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Tag: exhibits

Fifty Year Later: A Brief History of the Immigration Act of 1965

Today’s post comes from Rebecca Brenner, an intern in the History Office at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.

Photograph of President Lyndon B. Johnson Signing the Immigration Act, 10/3/1965. (National Archives Identifier 2803428)

Photograph of President Lyndon B. Johnson signing the Immigration Act, 10/3/1965. (National Archives Identifier 2803428)

Fifty years ago on October 3, 1965, at the base of the Statue of Liberty, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Immigration Act of 1965 into law.

The act was an important milestone in American immigration history. It was a significant improvement from the National Origins Act of 1924, which barred Asian immigrants, limited Latin American immigrants, and established rigid immigration quotas for European countries.

These quotas, established in an era of post–World War I isolationism and xenophobia, lasted from 1924 through 1965:

  • Armenia: 124
  • Australia: 121
  • Austria: 785
  • Belgium: 512
  • Czechoslovakia: 3,073
  • Estonia: 124
  • France: 3,954
  • Germany: 51,227
  • Great Britain and Northern Ireland: 34,007
  • Hungary: 473
  • Irish Free State: 28,567
  • Italy: 3,845
  • Latvia: 142
  • Lithuania: 344
  • Netherlands: 1,648
  • Norway: 6,453
  • Poland: 5,962
  • Russia: 2,248
  • Sweden: 9,561
  • Switzerland: 2,081
  • Yugoslavia: 671

Aliens needed to apply for spots on the quota in their country of birth, regardless of where they and their family lived. Some quota waiting lists were a dozen years long, while others were not filled.

The Immigration Act of 1965 abolished this quota system and eliminated the formally racial character of immigration to the United States.

The act aimed … [ Read all ]

Shaking Up History: Curator Bustard’s Artifact of Choice

Today’s post comes from Meagan Frenzer, graduate research intern for the National Archives History Office in Washington, DC.

On display in the “Spirited Republic: Alcohol in American History” exhibit at the National Archives in Washington, DC, is a silver cocktail shaker and six cups that once belonged to President Franklin D. Roosevelt. As Governor of New York and later, as President, Roosevelt used these items to mix drinks and entertain guests, even during Prohibition.

FDR's Chinese Cocktail Set. (National Archives Identifier 16917407)

FDR’s Chinese Cocktail Set. (Franklin D. Roosevelt Library; National Archives Identifier 16917407)

The sides and bottoms of the silver cocktail set, circa 1925, are adorned with a bamboo motif and Chinese characters. The items fit into a maroon leather box with blue velvet lining, though this item is not currently on display.

Senior Curator of “Spirited Republic” Bruce Bustard identified FDR’s cocktail set as one of his favorite items in the exhibit, due both to its elegance and historical richness. Bustard believes that this particular item best highlights the divide in American perceptions regarding alcohol.

The cocktail set represents this divide between those as close as husband and wife, or in this case, between President and First Lady.

For instance, President Roosevelt held a daily tradition, where he hosted an evening cocktail hour for his closest staff and friends called the “Children’s Hour.”

Roosevelt most likely used this cocktail set both … [ Read all ]

Documerica: Seeing the Seventies More Clearly

Today’s blog post comes from Hannah Fenster, summer intern with the Public Affairs Office.

Ever wonder why your photographs of the 1970s are slowly changing color? Hint: They don’t want makeovers or need more fuchsia in their lives. More likely, their aging appearances come from the original film type and from years of storage at room temperature.

The National Archives used an elaborate process to produce top-quality, fully restored photographs for the exhibit “DOCUMERICA: Searching for the Seventies,” which runs through September 8. The National Archives stores the original images as slides in cold storage to minimize the color shift.

Need caption

The image on the left is the “before”; on the right is the “after.”The original caption reads “Inexpensive retirement hotels are a hallmark of the South Beach area. A favored place is the front porch, where residents sit and chat or watch the activities on the beach.” Flip Shulke, June 1973 (National Archives 412-DA-6139)

I spoke with Michelle Farnsworth, digital imaging technician at the National Archives, to discuss the process of resurrecting the photos for exhibition.

To transfer the images from stored slides to shiny exhibit frames, technicians began by scanning the slides into a digitized format at the Digital Imaging Lab at the National Archives in College Park, MD.

The scanned versions underwent some preliminary color editing. “We weren’t trying to make them look … [ Read all ]

Say cheese, Mr. President: White House photographers at the Truman Library

White House Photographer Cecil Stoughton took this iconic photo of Lyndon B. Johnson's swearing in ceremony after John. F. Kennedy was assassinated. (ARC 194235)

Only 43 men in the history of the United States have held the title of President.

That’s a fairly small group , smaller than your average NFL team. But smaller still is the group of professionals who have held the title as the President’s chief photographer. To date, only nine men have served as the official White House Photographer.

Cecil Stoughton, hired by John. F. Kennedy to be the official president's photographer, also captured private moments of the president's life. Here, JFK and his daughter Caroline share a quiet moment aboard the Honey Fitz during a weekend in Hyannisport, MA. (ARC 194267)

President John F. Kennedy first appointed photographer Cecil Stoughton in 1960 in the role of White House Photographer. In the nearly 50 years following that first appointment, Presidential photographers have served as visual historians of the President’s daily life.

These photographers captured rare glimpses inside the White House and the historic moments of the Presidents they served. In addition to iconic images that enter the public’s memory of the President, private moments are captured as well.

On October 21, 2011, the Truman Library and Museum in Independence, MO, is excited to share the works of these photographers with  the exhibition “The President’s Photographer: … [ Read all ]