The National Archives holds many records that tell the story of the attack on Pearl Harbor. To commemorate the 70th anniversary of that day, we’ve gathered links from across our blogs and on Tumblr to show you some of these moving documents that we hold in safekeeping.
Memo to the President
This memorandum was one of the first written damage assessments presented to the President. In his own hand, Roosevelt indicated the date and time he received it.
“Day of Infamy” Speech
The drafts for this short speech show how Roosevelt crafted his request for a declaration of war.
In our newest “Inside the Vaults” video short, staff at the National Archives talk about the deck logs from ships stationed at Pearl Harbor and the stories found in the entries for December 7, 1941.
Over at the Text Message blog, a student finds a family friend in the deck logs he is processing.
Twenty-three sets of brothers died that day on the USS Arizona. William Wells was one of them. His service record was salvaged from the ship and treated by conservators at the National Archives.
One photo is of Japanese carrier planes taking off for the attack; the other shows the wreckage-strewn Naval Air Station.
This 22- x 31-inch radar plot was made by Privates Joseph L. Lockard and George Elliot at the Opana … [ Read all ]
Posted by Hilary on December 7, 2011, under - World War II, Unusual documents.
Tags: 1941, 23 sets of brothers, day of infamy, December 7, deck logs, Hawaii, Joint Committee on the Investigation of the Pearl Harbor Attack, Naval Air Station, Opana Radar Station, Pearl Harbor, processing, Roosevelt, speeches, William Wells, WWII
In the early afternoon of December 7, 1941, Franklin D. Roosevelt was just finishing lunch in his oval study on the second floor of the White House, preparing to work on his stamp album.
The phone rang, and he was informed that the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, shortly before 1 p.m. Washington time, 8 a.m. Hawaii time.
“It was just the kind of unexpected thing the Japanese would do. At the very time they were discussing peace in the Pacific, they were plotting to overthrow it,” he remarked to his assistant.
For the rest of that afternoon, Roosevelt and his advisers were busy at the White House receiving fragmentary reports about the damage to U.S. installations, ships, and planes in Hawaii.
Security was increased around the White House, and plans were under way for a bomb shelter for the President underneath the nearby Treasury Department building. Across the nation, news of the attack spread by radio and word of mouth, and Americans began thinking about what life in a nation at war was going to be like.
A First Draft
Roosevelt decided to go before Congress the next day to report on the attack and ask for a declaration of war. In early evening, he called in his secretary, Grace Tully. “I’m going before Congress tomorrow, and I’d like to dictate my message,” … [ Read all ]
Posted by Jim on December 5, 2011, under - World War II.
Tags: attack, day of infamy, FDR, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Hawaii, Japanese, Pacific, Pearl Harbor, Robert Sherwood, Roosevelt, Samuel Rosenman, speech
Last week’s image may have sparked some of our best captions yet! Apparently a giant roll of paper makes our readers think of their experiences in the National Archives research room, Twitter, and toilet paper at the State Department.
But it reminded us of another enormous rolled document featured on Pieces of History: a 1954 petition from Hawaii. And so we asked conservator Morgan Zinsmeister, who worked on that outsized record, to choose a winner.
Congratulations to Jill! Morgan thought your caption was the one we should preserve as the winner.
So what is really happening here? It turns out we made the right connection in thinking of Morgan and his Hawaiian petition. This photograph is from the “Historic Photograph File of National Archives Events and Personnel, 1935–1975,” and it shows Archives employee Kay Brewington examining a large petition. (We admire her ability to crouch gracefully in that dress and those shoes!)
Today’s photograph also shows a woman hard at work under the glare of a bare lightbulb—but what is she teaching? Give us your best caption in the comments below!
Posted by Hilary on November 17, 2011, under petitions, Photo Caption Contest, preservation, Unusual documents.
Tags: 1954, caption contest, Hawaii, Kay Brewington, Morgan Zinmeister, National Archives staff
The work the National Archives Preservation staff does every day is hardly “everyday.” A recent post about Hawaii’s petition for statehood on the Preservation Program’s Facebook page demonstrated this fact. This preservation project stemmed from a request from our Center for Legislative Archives. Each archival unit creates annual and long-term preservation plans, and the Center’s list named several petitions to Congress. One of these presented a challenge—a massive wooden spool 68 inches wide containing a roll of paper 16 inches in diameter.
This mammoth petition contains the names of 116,000 supporters of Hawaii statehood. Hawaii had been annexed by the United States in 1898 and became a U.S. Territory in 1900. Attempts at statehood over the next 60 years met opposition from both native Hawaiians and Congress. In the 1950s, the statehood movement gained momentum, and Hawaii became our 50th state on August 21, 1959.
This giant scroll came to the National Archives by way of the U.S. Senate. The Governor of Hawaii had presented the petition to the Vice President of the United States, who then (as President of the Senate) brought it before the Senate on February 26, 1954.
As an official document of the U.S. Senate, it eventually came down the street to the National Archives. It had been stored in a safe place, but over the years, the exposed outer … [ Read all ]
Posted by Mary on February 25, 2011, under Letters in the National Archives, petitions, preservation, Unusual documents.
Tags: 50th state, american history, Hawaii, Legislative Archives, NARA, national archives, National archives and records administration, National Archives Preservation Program, petitions, preservation, us history