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Tag: Online Public Access

Artists at work in the National Archives

A display of handmade gifts at the American Artisans Fair at the National Archives in Washington, DC, on December 2 to 6.

We’ve got lots of artists in the building today. If you visit the National Archives Building from December 2 to 6, you can partake of history and do your Christmas shopping and support local artists and support the programs of the National Archives!

The holiday fair is officially titled “The Way We Worked” American Artisans Fair. Local area artists were invited to participate. Chris DerDerian, the manager of the National Archives Shop, was inspired by the New Deal programs that put artists to work during the Great Depression. Between 1935 and 1943, citizens held 8 million jobs through the Works Progress Administration (WPA). While the WPA administered large projects like the creation of roads, it also administered projects in the arts.

“This first annual fair is to encourage visitors to the National Archives to support the work of today’s American artisans as they shop for meaningful contemporary gifts celebrating American history this holiday season,” DerDerian said.

I was curious about what exactly artists were hired to do during the 1930s, so I did a quick search in our Online Public Access database and discovered this delightful piece of administrative reporting from 1940: Report of WPA Activities of the Golden Gate International Exposition.

If you … [ Read all ]

Thursday Photo Caption Contest

Even 'Dress Like Betsy Ross Day' failed to cheer up the ladies down at the old Kellogg's plant.

Last week’s photo may have sparked some of our funniest captions yet! As soon as we started reading about the ill-fated Florence in Apple Jacks, cereal killers, and the Shotz Brewery, we knew choosing a winner would be tough.

So we turned to Denise Henderson, who blogs about her finds in the records over at The Text Message. She also is the Review Team Lead for Online Public Access.

Congratulations to Ryan! Ironically, our guest judge Denise does not like breakfast or breakfast cereal–but she does like her fellow hometown girl Betsy Ross, and so she went with Ryan’s reference to the floppy-hatted, flag-sewing symbol of freedom. Ryan, check your email for a 15% discount to the eStore and check out our merchandise.

And despite the witty suggestions of our captioneers, the original caption confirms this to be a rather mundane scene: “Kellogg Company. Women inspecting filled boxes of cereal before boxes go to sealer., 08/22/1934.”

This week’s photo seems to involve multiples–but this time it’s girls instead of cereal boxes. Give us your funniest caption below!

Your caption here!

[ Read all ]

Tag! You know something!

Sharks! ARC 535531

Last week on Facebook, I posted up a image that my colleague found for Shark Week. It wasn’t a biological shark, but a mechanical one. The caption provided some basic information: “A Chinese soldier guards a line of American P-40 fighter planes, painted with the shark-face emblem of the ‘Flying Tigers,’ at a flying field somewhere in China. The American pursuit planes have a 12-to-1 victory ratio over the Japanese., ca. 1942.”

The comments in the post, however, provided far more information! Facebook users launched into a knowledgeable  discussion of dates, forces, and plane types.

But if anyone used our Online Public Access search engine (OPA) to search the online holdings of the National Archives using the words that came up in the discussion (“23rd Fighter Group” or “Kunming” or “Zhongzheng Type-24,”) this photograph would not appear. A possibly useful record would not make its way to a researcher.

This is why the Archivist has invited “citizens archivists” to join him in crowdsourcing our vast holdings by tagging images and photographs. Users who have knowledge about our holdings can assign tags that make records more findeable for fellow users.

Already, users have contributed hundred of tags. Are you interested in joining the fun? We’d like your help!  To learn more about the project, sign up, and start tagging, go here.

Interested in learning more about those strange shark … [ Read all ]

Roosting in the records

Young Sparrow in grass at V.T. Ranch. Markings not distinctive., 06/28/1929 (79-ZBC-BC115)

Young Sparrow in grass at V.T. Ranch, Utah. Markings not distinctive, June 28, 1929 (ARC 520329; 79-ZBC-BC115)

Someone who read my post on Squirrel Appreciation Day alerted me to World Sparrow Day, which was Sunday, March 20. This inspired me to dive back into Online Public Access (OPA) on the National Archives web site. I typed in “sparrow,” and amid many references to the U.S. Marines, missiles, and Sparrows Point shipyard were a couple of photographs of the tiny bird and some quite interesting Indian School Journals from the early 20th century.

The Journal came from the National Archives at Fort Worth, among Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The magazine was published by students at the Chilocco Indian School and was printed in the school’s print shop. It contained articles about the Indian service and various tribes, stories, poems and inspirational paragraphs, and advertisements. There are also a number of photographs of students, faculty, school buildings, Indian houses, and artifacts.

I’m featuring a page from the February 1907 issue of the Indian School Journal that was featured in a  section called “Educational Department—Lesson For Teachers from The Office.” The suggested Q&A taught students about “Birds as Weed Destroyers.”

The Journal authors were not sympathetic to the English (house) sparrow, which is the bird celebrated on World Sparrow Day. Because house sparrows are not native to North America, … [ Read all ]

Have you hugged a squirrel today?

Photo of squirrel taken in 1937, Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest in Wisconsin.

Photo of squirrel taken in 1937, Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest in Wisconsin. (Identifier 2129386, National Archives at Chicago)

While poking around the web while I ate my lunch, I discovered that today is Squirrel Appreciation Day! I know many gardeners can’t stand the little beasts, and when we tried to grow tomatoes a couple of summers ago, I didn’t feel too friendly toward them, either. But usually I’m quite taken by these fluffy-tailed guys. And I’m not the only one—President Ronald Reagan used to feed the squirrels outside the Oval Office.

President Reagan laying out acorns for the squirrels outside the Oval Office. 11/4/83 (Reagan Library, C18085-17)

President Reagan laying out acorns for the squirrels outside the Oval Office. 11/4/83 (Reagan Library, C18085-17)

I love the way squirrels flick their tails when they’re agitated and chitter at you self-importantly from their safe perches far overhead. I can’t help but smile when they’re all fluffed up in winter or nod sympathetically when they’re draped across a branch, trying to cool off in summer. Way, way back, when I was a tiny thing, one of my favorite cartoons was even “Secret Squirrel.”

Squirrels also have an important job planting trees. They bury far more acorns and seeds than they can possibly uncover and eat, and the forgotten food then sprouts. They also won the sweepstakes when it comes to cuteness. Without that plume of a tail, they’d not look much different from their rodent cousin, … [ Read all ]