Harry S. Truman in World War I Uniform.

Item From: Audiovisual Collection, 19577-2006.

This postcard photo was taken of Harry S. Truman when he was serving in France during World War I. According to the back of the postcard, it was given to John A. Hatfield in France in 1918, and later was returned to Harry S. Truman in January, 1962.

Source: http://research.archives.gov/description/6789282

This remarkable photograph shows the then oldest living ex-slave, Mrs. Sally Fickland, viewing the Emancipation Proclamation in the Freedom Train at Philadelphia, on September 17, 1947.  This moving image reminds us of the importance of exhibition lighting policies to control both the intensity and duration of light exposure.  The National Archives carefully limits the light exposure of this landmark document to ensure that it survives for future generations to see.  Emancipation Proclamation, RG 11, ARC # 299998.

War Dogs: Tales of Canine Heroism, History, and Love
Thursday, November 13, at noon at the National Archives)

Loyal and courageous, dogs are truly man’s best friend on the battlefield. The history of dogs in the U.S. military is long and rich, from the mascots of the Civil War to the dogs leading patrols and hunting for IEDs on today’s battlefields. In War Dogs, Rebecca Frankel offers a riveting history of the world of military working dogs and a look at the science of dogs’ special abilities. A book signing will follow the program.

U.S. Navy PETTY Officer 2nd Class Blake Soller, a Military Working Dog (MWD) handler, pets the head of working dog Rico, at the War Dog Cemetery, on Oct. 27, 2006, located on Naval Base Guam. (U.S. Navy PHOTO by Mass Communication SPECIALIST 2nd Class John F. Looney) (Released), 10/27/2006

Watch live on YouTube:

Read more about U.S. Marine Corps War Dogs in: Let the Records Bark! Personal Stories of Some Special Marines in World War II

This was the scene this morning in the Rotunda at the National Archives as our guests woke up after a fun night of history at our first #ArchivesSleepover.

Kids and their parents enjoyed a special night playing games, writing with quill pens, meeting best-selling author #BradMeltzer, learning about the Constitution from #CokieRoberts, and talking with reenactors playing Abraham Lincoln, Amelia Earhart, and Phyllis Wheatley.

A big thank you to our visitors, special guests, National Archives staff, and staff from the Foundation for the National Archives for a great night!


During World War II, Latinas were contributors to the war effort, these Rosies worked in manufacturing along side women from across the American homefront. We found a record of Mina Mendoza, a young woman born in Hermosillo, Mexico.  She made her way to the United States with her family in 1927, crossing the border on foot at Douglas, Arizona.  When the war started, Mina, 5’ 1” and 114 lbs, she was operating a milling machine in the Los Angeles area. Ms. Mendoza became a U.S. citizen in 1944.

In the holdings of the National Archives at Riverside, men and women of Hispanic heritage are intertwined in many of our records, including records documenting citizenship.

¡Celebración de la Herencia Hispana!

To pay tribute to the many generations of Hispanic Americans that have enriched our nation’s history, the National Archives at Riverside will be highlighting some of our holdings relating to Hispanic American history in our region (Southern California, Arizona, and Clark County, NV), including records relating to Private Land Claims, Immigration and Naturalization, military service and many more. 

For more information about Hispanic Heritage Month, see  http://hispanicheritagemonth.gov/

Letter to President William McKinley from Annie Oakley in which she offers the services of a company of fifty lady American sharpshooters who would provide their own arms and ammunition, to the government should war break out with Spain., 04/05/1898 - 04/05/1898

Item from Records of the Adjutant General’s Office. (03/04/1907 - 09/18/1947)

Don’t forget—the National Archives’ new exhibition “Making Their Mark: Stories Through Signatures” opens March 21, 2014.

Source: http://go.usa.gov/DykQ


Sometimes bad things happen to good films.

In this case three feet (or about five seconds in running time) of perforations and about 1/4th of the image area were stripped away on this 16mm original negative. 

Matching up the tear is time consuming and requires precise registration.  Multiple pieces of tape must be laid down and used to cover the tear only and not the entire image area to avoid introducing air bubbles or other defects that would show up in the image when being transferred.

Razor blades are used to pick up the ends of Mylar tape to avoid getting fingerprints, lint, or other debris transferred onto the tape as the repairs are being made.  The blades are also used to make clean cuts where the tape will be laid down along the frame line so that the breaks don’t appear in the footage.  White paper tape is used to keep the film from sliding around during the repair work and doesn’t leave any residue on the film or harm it.

The repair is then reinforced on the back and the tape is excised from the perforations.  

Et Voila!  The film is now repaired and we can move on to the rest of the preservation process.  We’ll be creating a new print of this film so that the public can work with one of our vendors to receive the copies for their particular needs.

Wright Brothers’ Flying Machine Patent, missing from the National Archives

December 17 is the anniversary of the Wright Brother’s historic first flight in 1903.  For most, it’s a day to celebrate a pivotal milestone in aviation history.  But here at the National Archives and at other archives, libraries, and museums it’s a reminder of the threat that cultural institutions face on a daily basis.  The patent for the Wright Flyer is missing—presumed stolen—last seen in 1979, and it’s not the only item missing.

When such records are stolen —sometimes for resale on web auction sites— our shared history is lost and our ability to maintain accountability in our government is lessened.  Together, with your help, we can return our cultural heritage to its rightful place.

