH-3B-7965011279AS)

The proposed route for the Army's 1924 Round-the-World Flight. (342-FH-3B-7965011279AS)

At 1:28 p.m. on September 28, 1924, two planes landing in Seattle made history. The Chicago and New Orleans had flown 26,345 miles in 66 days to become the first airplanes to circumnavigate the globe. Four planes had started the journey on April 6, but the Seattle and Boston had been forced down over Alaska and the Atlantic, respectively.

Read the story of this amazing flight and the intrepid pilots in “Magellans of the Air” (Summer 2010 issue of Prologue). On our YouTube channel, you can listen to author Rob Crotty talk about this feat in a short video or watch original footage of the 1924 flight (54-minutes).… [ Read all ]

Magellans of the Sky

In 1924, a group of eight Army airmen set out to be the first humans to ever circle the globe by air. On their journey over Arctic mountain passes and vast Indian deserts, they would lose half their planes and set numerous records to become what were dubbed the “Magellans of the Sky.”

Listen as Prologue staff writer Rob Crotty describes their journey in the National Archives’ latest 2-3 minute produced video short from “Inside the Vaults.”

The film series is free to view and distribute. Watch our  “Inside the Vaults” series on our YouTube channel.

Prologue magazine is the award-winning quarterly publication of the National Archives.

[ Read all ]

Navigation, devastation, exploration

Prologue MagazineThe Summer 2010 issue of Prologue has just hit the shelves, and YouTube. While our award-winning magazine is packed with Ponzi schemes, prison themes, and polar dreams, we’ve added something extra for our online readers: the silver screen.

Our hardworking writers have searched the motion picture holdings to find some footage related to three of our feature articles in this issue. Watch the video below and then check out the related articles on our web site.

Magellans of the Sky – In 1924, eight Army airmen set out to become the first humans to circumnavigate the globe by air. This is their story.

Frame After Frame - Philip W. Stewart chronicles the movie-making done by the federal government from World War I through the space race as he documents the motion picture holdings of the National Archives, including footage of the Aisne-Marne operation in the film below.

Women of the Polar Archives - Preservation specialist Audrey Amidon points the spotlight on two women who were drawn to the Arctic regions and whose exploits were captured on film in two of the films below: Building the Peary Monument (top) and The Louise Boyd 1928 Expedition.

[ Read all ]

American fliers storm Paris on Bastille Day

Who are these Americans in Paris on Bastille Day?
Gen. J.J. Pershing at Paris with World Fliers. Left to right: Lieuts. Ogden, Arnold, Smith,Gen. Pershing, Lieuts. Wade, Nelson, Harding (US Air Force Pre-1954 Official Still Photography Collection)

In 1924, a group of Americans were welcomed by thousands of Frenchmen in Paris on Bastille Day. There was no war, but General Pershing requested a meeting with them, as did the President of France, with whom they attended the Olympics as his special guests later on. He also offered these six American lieutenants the Legion of Honor, France’s highest decoration.

But who were these American servicemen? What group of people would draw such attention from President Doumergue, or Blackjack Pershing, or the throngs of Parisians who fought crowds just to catch glimpses of the six? They were six airmen racing to be the first humans to ever circle the globe by air, and their story (“Magellans of the Sky”) is in the newest issue of Prologue magazine, which hits the shelves (and the Internet) next week.… [ Read all ]

Mutiny on the high seas

The USS Somers (Records of the Bureau of Ships)

The USS Somers with men hanging at the aft. (19-N-11508)

In the history of the United States Navy, no formal mutiny on the high seas has ever occurred, though one was narrowly averted on the storied decks of the USS Somers in 1842.

Without a Naval academy to train future Naval officers, the USS Somers set out in 1842 with a crew of seaman in training, on orders from Commodore Perry to deliver dispatches to another ship off the coast of Africa.  After delivering the letters, whispers of mutiny reached the ears of Commander Alexander Slidell Mackenzie and Lieutenant Guert Gansevoort the only two commissioned line officers aboard.

It was thought that Midshipmen Philip Spencer was plotting to seize the helm and turn the Somers into a pirate ship, a rumor that was validated when a list of crew members who would support an insurrection was found in Spencer’s room, along with a drawing of the ship flying a pirate’s flag.

Spencer and two others were tried on the ship’s decks, found guilty, and hanged.

The story of mutiny may have faded into the annals of Naval history, but Spencer was the son of the Secretary of War and, though exonerated by the courts, Mackenzie was criticized for carrying out the hanging when he was only … [ Read all ]