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Archive for May, 2011

Thursday Photo Caption Contest

Congratulations to RexAnn! Your caption about bingo was the winning combination to win the contest and 15% off at the National Archives eStore.

These ladies aren’t letting a lack of cars, love of bingo, or age stop them from enjoying life! This photograph is from the 1970s DOCUMERICA series. The caption reads “Tricycle club of the Century Village retirement community meets each morning, 06/1973.”

Today’s photo also shows a meeting, but in a less sunny setting. Give us your wittiest caption in the comments below!… [ Read all ]

Inside the Treasure Vault

The National Archives has over 3,000 employees, but not all of them are archivists. There are educators, social media writers, preservationists, security personnel, and Federal Records Center workers. Some of us handle records all day, but for many of us, our jobs do not bring us into direct contact with the records.

That’s why it is so exciting to go inside the Treasure Vault, as we call the specially secured and fire-safe room that holds some of the most interesting and precious documents of the National Archives. Today, some of our staff from various departments took a special trip to Treasure Vault of the Center for Legislative Archives (CLA), which holds the records of the  U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.

These treasures range in content and across time, from Clifford Berryman’s political cartoons (when CLA acquired them, the drawings were stored in trash bags) to a radar map showing Japanese planes approaching Pearl Harbor to the electronic records from the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks on the United States (the 9/11 Commission).

But my favorite record from Congress? It was George Washington’s inaugural address. The two sheets were in a protective case, but when the archivist held them up in front of me, it was still thrilling to see the pages written in Washington’s own hand and to imagine the President reading the address aloud in New York.

I love my job writing … [ Read all ]

Thor? Is that you?

It’s very rare to have an example of a recent beard, and even more rare to have a bearded President after, oh, 1890. So I was shocked when John Keller, an archivist at the Clinton Library, sent a link to this picture of President Clinton. He explains the unusual find in this guest post:

Here are two aspiring Yale law students posing for a photo in the early 1970s and looking very seventies indeed. Please admire the “Viking” beard look that this future President is sporting at Yale Law School.

You won’t be the only admirer: the First Lady cited the “Viking” look in her memoir Living History. This is the first of many photos—to say the least—in which Bill and his new friend Hillary would be featured in the coming years. But that was all in the future. It was the early seventies and this picture of law student Bill truly captured the “hairy” nature of the times.… [ Read all ]

Thursday caption contest

Congratulations, Teresa Martin Klaiber, for bringing a smile to the face of Gwen Granados, our guest judge from the National Archives at Riverside. She shared this photograph with us, and we all agreed it was eminently caption-worthy. (Teresa, if you send an e-mail to prologue@nara.gov, I can send you your 15% discount code to use at the National Archives eStore.)

The photograph is in a file on “Porpoises, 1965–1967,” among the records of the  11th Naval District in Record Group 181, Records of Naval Districts and Shore Establishments. Its original caption reads, “Sam the Sea Lion and his trainer Walley Ross.”

OK, captioners, get your thinking caps on for this week’s challenge. This Sunday is Mother’s Day, so maybe these ladies are celebrating their day! Write your own caption in the comments section at the bottom of this page.

 … [ Read all ]

Cooking for your family and your allies

“What’s Cooking Wednesday” continues with this post from our colleagues at the National Archives at Denver. These Wednesday features celebrate our new exhibit “What’s Cooking, Uncle Sam?” which opens on June 10 in Washington, DC, and looks at the role that the Federal Government has taken in food production, safety, advertising, and nutrition.

It’s hard to image Rachel Ray or an Iron Chef looking so solemn during a cooking demonstration, but these ladies were showing an audience how to feed their family on the war front—and still have food for an unknown family on the war front.

On the home front during World War I, a forced food rationing program never took place, but a volunteer food conservation system became commonplace. Civilians were advised to give up food commodities that were greatly needed for the war effort.

Despite being the largest food producer in the world, the United States of America was ill equipped to shoulder such an overwhelming food and material distribution; vast amounts of food and supplies were required to feed the newly assembled overseas army, our allies, and demoralized European civilians. An abdundance of cooking fats, sugar, wheat, meat, and vegetables was necessary to meet the daily task of feeding so many.

In the United States, volunteerism became widespread; citizens saw food conservation as patriotic, referring to it as “Hooverizing” after Herbert Hoover, the United States Food Administrator … [ Read all ]