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Archive for April, 2011

Thursday Caption Contest

Congratulations to LisaLou! Your caption tugged the entrepreneurial heartstrings of guest judge Suzanne Isaacs, who makes sure all the great images we use are available to the public in ARC.

Check your e-mail for 15% off in the eStore!

This photo was suggested to us by Laura of the Foundation for the National Archives. She thought it had a very Tennessee Williams feel to it.

But it’s not a set—as our winner suspected, it’s a mobile library with a slightly poignant story: “Charlestown, Indiana. Education, Library Services. The Public Library in Charlestown, Indiana was constructed out of work shanties by Works Progress Administration (WPA) workers in the early days of the Charlestown boom and is staffed by Works Progress Administration librarians. It has between three thousand and four thousand books and there is a demand for more technical texts on chemistry, steam fitting, mechanical drawing, mathematics and carpentry. The library is well partonized by the newcomers and townsfolk alike; the demand for fiction is less than was expected. Indiana University has announced extension courses for Charlestown this Fall in business, education, American and Latin-American history, English, elementary Spanish, mathematics, and psychology.” (ARC Identifier 518271)

There are no books in this week’s image, but there is definitely a story behind the pair in this photo! Tell us what it is in the caption below…… [ Read all ]

The Queen’s Scones for a Wedding Breakfast

Welcome to our first “What’s Cooking Wednesday” here at Pieces of History!

We’re excited to make this first post in a series celebrating our new exhibit “What’s Cooking, Uncle Sam?” which looks at the role that the Federal Government has taken in Americans’ lives regarding food production, safety, advertising, and nutrition. It opens June 10, and we’ll be posting images, recipes, food challenges, and much more!

This recipe from Queen Elizabeth is featured in the upcoming exhibit, and it would make an excellent breakfast to eat as you watch the royal wedding on Friday.

Why does the National Archives have a recipe about scones from the British monarch? Since was sent to a President, it’s actually a Federal record.

In August 1959, Queen Elizabeth entertained President Dwight Eisenhower at Balmoral Castle in the Scottish Highlands. One of the dishes she served was drop scones. The next year, she was reminded of his visit and her promise to share the recipe, and she mailed it to him.

She included some help to make the recipes work for an American cook. She noted that treacle (sugar syrup) could be used for caster sugar. But you have to wonder, exactly how a big a teacup should the cook use?… [ Read all ]

Pennsylvania Avenue Hotline

Today’s guest post comes from David Coleman,  associate professor at the University of Virginia and Chair of the Presidential Recordings Program at the Miller Center of Public Affairs.

On April 28, W.W. Norton will publish volumes 7 and 8 in the Miller Center’s Presidential Recordings of Lyndon B. Johnson series. (The original tapes are in the holdings of the LBJ Presidential Library and Museum.) The volumes, which span June through July 4, 1964, were edited by Guian McKee, Kent Germany, and David Carter.

At 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 28, the National Archives will host Dave Coleman, the editors, and Pulitzer Prize–winning author Taylor Branch to discuss these latest books.

“That’s a good bill, and there’s no reason why you ought to keep a majority from beating it. If you can beat it, go on and beat it, but you oughtn’t to hold it up. You ought to give me a fair shake and give me a chance to vote on it.”
—LBJ to House Minority Leader Charles Halleck, 6:24 p.m., June 22, 1964

 

Behind-the-scenes discussions between the White House and Capitol Hill can be an essential piece of the puzzle in understanding how and why legislation was passed, rejected, or changed, or even a government shutdown averted. But they’re typically obscured from public view.

It’s easy enough to imagine what might have been

[ Read all ]

An Egg-centric White House Tradition

Today’s an eggs-ellent day in Washington, DC, for young people! It’s the annual White House Easter Egg Roll, where hundreds of children gather to roll eggs and play games on the South Lawn of the President’s House.

But the tradition did not start at the White House. It began on the lawns and terraces of the Capitol after the Civil War. Children of all races and backgrounds rolled eggs and played games on the turf around the Capitol.

But in 1878, children who arrived at the Capitol on Easter Monday were turned away.

Congress had passed a law to prevent these young citizens from taking such liberties on the grounds, and it became the “duty of the Capitol police hereafter to prevent any portion of the Capitol grounds and terraces from being used as playgrounds or otherwise.”

It’s not clear how the party was rolled over to the White House, but a newspaper clipping in Rutherford B. Hayes’s personal scrapbook shows he was the first President to officially allow the Executive Mansion to be used for egg rolling. (There were informal egg rollings there as early as Lincoln’s administration.)

The good times and egg rolling continued through the following Presidential administrations with a few brief interruptions. In 1917, during World War I, the egg roll was canceled until 1920 because of concerns of the waste of … [ Read all ]

Facial Hair Friday: Shiloh and Sideburns

There’s something appealing about this pensive photograph of Ulysses S. Grant, from his somber clothes to his wistful gaze. He doesn’t seem like someone who saw  some of the bloodiest fighting at Shiloh.

Unlike many of our other featured Facial Hairs of the Civil War era, Grant’s beard is not a runaway avalanche of hair, nor is it attempting to creep out from under his collar and up his face.

Grant’s beard is neatly trimmed, and his hair tidily slicked back. It’s an oddly timeless look.

When I go to museums and look at portraits of Americans, I like to imagine them in modern clothes. Some people, like the Leavenworth inmates, seem firmly rooted in thier time. But I can imagine Grant in modern-day clothes, perhaps headed off to teach a college history class.

This month marked the sesquicentennial anniversary of the Civil War. For Grant, April would be an important month. On April 9, 1865, Robert E. Lee surrendered his 28,000 troops to Grant, ending the Civil War.

Of course, General Grant went on to other things after the Civil War. He was the 18th President of the United States, from 1869-1877.

But this picture seems even more poignant considering the end of his life. After the Presidency, Grant was a partner in a financial firm that went bankrupt. He also developed cancer of throat. Grant frantically wrote his … [ Read all ]