Although the National Archives Building was nearly completed in 1935, the Rotunda sat empty.
Then, on December 13, 1952, an armored Marine Corps personnel carrier made its way down Constitution Avenue, accompanied by two light tanks, four servicemen carrying submachine guns, and a motorcycle escort. A color guard, ceremonial troops, the Army Band, and the Air Force Drum and Bugle Corps were also part of the procession. Members of all the military branches lined the street.
Inside the personnel carrier were six parchment documents. The records were in helium-filled glass cases packed inside wooden crates resting on mattresses.
The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were going to the National Archives.
In 1926, $1 million was appropriated for a national archives building, and in 1930 President Hoover appointed an Advisory Committee for the National Archives to draw up specifications for the building. John Russell Pope was selected as architect, and a year later, ground was broken. By 1933, the cornerstone of the building had been put in place by President Herbert Hoover. Staff were working in the unfinished building by 1935.
But despite this flurry of activity, the vault-like building did not house the founding documents that we call the “Charters of Freedom.”
The documents had been shuttled around to various buildings for various reasons. They started out in the Department of State, and as the capital moved from New York to Philadelphia to Washington, DC, these documents moved too. Eventually … [ Read all ]
Posted by Hilary on December 13, 2011, under - Constitution, - Great Depression, - Presidents, News and Events, preservation.
Tags: 1952, bill of rights, Constitution, December 13, declaration of independence, President Hoover, Rotunda
The Medal of Honor is the highest honor in recognition of “gallantry in action.” Yet when President Abraham Lincoln signed “An act to further promote the efficiency of the Navy” into law on December 21, 1861, the creation of this honor is just a paragraph in section seven.
Only 200 “medals of honor” were authorized by Lincoln to be awarded to enlisted members of the Navy “during the present war.” Over the years, the medal has changed, going through revisions to the design, the rules under which it was awarded, and the inclusion of officers and members of the other branches of service.
It has been awarded fewer than 3,500 times.
One medal is currently on display through January 17, 2012, in the Rotunda of the National Archives.
This Medal of Honor was awarded to Sgt. James Hill, 14th New York Artillery, for extraordinary heroism on July 30, 1864, at Petersburg, Virginia, for capturing a flag and shooting a Confederate officer who was rallying his men. Hill died in captivity at Andersonville, Georgia, before the medal could be presented. The medal was designed by William Wilson & Sons, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1862.
The display also includes a letter of recommendation to another soldier. After the Civil War ended, the historian of the 37th Massachusetts Regimental Association, recommended that Pvt. Samuel E. Eddy of Company D be awarded a … [ Read all ]
Posted by Hilary on December 6, 2011, under - Civil War, Letters in the National Archives, Unusual documents.
Tags: 14th New York Artillery, 1862, 37th Massachusetts Regimental Association, abraham lincoln, Lt. John S. Bradley, Medal of Honor, Navy, Pennsylvania, Petersburg, Philadelphia, Pvt. Samuel E. Eddy, Rotunda, Sailor’s Creek, Sgt. James Hill, virginia, William Wilson & Sons