NARA Media Labs


Preservation of Frank Capra’s movie, “The Negro Soldier”.  A look at the preservation process from beginning to end.


This animation from Moonwalk One shows all the stages of the Apollo 11 mission, which launched 45 years ago on July 16, 1969.  As designed, the only component to return to Earth was the Command Module Columbia.

Moonwalk One, ca. 1970

From the series: Headquarters’ Films Relating to Aeronautics, 1962 - 1981. Records of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 1903 - 2006

via Media Matters » Stepping Stones to the Moon

Raising the Flag over Iwo Jima

Days into the Battle of Iwo Jima, the commanding peak of Mount Suribachi was captured on February 23, 1945.  In what would become of the most iconic images from World War II, five U.S. Marines, Harlon Block, Rene Gagnon, Ira Hayes, Franklin Sousley, Michael Strank, and U.S. Navy Corpsman John Bradley, raised this flag, replacing a smaller flag.

Marines raise flag over Iwo Jima [Etc.], 1945
Motion Picture Films from “United News” Newsreels, 1942 - 1945

Beginning seventy years ago on February 19, 1945, the Battle of Iwo Jima lasted for over a month, as U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Navy forces invaded the volcanic island to dislodge its Japanese defenders.

More on the 70th Anniversary of the Battle of Iwo Jima →

In Vermont, even dogs get excited for the Bookwagon!

Happy National Bookmobile Day!

From “The Day the Books Went Blank”, a 1961 educational film intended to show the importance of maintaining quality libraries, from The Library Extension Agencies of the six New England States.


"Scott Allen…skates right into the heart of the crowd as he captures a bronze medal for Uncle Sam; only fourteen years old…"

From:  Universal Newsreel Volume 37, Issue 12, 02/10/1964

via Media Matters » This Week in Universal News: The Beatles Come to America

50 years ago at the 1964 Innsbruck Winter Games, 14 year old figure skater Scott Allen wins the bronze medal for the United States in Men’s Figure Skating, becoming the youngest Olympic medalist in an individual Winter event.


"The Day the Books Went Blank"

What happens if a library is not used, the collection not maintained, and the books not read?  Would the pages go blank?  That’s the outcome dramatized in “The Day the Books Went Blank”, a 1961 educational film intended to show the importance of maintaining quality libraries, from The Library Extension Agencies of the six New England States.

Remember your local library for Library Week (and every week)!

The theme of this year’s National Library Week is “Lives Change.”  How has a library, or librarian, changed your life?

It’s National Library Week!

Remember being this excited to check out a book? (Maybe you still are.)

From “The Day the Books Went Blank”, a 1961 educational film intended to show the importance of maintaining quality libraries, from The Library Extension Agencies of the six New England States.

The theme of this year’s National Library Week is “Lives Change.”  How has a library, or librarian, changed your life?

Why are these dogs are excited?  Tomorrow is the 150th Anniversary of the Yosemite Grant Act!

Stay tuned for more #Yosemite150 posts!

Excerpted from the educational film “Yosemite Valley" from the Ford Historical Film Collection and recently digitally remastered from finegrain intermediates by our colleagues in the Motion Picture Preservation Lab.  Watch the complete film on the National Archives Youtube Channel:

Be sure to check Yosemite National Park’s Pet Regulations before bringing your dogs to the park!


Rare color scenes from the Liberation of Paris, August 25, 1944, including an intact Eiffel Tower flying the French Tricolour, General Charles De Gaulle marching down the Champs Elysees, and Allied troops marching in front of the Arc de Triomphe.

Excerpted from: D-Day to Germany, 1944

From the series: Motion Picture Films Relating to the Invasion of Normandy (D-Day) and Commemorative Visits After the War, compiled 1944 - 1969Collection LIEB: Jack Lieb Collection, 1944 - 1969

Taken by newsreel cameraman Jack Lieb, this color home movie was donated by the Lieb family to the National Archives in 1984. You’ll see World War II from a perspective different than the official military film or commercial newsreel. With his personal footage, Lieb takes the viewer through the preparations in England, where he spent time with war correspondents Ernie PyleJack Thompson, and Larry LaSueur, to the liberation of Paris and finally into Germany. Along the way, Lieb captured his experience on 16mm Kodachrome, filming everyday people in France and the occasional celebrity, such as Edward G. Robinson or Ernest Hemingway

Via The Unwritten Record » A Newsreel Cameraman’s View of D-Day


Babe Ruth’s Major League Baseball Debut, 100 Years Ago

George Herman “Babe” Ruth made his major league debut with the Boston Red Sox one hundred years ago on July 11, 1914.  Originally signed as a pitcher, Ruth quickly established a reputation for hitting, breaking the single season home run record by 1919.  Ruth played with the Red Sox for 5 years until his contract was sold to the New York Yankees in 1919 (and triggering the now-reversed “Curse of the Bambino” and denying Boston another World Series title for 86 years).

