African American History at the National Archives

February is Black History Month. This month and every day, the National Archives celebrates the extraordinary contributions of African Americans to our history and culture.

The National Archives holds a wealth of material documenting the African American experience, including millions of records related to the interactions between African Americans and the Federal government. 

You don’t have to live in Washington, DC or visit one of our research rooms to be inspired by the wealth of information available at the National Archives. Visit our African American History webpage to learn more about events and activities celebrating African American History. 

Read the full post on the AOTUS blog.


AWWWW…do you guys remember this? They are babies here <3

And the cherry on top: Jealous Miles ;)

anonymous asked:

Looks like you also like aotu world 诶? 给修雷跪了! pls,draw another one(;´༎ຶД༎ຶ`)!


Join me, Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero, for a Tumblr #AnswerTime!

On Friday, July 1, at 11 am ET / 8 am PT, I’ll be answering your questions here on @aotus:

Ask me a question!

About David S. Ferriero

David S. Ferriero was confirmed as 10th Archivist of the United States in November 2009. The National Archives and Records Administration is responsible for preserving and providing access to the records of the U.S. Government. NARA has 43 facilities across the country, including 13 Presidential Libraries, containing approximately 13 billion pages of textual records; 43 million photographs; miles and miles of film and video, and an ever increasing number of electronic records. Previously, Mr. Ferriero served as the Andrew W. Mellon Director of the New York Public Libraries and held top library positions at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Duke University. And he loves to make pancakes for the Archives Sleepover.


In celebration of the New York Academy of Medicine’s #ColorOurCollections campaign this week, many museums, libraries, and archives hopped on the adult coloring bandwagon and created coloring books to share on Twitter. We’ve been participating by posting various images throughout the week for people to color, from Rosie the Riveter to the Faulkner murals.

Now we have a coloring book as well! We’ve chosen some of our favorite patents from our holdings for you to color: The National Archives Coloring Book of Patents 2016

Or, browse our online catalog for more fascinating patents to color! Share your coloring creations with us on using the hashtag #ColorOurCollections.

Read the full post on the AOTUS blog.


Patent of the Month: Tucker “Torpedo”

During World War II, the South Side of Chicago was home to one of the largest war plants in the country, used by Dodge-Chrysler to build bomber plane engines. After the war, Preston Tucker leased two of the buildings to build his “Torpedo” car. This site is now the home of the National Archives at Chicago! 

Read the full post on the AOTUS blog.

Image: Tucker “Torpedo” Patent Drawing, 06/14/1949. National Archives Identifier 594674


Historical Cats

We may have just missed #MuseumCats day, but you might still enjoy some stories of historic felines in our holdings. We recently received feedback on our website survey asking for historical photos of cats in the National Archives. I was reminded of the fact that when Robert Connor, the First Archivist, was assessing the records situation in Washington, he came across the records of the one “depository crowded with archives of the Government the most prominent object to one entering the room was the skull of a dead cat protruding from under a pile of valuable records.” (From an editorial entitled, “Our National Archives”, The Nation, February 1931.)

While we obviously don’t want actual cats roaming our stacks, we consulted our online catalog and found this selection of photogenic archival felines.

Read the full post on the AOTUS blog.


Making Room for Those in Danger

At the end of the Vietnam War, hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese and Cambodians fled political chaos and physical danger in their homelands. Between 1975 and 1979, some 300,000 of these refugees were admitted to the United States through Presidential action. The law at the time restricted refugee admissions, and many members of Congress wanted to establish a more regular system of immigration and resettlement.

The Refugee Act of 1980 raised the annual ceiling for refugees to 50,000, created a process for reviewing and adjusting the refugee ceiling to meet emergencies, and required annual consultation between Congress and the President. The law changed the definition of “refugee” to a person with a “well-founded fear of persecution,” a standard established by United Nations conventions and protocols. It also funded a new Office of U.S. Coordinator for Refugee Affairs and an Office of Refugee Resettlement and built on already existing public-private partnerships that helped refugees settle and adjust to life in their new country.

Read the full post on the AOTUS blog.

View all pages of the Refugee Act of 1980 on the National Archives’ Flickr account

In the South China Sea, crewmen of the amphibious cargo ship USS Durham (LKA-114) take Vietnamese refugees aboard a small craft. The refugees will be transferred later by mechanized landing craft (LCM) to the freighter Transcolorado., 4/3/1975. General Records of the Department of the Navy, National Archives Identifier 558518

Refugee Act of 1980:  A bill to amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to revise the procedures for the admission of refugees, to amend the Migration and Refugee Assistance Act of 1962 to establish a more uniform basis for the provision of assistance to refugees, and for other purposes, page one (Public Law 96-212—The Refugee Act of 1980), approved March 17, 1980
National Archives, General Records of the U.S. Government


On Friday, the Washington Capitals mascot, Slapshot, stopped by the National Archives. He posed in the Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom with David S. Ferriero, Archivist of the United States, and checked out the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States, and the Bill of Rights.

