Site search

Site menu:

Find Out More

Subscribe to Email Updates

Archives

Categories

Contact Us

Archive for November, 2011

Thursday Photo Caption

"Susan had always been a diligent student, but now she began to suspect that her master’s thesis was getting a little bit out of control."

Last week’s image may have sparked some of our best captions yet! Apparently a giant roll of paper makes our readers think of their experiences in the National Archives research room, Twitter, and toilet paper at the State Department.

But it reminded us of another enormous rolled document featured on Pieces of History: a 1954 petition from Hawaii. And so we asked conservator Morgan Zinsmeister, who worked on that outsized record, to choose a winner.

Congratulations to Jill! Morgan thought your caption was the one we should preserve as the winner.

So what is really happening here? It turns out we made the right connection in thinking of Morgan and his Hawaiian petition. This photograph is from the “Historic Photograph File of National Archives Events and Personnel, 1935–1975,” and it shows Archives employee Kay Brewington examining a large petition. (We admire her ability to crouch gracefully in that dress and those shoes!)

Today’s photograph also shows a woman hard at work under the glare of a bare lightbulb—but what is she teaching? Give us your best caption in the comments below!

Your caption here!

 … [ Read all ]

What’s Cooking Wednesday: Giving thanks for the calorie?

A poster giving information on what 100 calories looks like, from the Records of the Office of Education (ARC 5838434).

Congratulations to Sheila Fisher, whose comment on last week’s post, “A fire place with hickory wood burning and crackling. Nothing makes a house smell more like a home than a wood burning fireplace on a frosty winter morning! MMMMMM” was randomly chosen by Patty Mason, the editor of Eating with Uncle Sam. The Foundation for the National Archives will be sending you a copy!

Wilbur Olin Atwater would make a terrible Thanksgiving guest.

Chances are after you stuffed yourself with turkey, gravy, rolls, and green beans covered in fried onions bits, he would invite you sit in his calorimeter.

Would you decline? Or would you agree to be a (stuffed) guinea pig for science? W. O. Atwater wasn’t one to mince words: “The evils of overeating may not be felt at once, but sooner or later they are sure to appear—perhaps in an excessive amount of fatty tissue, perhaps in general debility, perhaps in actual disease.”

In fact, Wilbur Olin Atwater is the reason that we count calories in the first place.

Atwater was born in 1844, and the results of his research are still being felt over 100 years later. In fast-food restaurants, you can look at a chart listing fat, protein, carbs, and calories for each food—a quantification … [ Read all ]

Herman Melville: A Voyage into History

The Acushnet's crew list, December 1840. Herman Melville's name appears sixth from the bottom. (Records of the U.S. Customs Service, RG 36, National Archives at Boston)

This story originally appeared in the Fall 2009 issue of Prologue magazine.

Herman Melville’s classic American novel, Moby-Dick, was first published in the United States on November 14, 1851. In Moby-Dick and his earlier books, Melville called upon his own experience aboard whaling ships, most notably his 18 months spent aboard the Acushnet, sailing out of Fairhaven, Massachusetts. The 21-year-old Melville signed on in December 1840 but never completed the journey with the ship. After rounding Cape Horn and sailing across the Pacific, Melville and another crew member deserted in July 1842 while the ship was stopped at Nukahiva, one of the Marquesas Islands in the South Pacific. Their departure was not an isolated incident; 11 of the original complement of 26 officers and men deserted at various times during the voyage.

The crew list was signed by Capt. Valentine Pease on December 31, 1840. Two days later, Pease had to amend the list to note the first two deserters from the crew and the late signing of a replacement. The collector of customs for New Bedford, Massachusetts, retained a copy of the crew list as required by an 1803 act of Congress governing merchant ships … [ Read all ]

Inspired by the Archives! Top Ten Tips for Writers

This post was written by Laura Brandt and originally appeared on the Facebook page of the Foundation for the National Archives.

Flexing your literary muscles this month but facing writers’ block? Don’t forget that the National Archives has a wealth of information to enhance your tale, whether you are writing a historical novel or are looking for inspiration for interesting characters or plot twists.

How about a tale of war, heroic birds, and desperate soldiers? During World War I, the U.S. Seventy-seventh Infantry Division attacked the Germans near Charlevaux, France. Only one unit penetrated enemy lines: Maj. Charles W. Whittlesay’s First Battalion of the 308th Infantry Regiment. The battalion was quickly surrounded by Germans—and then came under friendly fire from its own artillery. Whittlesay used his last carrier pigeon to send this three-sentence plea.

Pigeon Message from Capt. Whittlesey to the Commanding Officer of the 308th Infantry, 10/04/1918 (ARC Identifier: 595541); File Unit: Field Messages - 32.16; , Records of the American Expeditionary Forces (World War I), 1848-1928; Record Group 120.

Or, what would it be like to be a White House photographer? White House Photographer Cecil Stoughton took this iconic photo of Lyndon B. Johnson’s swearing-in ceremony after John. F. Kennedy was assassinated–but maybe your White House photographer is with President Lincoln at Ford’s Theater, or is covering the President in 2024? Take … [ Read all ]

Facial Hair Friday: Movember

These men all have mustaches—and it's not even for charity. It's because mustaches were cool in 1898. (Staff and Line Officers, 2nd Regiment Oregon Volunteer Infantry. Greely Collection., ca. 1898)

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! No, I don’t mean the frenzied season of gift-giving. I’m talking about November, the month when several of your friends who have maintained clean-shaven faces suddenly begin to grow mustaches. If you love facial hair, this is your time.

Yes, it’s Movember! The month when men grow mustaches to raise awareness and funds for prostate cancer.

Now, this is a noble cause, and “I’m growing it to fight cancer” will certainly be a silencing response to people saying things like “The 1970s called and they want their mustaches back.” But we would like to make a case for you to keep that sub-nose hair after November 30. After all, the mustache does not just belong to cheesy 70s flicks.

We often feature Civil War–era facial hair, but mustaches do not have to be outrageous Albion Howe–style affairs. Many famous American men sported a well-groomed mustache. So in case you may want to consider keeping yours after November 30, we’ve assemble some inspirational mustaches below.

Now when people ask why you are still growing that ‘stache on December 1, you can say you are stealing the style of one of the men below.… [ Read all ]