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Archive for August, 2010

A funny thing happened while searching for Elvis

For those keeping tabs on the King, the 33rd anniversary of Elvis Presley’s death came and went yesterday. As we here at Pieces of History are always interested in sharing tidbits from the Archives that may otherwise go unnoticed, we delved into our Archival Research Catalog to see what we could see. And what we saw was, well, weird.

Yes, there were the images of Nixon meeting Elvis in one of history’s most peculiar meet-ups, and papers relating to Elvis’ time in the Army (you can see all of this by searching Elvis in ARC), but what really caught our eye were the videos obscurely related to the King. We’ve selected two clips for your viewing pleasure, not so much because of what they have to do with Elvis, but because part of the pleasure in searching through the National Archives is all the randomness you will find. So, onto videos about robot-loving-seals, UFOs, and, of course, Elvis.

[ Read all ]

New Deal faces old court

When the sweeping laws of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal were enacted, it did not take long for the laws to get challenged in the courts. From Social Security to a spate of other laws meant to revamp an economy deep within the Great Depression, the New Deal was not an easily won victory for Progressives, and sometimes not a victory at all.

On what has come to be called “Black Monday”–May 25, 1935–the Supreme Court unanimously ruled  on two cases that each struck down major portions of Roosevelt’s New Deal. The first case to be ruled unconstitutional was the Frazier-Lemke Emergency Farm Mortgage Act, part of the New Deal designed to prevent debt-ridden farmers from losing their land. In a second ruling, the National Industrial Recovery Act, a major cornerstone of the New Deal, was struck down by a vote in the courts, ruling that the Legislative had given too much unchecked power to the Executive, and violated the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment.

Roosevelt was having a bad day, but would not go down without a fight.

Roosevelt introduced the Judiciary Reorganization Bill in his first Fireside Chat following his reelection in 1936.  More New Deal laws had been declared in the interim, and by 1937, Roosevelt was ready to hit back. “We have,” Roosevelt spoke, “reached the point as a nation where … [ Read all ]

You can grow a mustache, but you can never leave

Did you catch Mugged! Facing Life at Leavenworth at the  National Archives at Kansas City this summer?

The exhibit may be closed now, but you can learn more about the prison, its inmates, and its records in this new article from Prologue. And it’s not too late to see some more mug shots from the exhibits. Check out the album on the National Archives Facebook page.

Located twenty-five miles north of Kansas City, the United States Penitentiary at Leavenworth opened its doors in 1895 as the nation’s first Federal penitentiary. Since it was a Federal prison, the National Archives at Kansas City has many of its records.

The prison is still in use today. While mustaches may not be in fashion for modern inmates, a hundred years ago there plenty of hats, facial hair, and startled expressions. Among the many featured mug shots of prisoners are many fine examples of facial hair: the three below feature mustaches.… [ Read all ]

Thursday’s Photo Caption Contest

Well, it’s not synchronized swimming on land, it’s legitimate life saver training in Idaho, circa 1936. You can view the ARC entry for this photo (a record of the FDR Presidential Library) by clicking on the picture at left. Andrea still has a great point: they do look a bit like the Village People. That caption won her 30% off at the eStore and our judge’s gratitude for a job well done.

As the summer heat hits overdrive across the country, we thought we’d keep with our aquatic theme to help everyone keep their cool. As such, we’ve found a peculiar oldie but goodie, one that needs your keen caption prowess. Show us what you’ve got!

For starters:  “Every spring the women of rural Vermont swim thousands of miles upstream to reproduce.”… [ Read all ]

The Constitution has a Facebook Page

While the Constitution may not update it’s own writing too often (the last time was in 1992), it does update its own Facebook page. So why not head on over and see what’s on the Constitution’s mind? The Constitution will be keeping tabs on the 1787 Constitutional Convention up until September 17 on the Notes tab. Have a look and check back often to see what’s new with our nation’s founding document.… [ Read all ]