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Tag: 1918

Thursday Photo Caption Contest–May 23

"Darling! Wait! You forgot to pack your sandwich!"

Trying to choose a winner from last winner’s caption contest got us all tangled up! How could we choose between balloon references, Air Force One, and the horrors of flying coach? Eventually we had to hand over our judging duties over to Natalie Rocchio, archives specialist in the Center for Legislative Archives. Natalie knows how to pick out something fascinating: she is the blogging power behind Congress in the Archives.

Congratulations to Gary! Natalie choose your quote as the winner. Check your email for a 15% discount to the eStore.

Although this photograph might evoke memories of Mom or Dad chasing down the school bus and waving a brown paper bag, the man in this photograph is actually coming down, not going up. The photograph was taken during World War I: “Returning from a U-Boat scouting party. Aerial naval observer coming down from a ‘Blimp’ type balloon after a scouting tour somewhere on the Atlantic Coast. Central News Photo Service., ca. 1918.” (ARC 533474; 165-WW-63C(10))

Today’s photograph has us back inside and firmly on (or even under) the ground! Give us your wittiest caption in the comments below.

"Your caption here!"

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Thursday Photo Caption Contest

Onions, Again???

How could we choose between captions about skunk cabbage, the effects of fiber, and manly weeping? We asked Mitchell Yokelson, Investigative Archivist at the National Archives and author of books on military history, to look into the matter.

Congratulations to Kim B! After careful investigation, Mitch found your succinct summary of the situation to be the funniest. Check your e-mail for a code for 15% off in our eStore.

What’s really happening here? World War I was sometimes called “The Chemist’s War,” and a mask could save a soldier’s life. The original caption reads “Soldiers trying out their gas masks in every possible way. Putting the respirator to good use while peeling onions. 40th Division, Camp Kearny, San Diego, California, 03/1918″ (111-SC-7045; ARC 530714).

Last week’s photo featured the face, but this week’s photo features the . . . legs. Give us your wittiest caption in the comments below!

Your caption here!

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Gesundheit!

Policemen in Seattle wearing masks made by the Red Cross, during the influenza epidemic. December 1918.

Policemen in Seattle wearing masks made by the Red Cross, during the influenza epidemic. December 1918 (165-WW-269B-25).

When it comes to casualty statistics, we often compare wars. In World War II, it’s estimated that 50 million were killed. During the Civil War, over a half million people lost their lives. In World War I, nearly 16 million were killed.

There was one war that topped nearly all those charts. It happened in 1918, when the human race was fighting off the flu. Fifty million people died. One-fifth of the world was infected. In one year, the average life expectancy in the United States dropped 12 years because of the virus. Town meetings were canceled due to the flu, and one future President was worried when his wife came down with symptoms.

You can see startling images and documents relating to this epidemic in our online exhibit “The Deadly Virus: The Influenza Epidemic of 1918.” This exhibit is just one of many online exhibits available at your fingertips from the National Archives.
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