Archive for 'Unusual documents'
Today’s post comes from Ben Jordi, Public Affairs Specialist in Strategy and Communications, at the National Archives in College Park, MD.
Growing up, Clifton Truman Daniel never talked to his grandfather, Harry S. Truman, about his role in the war or the atomic bombings. “Our family met like any other family: on long weekends and holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving. And you were always careful about showing an interest in history or Grandpa would be sure to give you a lengthy history lesson,” says Daniel of his grandfather.
The Truman Presidential Library is filled with history lessons. One such lesson revolves around the atomic bombings of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. On August 6, 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb over the Japanese city of Hiroshima and three days later, on August 9th, another atomic bomb was dropped on the city of Nagasaki. The aftermath of the bombings left nearly a quarter of a million people dead. Survivors of the bombings were called hibakusha; literally translated as “explosion-affected people.”
When Daniel’s son Wesley was 10, his social studies teacher, Rosemary Barilla, did a series of lessons centered on the children’s book Sadako … [ Read all ]
Posted by Hilary on November 23, 2015, under - World War II, News and Events, Unusual documents.
Tags: 9/11 memorial, atomic bombings, Harry S. Truman, hibakusha, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, origami, paper cranes, Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes, Sadako Sasaki, Truman Library
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.
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 ]
Posted by Hilary on March 24, 2015, under National Archives Near You, Unusual documents.
Tags: civil servants, history, lighthouse, lighthouse keeper, Rhode Isnad, WHM2015, women, Women's History Month
In honor of Festivus, this seems like the perfect document for the airing of grievances. This feature was originally published in Prologue: Quarterly of the National Archives (Summer 2013).
At the National Archives, and almost any other archival institution, one of the principal rules for using original records is to keep the records in the same order in which they are given to you.
We benefit in our research from the care taken by unknown prior custodians of the records. Their work is usually invisible, but in the case of our featured document, a clerk’s voice breaks through from the 19th century.
At the back of the Civil War widow’s pension file based on the service of Pvt. Stephen Whitehead, a Pension Office clerk wrote:
These papers having been sorted with considerable care and for convenience arranged in something like their logical order, are now fastened together in the hope that the next man may escape the annoyance and drudgery that would be entailed were they chucked back in the promiscuous condition in which they were found.
Jany. 16, 1894. C.L.H.
The clerk’s frustration is understandable in light of the complexity of the Whitehead pension case. In 1860, … [ Read all ]
Posted by Mary on December 23, 2014, under - Civil War, Prologue Magazine, Uncategorized, Unusual documents.
Tags: airing of grievances, civil war, civil war pensions, civil war widows, clerk, festivus, pension, Pension Office
Alan Walker, an archivist in the Textual Processing unit in the National Archives at College Park, MD, just solved a mystery that staff have wondered about for many years.
Mark down this auspicious date, for I shall reveal to you the identity of this longtime mystery woman. You’ve probably seen this photo many a time on the National Archives’s social media; it’s a great image of one of our forebears having rollicking fun with some acetate laminating foil.
Jackie Martin, a photographer with International News Photos, was at the Archives Building in 1946 to shoot photos for a planned story about the National Archives. I imagine she wanted to liven things up a bit, and the idea for draping our mystery woman in laminating foil arose from that. The original negatives for all of these photos are in her papers at Syracuse University.
But until now, we have not known the name of our foil-bedecked lady. So how did I solve the mystery?
Well, I was looking through more of the 64-NA photos that recently uploaded into the new National Archives Catalog, and I found this image.
Then I recalled seeing her … [ Read all ]
Today’s post comes from Alan Walker, archivist at the National Archives in College Park, Maryland.
Now, maybe it’s happened to you: that “needle in a haystack,” “home run,” unbelievable find that blew you away, and brought joy to a researcher. We archival folks live for that moment.
Let me share with you one such moment from my career. During busy times in the Still Picture Branch, the processing staff can be called upon to help answer reference letters, or staff the research room. One day in early 1995, I was asked to help with the backlog of letters.
This one from Mr. Evan Evans looked promising:
A 90mm antiaircraft gun? No problem! We have tons of photos of various artillery pieces and vehicles in our files. Or so I thought.
I spent half the day trying to track down a decent shot of the antiaircraft gun Mr. Evans requested, and I came up empty. Then I read through his letter again. He and his gun crew set a record for downing 12 Japanese bombers over Rendova? Maybe they had been photographed after their feat; the military services are always on the lookout for a good story to tell the folks back home.