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Archive for June, 2011

Thursday Photo Caption Contest

Who knew that legs emerging from a plane would inspired so many captions about lost earrings, carnivorous aircraft, and close quarter combat? We went straight to the top for this one, and asked Debra Steidel Wall, our newly named Deputy Archivist, to be our guest judge.

Congratulations to Towner B! Check your email for a code to use for a 15% discount to our eStore!

So what’s really happening here? The original caption reads: “Workmen at the Vega aircraft plant, Burbank, California. Two women employees working through the bombardier’s hatch., 08/1943″ (ARC 520739)

Did you know that June is National Accordion Awareness Month? (Seriously.) We’ve found the perfect image to celebrate! Put your funniest caption in the comments below.… [ Read all ]

What’s Cooking Wednesdays: A dozen dont’s of gardening

Feeling the urge to plant a vegetable garden? 

During World War I and World War II, citizens were encouraged to plant victory gardens as part of the war effort so that more food could be sent overseas to the troops. Even the White House had a Victory Garden at the urging of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt.

Because many of these Victory Gardeners were city-dwellers, the government created posters, fliers, and handbooks to help these citizens make good use of their patches of soil.

Gardening clearly takes more than just common sense. In the Victory Garden Leader’s Handbook (below), a comic strip gives a dozen examples of problems that neophytes might encounter!

New gardeners were encouraged to plan ahead, but not start too soon, pick a good location, consider crop height, and not to waste soil or seed.

Despite these challenges, by 1945  about 40% of the nation’s vegetables came from these gardens.

In Boston, some of the 49 acres used as Victory Gardens across the city survived in the Fenway area as the Richard D. Parker Memorial Victory Gardens, which are still in use today.

The National Archives in Seattle found these tips in a Victory Garden Leader’s Handbook—and they are still (mostly!) valid. Check back in August, and we’ll have some suggestions for ways to preserve your bounty!… [ Read all ]

Special Delivery to UN General Assembly

On June 21 in New York City, the United Nations General Assembly reappointed Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to a second consecutive five-year term. As he took the oath of office, his left hand was placed on the cover of the original United Nations Charter.

At the request of the Secretary General, the National Archives made arrangements to have the original charter brought to New York City.

At the General Assembly, NARA staff set up the document on the stage prior to the ceremony. Afterward, the Secretary-General and his senior staff were among a group of officials treated to a special viewing of the Charter, courtesy of the National Archives.

In compliance with Article 111 of the Charter, the document is permanently held by the National Archives of the United States:

“The present Charter, of which the Chinese, French, Russian, English, and Spanish texts are equally authentic, shall remain deposited in the archives of the Government of the United States of America. Duly certified copies thereof shall be transmitted by that Government to the Governments of the other signatory states.”

First signed by 50 member countries on June 26, 1945, in San Francisco, the Charter is the foundational treaty of the United Nations. It entered into effect later in that year, after being ratified by the five permanent members of the Security Council.

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Update from … [ Read all ]

The Presidents are expecting you!

Did you know that the 13 Presidential libraries are part of the National Archives?

The National Archives is a nonpartisan agency, and we care for all the paper and digital records—as well as Presidential gifts and other items—that are part of the President’s legacy. These documents are preserved and made accessible at the 13 Presidential library and museums.

Before the Presidential libraries were created by Franklin Roosevelt, the papers of each President met varying fates at the end of each term. Papers were divided up, given to private collections, and even destroyed. 

In 1939, FDR donated his personal and Presidential papers to the Federal Government. He asked the National Archives to take custody of his papers and other historical materials and to administer his library. (For a full history of the creation of the Presidential libraries and how they operate, go to  this Prologue article)

The buildings, grounds, museum, and collections of each library are as different as the 13 Presidents whose records they preserve—and now you can commemorate your visit to each one with an official “Passport to the Presidential Libraries.”

Each page features facts, pictures, quotes, and a description of that President and his library. They are available at any Presidential library and at the Archives Shop in Washington, DC, for just $5!

You can go chronologically—start with President Hoover and end with President … [ Read all ]

Waiting All Night for a Look at History

Americans are used to waiting in line for things they really want: tickets to a rock concert, a World Series game or a controversial new movie, for example.

At the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan, this week some people  waited all night for a brief look at one of the nation’s most historic documents — the Emancipation Proclamation. 

The Proclamation was on display for 36 hours in conjunction with the showing at the museum of NARA’s “Discovering the Civil War” exhibit, which is on display there through September 5, before moving on to Houston and Nashville.

The Emancipation Proclamation, part of the National Archives’ holdings,  is displayed very infrequently and for short periods because of its fragile condition, which exposure to light can worsen, and the need to preserve the document for future generations.  On display in Dearborn were only two of the five pages and a replica of the front page; the document is double-sided.

With this historic document on display, the Henry Ford Museum got one of the biggest turnouts ever.  The 36 hours began at 7 p.m. Monday, June 20, and ended at 7 a.m. Wednesday, June 22.

Press accounts reported that there were waits of up to six to eight hours, some of it in the rain. 

The line was so long, according to Kate Storey, a museum spokesman, that it had to be cut off at … [ Read all ]