The National Archives has over 3,000 employees, but not all of them are archivists. There are educators, social media writers, preservationists, security personnel, and Federal Records Center workers. Some of us handle records all day, but for many of us, our jobs do not bring us into direct contact with the records.
That’s why it is so exciting to go inside the Treasure Vault, as we call the specially secured and fire-safe room that holds some of the most interesting and precious documents of the National Archives. Today, some of our staff from various departments took a special trip to Treasure Vault of the Center for Legislative Archives (CLA), which holds the records of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.
These treasures range in content and across time, from Clifford Berryman’s political cartoons (when CLA acquired them, the drawings were stored in trash bags) to a radar map showing Japanese planes approaching Pearl Harbor to the electronic records from the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks on the United States (the 9/11 Commission).
But my favorite record from Congress? It was George Washington’s inaugural address. The two sheets were in a protective case, but when the archivist held them up in front of me, it was still thrilling to see the pages written in Washington’s own hand and to imagine the President reading the address aloud in New York.
I love my job writing … [ Read all ]
Posted by Hilary on May 10, 2011, under Rare Photos, Unusual documents.
Tags: 9-11 Commission, Archivist, careers, Center for Legislative Archives, Congress, george washington, jobs, John Berryman, national archives, Pearl Harbor, Treasure Vault
Although we were greatly amused by the suggestions of dam building, weather predictions, and rodent chili recipes, we eventually decided on Amy’s caption, which combined the history of the Cilivian Conservation Corps with the Depression and managed to be funny!
Amy, check your email for your code for 15% off in our eStore!
So…are these Rodents of Unusual Size, groundhogs, or guinea pigs? Actually, they’re beavers. The tail of the beaver on the far left is being held up by a man wearing gloves. The caption for this photo reads: “Civilian Conservation Corps in Idaho, Salmon National Forest: Camp F-167, ‘CCC boys… ready to transplant Beaver from a ranch location where they were damaging crops to a Forest watershed location where they will help to conserve the water supply…’, ca. 1938.”
(Our own Archivist of the United States just blogged about his start at MIT, a school whose mascot is the beaver: “Nature’s Engineer”!)
There are no animals in this week’s photo…but something strange seems to be in the air. Tell us what’s going on in the comments below!… [ Read all ]
For the thousands of immigrants from Europe, the entrance to America was through Ellis Island. As they sailed by New York City, they could see the Statue of Liberty standing in the harbor like a watchful guardian.
For immigrants from China and the Pacific Rim, another type of guardian awaited them in San Francisco Bay. They would need to pass through Angel Island.
From 1910 to 1940, Angel Island was the main entry point for China and the Pacific Rim (and many non-Asians). But the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, meant to severly restrict the immigrantion of Chinese nationals, meant that Asians entering through Angel Island had to pass difficult interogations. Quok Shee was detained for two years before being released to her husband, Chew Hoy Quong. Other families had to pass tests that proved they were in fact from the same village.
These interrogations were recently recreated from Federal immigration files held by the National Archives at San Francisco as dramatic perfomances for a special centennial commemorative ceremony at Angel Island Immigration Station.
Posted by Hilary on August 23, 2010, under - Civil Rights, - World War I.
Tags: american history, Angel Island, Archivist, Chinese Exclusion Act, Ellis Island, Federal Immigration records, immigration, NARA, national archives, National archives and records administration, NAtional Archives at San Francisco, odd history, Pieces of History, prologue blog, Prologue magazine, random history, weird US history, West Coast