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Tag: weird photos

Mole in place at the Archives

Letter from Charity Snider, with accompanying mole skin, from her Civil War Widow's Pension Application File. The paper bears the discoloration from the unusual enclosure. (WC843258, Record Group 15)

Letter from Charity Snider, with accompanying mole skin, from her Civil War Widow's Pension Application File. The paper bears the discoloration from the unusual enclosure. (WC843258, Record Group 15)

Researching in original records often provides the researcher with surprises. Usually the surprise takes the form of an unknown letter, a reference to your topic in an unexpected place, or a lead that directs you to a new set of records to mine. Once in a great while, the surprise is something no one could have imagined.

In late 2005, an Archives staff member was pulling a file from the Civil War Widows Certificate Approved Pension Case Files for a researcher. The file seemed unusually bulky, so he opened it. Inside the folder, tucked between sheets of a letter was one of the most unusual items found in the records of the National Archives: the preserved skin of a mole.

Now, moles make appearances in archival records all the time—but they’re usually undercover spies mentioned in intelligence or diplomatic reports. This 19th-century insectivore came from the literal underground, and one ill-fated day he found himself in the tent of a Union soldier.

The soldier, James J. Van Liew, didn’t care to share his tent with this uninvited guest and captured it. As (a joke? a love token?), Van Liew sent the skin to his wife, Charity. … [ Read all ]

Thursday’s Photo Caption Contest

The cluck stops here

The cluck stops here

Lynn Ansfield, with her short, historically on-the-nose caption took the top honors in the last photo caption contest. Congrats, Lynn, you’ve won 30% off at the National Archives eStore just in time for the holidays!

The Truman Library contains this photo of President Truman receiving a Thanksgiving turkey from members of the Poultry and Egg National Board and other representatives of the turkey industry, outside the White House., 11/16/1949, and many more!

It’s the first week of December, and some parts of the country have already had significant snowfall.  Here’s a photo to get you in the mood for wintry fun. Give us your best, and we’ll give you 30% off your next purchase at the Archives eStore! 

Insert caption here!

Insert caption here!

[ Read all ]

Thursday’s Photo Caption Contest

"What's YOUR sleep number?"

"What's YOUR sleep number?"

We’ve all seen the commercials talking about sleep number beds, and we here at POH think RJ hit it on the nose. Apparently for this family, nine is their sleep number.

As to what this cozy family is actually up to, they’re sleeping through the London Blitz, which happened 70 years ago this month. The original caption reads a stark “Southeast air raid shelter.” You can see this photo—and other select photos from the Blitz—on our Facebook page.

This week’s photo was a mail-in from Mary Krakowiak, an Archives employee in College Park, MD, who found what has got to be one of the greatest photo caption photos in the entire National Archives. If you’ve stumbled across a photo ripe for out-of-context captioning, share it with us at prologue@nara.gov.

In the meantime, good luck with the photo below. Remember, if your caption wins, we’ll give you 30% off at the National Archives eStore and put your name up in lights on the blog! Good luck!

Your caption here!

Your caption here!

[ Read all ]

Thursday’s Photo Caption Contest

yourlandourlandsmall

Thinking it was only a myth, the kids were surprised to find the world did actually end at the edge of town.

Ladies and Gentlemen, you have astounded your judge with your caption compositions. Words and phrases like “historical sub-context” and “ingenuity” were used. Also used was the word “shibboleth,” which I had to look up. For the uninitiated, it refers to “any distinguishing practice that is indicative of one’s social or regional origin,” and it was used in reference to Wendy Gish’s winning caption. Not only has she won the approving nod from our esteemed guest judge, but like all our winners, also won 30% off at the National Archives e-Store.

As to the actual caption related to this photo, no, the kids photographed did not arrive at the end of the world, but instead, they arrived upon a small stream. “In 1938, rare flooding in southern California severed a road, trapped an automobile and drew a crowd” according to the book Your Land, Our Land, which highlights the holdings of our regional archives.

This week we dug deep into the Archives to find another photo stripped of context just waiting for a caption to captivate our next guest judge. But who is our mysterious judge? Will he be able to use shibboleth in a sentence? In fact, he will. To find … [ Read all ]