Site search

Site menu:

Find Out More

Archives

Categories

Contact Us

Subscribe to Email Updates

Archive for July, 2014

John Russell Pope’s Lincoln Memorial designs

Today’s post comes from Christina James, intern in the National Archives History Office. 

Walking through our nation’s capital, you will inevitably come across at least one structure adorned with triangular pediments, massive columns, or a majestic dome. Many of Washington, DC’s most iconic buildings and monuments feature these elements and exemplify neoclassical architecture.

John Russell Pope, one of the most famous American neoclassical architects, believed that a democracy’s public buildings should be designed in the style of the ancient Greeks and Romans. Today, Pope’s designs are scattered throughout the city and include the Jefferson Memorial, the National Gallery of Art, and the National Archives.

However, one of the most recognizable neoclassical structures in the capital, the Lincoln Memorial, is not one of Pope’s designs. If Pope had been chosen to design the memorial, the National Mall would look very different.

The construction of a memorial to President Abraham Lincoln in Washington, DC, was first approved by Congress in 1911. The bill authorizing the construction created the Lincoln Memorial Commission to approve a site and a design for a memorial honoring the 16th President. The Committee was given a budget of $2 million dollars, the largest amount to ever be provided for a national memorial at the time.

Coming off of his enormously popular and celebrated design for the Temple of the Scottish Rite in Washington, DC, John … [ Read all ]

Roberto Clemente, A Legacy Beyond Baseball

Today’s post comes from Idaliz Marie Ortiz Morales, Intern in the Office of Strategic Planning and Communications at the National Archives. To find out more about our Bilingual Social Media Project.

Today the National Archives remembers baseball superstar Roberto Clemente. It has been many years since his death, but to this day Clemente is remembered as one of the greatest players and humanitarians of all time. Clemente has come to represent much more than just baseball where he played right fielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1955 to1972. His devoted following extends around the world. More than 40 schools and 200 parks are named in his honor in places ranging from Puerto Rico to Germany. The way in which this great baseball player died is a part of his legacy.

Clemente was flying from San Juan, Puerto Rico, his native homeland, to Managua, Nicaragua, carrying aid to the Nicaraguans who had been devastated by an earthquake on December 22, 1972. That trip exemplified how Clemente had been raised and lived, always helping others. In the final years of his life, his mantra was: “If you have a chance to make life better for others and fail to do so, you are wasting your time on this earth.”

Most people do not know that not only was Clemente a baseball player, he was also a … [ Read all ]

On exhibit: Gulf of Tonkin Resolution

Today’s post comes from Darlene McClurkin, National Archives Exhibits staff member.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. The original resolution is on display in the East Rotunda Gallery of the National Archives Building from July 15 to August 7, 2014.

Fifty years ago, the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution marked a major turning point in the Cold War struggle for Southeast Asia. Passage of the resolution gave President Lyndon B. Johnson authority to expand the scope of U.S. involvement in Vietnam without a declaration of war.

By 1964, Vietnam had been torn by international and civil war for decades. U.S. military support for South Vietnam had grown to some 15,000 military advisers, while the North received military and financial aid from China and the Soviet Union.

In a late-night televised address on August 4, 1964, President Johnson announced that he had ordered retaliatory air strikes on the North Vietnamese in response to reports of their attacks earlier on U.S. Navy ships in the Gulf of Tonkin.

He then asked Congress to pass a resolution stressing that “our Government is united in its determination to take all necessary measures in support of freedom and in defense of peace in southeast Asia.”

The resolution stated that “Congress approves and supports the determination of the President, as Commander in Chief, to take all necessary … [ Read all ]

Across the Pond

Today’s post comes from James Zeender, Senior Registrar. 

Earlier this year, the National Archives signed an agreement with the British Library to allow the Delaware ratification of the Bill of Rights to be shown alongside four original Magna Carta parchments for the Great Charter’s 800th birthday. The exhibition opens March 13, 2015, and runs through September 1, 2015. This will be the first time this wonderful national treasure has traveled outside the United States.

Our own David M. Rubenstein Gallery in the National Archives Building features a 1297 copy of the Magna Carta in the Records of Rights exhibit, which opened last December.

In September 1789, the First Congress passed 12 resolutions to amend the Constitution (collectively known as the Bill of Rights). Afterwards, a clerk in the House of Representatives prepared 14 copies on large sheets of parchment with iron gall ink. All were signed by Vice President John Adams, Speaker of the House Frederick Muhlenberg, Secretary of the Senate Samuel Otis, and Clerk of the House John Beckley.

President George Washington then sent copies to the 11 states which had ratified the Constitution as well as to North Carolina and Rhode Island, which had not yet done so. The President kept the 14th as the Federal Government’s record copy. This is the version that has been on display in the National Archives Rotunda in … [ Read all ]

Sleepover at the National Archives!

Feeling adventurous? Sign up for the Sleepover at the National Archives on August 2 and explore some of history’s most exciting frontiers!

The event is co-hosted by the National Archives and the Foundation for the National Archives.

Building off of our “History, Heroes, and Treasures” theme, this summer’s sleepover turns the spotlight on ”Explorers Night.” The sleepover will feature hands-on activities to help young explorers investigate—through scavenger hunts, dress-up, music, and more—some of the greatest adventures of all time. Campers will journey to the Arctic, visit Outer Space, and discover the American West as they explore the National Archives Museum’s treasured records in a unique after-hours experience.

Young explorers will have the opportunity to chat with famous pioneers like Matthew Henson, Meriwether Lewis, and Louise Arner Boyd about their incredible voyages into uncharted territory. They will also get the chance to learn about the life of an astronaut through artifacts straight from the National Air and Space Museum—like the “space toilet” and “living and working in space” discovery stations—and engage in fun activities with NASM staff members. The night will feature music from the Lewis and Clark era with special performances by David & Ginger Hildebrand from the Colonial Music Institute.

These events are open to children 8-12 years old, with at least one adult per group of four children. Guests will be treated to movies in the William G. … [ Read all ]