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Tag: draft

Facial Hair Friday: Elvis has NOT left the building

The most popular photograph at the National Archives (ARC 1634221)

Are these the most famous sideburns in music history? They might be the most famous sideburns in the National Archives.

If you are a fan of Elvis, you’ve seen the photograph: Nixon and Elvis shaking hands in the White House. This is the most-requested image in our holdings. The quirky story behind the meeting of the King of Rock and Roll and the President of the United States is featured in this online exhibit.

But it’s not the only record we have of Elvis.

In December of 1957, Elvis was drafted for the U.S. Army. This career change was an upsetting event for fans. The Eisenhower Library has a letter from three girls in Montana who despaired over a possible shaving of  the singer’s sideburns: “You don’t no how we feel about him, I really don’t see why you have to send him in the Army at all, but we beg you please please don’t give him a G.I. hair cut, oh please please don’t!  If you do we will just about die!”

But their letter writing was in vain. On March 24, 1958, Presley signed his acknowledgement of service obligation and entered the Army. (Alas, his sideburns did not.)

Since Elvis served in the military, his file is part of the permanant holdings of the National Personnel … [ Read all ]

The draft dodgers of 1944

Newspaper article from Rocky Shimpo: "Wyoming Draft Resistance Has Authorities Stumped", 03/10/1944 (ARC 292810)

Newspaper article from Rocky Shimpo: "Wyoming Draft Resistance Has Authorities Stumped", 03/10/1944 (ARC 292810)

Behind the barbed wire of the Japanese internment camp at Heart Mountain Relocation Center in Wyoming, a few men received their orders to report for duty. It was 1944, and they had been drafted.

Following the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, the United States feared follow-on attacks would be conducted by persons of Japanese descent living within its borders. FDR issued Executive Order 9066, ordering the military to relocate Japanese descendants into camps. Barely a month later, Congress passed Public Law 503 supporting the order. Over 120,000 people were removed from their homes to remote relocation camps. Two-thirds of them were American citizens.

While the Selective Training and Service Act of 1940 was quick to make nisei—U.S. citizens of Japanese descent—ineligible for service, by 1944 the war machine was turning at such a pace that nisei were again made eligible, despite the fact they were currently being held in internment camps against their will.

At the Heart Mountain Relocation Center in Wyoming, two men decided to protest.

Kiyoshi Okamoto had founded the Fair Play Committee, a group dedicated to supporting the Constitutional rights of interned nisei. Frank Emi led the group, which had hundreds of followers in the camp, and found its battleground in the draft: members of … [ Read all ]