Go Caps!

National Archives photo by Jeffrey Reed


Some might say the best part of sleeping over at the National Archives is snoozing the night away beneath the Constitution, but we know the best part is having the Archivist of the United States make you pancakes for breakfast!

Three times a year, kids and their parents can stay overnight at the National Archives. And the next morning, David S. Ferriero is there, taking a break from his job as head of the agency to flip pancakes for our guests.

We asked him to share his favorite recipe that he uses when he makes pancakes at home–and now you can make pancakes just like the Archivist!

The Archivist’s Pancakes

Yield: 30 pancakes—depending on size


2 cups all purpose flour
4 tsp baking powder
4 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 cups milk
4 tbsp melted butter
2 large eggs


1.  Mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt

2. Separately mix together milk, butter and eggs

3.  Add dry ingredients to wet and mix—don’t overmix

4.  Spoon or pour batter (amount dependent upon how big you want them) onto griddle or frying pan

5. Sprinkle on chocolate chips or berries and cook for a couple of minutes until underside is brown

6. Flip and cook another couple of minutes


The National Archives’ Strategic Plan includes the bold initiative to digitize our analog records and make them available for online public access.

Our new digitization strategy outlines the many approaches we will use to achieve this goal, and I am proud share with you the results of some of our recent digitization work.

Recently digitized by staff in the National Archives Still Picture Branch, these stunning color photographs from the Battle of the Bulge were taken by the U.S. Army Signal Corps in St. Vith, Belgium. The photos depict the wreckage in St. Vith in the days after units of the 7th Armored Division liberated the town in January, 1945.

More photos from the Battle of the Bulge are featured on Today’s Document Tumblr, and you can read more about “The Bloodiest Battle” in Prologue Magazine.


Our staff got into the spirit of #MuseumSelfie today!

Staff from the Lyndon B. John Presidential Library posed with their animatronic LBJ.

A bust of Roosevelt managed a #museumselfie with a little help from staff at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.
Alice Kamps, curator, posed in front of a special backdrop of the Rotunda in the Boeing Learning Lab. John Keller posed with Charlie Brown from the new exhibit at the William J. Clinton Presidential Library. Kim Coryat of the Clinton Presidential Library snapped this #museumselfie early this morning.  Tammy Williams squeezed in next to Truman at the Harry Truman Presidential Library. Education specialist Amber Kraft (left) posed with a copy of the Constitution and three education interns. The Archivist of the United States, David Ferriero, snuck behind the scenes of our upcoming exhibit “Spirited Republic” to snap a #museum selfie. Guillermina Tovar posed with the President and First Lady at the LBJ Library. Corinne Porter, curator, posed with a facsimile of her favorite document in front of a special backdrop.

Amending America: How do we amend the Constitution?

Our new exhibition, “Amending America,” opens on March 11, 2016.

2016​ ​marks the 225th anniversary of the Bill of Rights, written in 1789 and ratified on December 15, 1791. The original Bill of Rights, on permanent display in the National Archives Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom, is still closely connected to the biggest issues of today–and to each of our citizens.

Here is a sneak peak of a musical number explaining how we amend our Constitution.  This animated video was made in collaboration with HISTORY and shows the story of how we amend, through the proposal and ratification process. It also illustrates why our Founders made it possible to amend, and explains the important role of the Archivist of the United States in the amendment process!

Read the full post on the AOTUS blog.


History met ancient history today when #TouristRex from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History stopped by this afternoon to see the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. He even brought his own quill pen, just in case!

We didn’t let him add his signature, but he did get this great photo op with the Archivist of the United States, David Ferriero.


Papal Visits to the United States

Pope Francis arrived in Washington, DC yesterday to begin a six-day visit to the United States. This morning, the White House hosted a welcoming ceremony for the Pope on the South Lawn of the White House, and on Thursday, the Pope will address members of Congress.

This is not the first time the Pope has visited Washington, DC. In fact, his visit this week marks the 10th time a Pope has visited the United States.

Since the Federal Government is heavily involved in a Papal visit, the National Archives holds many documents and photographs related to these events.

Read the full post on the AOTUS blog.