Site search

Site menu:

Find Out More

Archives

Categories

Contact Us

Subscribe to Email Updates

Archive for August, 2011

Facial Hair Friday: A Musical Interlude

We interrupt our usual hairy programming to bring you this musical interlude.

What could be so important that we would skip mustaches, beards, and goatees?

Well, today marks the anniversary of the Washington, DC, premiere of This Is the Army, with songs written (and one performed) by Irving Berlin.

You would easily recognize Irving Berlin’s songs “God Bless America,” “White Christmas” and “Putting on the Ritz.” But the citizens and soldiers of 1943 would have easily recognized ”Oh! How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning.”

When World War II broke out, Irving Berlin was already a very successful songwriter. During World War I, he had been drafted by the Army to raise morale through music, which he successfully did with his musical Yip! Yip! Yaphank. Now, three decades later, Berlin was ready to do the same for his adopted country again.

The result was the musical production This Is the Army. Although Laurence Bergreen notes in this Prologue article, “And in case the army didn’t like it, he had another title in reserve: This Is the Navy. Or the Air Corps. Whatever. But his heart was with the army.”

One of the most interesting aspects of the show was that the performers were soldiers, and this company was integrated. Originally minstrel-style songs had been sung by white performers in blackface in Yip! Yip! [ Read all ]

Thursday Photo Caption Contest–August 11

We had a hard time choosing this week between captions that suggested ill-fated monkey-navigated flights or included the phrase “monkey hairdo.”

Finally we turned to a man of impeccable taste, Brian Barth, who is the man behind the art direction and graphic design of the recipe book Eating with Uncle Sam: Recipes and Historical Bites from the National Archives to choose the caption he looked best with the image.

Congratulations to Amy! Check your email for a code for a 15% discount to the eStore. Maybe you’ll even pick up a copy of the recipe book.

So, if this pilot is not actually receiving a simian de-lousing, what is going on?

 The original caption reads: With “Jospehine,” squadron pet, as his mascot, Lt. M. W. Carney of Churchlands, Va., prepares to give a new fighter plane just arrived in Africa its test flight., ca. 02/1943.

Today’s photo is firmly grounded and indoors. Give us your best caption in the comments below!… [ Read all ]

What’s Cooking Wednesdays: Canning for Victory!

Today’s “What’s Cooking Wednesdays” guest post comes from Kimberlee Ried, public programs specialist at the National Archives in Kansas City.

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses, yearning to breath free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless, tempest tossed,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

These words, written by Emma Lazarus, are inscribed on the tablet held by the Statue of Liberty, given as a gift to the United States from France in 1886.  This iconic statue has symbolized patriotism and freedom often associated with the United States. 

 This “Be a Victory Canner” poster, found in the records of the National Archives at Kansas City, was created by a child during World War I. The drawing evokes similar patriotic undertones with the depiction of Lady Liberty as a Victory Canner. 

The poster is found in the Records of the U.S. Food Administration, a short-lived federal agency created in 1917 as a part of the Food and Fuel Control Act.  During World War I this agency was responsible for regulating the supply, distribution, and conservation of products for the Allies.  Such items needed for conservation were fuel, wool, sugar, and wheat. 

This “Be a Victory Canner” poster is one of eight created by elementary students in Iowa as a part of the publicity and propaganda activities coordinated by the … [ Read all ]

Strange bedfellows: Nixon, Bush, and Sawyer

More than 400 White House staff  came to see Richard Nixon say farewell at 9.32 a.m. in the East Room of the White House. And when Nixon and his family walked to the waiting helicopter, staff and guests crowded across the lawn and porch.

There were hundreds of people at the White House that historic morning. But politics does make strange bedfellows and three names in particular stand out from the pages of the daily White House diary entry for August 9.

David Eisenhower, the grandson of former President Dwight Eisenhower, was there. He made the long walk down the red carpet to the helicopter holding the hand of his wife, Julie, who was also Nixon’s daughter.

Her name does not appear on the  manifest of the helicopter that lifted off from the White House lawn. But when the President arrived at Andrews Air Force Base and then boarded Air Force One, a young Diane Sawyer joined him on the second aircraft. Sawyer had been working as a staff assistant in Nixon’s administration since 1970, and she followed the former President to California, where she helped him write his memoirs. She is currently the anchor for ABC World News.

And future President George H. W. Bush and his wife were there. Bush attended in his capacity as Chairman of the Republican National Convention. He also recorded his impressions of the events in his diary, revealing … [ Read all ]

Tag! You know something!

Last week on Facebook, I posted up a image that my colleague found for Shark Week. It wasn’t a biological shark, but a mechanical one. The caption provided some basic information: “A Chinese soldier guards a line of American P-40 fighter planes, painted with the shark-face emblem of the ‘Flying Tigers,’ at a flying field somewhere in China. The American pursuit planes have a 12-to-1 victory ratio over the Japanese., ca. 1942.”

The comments in the post, however, provided far more information! Facebook users launched into a knowledgeable  discussion of dates, forces, and plane types.

But if anyone used our Online Public Access search engine (OPA) to search the online holdings of the National Archives using the words that came up in the discussion (“23rd Fighter Group” or ”Kunming” or “Zhongzheng Type-24,”) this photograph would not appear. A possibly useful record would not make its way to a researcher.

This is why the Archivist has invited “citizens archivists” to join him in crowdsourcing our vast holdings by tagging images and photographs. Users who have knowledge about our holdings can assign tags that make records more findeable for fellow users.

Already, users have contributed hundred of tags. Are you interested in joining the fun? We’d like your help!  To learn more about the project, sign up, and start tagging, go here.

Interested in learning more about those strange shark planes? Here’s a … [ Read all ]