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Archive for October, 2012

Hoover Library presents Set Momjian’s White House china collection

Set Momijan with a few pieces from his collection.

Few of us will ever get to eat off of White House china, but here’s a chance to see how past Presidents dined.

White House china collector Set Momjian will be speaking at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum on October 6 at 2 p.m. about some of his pieces currently on display in the exhibit “Dining with the President.”

Momjian is well known for having the largest collection of White House china outside of the White House. He has pieces from every Presidential collection, which he acquired in a variety of ways.

A retired Ford Motor Company executive, Momjian served as a representative to the United Nations under the Carter administration. He would later serve as Presidential adviser to the past five administrations, starting with the Johnson administration. He has enjoyed personal friendships with Presidents and First Ladies.

But Momjian didn’t set out to be a collector of White House china. He began collecting china by accident in the 1950s, when dealers included pieces of china along with the Presidential letters and documents he was collecting. As his collection of porcelain pieces grew, he came to appreciate the historical significance and beauty of each piece. Eventually, he began to seek out the personal china patterns of First Ladies as well.

Momjian isn’t just a … [ Read all ]

Archives Spotlight: The John Fitzegerald Kennedy Library and Museum

The John Fitzgerald Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum is located in Boston. The staff collect, preserve, and make publicly available over 48 million items related to the 35th President. These records include not only JFK’s writings and belongings, but also records of some of his family members, his administration officials, and other individuals and organizations.

The John Fitzerald Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum on Columbia Point in Boston, Massachusetts.

The permanent exhibits include materials from his 1960 Presidential campaign against then-Vice President Richard Nixon; the “Space Race” exhibit, featuring the Freedom 7 space capsule; a collection of Kennedy’s personal effects from the Oval Office; and video samples of the President’s televised press conferences—Kennedy used television extensively  to communicate with his constituents.

If you love Jackie Kennedy’s iconic style, check out the permanent exhibit “First Lady Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy” on her involvement in American arts and culture. The library also holds many of Jackie Kennedy’s clothes, photos of which are online.

The famous “pink coat,” designed by Oleg Cassini, was worn by First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy on her arrival in New Delhi, India, during her state visit on March 12, 1962. John Fitzgerald Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.

Genealogists might enjoy the fascinating history of the Kennedy and Fitzgerald families, which is on permanent display with a collection of family heirlooms, artifacts, and photographs.

The

[ Read all ]

Archives Spotlight: National Personnel Records Center

If you have served in the military or worked for the Federal Government, your personnel file is held at the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) in St. Louis, Missouri. More than 34 million files  are held in this facility, filling 2.3 million cubic feet of records on 385,000 shelves. There are 6.2 billion feet of paper in the military records alone.

The National Personnel Records Center building (shown under construction in 2011) includes 29-foot-high shelves for storing records. (Photo by Lenin Hurtado.)

About 600 full-time staff work in St. Louis. In 2011, the NPRC  received 1,093,522 written requests for records, about 3,000 requests per day. They have received about 889,283 so far in 2012.

This part of the National Archives provides vital services to veterans. Former servicemen and women can use the documentation in their files to receive veterans benefits (form DD-214), help with replacement medals, or receive a military burial.

Not all the records in the NPRC are held in the permanent archives. Records with a discharge date of 1950 or earlier are archival records and are open to the public. But records from 1951 are non-archival, so they are restricted for privacy. Usually only the veteran or the next-of-kin can access these files.

For historians, each pre-1950 archival records is a possible treasure chest. The Official Military Personnel Files (OMPFs) … [ Read all ]

Archives Spotlight: National Archives in Boston

The National Archives holds millions of cubic feet of permanently valuable records relating to the Federal Government. Laid end to end, the papers in our holdings would circle the Earth more than 57 times.

But they are not kept in one place. Instead, we have archives in different regions of the United States. The records held there are related to the geographic area. Each of these archival facilities has a research room, where you are welcome to get a researcher card and do some work in our records.

This photograph was taken in Winthrop, MA, during the height of Hurricane Cindy and shows the heavy waves slamming into the flood walls in Winthrop Harbor. Records of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, RG 77, Construction Photographs.

The National Archives at Boston holds about 30,000 cubic feet of records dating from 1789 to the 1970s. These documents were created or received by the Federal courts and over 90 Federal agencies in New England.

If you are interested in maritime history, this is the place for you. There are records from the Boston Navy Yard and Portsmouth Navy Yard as well records on lighthouses, life saving stations, and other coastal facilities. Researchers can find information on private vessels by looking into the U.S Customs Service records; descriptions and measurements, names of owners and masters, and mortgage information may be … [ Read all ]