Today’s post comes from Alan Walker, archivist at the National Archives in College Park, Maryland.
In my reflective moments, I think about what has kept me here at the National Archives for all this time. It couldn’t be the bone-wearying monotony of shuffling heavy cartons of records from here to there, or the tedium of changing out old information systems and learning the vagaries of new ones. No, there’s something else that gets me in the door every morning. Fasteners.
You wouldn’t think that something so trivial would hold my attention for any length of time. And yet, paper fasteners play such a vital role in our daily lives here. Consider: when researchers open boxes of records, they will see the telltale signs—the double round holes centered at the tops of the documents, the pinprick perforations in the corners. And many fasteners are still doing their duty among the records now.
It is a canon of archival preservation that fasteners are the devil’s work; capable of doing lasting and disfiguring damage to their host’s integrity, they must be removed, and forthwith. And so they are. Textual processing staff at all National Archives facilities do this every day. Perhaps gazillions of the little buggers get the boot each year; here are some Acco fasteners awaiting their fate.
My fellow staff like to collect the unusual … [ Read all ]
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