Ruth is seen in this unidentified newsreel excerpt, circa 1919. Based on the clues in the title frame, our best guess is this was the September 8, 1919 Red Sox-Yankees game at the New York Polo Grounds, when Ruth hit his 26th home run of the season.  

(This footage is part of a documentary film collection donated to the National Archives by CBS in 1967)

The classic television series The Twilight Zone premiered 55 years ago on October 2, 1959.

Here its host and creator, Rod Serling, riffs on his iconic role, narrating a Fire Safety PSA:

Excerpted from: Smokey Bear TV Spot, CARELESS KILLERS.
From the Series : Public Information and Training Motion Picture and Television Productions. Records of the Office of the Secretary of Agriculture, 1794 - ca. 2003

Only you can prevent forest fires—in the Twilight Zone…

#DCFashionWeek Opens Tonight at usnatarchives! Don’t forget that Perfect Hat!


In New York, creations of the country’s foremost milliners for the November to January season are previewed. Ranging from chic miniature pillboxes to resplendent toques and turbans, the mood is appropriately festive.

(via The Unwritten Record » This Week in Universal News: Winter Hat Fashions for 1956.)

Follow usnatarchives for more fab DC Fashion Week features, including:


The Apollo 11 Moon Landing was televised worldwide and watched by 500-600 million, becoming a major cultural touchstone of the 1960s. Crowds from across the globe were mesmerized by the event, as shown in this clips from the film “Moonwalk One,” recently digitized by our colleagues in the National Archives’ Media Preservation Lab.

Moonwalk One, ca. 1970

From the series: Headquarters’ Films Relating to Aeronautics, 1962 - 1981. Records of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 1903 - 2006

via Media Matters » Stepping Stones to the Moon

Lou Gehrig, the “Luckiest man on the face of the earth.”

In 1939, the Fourth of July coincided with Lou Gehrig Appreciation Day at Yankee Stadium.  A day usually reserved for parades and fireworks was transformed into one of the most solemn, heart-wrenching, and inspiring moments in the history of sports. It was here, before 62,000 fans, that Gehrig proclaimed he was the “Luckiest man on the face of the earth.”

After a few games into the 1939 season, Gehrig’s performance had noticeably declined. On May 2, Gehrig took himself out of the lineup for the first time in 2,130 consecutive games. Unbeknownst to him, he would never play again.  

Soon after Gehrig’s streak came to an end, he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a neurodegenerative disease he is synonymous with to this day.  After hearing the news, the Yankee clubhouse made arrangements to honor their longtime all-star.

On July 4, 1939, the Yankees played a double header against the Washington Senators. Between the two games, players, coaches, and other notable figures came out to shower Gehrig with gifts and kind words.  The Yankees also began a new baseball tradition as they retired Gehrig’s number 4 uniform.

Gehrig almost did not speak.  As the ceremony came to an end and the microphones were being hauled away, the “Iron Horse” decided to say a few words. As Gehrig fought away tears, he made one of the most iconic speeches of all time. 

It seems appropriate that Lou Gehrig Appreciation Day fell on Independence Day. In his famous Declaration, Thomas Jefferson ascribed that “All men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” Despite his grim diagnosis and tragic decline, Gehrig embraced Jefferson’s unalienable rights. As he famously said, “I may have gotten a bad break, but I have an awful lot to live for.”

Watch the newsreel on the National Archives YouTube Channel, and read more about Gehrig’s iconic speech via Media Matters » “An Awful Lot to Live For”: Lou Gehrig’s Final Season in the News

Universal News Volume 11, Release 786, Story #5, July 5, 1939


#DDAY70 D-Day -3:

"Some of the eleven thousand planes that opened the path through the so-called impregnable Atlantic wall. Between Le Havre and Cherbourg in Normandy the Allied lightning strikes. Communications necessary to the German defenses are blasted.”

