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Archive for March, 2012

Facial Hair Friday: When Irish mustaches are smiling

Patrick Joseph Kennedy, circa 1900. From the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston KFC 2706 (PC 245)

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

With all the hoopla over the upcoming release of the 1940 census on April 2, we haven’t really been thinking about facial hair all that much.

But then fellow National Archives staff member Jeannie (of the OurPresidents tumblr blog) sent me this photograph, and genealogy, facial hair, and St. Patrick’s Day all came together.

The mustachioed and bespectacled man to the left is Patrick J.  Kennedy, the grandfather of President John F. Kennedy and—like many Americans—the child of Irish immigrants.

His mustache, while of Irish descent, was grown in the United States.

JFK’s great-grandfather was Patrick Kennedy. He left his work as a cooper in his hometown of Dunganstown, County Wexford, and made his way to the United States and settled in Boston.

In 1849, Patrick married another Irish immigrant, Bridget Murphy, who also came from County Wexford. But after just nine years of marriage, Patrick died and left Bridget a widow with four small children. The youngest was Patrick Joseph “P.J.” Kennedy, JFK’s grandfather.

P.J. continued the family line by marrying Mary Augusta Hickey, whose parents were also orginally from Ireland. The couple lived in East Boston and their son, Joseph Patrick Kennedy, was born on September 6, 1888.  He was John F. Kennedy’s father.

Many Americans can trace their … [ Read all ]

Thursday Photo Caption Contest: March 15

When crossing the equator, the crew loved dancing to the “Shellback & Pollywog Polka.”

If things look ugly in this picture, it’s nothing compared to our office when we tried to pick a winner for last week’s nautical naughtiness.

We turned over the responsibility to guest judge Mark Mollan, who has been a Navy/Maritime Reference Archivist for 9 years at the National Archives.

Mark is used to tackling large projects: he is working on a collaborative effort with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to digitize Navy and Revenue Cutter/Coast Guard logbooks. NOAA will use the data to track changes in ocean and air temperatures around the globe from the 1840s.

Congratulations to Paul Croteau! Mark notes you correctly reference the  long-honored US and British Naval forces’ tradition of “Crossing The Line”: a rite of passage for first-time crossers of the equator (Pollywogs) to become veteran Shellbacks. Check your email for a discount code for 15% off in our eStore.

(Mark also wanted to give Philip Croft and Janis Comstock-Jones honorable mentions. “They made me laugh out loud,” he said.)

The photograph comes from Record Group 80, General Records of the Navy, and the original caption reads: “Neptune party on USS ENTERPRISE. Pollywog V. E. Christensen, S2c., gives his shipmates a song or two on the flight deck., 09/1944″

Things are little more serious for at least one man in today’s … [ Read all ]

A Public Enemy’s Life in the Fast Lane

Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Wanted Poster of John Dillinger, 06/25/1934 (ARC 306713)

The National Archives is known for maintaining and preserving documents like the Constitution and Declaration of Independence. But among America’s historic documents, there are also records of bank robbers, bootleggers, and gangsters.

In this week’s “True Crime at the Archives” spotlight is America’s first public enemy—John Dillinger.

A cunning and sophisticated bank robber, Dillinger led a string of violent robberies during his short yet infamous criminal career.

So why did auto theft prove to be his most costly crime?

It all began in 1933, when Dillinger was paroled from the Indiana State Prison after serving eight and a half years for robbing a grocery store. Within months, Dillinger organized a group of his closest criminal associates and began a notorious crime spree.

From September 1933 until January 1934, Dillinger and his fellow outlaws managed to evade law enforcement. And while  Americans struggled during the height of the Great Depression, the gang stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from Midwestern banks.

After a robbery of the First National Bank of East Chicago turned violent, national publicity intensified. The gang then fled to Arizona, where they were caught by local police on January 23.

Dillinger was extradited to Indiana to await trial for the murder of a police officer. But while he was sequestered in … [ Read all ]

Thursday Photo Caption Contest: March 8

"Ruppert’s Knickerbocker Beer—just in time for the founder’s birthday, Marth 4th!!"

Your captions were as sweet and delicious as cold beer on a hot summer’s day!

And we knew just who to ask to serve as guest judge: beer enthusiast and information technology specialist Crystal Brooks. Even though Crystal modestly claims to still be a novice when it comes to home brewing, we knew that she had the discerning palate to choose a winner.

Congratulations to Denise! Check your email for a discount code for 15% off in the eStore. Crystal was impressed that you correctly identified the beer as Ruppert’s Knickerbocker Beer, and she was delighted that you connected the contest date to Rupert’s birthday. We raise a glass to Denise’s captioning skills and Rupert’s birthday!

This photograph comes from the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and the original caption reads:  “Sgt. Henry Klein sells T/4 Ralph Lohman his ration of American beer. Seven cans were rationed in Sept. but future deliveries were uncertain.”

Today’s photograph looks like the result of several cases of Knickerbocker beer. Put your wittiest caption in the comments below!

"Your caption here!"

[ Read all ]

History Crush: Susan B. Anthony

U.S. v. Susan B. Anthony, Indictment for Illegal Voting (front), 01/24/1873 (ARC 278295), U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York, Record Group 21, National Archives at New York City

Today’s History Crush guest post comes from the National Archives staff in New York City. Sara Lyons Pasquerello, education technician, and Angela Tudico, archives technician, don’t care about clichés! Their love for this suffragist will never falter—and might even expand!

As we enter Women’s History Month, it is only fitting that we reveal our history crush—Susan B. Anthony. She may seem a cliché choice, but since our office holds the Susan B. Anthony court case for illegal voting, she is hard to pass up. The case is one of the most notable ones we hold relating to women’s history. And if you scratch below the surface, there is more to this story than most people know.

Photo of Susan B. Anthony from Susan B. Anthony House Collection, Susan B. Anthony House, Rochester, NY

Susan B. Anthony was born in 1820 into a Quaker family with strong ties to the abolitionist movement in Massachusetts and upstate New York. The Anthony farm in Rochester, NY, served as a gathering place for community activism and nurtured Susan B. Anthony as she began her lifelong mission for social change.

One of the things we admire most about Susan … [ Read all ]