AOTUS

National Archives Begins Online Release of JFK Assassination Records

Today at 8 a.m., the National Archives released a group of documents (the first of several expected releases), along with 17 audio files, previously withheld in accordance with the JFK Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992. The materials released today are available online only.  Access to the original paper records will occur at a future date.

Download the files online: https://www.archives.gov/research/jfk/2017-release

Highlights of this release include 17 audio files of interviews of Yuri Nosenko, a KGB officer who defected to the United States in January 1964. Nosenko claimed to have been the officer in charge of the KGB file on Lee Harvey Oswald during Oswald’s time in the Soviet Union. The interviews were conducted in January, February, and July of 1964.

Read the full post on the AOTUS blog.

Image source: Inauguration of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, January 20, 1961
Record Group 111, Records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer. National Archives and Records Administration 111-SC-578830.

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

And the cherry on top: Jealous Miles ;)

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Discovering the “Sussex Declaration”

Only two parchment manuscripts of the Declaration of Independence dating back to the 18th century are known in the world. One is held by the National Archives and displayed to the public in the National Archives Rotunda in Washington, DC. The other was recently discovered in Chichester, England, by two Harvard University historians: Danielle Allen, Director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University and colleague Emily Sneff, Research Manager for the Declaration Resources Project. 

Allen and Sneff came across the “Sussex Declaration,” as it has come to be known, in August 2015, while conducting online research of the digitized records collection of the United Kingdom National Archives for Harvard’s Declaration Resource Project. This previously unknown manuscript, dating from the 1780s, is written in the hand of a single clerk. They recently spoke about their discovery at the National Archives in the public program, “Discovering the Sussex Declaration.”

Read the full post on the AOTUS blog.

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.

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.

#ColorOurCollections

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.

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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 archives.gov 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.

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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

JFK 100 Centennial Celebration

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of President John F. Kennedy. In commemoration of this centennial, the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum will be hosting a series of events and activities throughout the year.

JFK 100: Milestones & Mementos is the newest exhibition at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, opening on Friday, May 26 at 11:00 am. This exhibition chronicles historic milestones in the President’s career and administration, as well as the events of his personal and family life. Discover all of the JFK100 events and activities during the centennial celebration: learn more about the legacy of JFK, explore and contribute to the “Where in the World is JFK?” interactive map, find an event near you, and see how the National Archives is celebrating throughout the year.

Join us today for #JFK100 Social Media Day! Throughout the day, the National Archives will join other archives, museums, and cultural organizations to celebrate the 100th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s birth. 

Read the full post on the AOTUS blog.

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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

The Monuments Men

Yesterday we were privileged to host two special advance screenings of The Monuments Men, one especially for the staff of the National Archives. Thanks to the generosity of Sony Pictures, Columbia Pictures, and Robert Edsel, author of The Monuments Men upon which the film is based for making this possible. The film will open in theaters around the country on February 7th.

In our East Rotunda Gallery, through the 19th of February, our featured document is an Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg (ERR) album that records artwork looted by the Nazis during the Second World War – one of a series of photo albums created for Adolph Hitler’s benefit to document the Nazis’ systematic looting of cultural treasures and to serve as a pick list for his planned museum in Linz after the war. The Army’s Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives program recruited the group known as the Monuments Men (although there were also Monuments Women), and they used these albums to return treasures to their rightful owners. The volume on display is one of several recently discovered albums donated to the National Archives by Robert Edsel, the president of the Monuments Men Foundation for the Preservation of Art. The newly discovered albums supplement the 40 already in the custody of the National Archives.

Read the full post on the AOTUS blog.

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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

Images: 
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

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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

Ingredients:

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

Directions:

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

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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.
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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.

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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.

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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.