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Sara Dunlap Jackson: Archivist Extraordinaire

Today’s post comes from Jessie Kratz, Historian of the National Archives.

In honor of Women’s History Month, I want to celebrate one of our most cherished former employees—Sara Dunlap Jackson. After I was appointed Historian last year, numerous local historians approached me to say that I just had to research Sara Dunlap Jackson because she was so important to the history of the agency.

Sara Dunlap Jackson was born in Columbia, South Carolina, in 1919. After earning her B.A. in sociology, and a brief stint as a high school teacher, Jackson moved to Washington, DC. She began her 46-year-long career at the National Archives in 1944 as an archives assistant in the Military Archives Division. According to Jackson, the Archives offered her the job because she had been working in the War Department, and the Archives thought this meant she knew something about military history.

In reality, Jackson knew little about military history at that time, but by spending countless hours in the stacks and answering numerous reference requests she became the go-to person for anyone researching military records in the National Archives. Researchers reported how she went the “extra mile,” how her kindness and advice “mothered” many historians, and how she dedicated her entire career to helping others. To many, Jackson was the National Archives.

Retirees reception, June 30, 1972. Sara Jackson  is in the middle. (64-JR-2, Records of the National Archives)

Retirees reception, June 30, 1972. Sara Jackson  is in

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A look back at 2014

What a year! Here’s some of the highlights of the last 12 months of the National Archives that we shared on our blog. Thanks for reading in 2014–we’ll see you in 2015 with more pieces of history!

The National Archives turned 80

And this is why we needed a National Archives! Photograph of storage conditions of the Office of Indian Affairs records, 1935. (Records of the National Archives, RG 64)

And this is why we needed a National Archives! Photograph of storage conditions of the Office of Indian Affairs records, 1935.
(Records of the National Archives, RG 64)

 

We The Poets

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It’s time to #AskAnArchivist

We’re excited to participate in #AskAnArchivist on October 30! Archivists from our locations across the nation are ready to answer your questions on Twitter tomorrow.

We have archivists that concentrate on the history of the National Archives, work with audiovisual materials, declassify documents, textual reference, Presidential materials and more.

An Archives staff member shows off the cellulose acetate used for the lamination of documents. (64-NA-464; ARC 3493252)

An Archives staff member shows off the cellulose acetate used for the lamination of documents. (64-NA-464; ARC 3493252)

This is your chance to find out how archivists came to have these jobs, what they like or dislike, and what they do! No question is too serious or too silly–so find out about FOIA or learn about the invention of the Beach Cart.

The schedule is below, but feel free to tweet us questions ahead of time!

@usnatarchives

8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET 

Got a question for our Presidential libraries? Tweet a question to

@FDRLibrary, 10-11 am ET

@IkeLibrary

@JFKLibrary

@LBJLibrary, noon to 5 pm ET

@carterlibrary 8:30 am-12:30 pm and 1-3 pm ET

@WJCLibrary 9 am-noon CST

@bush41library 10-11 am CST

 

Schedule for @usnatarchives


8:30-9 am ET, Steve Greene
 

Steve Greene is an Archivist and the Special Media Holdings Coordinator for the Office of Presidential Libraries since 2010. Before that, Steve was the AV Archivist for the Nixon Presidential Library. Steve has worked with the Preservation, Processing and Reference Service on Stills, Sound Recordings and … [ Read all ]

Come to the Archives Fair on April 3!

Archives Fair

Join us on Thursday, April 3,  from 9:30 to 4 pm at the National Archives Building in Washington, DC for an all-day Archives Fair! Enter through the Special Events Entrance on 7th St. and Constitution Ave. The DC Caucus of MARAC and the National Archives Assembly are co-hosting this all-day Archives Fair. Archives-related groups and will be using the area outside the McGowan Theater as an exhibit hall.

You can watch our panel discussion online.

8:30-9:30 a.m. Coffee Hour & Exhibit Hall

9:30-10 a.m. Welcome and  Introduction by the Archivist of the United States

10:00-11:30  a.m. Panel Discussion: Crowdsourcing for Enhanced Archival Access

  • Elissa Frankle, moderator (US Holocaust Memorial Museum)
  • Helena Zinkham (Library of Congress)
  • Ching-Hsien Wang (Smithsonian)
  • Meredith Stewart (National Archives)

11:30-1 p.m. Lunch & Exhibit Hall

1-2:30 p.m. Panel Discussion: Monuments Men Archives

  • Barbara Aikens (Smithsonian)
  • Dr. Greg Bradsher (National Archives)
  • Maygene Daniels (National Gallery of Art Archives)

2:30-2:45  p.m.  Break and Exhibit Hall

2:45-3:15 p.m. National Archival Authorities Cooperative (NAAC)

  • John Martinez (National Archives)
  • Jerry Simmons (National Archives)

3:15-3:45 p.m. Donations Partnership Database

  • Dawn Sherman-Falls (National Archives)
  • Meg Ryan Guthorn (National Archives)

3:45-4 p.m.   Closing Remarks and Exhibit Hall

 … [ Read all ]

Top 14 Moments at the National Archives in 2013

Wow–what a year! Our editorial panel tried to limit this list to ten, but eventually we gave up and picked 14 instead. (For more great National Archives moments, check on out the Top 10 Innovative Moments of 2013.)

We also want to send a big thank you to the staff members of the National Archives across the nation, who worked so hard to make these moments possible. And a huge thank you to our partners, sponsors, researchers, visitors, and social media followers who share in our love of history. We are grateful to be able to make your history accessible to you in so many ways in 2013!

FOURTEEN

40th Anniversary of the Fire in the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis

If you have served in the U.S. military, your file is part of the holdings in the National Archives in St. Louis. Each year, staff respond to one million requests for direct military benefits and entitlements from veterans and their next of kin. In the Research Room, staff pulled more than 41,000 military personnel records.

And Preservation Programs in St. Louis responded to more than 200 daily requests for burned Army and Air Force records. The fire that swept through the sixth floor of the National Personnel Records Center on July 12, 1973, damaged and destroyed millions of documents. Each … [ Read all ]