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Archive for September, 2010

Happy Birthday, Black Jack

John “Black Jack” Pershing turns 150 today. Of the man there is too much to be said in a blog post like this—there was that whole bit as the leader of the American Expeditionary Forces with World War I, for example—and so picking one moment to highlight such an expansive career is impossible.

So, to round out the report on Pershing’s career, we’ve bulletized a short biography of a man whose life spanned more conflicts than nearly any other American soldier. Here are just a few reasons you should know about Pershing beyond World War I:

  • He witnessed the Civil War as a four-year old. In Missouri his father refused to take down the Union flag at the family store, causing skirmishes with raiders and Confederates.
  • He taught at an all-black school following the Civil War.
  • As a West Pointer he led a troop of cadets to see the funeral procession of Ulysses S Grant.
  • As an officer, he served in almost every Western state (North Dakota, Iowa, Arizona, New Mexico, Nebraska, Montana, Oklahoma, Texas, and more).
  • He served in the 10th Cavalry “Buffalo Soldiers,” one of the first African American regiments established by Congress.
  • During the Spanish-American War, one of Pershing’s Buffalo Soldiers was the first to reach the top of Kettle Hill, the same peak that Teddy Roosevelt takes so much credit
  • [ Read all ]

Citizen Archivists and the bearded miner

There was heated debate in the press room today as we struggled to marry our dedication to Facial Hair Friday and our latest “Inside the Vaults” video. Fortunately for us, Jon White, one of the film’s featured Citizen-Archivists, just did a great cartoon on the statehood of California, bearded gold-rusher and all. Problem solved.

The National Archives’ sixth “Inside the Vaults” video short features Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero discussing contributions of the public to the National Archives. Researcher Jonathan Webb Deiss talks about his discovery of a Revolutionary War diary in Senate records. Educational cartoonist Jon White discusses his use of cartoons as a means to get children excited about history on his website Today’s Document.

[ Read all ]

Thursday’s Photo Caption Contest

The actual caption to this quaint collection of cowboy card sharks is quite the mouthful itself:

“Orient Saloon at Bisbee, Arizona… Faro game in full blast. Recognized: Left to right-Tony Downs (standing with derby) part owner; Doyle, a concert hall singer at corner of table, sitting, with derby; back of him standing is Dutch Kid; Sleepy Dick, the porter, to right with light felt; Charlie Bassett, with soft felt hat in rear next to wall; dealer is Johnny Murphy, and Smiley Lewis in silk hat.” By C. 5. Fly, ca. 1900

And while we here at POH appreciate any reference to a now obscure card game, nicknames like the “Dutch Kid” and “Smiley Lewis,” we were also smitten with Different Sarah’s Pinochle/Jimmy Dean reference. Why? Because after reading it we could never look at the photo again without seeing slices of sausage being gambled back and forth.

Think you’ve got what it takes to wrest the caption contest crown from Different Sarah? If so, you could win 30% off at the eStore.

If you’re a fan of our Facebook page, you may recognize the next photo. The truth is we saw it while posting there and realized that it was a photo just begging for some caption creativity.

Here’s one to get you started: “Goodnight John Boy”… [ Read all ]

The London Blitz

Seventy years ago this week, the German blitz on London began, devastating the British capital. The Blitz brought World War II to England’s home front.

For 57 consecutive days and nights the Blitz raged on. All told the indiscriminate bombings of London and greater England would claim the lives of 43,000 civilians, half of whom were Londoners. Over a million buildings were destroyed or damaged.

For more photos, visit our Facebook photo album, “The London Blitz.”[ Read all ]

Eisenhower and the Little Rock Nine

Over a half-century ago this month, nine black students entered the all-white Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, escorted by troops of the 101st Airborne Division.

The enrollment of the nine students was the historic response to the 1954 Supreme Court ruling Brown v. Board of Education.  The high court had determined that segregation was unconstitutional, and so desegregation was imminent.

Arkansas governor Orval Faubus felt differently. He deployed the Arkansas National Guard to Central High School, where the first black students were slated to attend. Mobs gathered outside the school. Some threatened to lynch the students.It was 1957.

Four years earlier, sat with the governor of another southern state to talk “about the possibility of a Supreme Court ruling that would abolish segregation in public schools of the country.”  Eisenhower later wrote in his diary:

Improvement in race relations is one of those things that will be healthy and sound only if it starts locally. I do not believe that prejudices, even palpably unjustified prejudices, will succumb to compulsion. Consequently, I believe that Federal law imposed upon our states in such a way as to bring about a conflict of the police powers of the states and of the nation, would set back the cause of progress in race relations for a long, long time.

By 1957, Eisenhower would do that which he … [ Read all ]