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Archive for October, 2010

Would you elect these whiskers?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have you looked at your money lately? Among the nickels and quarters and dimes, only the copper penny has a bearded profile.

But although Lincoln’s facial hair eventually became an iconic part of his image, he originally ran for President as a clean-shaven candidate.

Why grow the beard? The answer may lie in a letter written to Lincoln on October 15, 1860, exactly 150 years ago

Eleven-year-old Grace Bedell of Westfield, NY, wrote a letter to Abraham Lincoln, then a Presidential candidate, suggesting he should grow a beard. “You would look a great deal better for your face is so thin,” she wrote, noting that “all the ladies like whiskers.”

Lincoln wrote back, wondering ”As to the whiskers, having never worn any, do you not think people would call it a piece of silly affection if I were to begin it now?” But a month later, Lincoln was sporting a full beard as he campaigned.  

What do you think? Does the beard make you want to vote for him?… [ Read all ]

Thursday’s Photo Caption Contest

Let’s hope that our winning captioner John is wrong, because if this was a grand military body odor experiment, this world would smell awful.

The actual caption is just as unsettling, however. These two marines are enjoying themselves after a nearby atomic blast. As the caption reads: “The atomic cloud formed by the detonation seems close enough to touch, and tension gone, Poth and Wilson do a little clowning for the camera.”  Click the photo for the full scoop.

Are you interested in winning 30% off at our National Archives eStore? Then join us each week as we take a photo out of context from our holdings and ask you to provide the funniest caption for it. If you win, you’ll get 30% off at the eStore (where Prologue is sold, by the way!)

Here’s this week’s photo. Good luck!… [ Read all ]

The Fighting Lady: The Lady and the Sea, 1945

Strafing and bombing missions over Japanese-held islands? Aerial dogfights? Classified destinations in the Pacific? All in a day’s work for the Fighting Lady. This vintage film captures life aboard the Yorktown aircraft carrier during World War II.… [ Read all ]

Where was the Navy born?

Tomorrow there will be a spirited debate at the USS Constitution Museum in Boston, Massachusetts. The Archivist of the United States, David Ferriero, will be there. So will senior archivist Trevor Plante. They are convening at the museum that honors the world’s oldest floating commissioned Navy vessel to settle once and for all a centuries-old debate: where was the Navy born?

We here at POH want your input. We’ve laid out the arguments for each town that claims it is the true birthplace of the Navy. We need you to read them and then cast your vote or add your two cents into the mix. You can either respond on our blog here, on our Facebook page, or on Twitter with the hash tag #navybirth.

Let the debate begin!

  • Machias, Maine, June 1775: two small sloops armed with woodsmen capture the Royal Navy schooner Margaretta.
  • Beverly, Massachusetts, September 1775: George Washington authorizes a ship, Hannah, to harass British supply ships.
  • Marblehead, Massachusetts, September 1775: The Hannah is outfitted with a Marblehead crew, and owned by a Marblehead resident.
  • Providence, Rhode Island, October 1775: The small state’s delegates are the first to propose a resolution to build and equip an American fleet.
  • Philadelphia, October 13, 1775: the Continental Congress votes to outfit two sailing vessels. This is the original legislation out of which the Continental Navy was born.
  • [ Read all ]

Gesundheit!

When it comes to casualty statistics, we often compare wars. In World War II, it’s estimated that 50 million were killed. During the Civil War, over a half million people lost their lives. In World War I, nearly 16 million were killed.

There was one war that topped nearly all those charts. It happened in 1918, when the human race was fighting off the flu. Fifty million people died. One-fifth of the world was infected. In one year, the average life expectancy in the United States dropped 12 years because of the virus. Town meetings were canceled due to the flu, and one future President was worried when his wife came down with symptoms.

You can see startling images and documents relating to this epidemic in our online exhibit “The Deadly Virus: The Influenza Epidemic of 1918.” This exhibit is just one of many online exhibits available at your fingertips from the National Archives.
[ Read all ]