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Tag: china

History Crush: Lou Henry Hoover

Lou Henry posing on a burro at Acton, California, 8/22/1891 (Hoover Presidential Library, 1891-5)

It’s the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scouts, and thousands of girls and young women have descended on Washington, DC, for the Girl Scout Rock the Mall event this weekend. It seems like the perfect time confess my own history crush, a woman who was very involved in the Girl Scouts: Lou Henry Hoover.

Actually, I am not the only person here at the National Archives with a history crush on Lou Henry Hoover. Mention this First Lady’s name at a meeting, and female staff members are practically swooning. Here at the National Archives, Lou Henry Hoover is cool.

What inspires such awe?

Lou Henry Hoover was a scientist, polyglot, author, Girl Scout supporter, and world traveler. She mixed  smarts, practicality, and adventure. Apparently Herbert Hoover was charmed “by her whimsical mind, her blue eyes and a broad grinnish smile.”

I actually knew little about her until I started working here and saw a photograph of her in the lab at Stanford University. My coworker was delighted to tell me about Lou, the first woman in Stanford’s geology department.

Rocks may not seem like the setting for romance, but the geology department is where Herbert Hoover met Lou Henry—he was a senior and she was a freshman at the still-new Stanford University. When Hoover finished his degree and … [ Read all ]

Thursday Photo Caption Contest—May 10

"The Reagans catch members of Congress BEFORE they put on their suits and makeup."

The clothes must make the man! Last week’s photo caption contest winner featured Spring Fashion Week and canvas jumpsuits; this week’s winner pokes gentle fun at what our congressmen might look like before they are suited up for work.

Duke Blackwood, the Director of the Ronald Reagan Library and Museum, took on his guest judging duties with a good humor that may make even the stoniest-faced terra-cotta warrior crack a smile.

Congratulations to Logan! Check your email for a code for a 15% discount in the National Archives eStore.

The original caption of the photo reads: “Photograph of the Reagans standing with the Terra Cotta figures in Xi’an, China” (April 29, 1984. ARC 198547). President Reagan’s 1984 trip to China marked only the second time a U.S. President visited since President Richard Nixon’s historic trip in 1972. Reagan met with Chinese President Li Xiannian in an attempt to resolve diplomatic differences between the U.S. and China. He also toured historical and cultural sites in Beijing with First Lady Nancy Reagan, including the Terra-cotta Army of Qin Shi Huangdi, the first emperor of China. The terra-cotta soldiers were found in a massive burial site, intended to protect the emperor in the afterlife.

Our last photograph featured orderly soldiers below the ground, so this week we thought we’d take to the … [ Read all ]

Tag! You know something!

Sharks! ARC 535531

Last week on Facebook, I posted up a image that my colleague found for Shark Week. It wasn’t a biological shark, but a mechanical one. The caption provided some basic information: “A Chinese soldier guards a line of American P-40 fighter planes, painted with the shark-face emblem of the ‘Flying Tigers,’ at a flying field somewhere in China. The American pursuit planes have a 12-to-1 victory ratio over the Japanese., ca. 1942.”

The comments in the post, however, provided far more information! Facebook users launched into a knowledgeable  discussion of dates, forces, and plane types.

But if anyone used our Online Public Access search engine (OPA) to search the online holdings of the National Archives using the words that came up in the discussion (“23rd Fighter Group” or “Kunming” or “Zhongzheng Type-24,”) this photograph would not appear. A possibly useful record would not make its way to a researcher.

This is why the Archivist has invited “citizens archivists” to join him in crowdsourcing our vast holdings by tagging images and photographs. Users who have knowledge about our holdings can assign tags that make records more findeable for fellow users.

Already, users have contributed hundred of tags. Are you interested in joining the fun? We’d like your help!  To learn more about the project, sign up, and start tagging, go here.

Interested in learning more about those strange shark … [ Read all ]

What’s Cooking Wednesdays: Dinner Diplomacy Thaws the Cold War

President Nixon with Premier Chou En-lai, courtesy of the Nixon Presidential Library (2/25/1972)

Sometimes sharing a good meal is the best way to resolve the differences you may have with another. For the United States and China, this strategy helped normalize relations during the peak of the Cold War.

Today, the U.S. and China share a public relationship, but after Mao Tse-tung’s Chinese Communist Party founded the People’s Republic of China, the two countries severed all diplomatic communication for more than two decades. Relations between the two powers did not reopen until President Richard Nixon’s historic visit to mainland China in 1972.

The first evening of the trip, Chinese Prime Minister Chou En-lai hosted an elaborate banquet in honor of President Nixon in the Great Hall of the People on Tiananmen Square. The dinner, which was broadcast live around the globe, consisted of both of customary and exotic Chinese dishes.

President Nixon looks out over the vista seen from the Great Wall of China, courtesy of the Nixon Library

In an effort to accommodate the President and his party, chefs prepared familiar items like Chinese sausage, shrimp, roast pork, roast duck with pineapple, and vegetable slices. The menu also included native cuisine like shark’s fin soup, black mushrooms with mustard greens, and spongy bamboo shoots. President Nixon skillfully used chopsticks to sample each dish served … [ Read all ]

Swiss you were here!

This story on Discovering the Civil War appeared on the front cover of the Culture section of Switzerland's largest newspaper

This story on "Discovering the Civil War" appeared on the front cover of the Culture section of Switzerland's largest newspaper

The New York Times called it “engrossing and eminently fascinating.” The Richmond Times Dispatch said “Discovering the Civil War” “isn’t your typical Civil War retrospective.” And the Neue Zurcher Zeitung called the National Archives’ newest exhibit, “einer grandiosen Ausstellung in Washington.”

Wait . . . was that German?

Yes, DCTW isn’t just making a splash in the United States, it’s big in Switzerland, too, and even got a mention in Der Spiegel, Germany’s largest paper.

Such international reviews only underscore part of what DTCW tells us about the Civil War: that it was an international affair. From the Confederate envoys sent to Europe to secure the blessing of the Pope to Chinese blockades of Confederate goods and ship raids by the CSS Alabama off the shores of South Africa, the Civil War was not just a domestic dispute.

Part one of “Discovering the Civil War” runs through September 2010. Part two, “Consequences,” opens November 2010.… [ Read all ]