For More Information:

via the AOTUS Blog: The Impact of Theft

In celebration of American Archives Month, the National Archives is teaming up with the The Academy of American Poets. Throughout the month we’ll be publishing original poems inspired by the holdings of the National Archives. To view the poets performing their original work, visit the National Archives YouTube Channel.

Today’s poem, “Much Tattooed Sailor Aboard USS New Jersey” by Jehanne Dubrow, was inspired by a photograph of sailors during World War II.

Lt. Comdr. Charles Fenno Jacobs took this photograph of two sailors in December 1944. Jacobs was part of the Naval Aviation Photographic Unit—a group of military photographers, under the command of Edward Steichen, who documented activities of the United States Navy during World War II.

For the full story, including Jehanne Dubrow’s poem and video, go to today’s Piece of History post: http://blogs.archives.gov/prologue/?p=14188.

Image: Much tattooed sailor aboard the USS New Jersey. 12/1944. (National Archives Identifier 520883).http://research.archives.gov/description/520883

Happy Birthday to Mickey Mouse!

Soon after his debut in Steamboat Willie on November 18, 1928, Mickey Mouse and his creator, Walt Disney, were in court.  This exhibit can be found in the infringement of trademark case, Walt Disney v. Pathe Exchange, etal, filed by Disney’s lawyers on March 30, 1931.  The Walt Disney company won this case (and many others).  

We love this document because Mickey and Minnie can stay so positive, even as their fate is being litigated!  

From the holdings of the National Archives at Riverside, Records of District Courts of the United States (RG 21).

Eleanor Roosevelt and United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Lake Success, New York (11/1949).

Item From: Franklin D. Roosevelt Library Photographs (06/30/1949- 04/01/1985)

One of Eleanor Roosevelt’s greatest achievements was the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a kind of Bill of Rights for the International Community. She chaired the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Drafting Committee and was successful at navigating the the committee’s eclectic mix of philosophies and representative world views.This committee also included  René Cassin of France, Committee Rapporteur Charles Malik of Lebanon, Vice- Chairman Peng Chung Chang of China, and John Humphrey of Canada (Director of the UN’s Human Rights Division).

Source: http://research.archives.gov/description/6120927

Today in history — FDR Approves the National Archives Act

On June 19, 1934, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed “An Act to establish a National Archives of the United States Government, and for other purposes.”  Read more from Prologue Magazine.

Photo: An image of the construction of the National Archives Building is from June 1934, the month that President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed into law the National Archives Act. 

Happy Birthday to Us!

Why did George Washington draw this little hand?

From medieval times to the present, the symbol above has been used to direct attention to important passages of text. This mark is called a manicule (from the Latin root ‘manus’, meaining ‘hand’). This manicule was drawn by George Washington while he was annotating the first draft of the US Constitution on August 6, 1787. ARC Identifier: 1501555


Happy 227th #ConstitutionDay!

September 17 is designated as Constitution Day and Citizenship Day to commemorate the signing of the U.S. Constitution in Philadelphia on September 17, 1787. Learn more about the U.S. Constitution through programs, and resources from the National Archives:

Have you ever been to the usnatarchives to see the Constitution in person?  

Bonus question - have you ever slept over in the same room as the Constitution?

Our business may be the past, but here at the Archives, we use today’s social media tools to bring history to you. Join us for Social Media Week DC with some exciting events. All events will take place in the William G. McGowan Theater in Archives I in Washington, DC.

Thursday, February 16
Want to explore exciting new documents and help make them more accessible to the public? Come learn about the Citizen Archivist Dashboard. Meredith Stewart from the Open Government Division will conduct a demonstration of the Citizen Archivist Dashboard from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. The demo will be followed by an exciting hands-on workshop by Stewart and Social Media Manager Jill James called “Let’s Get Tagging!” from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. 

These events are BYOD—Bring Your Own Device. Please bring your own laptop or tablet! If you can’t make it but still want to see what’s happening, follow the conversation on Twitter (use the hashtag #SMWarchives).

Friday, February 17
Participate in the “Social Media, Government, and 21st Century eDemocracy” panel at 1 p.m. Our very own Archivist of the United States David Ferriero will welcome the panel to the Archives. It will be moderated by Alex Howard of O’Reilly Radar and focuses on meaningful use of social media by Congress and the Government.

If you’re interested in registering for any these free events, check out the schedule online, or drop in to join us at the National Archives. For those around the country, the Citizen Archivist Dashboard Demo and the Social Media panel will be recorded and posted on NARA’s YouTube channel in the coming weeks.


These poems were found in a manuscript of poems created in the Navajo and English language by Navajo students at the Phoenix Indian School around 1940.  The project was entitled, Littler Herder in Autumn.

The photograph was taken of a family residence ca. 1930.  This traditional Navajo residence, known as a hogan, is the type of home that the student was describing.

In celebration of Native American Heritage Month, we would like to share just some of the remarkable pieces of Native American history of tribes in southern California and Arizona.  All of these records come from our holdings of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (RG 75).

Petition from Citizens of New York Asking that Slavery and the Slave-trade may be Expressly Prohibited by Act of Congress in all the Territories of the United States, 03/25/1851

Item from Records of the U.S. House of Representatives. (12/13/1825 - 1946)

This petition from a group of citizens of the state of New York asks that the institution of slavery as well as the slave-trade be prohibited by Congress in all US territories. The petition was submitted to Congress on March 25, 1851.

Source: http://go.usa.gov/DVCY