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Archive for July, 2010

Thursday’s Photo Caption Contest

John felt war was no excuse to abandon his strict skin-care regime.

John felt war was no excuse to abandon his strict skin-care regime.

Call him John. Call him Mr. Poppins. But do not call him neglectful of his strict skin-care regime. Or so says this week’s winner, Janis!

So what was the story with our parasoled paratrooper? This photo is from the Records of the United States Coast Guard (RG 26) and was taken about 1943. But despite our best efforts, we’ve found no explanation as to what the heck our fair-skinned friend is doing. Maybe he lost at whatever game is being played behind him. Or maybe he really did just have a strict skin-care regime. Until we hear differently, we’ve filed this photo away with some of history’s other great mysteries like the lost colony of Roanoke, the Loch Ness monster, and the global success of Chia Pets.

This week, we’re taking a jaunt out west thanks to the folks at the National Archives at Riverside, California. You may recognize this image from the cover of one of our newest publications, Your Land, Our Land, which highlights the treasures at our regional archives.  The book is on sale at the National Archives e-Store, and if you win this week’s contest, you can put that 30% discount toward an autographed copy!

Fittingly, it’s our very own David Drake, Regional Administrator for the National Archives … [ 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 ]

Here to help: How to protect and recover your documents from disaster

Culver Military, 28th and Market Street, flood damage, 1937 (Records of the Tennessee Valley Authority)

Louisville, Kentucky, Culver Military, 28th and Market Street, flood damage, 1937 (Records of the Tennessee Valley Authority)

Hurricane Alex hit Mexico. Torrential rain overflowed Massachusetts. Flash floods devastated Arkansas. When the debris settles after such natural disasters, families will have to search their belongings for forms and documents that prove who they are and what they own. They’ll look for their photo albums and family trees, perhaps the family Bible, an important heirloom, or a hard drive with financial information stored on it. They’ll need to recover and repair those documents as best they can. But how?  And how do you make sure your documents are protected in the first place?

The National Archives is here to help. With over 75 years of preservation and recovery experience, the National Archives has repaired and preserved films, photos, files, wax cylinders, hard drives, papers, and yes, even the occasional Declaration of Independence–and we want to share our expertise with you, so you (and your documents) can weather any storm.

If you’ve been affected by a disaster, or want to know how to properly preserve and recover documents be they digital, leather, pulp or paper, visit our page on Records Emergency Information for tips and best practices. Or you can learn more about the Preservation Programs at the National Archives on our tailored Facebook page as well.… [ Read all ]

Facial Hair Friday: A bushy beard, a murder, and a missing arm

jefferson-c-davis

Gen. Jefferson C. Davis (ARC Identifier 529104)

Today’s Facial Hair Friday is not a case of mistaken identity. Jefferson Davis was arrested for murder.

But this Jefferson Davis was not the president of the Confederate States. This one was a Union officer, with nearly the same name. Jefferson Columbus Davis was a brigadier general in the Union Army when he shot and killed a superior officer, Maj. Gen. William Nelson, after an altercation at a hotel in Louisville, Kentucky.

Although Davis was arrested, he was never convicted, but instead was sent back into the Army.  Charges were never pressed against him. After the war, he continued with the Army as the first commander of the “Department of Alaska.”

But there is a question of identity for Jefferson C. Davis.

Gen. Davis appears again in a group photo, identified at the far left. His arm appears to have been amputated, but I can’t find any mention of the event where he was wounded. Is he the man on the far left, or is he the man standing, second from the right? The beards make it somewhat hard to tell. Or do any of our readers know what happened to Davis’s arm?

Gen. Jefferson C. Davis, Gen. William B. Hazen, Gen. Oliver O. Howard, Gen. John A. Logan, Gen. William T. Sherman, Gen. Henry W. Slocum, ca. 1860-1865  (ARC Identifier 528426)

Gen. Jefferson C. Davis, Gen. William B. Hazen, Gen. Oliver O. Howard, Gen. John A. Logan, Gen. William T. Sherman, Gen. Henry W. Slocum, ca.

[ Read all ]

Thursday’s Photo Caption Contest

"Gerald's ideas about postmodern camouflage systems were not well received."

"Gerald's ideas about postmodern camouflage systems were not well received."

Zebras, Fruit Stripes gum mascot, firing squads, post modernism . . . what a compendium of cunning captioning! Mr. Tom Mills was up all night last night poring over each comment with a keen eye toward hilarity and utter genius and has selected last week’s winner. In the end Keith Ramsey was dubbed the Captionista who captured our judge’s flare for funny.

But what was that postmodern fashion icon doing in front of that wall?  Great question. The original caption for this 1917 photo reads: “Soldier in black and white uniform to conceal him while climbing trees. He stands in front of a house camouflaged to represent a fence and trees. Company F, 24th Engineers. American University, D.C. Army Engineer Corps.”

While this week’s photo doesn’t involve the niche fence-camouflage market, it does have something in common with last week’s image: it makes no sense. Our guest judge this week is the esteemed, indefatigable chief of the Archives II Textual Records Reference Staff, Tim Nenninger. Victory in the ring will get you 30% off at the National Archives e-Store and a week’s supply of bragging rights.

So readers, lend us thy captions!

Insert your caption!

Insert your caption!

Here’s something to get you started:

“Mr. Poppins was called in after the spoonful of sugar proved ineffective.”

[ Read all ]