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Tag: missouri

The Louisiana Purchase Treaty on display in St. Louis

Today’s post comes from James Zeender, Senior Registrar at the National Archives.

On October 25, “The Louisiana Purchase: Making St. Louis, Remaking America” opened in St. Louis. The Missouri History Museum and the National Archives partnered to organize the exhibition, which features the original Louisiana Purchase Treaty of 1803, on loan from the National Archives.

Other National Archives documents on display include Spain’s agreement with France to transfer the Territory to France, the act authorizing the President to take possession from France, the treaty between the United States and the Sauk and the Fox Indians signed at St. Louis in 1804, and six more related items.

James Zeender and Terry Boone of the NAtional Archives examine the Treaty between U.S. and Sauk and Fox Indians, signed in 1804 at St. Louis. (Photograph courtesy of the Missouri History Museum)

James Zeender and Terry Boone of the National Archives examine the Treaty between U.S. and Sauk and Fox Indians, signed in 1804 at St. Louis. (Photograph courtesy of the Missouri History Museum)

The exhibition explores treaty negotiations, the debate in Congress, the territory’s mixed culture and multilingual society, settler conflict with Native Americans, and the extension of slavery into the West.

Did you know the original Louisiana Purchase Treaty consists of three different documents? Each required a separate set of signatures and the private red wax seals of American envoys Robert Livingston and James Monroe and the French finance minister François de Barbé-Marbois.

The Treaty of Cession transferred 828,000 acres of land west of the Mississippi from France to the … [ Read all ]

Working in the National Archives: Caves

Entrance to the National Archives in Lee's Summit, Missouri

Today’s guest post is by Dana Roark, archives technician at the Lee’s Summit Federal Records Center.

One of the most vivid memories I have of my first day at Lee’s Summit, a National Archives facility, was the drive in to my new workplace. As I rounded the corner of the driveway, I came face-to-face with the yawning black mouth of a limestone mine.

As you can imagine, I was a little intimidated as I slowly drove in. I was even more intimidated when I was first taken out into the stacks. I spent the first month (at least!) getting lost as I tried to navigate through the labyrinth of huge rooms. Thank goodness my supervisor took pity on me and drew me a map, or I would have never made it out of the office!

I am a Missouri girl from St. Louis and DeSoto,  a little town about an hour south of St. Louis. Missouri is known as the “cave state.” With over 4,500 known wild or natural caves, it has more caves than any other state.  We even had a cave in my backyard when I was growing up. It had been a favorite spot to sit reading during the summer and enjoying the natural air conditioning. I’d also done regular cave tours as a child for girl scouts, … [ Read all ]

Secession, Congress, and a Civil War Awakening at the Archives

The U.S. Capitol under construction, 1860 (National Archives Identifier 530494)

As a new year begins, the 112th Congress reconvenes for a second session of legislative activity. Representatives and senators from across the country are again descending upon the Capitol, ready to commence debates, proceedings, and hearings. This is how the legislative branch of the Federal Government always functions, right? Well, not always.

On the eve of the Civil War in 1860, the 36th Congress consisted of 66 senators and 234 representatives. There was a Democratic majority in the Senate and a Republican majority in the House of Representatives, and every state in the Union was effectively represented.

But once South Carolina issued its ordinance of secession on December 20, 1860, a surge of southern legislators began withdrawing and retiring from Congress.

By the time the 37th Congress convened in March of 1861, six states—Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas—had already joined South Carolina and left the Union. This prompted Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina to follow.

When the torrent of secession finally concluded, vacancies existed in both chambers of Congress. The mass exodus of southern Democrats, coupled with the commencement of Union-Confederate hostilities, shrank the Federal legislature to 50 senators and 180 representatives by the beginning of 1863.

Southern secession transformed Congress in many ways. The dozens of unfilled vacancies in the Senate and the … [ 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 ]

Happy NARA Recognition Day, Missouri!

Governor Jay Nixon declared June 2, 2010 as National Archives and Records Administration Recognition Day in Missouri

Governor Jay Nixon declared June 2, 2010 as National Archives and Records Administration Recognition Day in Missouri

The Show Me State is showing its appreciation for the work of the National Archives and Records Administration.  Governor Jay Nixon has signed a proclamation declaring June 2 as “National Archives and Records Administration Recognition Day” in the great state of Missouri.

The proclamation was announced in the presence of our very own Archivist of the United States, David S. Ferriero, who was the main speaker this morning during the placing of a time capsule in the new building under construction for the National Personnel Records Center on Dunn Road in St. Louis County.

Missouri is home to the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC), which is getting a new makeover as construction continues on what will become the largest National Archives building outside of the Washington, DC, area.  The new facility will ring in at a staggering 474,690 square feet—over 9 football fields worth of storage space for the nation’s 81 million veterans and civil service personnel records.

Though the NPRC is currently the busiest NARA facility in the country, fielding more than 1 million requests annually, it’s certainly not the only Archive facility in Missouri deserving recognition: the National Archives at Kansas City, the Harry Truman Presidential Library, and the Federal Records Center in Lee’s Summit are … [ Read all ]