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Archive for March, 2012

Facial Hair Friday: The Enumerated Mustache

Don’t be fooled by the sleepy demeanor of this mustachioed man. It’s 1933, and the world is changing. And the Federal Government would be recording these changes on April 1, 1940.

Over 120,000 enumerators would fan out across 48 states and 2 territories, with copies of this Federal Decennial Census Population Schedule. They would use sled dogs in Alaska. They would go to homes in railroad cars. They would talk to famers, veterans, lodgers, women, and men.

They would count this man (and his ‘stache) and anyone else at home at the time. And since he was a farmer, they would ask him 232 questions as part of the Farm Schedule.

And all this personal information on 132.2 million citizens been kept private and secure for the last 72 years.

But on Monday, April 2, at 9 a.m., we’re releasing the 1940 census!

The 3.8 million images that make up the 1940 census will be available online to search for free at http://1940census.archives.gov/.

There are so many reasons that this is significant—it’s the first time we are releasing our information online through a gov website. It’s the first time there was a supplemental series of questions for 1 in 20 people. It’s the first time that the census did not include a question asking if someone in the household was a veteran of the Civil War. … [ Read all ]

Going Digital: The 1940 Census Hits the Web and YouTube

On April 2 at 9 a.m. (EDT), the National Archives will launch its first-ever online U.S. census release. By visiting 1940census.archives.gov, internet users can access a digitized version of the entire census, including more than 3.8 million images of schedules, maps, and enumeration district descriptions.

The first Federal Population Census was taken in 1790, and a census has been taken every ten years since then. While the original intent of the census was to determine how many representatives each state could send to Congress, today these records serve as vital research tools for sociologists, demographers, historians, political scientists and genealogists.

In celebration of this historic release, the National Archives has produced a series of short documentary videos on our YouTube channel. These must-watch videos provide unique insight into the areas of agriculture, housing, and population.

For a “behind-the-scenes” view of staff preparations and a tutorial on how to use the data that you will find once the 1940 Census is launched, check out this short documentary.

[ Read all ]

More Hitler art albums discovered

This morning in Dallas, TX, the Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero, Senior Archivist Greg Bradsher, and President of the Monuments Men Foundation Robert M. Edsel announced the discovery of two original albums of photographs of paintings and furniture looted by the Nazis.

The Monuments Men Foundation will donate these albums, which have been in private hands since the end of World War II, to the National Archives.

These albums were created by a special Nazi task force, the Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg (ERR), to document the systematic looting of Europe by Adolf Hitler and the Nazis. The ERR was the main Nazi agency engaged in the theft of cultural treasures in Nazi-occupied countries.

“The Foundation often receives calls from veterans and their heirs, who don’t know the importance of items they may have picked up during their service, or aren’t aware that anyone is looking for the items,” Edsel said. “These albums are just the tip of the iceberg for hundreds of thousands of cultural items still missing since World War II.”

In the closing days of World War II, U.S. soldiers entered Adolf Hitler’s home in the Bavarian Alps. Many picked up souvenirs to prove they had been inside the Berghof.

Cpl. Albert Lorenzetti (989th Field Artillery Battalion) and Pfc. Yerke Zane Larson (501st Battalion of the 101st Airborne Division) each took … [ Read all ]

Thursday Photo Caption Contest: March 22

One man in last week’s picture wasn’t happy, but all your comments made us smile!

Our guest judge is Jackie Budell, an archives specialist who supervises groups of devoted volunteers who are currently processing the Civil War Widows files, an enormous project with thousands of documents that need to be carefully handled–you never know what may be inside the envelopes! The volunteers have found all kinds of documents and objects, including a mole and a tintype.

Congratulations to Roxanne! Jackie approached her judging duties with the care she uses to open an envelope sealed for decades, and chose your caption as the winner. Check your email for a code for 15% off in the eStore.

So what’s really happening here? These are National Archives employees from around 1960, and the original captions reads “War Records Division Gondos, Irvine, Huber, Krauskopf.” It looks like we’ll never know what happened to make Mr. Irvine so very sad….

Today’s photograph features two ladies in honor of Women’s History Month! Put your wittiest caption in the comments below!

Your caption here! 

[ Read all ]

Lucy Ridsdale and the Titanic Tragedy

Today’s post comes from Christopher Zarr of the National Archives at New York City.

At first glance, some of our records may not grab your attention.

Take for instance, two documents labeled Exhibit C and D. Exhibit C is a ticket from 1912 for excess luggage, and Exhibit D is a claim coupon to pick up one’s bags upon arrival. Compared to a Presidential speech or an act of Congress, these small items seem out of place for the National Archives.

While they might not seem too important to us, to Lucy Ridsdale this luggage ticket and coupon represented her whole life. To her, they were proof that when she boarded a steamship bound for the United States, she brought five trunks of objects that she had accumulated throughout her 50-plus years on earth.

Lucy Ridsdale was born around 1860 in Yorkshire, England.  For  25 years, Lucy ran a nursing home. When she boarded a train bound for the port city of Southampton on April 10, 1912, she was prepared to live out the rest of her days in the United States. It wasn’t her first visit to the U.S., but it would be her last. Lucy had relatives in Marietta, Ohio, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and she intended to enjoy retirement with her family.

So, it is not surprising that she brought everything she owned with her. Bringing … [ Read all ]