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Archive for June, 2010

Edwin Stanton: Facial Hair Rock Icon

Secretary of War Edwin Stanton (111-B-4559)

Secretary of War Edwin Stanton (111-B-4559)

Attorney General, Secretary of War, Supreme Court Justice, inspiration for ZZ-Top?

Whether the bearded rock band drew their inspiration from Stanton is unclear, but one thing is certain: Edwin Stanton would have made a fine rock star, playing by his own rules and shaking things up in Washington. In fact, perhaps the most fascinating thing about Edwin Stanton’s beard is that it’s the least fascinating thing about a man who defined three US presidencies.

  • As a lawyer, he once remarked “Why did you bring that damned long armed ape here?” about an attorney on his law team. The man was future President (and boss) Abraham Lincoln.*
  • In 1859, he was the first American lawyer to successfully use the plea of temporary insanity to protect his client, future Union General Daniel Sickles, from the charge that he killed the son of Francis Scott Key.
  • In 1860, President James Buchanan appointed Stanton as Attorney General, and it was Stanton who is largely credited with keeping the Buchanan administration in check during its final months in office.
  • Following Lincoln’s assassination, then-Secretary of War Edwin Stanton was ultimately responsible for the fate of John Wilkes Booth and his conspirators as they were tried in military, not civilian courts.
  • When Andrew Johnson assumed office, Stanton stayed on as Secretary of War much longer
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Happy NARA Recognition Day, Missouri!

Governor Jay Nixon declared June 2, 2010 as National Archives and Records Administration Recognition Day in Missouri

Governor Jay Nixon declared June 2, 2010 as National Archives and Records Administration Recognition Day in Missouri

The Show Me State is showing its appreciation for the work of the National Archives and Records Administration.  Governor Jay Nixon has signed a proclamation declaring June 2 as “National Archives and Records Administration Recognition Day” in the great state of Missouri.

The proclamation was announced in the presence of our very own Archivist of the United States, David S. Ferriero, who was the main speaker this morning during the placing of a time capsule in the new building under construction for the National Personnel Records Center on Dunn Road in St. Louis County.

Missouri is home to the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC), which is getting a new makeover as construction continues on what will become the largest National Archives building outside of the Washington, DC, area.  The new facility will ring in at a staggering 474,690 square feet—over 9 football fields worth of storage space for the nation’s 81 million veterans and civil service personnel records.

Though the NPRC is currently the busiest NARA facility in the country, fielding more than 1 million requests annually, it’s certainly not the only Archive facility in Missouri deserving recognition: the National Archives at Kansas City, the Harry Truman Presidential Library, and the Federal Records Center in Lee’s Summit are … [ Read all ]