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Archive for July, 2011

Mind the (Gender) Gap

The photo here is from September 21, 1978, when Congresswomen Geraldine Ferraro met with President Jimmy Carter in the White House. (Carter Presidential Library; ARC 181476)

If you are under the age of 30, you might think that former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin was the first woman to run for Vice President on a major party ticket. But a generation earlier, New York Congresswoman Geraldine A. Ferraro broke the gender barrier in Presidential politics.

On this date in 1984, former Vice President Walter Mondale, the Democratic Presidential nominee, gave the most consequential statement of his political career. “I am delighted to announce that I will ask the Democratic convention to nominate Geraldine Ferraro of New York to run with me for the White House,” Mondale told a jubilant crowd that had gathered in front of the State Capitol in St. Paul, Minnesota.

The choice was immediately met with applause by many prominent politicians and women’s rights activists. A statement released by Senator Edward Kennedy following the historic announcement reflected the consensus endorsement of the Democratic Party: ”I know Gerry Ferraro as one of the ablest political leaders in America. Now the whole country will have the chance to know Gerry Ferraro and to appreciate her extraordinary ability. She is extremely well qualified.”

Throughout the campaign, Ferraro proved to be a major asset for the Mondale … [ Read all ]

Potatriots: The original Freedom Fries

Potatoes in Iowa become "the newest fighting corps" on the domestic front, ca. 1917 - ca. 1918. (National Archives at Kansas City, ARC 283501).

These Iowa spuds were decades ahead of the “Freedom Fries” idea! To help the war effort during First World War, U.S. citizens were encouraged to eat more potatoes while wheat was being sent to the soldiers overseas.

This World War I store window display showed potatoes dressed as soldiers, encouraging both children and adults to remember the fighting men overseas. (In fact, a column in a 1918 issue of Cosmopolitan magazine encouraged citizens to conserve food and “Stop Eating Soldiers!”)

The National Archives Experience is sponsoring an activity from July 11 to July 31 in conjunction with our new exhibition, “What’s Cooking, Uncle Sam?” Inspired by this World War I display, we invite you to create your own “potatriot” diorama! You can draw inspiration from any historical event of your choosing—feel free to be as creative as possible!

Send a photo of your potato diorama to volunteer@nara.gov, and we will post it in an album on the National Archives Facebook page.

All submissions will be entered into a drawing. At the end of the month, a winner will be randomly selected to receive a prize from the Foundation for the National Archives!

(And if you are visiting us in … [ Read all ]

The Beginning of the End: MacArthur in Korea

Photograph of Gen. Douglas MacArthur, Supreme Commander South West Pacific (ARC 2595319)

It was 61 years ago today that General Douglas MacArthur was named commander of United Nations forces in Korea. The final command in an illustrious career, MacArthur’s tenure in Korea led to a controversial feud with President Harry Truman and ultimately his dismissal.

The Korean War began on the morning of June 25, 1950, when troops from communist North Korea crossed the 38th parallel and attacked the Republic of Korea. Within hours the United Nations Security Council convened to adopt Resolution 82, which called for the withdrawal of all North Korean forces. When no withdrawal occurred, the UN passed a subsequent resolution asking member nations to provide military assistance for the removal of all aggressive forces below the 38th parallel.

Since the United States military was leading the aid effort, the United Nations authorized the American government to select the commander-in-chief of UN forces. The Joint Chiefs of Staff unanimously proposed that General MacArthur lead the coalition.

By early September, MacArthur’s forces had pushed most of the North Korean troops back beyond the 38th parallel. Filled with confidence after a major tactical victory at Inchon, MacArthur lobbied to push up into North Korea and crush further aggression. This request, however, made many inside the Truman administration wary.

President Truman and his advisers believed … [ Read all ]

Thursday Photo Caption Contest

Yosef Croce used visual aids when he played his mournful rendition of “Time In a Bottle.”

What can you say about a man, his accordion, a clock, and a bottle? We went to guest judge and social media coordinator Jeannie Chen, who once featured a infant President Ford holding a tiny accordion on the Presidential Libraries tumblr blog.

Congratulations to Mickey! Your caption won Jeannie’s heart and got that Croce tune stuck in her head. Check your email for a code for 15% off in our eStore.

The man in the photograph has been featured before on Pieces of History in this Facial Hair Friday post. William Duncan was the  founder of  Metlakahtla, a Utopian community in Alaska. The original caption reads: “William Duncan late in life, exhibiting to friends for photographing the canvas, hammock, clock, water bottle, and accordian [sic] used by him on his voyage to Victoria, B.C., in 1856-57., 1916 – 1917″ (ARC 297897)

Last week featured an accordion, and this week we are featuring another strange device. Give us your wittest caption in the comments below!

Your caption here!

[ Read all ]

What’s Cooking Wednesdays: Crimes against butter

Charles Wille was sent to the Federal Penitentiary at Leavenworth in 1915 for crimes against butter. (ARC 596115)

The Federal Penitentiary at Leavenworth, Kansas, has housed some famous and infamous inmates, such as “Birdman of Alcatraz” Robert Stroud and Machine Gun Kelly. In the early 20th century, the prison took in some less likely felons—violators of the Oleomargarine Act of 1886.

How did trafficking in this popular butter substitute become a Federal offense? Well, almost immediately after New York’s U.S. Dairy Company began production of “artificial butter” in 1871, regulation began. Dairy interests pushed Congress to pass the 1886 act, which imposed a two-cent tax (per pound) on margarine and also required manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers of margarine to obtain margarine licenses.

By 1902, 32 states had bans on coloring margarine yellow to make it look more like butter. That same year, Congress increased the tax to 10 cents a pound for colored margarine but imposed a lesser tax of a quarter of one cent per pound on the uncolored stuff.

The exhibit “What’s Cooking, Uncle Sam?” includes the story of felons convicted of violating sections of the Oleomargarine Act and sent to the Federal prison at Leavenworth. Some tried to pass the margarine off as butter; others tried to evade the tax by reusing tax stamps again and again.

Joseph Wirth (along with his

[ Read all ]