Archive for 'Myth or History'
Are these the most famous sideburns in music history? They might be the most famous sideburns in the National Archives.
If you are a fan of Elvis, you’ve seen the photograph: Nixon and Elvis shaking hands in the White House. This is the most-requested image in our holdings. The quirky story behind the meeting of the King of Rock and Roll and the President of the United States is featured in this online exhibit.
But it’s not the only record we have of Elvis.
In December of 1957, Elvis was drafted for the U.S. Army. This career change was an upsetting event for fans. The Eisenhower Library has a letter from three girls in Montana who despaired over a possible shaving of the singer’s sideburns: “You don’t no how we feel about him, I really don’t see why you have to send him in the Army at all, but we beg you please please don’t give him a G.I. hair cut, oh please please don’t! If you do we will just about die!”
But their letter writing was in vain. On March 24, 1958, Presley signed his acknowledgement of service obligation and entered the Army. (Alas, his sideburns did not.)
Since Elvis served in the military, his file is part of the permanant holdings of the National Personnel Records Center. Elvis was no ordinary soldier—his fame meant that … [ Read all ]
Posted by Hilary on December 30, 2011, under Facial Hair Fridays, Letters in the National Archives, Myth or History.
Tags: 1958, army, Basic Training, draft, Eisenhower Library, Elvis, Elvis Presley, letters, military file, montana, Nixon, nprc, photograph, Presley, rock and roll, sideburns, US Army, White House
What do you if you love Thanksgiving but it falls on a day when you can’t eat turkey? In 1947, President Truman faced an awkward dilemma.
Truman took up the office of President during World War II, but even after the war ended, the plight of the Europeans was on his mind. Americans were still urged to conserve food so that more could be sent to the hungry and needy in a war-devastated Europe.
Part of this effort involved not eating poultry on Thursdays. Of course, this presented a problem for President Truman on the fourth Thursday of November in 1947.
Certainly, Truman could have tried a drastic move and declared Thanksgiving to be held that Friday instead. However, Thanksgiving had barely recovered from a firestorm of controversy that started in 1939.
Before that fateful Thursday in 1939, the American people had followed the 1863 proclamation of Abraham Lincoln and faithfully celebrated a day of Thanksgiving on the last week of November. But in 1939, President Roosevelt had attempted to move the date up by a week to the fourth Thursday. It was a disaster, with 32 states accepting the date change and 16 states refusing. For two years, there were two Thanksgivings on two different Thursdays.
Having the entire country disagree over when to celebrate the national holiday was obviously not going to work out, and Congress stepped in. On October 6, … [ Read all ]
Posted by Hilary on November 23, 2011, under - Presidents, - World War II, Myth or History, What's Cooking Wednesdays.
Tags: House, Joint Resolution, menu, President Truman, Senate, thanksgiving, turkey, Wednesday, White house menu
This post was written by Laura Brandt and originally appeared on the Facebook page of the Foundation for the National Archives.
Flexing your literary muscles this month but facing writers’ block? Don’t forget that the National Archives has a wealth of information to enhance your tale, whether you are writing a historical novel or are looking for inspiration for interesting characters or plot twists.
How about a tale of war, heroic birds, and desperate soldiers? During World War I, the U.S. Seventy-seventh Infantry Division attacked the Germans near Charlevaux, France. Only one unit penetrated enemy lines: Maj. Charles W. Whittlesay’s First Battalion of the 308th Infantry Regiment. The battalion was quickly surrounded by Germans—and then came under friendly fire from its own artillery. Whittlesay used his last carrier pigeon to send this three-sentence plea.
Or, what would it be like to be a White House photographer? White House Photographer Cecil Stoughton took this iconic photo of Lyndon B. Johnson’s swearing-in ceremony after John. F. Kennedy was assassinated–but maybe your White House photographer is with President Lincoln at Ford’s Theater, or is covering the President in 2024? Take a look at these photographs for more inspiration!
Are you struggling with character development? How about thinking about what your characters would keep in their wallets? Find out what Eleanor Roosevelt kept in hers…and don’t forget to … [ Read all ]
Posted by Hilary on November 8, 2011, under Letters in the National Archives, Myth or History, petitions, Social Media Guides.
Tags: gunfight, inspiration, intrigue, NaNoWriMo, novel, oleo gang, pigeon, prison, research, romance, wallet, White House Photographer, Wild West, WWI, Yeti
Want a waffle with that earthshake?
All Virginia earthquake jokes aside, today is a momentous day indeed. On this day in 1869, Dutch American Cornelius Swarthout of Troy, New York, received a U.S. patent for the first waffle iron. Described as simply a “device to bake waffles,” the waffle iron was heated over a coal stove, and batter was poured on the griddle. Then the cover was shut, and after a few minutes, the iron was flipped over to cook the other side of the waffle. Breakfast would never quite be the same.
By the 1930s, the honeycombed griddle was a standard appliance in American kitchens, thanks to General Electric’s invention of the electric waffle iron. Responding to the demand, the Dorsa brothers created an easy waffle mix in the mid-1930s that would eventually become the frozen waffle brand Eggo. Belgian waffles—thick, fluffy waffles dressed with strawberries and whipped cream—were an immediate hit with Americans when Maurice Vermersch debuted his wife’s waffle recipe at the 1964 World’s Fair in Chicago. Today, waffles are a ubiquitous item that can be found in the frozen foods section of grocery stores and on breakfast menus everywhere.
But waffles of all sorts have been around far longer than 1964 or 1930—or even 1869.
Food history suggests that the earliest form of the waffle occurred thousands of years ago in ancient Greece. … [ Read all ]
Posted by Victoria on August 24, 2011, under - Presidents, Myth or History, Recipes, What's Cooking Wednesdays.
Tags: Cornelius Swarthout, John F. Kennedy, National Waffle Day, patents, waffle iron, waffles
Today’s guest post is from Samuel Rushay, senior archivist at the Truman Presidential Library and Museum, who is featured in our newest “Inside the Vaults” video about the adventure of John Paton Davies.
“…I stood in the open door of that miserable [C-46, Curtis] Commando and decided—`Well, if nobody else is going to jump, I’ll jump. Somebody had to break the ice.’ So I wheeled out and dove.” John Paton Davies (Excerpt from letter to Flossie [September 22, 1943], John Paton Davies Papers, Truman Presidential Library and Museum).
The date was August 2, 1943.
Twenty-one men, including John Paton Davies, second secretary of the American embassy in Chungking, China, and journalist Eric Sevareid of CBS, were aboard a C-46 transport plane. Their mission was to carry supplies from India to China in support of Chiang Kai-shek’s forces fighting the Japanese during World War II. They were flying over the “hump,” as mountainous Burma was known, when engine trouble developed, a not uncommon problem for the newly developed C-46.
In The American Journey of Eric Sevareid by Raymond Schroth, when it became clear the plane was going to crash, Davies maintained a calm demeanor and remarked, “Just kids, kids running this thing” (he was 35 years old), and jumped. He was the first person to leave the plane. The others followed.
The plane crashed into the Himalayan Mountains of … [ Read all ]
Posted by Hilary on August 2, 2011, under - Spies and Espionage, - World War II, Myth or History, Unusual documents.
Tags: Chiang Kai-Shek, choo-choo, Foreign Service, headhunter, John Paton Davies, Nagas, Truman PResidential Library