Site search

Site menu:

Find Out More

Archives

Categories

Contact Us

Subscribe to Email Updates

Tag: free contests

Ten years after a call for help, Iraqi Jewish documents go on display

In June of 2003, the National Archives Preservation Programs received a call for help from Iraq. Sixteen American soldiers had found tens of thousands of documents and 2,700 Jewish books while searching in the flooded basement of Saddam Hussein’s intelligence headquarters. The historic material was soaking wet.

And so Doris Hamburg and Mary-Lynn Ritzenthaler boarded a C-130 cargo plane and flew to Iraq.

“It was fascinating and exciting,” said Hamburg, Director of Preservation Programs at the National Archives. “We didn’t know quite what we were heading toward—but we were told everything would be fine.”

After Hamburg and Ritzenthaler arrived in Baghdad, they went to a warehouse on the banks of the Tigris River. Inside the warehouse was a freezer truck, and inside that truck were 27 metal trunks.

The trunks held masses of documents and books that had been submerged in four feet of water in the flooded basement of Saddam Hussein’s intelligence headquarters in Baghdad. And although the contents had been frozen to preserve them, Hamburg and Ritzenthaler could smell mold when they climbed into the truck.

“Freezing is a common way to stabilize materials when they become wet,” said Ritzenthaler, Chief of the Document Conservation Laboratory. “They acquired a freezer truck—it was quite a feat in those days in Baghdad to find a truck and to keep it fueled.”

The two women began … [ Read all ]

Thursday’s Photo Caption Contest

Ladies and Gentlemen, you have astounded your judge with your caption compositions. Words and phrases like “historical sub-context” and “ingenuity” were used. Also used was the word “shibboleth,” which I had to look up. For the uninitiated, it refers to “any distinguishing practice that is indicative of one’s social or regional origin,” and it was used in reference to Wendy Gish’s winning caption. Not only has she won the approving nod from our esteemed guest judge, but like all our winners, also won 30% off at the National Archives e-Store.

As to the actual caption related to this photo, no, the kids photographed did not arrive at the end of the world, but instead, they arrived upon a small stream. “In 1938, rare flooding in southern California severed a road, trapped an automobile and drew a crowd” according to the book Your Land, Our Land, which highlights the holdings of our regional archives.

This week we dug deep into the Archives to find another photo stripped of context just waiting for a caption to captivate our next guest judge. But who is our mysterious judge? Will he be able to use shibboleth in a sentence? In fact, he will. To find a judge capable of keeping pace with the prose on Pieces of History, we’ve asked Jim Worsham, editor-in-chief extraordinaire of Prologue magazine, … [ Read all ]