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Archive for September, 2011

Facial Hair Friday: Herbert the Handsome

Mining engineer and future President Herbert Hoover, ca. 1900. (Hoover Library)

Herbert Hoover—successful businessman, international humanitarian, President during the Crash of 1929—and rugged mustachioed mining engineer? Yes, Bert Hoover started his career in the goldfields of Australia in 1897–1898. He then headed to China to develop coal mines, and he and his wife, Lou, were there during the Boxer Rebellion of 1900. Fun fact: Herbert is the only U.S. President to have been fluent in Mandarin Chinese.

Although we usually picture the 31st President as clean-shaven and impeccably turned out, pictures from his early days show a man with a bit of dash and swagger.

Today happens to be the anniversary of the dedication of Hoover Dam. The monumental dam across the Colorado River was dedicated on September 30, 1935. When construction was begun in 1930, the project was called the Hoover Dam, but after Hoover left office, Boulder Dam was the commonly used name and the name used at the dedication. Legislation in 1947 officially restored the name Hoover Dam.

If you want to learn more about Herbert Hoover’s pre-Presidential life, visit the Hoover Library. To learn about his humanitarian efforts during World War I, read “Herbert Hoover and Belgian Relief” in Prologue magazine.

Close-up of Hoover Dam transmission lines on the side of a cliff, ca. 1941, by Ansel Adams. (ARC 519850; 79-AAB-14)

Close-up

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Thursday Photo Caption Contest

"Yes, the buck stops here, but dolls and puppets keep going two doors down the hall and to the left."

Since this week’s photo featured President Harry S. Truman, we turned to Tammy Kelly, an archivist at the Truman Library, to pick our winner for the photo contest. She has firsthand knowledge of this photo since she is the one who cataloged the doll into the Truman Library’s computerized system earlier this summer.

Tammy picked John W.’s quote as one that tickled her funny bone. Congratulations, John W.! Check your e-mail for a code for 15% off in the eStore.

The original caption for the photo is “Photograph of President Truman in the Oval Office, receiving a doll from Dr. Helen Kim, a Korean educator, as Dr. John Myun Chang, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to the United States, and Dr. Frederick Brown Harris, Chaplain of the Senate, look on. 05/08/1951″ (ARC 200314; Harry S. Truman Library). Tammy added that while they do not have much information about the doll itself, she could tell us that the doll is wearing a dark red skirt, and the dress features brightly striped sleeves.

Dolls, puppets, and office politics aside, this week’s photo takes us back to nature. Put your best captions in the comment box below!

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What’s Cooking Wednesdays: Lookout cookouts

This week’s edition of What’s Cooking Wednesday comes from Kathleen Crosman, an archivist at the National Archives at Seattle.

Those who manned fire lookout towers were essentially camping out for weeks at a time. They had to pack their rations, which were mostly canned or nonperishable food, and prepare what meals they could.

Today’s high-tech, freeze-dried camping supplies are a vast improvement over even what was available in the 1960s, as any dedicated camper can tell you. At the National Archives at Seattle, we have a Historical Collection created by the Region 1 Office of the Forest Service in Missoula, Montana. In it are lookout cookbooks from 1938, 1942, 1943, and 1966. David Ferriero, the Archivist of the United States, visited us on August 31, and we presented him with a facsimile copy of the 1966 cookbook.

In addition to recipes, the cookbook offers nutritional guidance, such as lists of foods rich in particular vitamins and minerals, and daily serving suggestions. The cookbooks include everything from sandwiches and main meals to desserts and candy. If you grew up in the 1960s you might recognize some of the recipes below! (Jell-o salad anyone?)

Of course, there is always the really odd item in any cookbook. Check out the peanut butter and mayonnaise sandwich listed under Novelty Sandwiches!

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Thursday Photo Caption Contest

Forced to resign his plum post at the Kennel Club, Rex instantly regretted posting his collarless photos to the wrong Twitter account.

After much head scratching and sniffing—I mean, thinking—over which caption to choose (Khrushchev? Nipper? Kodak?) we decided to ask for help. We put in a request for assistance from Miriam Nisbet, who is the Director of the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS). When she isn’t sorting out FOIA requests, she’s working with guide dogs, so we knew she could help us find the right caption.

Congratulations to Peter! Miriam said this one made her laugh out loud. Check your e-mail for a code for 15% off in the eStore.

While Peter’s caption reminds of the dangers of using social media, this record is all about the dangers of spying! The original caption reads “An unabashed Korean puppy holds his ground in an ‘eye to eye’ encounter with a huge Fifth Air Force aerial camera, one of the ‘Eyes of the Far East Air Forces’. The camera is an Air Force K-19B used by night-flying RB-26 aircraft of the 67th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing to photograph enemy airfields, railroad marshalling yards, bridges, supply dumps and troop movements., ca. 06/1951″ (ARC 542230).

This week’s photo features something  from Korea as well—put your cleverest caption in the comments below.

Your caption here!

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What’s Cooking Wednesday: Whale Surprise!

Recipes for Whale Pot Roast and Curried Whale from the Records of the U.S. Food Administration, RG 4 (National Archives at Kansas City)

Today’s guest post comes from Jennifer Audsley Moore, who is an archives technician and volunteer coordinator at the National Archives at Kansas City.

Whale: It’s what’s for dinner.

At least, that is how the U.S. Food Administration and U.S Bureau of Fisheries would have it. During World War I, the U.S. Food Administration was established under the Lever Act to ration food and stabilize prices. With farmers and other industries mandated to comply with the act, certain food items such as sugar, wheat, and beef became difficult to procure.

But for the majority of Americans, participation in food rationing was more strongly suggested than mandatory. Advertisements designed to admonish Americans into forgoing sugar, beef, pork, wheat in the name of patriotism abounded. American soldiers fighting in France needed beef and sugar rations, and Uncle Sam needed the ships normally used to import sugar and other luxuries for the war effort.

So just what were Americans at home supposed to serve for dinner? Not beef. Not pork. Chicken perhaps? No. How about whale? Yes, whale.

Perhaps this might not seem far-fetched in Alaska or even New England (although in the Midwest we tend to identify the East Coast with clam chowder … [ Read all ]