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Tag: National archives and records administration

Thursday’s Caption Contest

The winning caption
When I voted to approve appropriations for the country’s highways, I didn’t think I’d have to build them!

Last’s week winning caption goes to Marc, whose plowman did not expect to have quite such an active role in government.

If you thought this looked like a victorious pursuit for these two well-dressed gentlemen, you would be correct. In this image from the Roosevelt Presidential Library, the Victory Garden Program Secretary is plowing Boston Common in 1944. There are no records on how many rutabagas were successfully planted and harvested.

This week’s mystery photo is more ominous than victorious! Put your caption in the comments box below.… [ Read all ]

Aloha treatment for a 1954 Hawaii petition

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 ]

Thursday’s Photo Caption Contest

This week’s winner is Tommy R! His clever caption combines the discoveries of the atomic age with a nifty Latin neologism. Tommy, we’ll be sending you a 15% discount for the National Archives eStore.

The original caption tell us that “Sister Mary Helene ven Horst, science instructor at Marycrest College in Davenport, Iowa, teaches students the theory of radiation and the use of radiological monitoring instruments. . . . ca. 1960.” The photo is from the series for civil defense photographs in the Records of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

This week, give us your best captions for this photo plucked from the holdings of the National Archives. YOU tell us what’s going on and take a chance to win an eStore discount for yourself.… [ Read all ]

It’s Washington’s Birthday—really

Monday is a federal holiday, but what holiday is it? So many ads on television and in print tell us it’s Presidents/President’s/Presidents’ Day. Images of Lincoln and Washington sometimes accompany these ads.

But here at the National Archives, we know it’s still officially Washington’s Birthday. This year the holiday is actually close to GW’s birthday (February 22), but in many years the holiday falls closes to Lincoln’s (February 12).

How did this once-fixed holiday become blurred and shared with all U.S. Presidents? Look to the Uniform Monday Holiday Bill of 1968, which moved the observance of our first President’s birth from its actual day to the third Monday of February.

Read the whole story in Prologue: “By George, IT IS Washington’s Birthday” (Winter 2004).… [ Read all ]

The OSS and the Dalai Lama

In the summer of 1942, the Allies’ war against Japan was in dire straits. China was constantly battling the occupying Japanese forces in its homeland, supplied by India via the Burma Road. Then Japan severed that supply artery. Planes were flown over the Himalayan mountains, but their payloads were too little, and too many pilots crashed in the desolate landscape to continue the flights.

The Allies were desperate to find a land route that would reconnect China and India. The task fell to two OSS men—Ilia Tolstoy, the grandson of Leo Tolstoy, and explorer Capt. Brooke Dolan. To complete the land route would require traversing Tibet, and to traverse the hidden country required the permission of a seven-year-old boy, the Dalai Lama.

When the two men arrived in Lhasa, the remote capital of Tibet, these spies were received as ambassadors. A military brass band played, and they were treated as guests of honor in a city that only a few decades earlier had forbidden Westerners to enter.

They came carrying a message from President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. On December 20, at 9:20 in the morning, they were granted an audience with His Holiness. As a further sign of his respect for these two emissaries, the men were allowed to ride horses up the Potala to the quarters of the Dalai Lama. After a brief wait, they … [ Read all ]