From: Universal News Volume 17, Release 302, June 12, 1944


The “World of Tomorrow”

Seventy-five years ago the 1939 World’s Fair opened in Queens, New York City, NY, on April 30, 1939.  (Also the site of the 1964 World’s Fair)

FDR Opens N.Y. World’s Fair Before 600,000

New York, N.Y.—-The “World of Tomorrow,” spectacular pageant of color and engineering skill, is jammed with excited and thrilled sightseers for its gala opening. Pres. Roosevelt, dedicating the $156,000,000 exhibit calls for world good-will and peace. The evening is climaxed with brilliant fireworks!

From: Universal Newsreel Volume 11, Release 767, Stories 2 & 4, May 1, 1939


A Hero’s Welcome for the Astronauts of Apollo 11

After Apollo 11 astronauts Edward “Buzz” Aldrin, Neil Armstrong, and Michael Collins  safely returned to Earth following their successful mission to the surface of the Moon, they spent several weeks in quarantine, and were finally greeted with ticker tape parades and celebrations in New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles on August 13, 1969.

Moonwalk One, ca. 1970

From the series: Headquarters’ Films Relating to Aeronautics, 1962 - 1981. Records of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 1903 - 2006

via The Unwritten Record » Stepping Stones to the Moon


#DDAY70 D-Day -1:

"Back in Britain, paratroopers marched out to their planes and embarked for the trip to Normandy."

Excerpted from: “D-Day to D plus 3."  From the series: Moving Images Relating to Military Activities, compiled 1947 - 1964. Record Group 111: Records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer, 1860 - 1985


“Brewers All Set To Go As Congress Votes To Make Beer Legal”

Universal News, Volume 5, Release 128, Story #7. March 16, 1933

Prior to full repeal of Prohibition with the 21st Amendment to the Constitution, President Roosevelt signed the Cullen-Harrison Act, (aka the Beer-Wine Revenue Act), which amended the Volstead Act to allow the manufacture and sale of beer with a 3.2% alcohol content. Previously, the Volstead Act had prohibited the sale of any beverage with an alcohol content above 0.5%. The signing of the Cullen-Harrison Act on March 22, 1933, led to much rejoicing…even among Congressmen:

Learn more about the U.S. Government’s changing approach towards alcohol at the newest exhibit at the National Archives Museum in Washington, DC, Spirited Republic: Alcohol in American History. The exhibit contains many records from NARA’s holdings, including films digitized by our colleagues in the Motion Picture Preservation Lab!

More via The Unwritten Record » A Spirited Republic in Motion: Prohibition is Repealed!


Headed to see furymovie this weekend?

The Fury of Hell on Wheels: Tank Warfare, April 1945

The culmination of World War II in Europe brought with it the most mechanized force the planet had ever seen with the sheer firepower of the United States military. In spite of Allied superiority in weaponry, divisions often had to fight in close quarters with hand-to-hand combat. Limited maneuverability in small German towns resulted in heavy losses. The men fighting in Germany were either battle-hardened or green recruits, but all of them were sleepless and racing to end the war at breakneck speed. The new feature film, Fury, depicts the last month of the war in these startlingly real terms.

Allied tanks in the German city of Koblenz. (Still from Universal News)

Fury’s fictionalized account of events at the end of the war focus on a small platoon within the 2nd Armored Division. The 2nd Armored Division was created in July 1940 under the command of then Colonel George S. Patton. Parts of the division were among the first U.S. military armored divisions serving in North Africa when they landed at Casablanca on November 8, 1942. After nine months the division moved on to Sicily in July of 1943. On June 9, 1944, the 2nd Armored Division landed on Omaha Beach in the invasion of the Normandy. There the division known as “Hell on Wheels” fought the Germans near Avranches and then crossed through France as part of the Third Army before reaching Germany in September 1944. The 2nd Armored Division was the first to reach the Elbe River in mid-April 1945, which is where the Fury story begins.

To get a sense of what the men of the Armored Divisions experienced as they fought to end the war, we can look to the Universal Newsreel Collection and see the stories the public was shown at the time. While there may not be specific footage of the 2nd Armored Division, these Universal News stories feature tank warfare in Germany during April 1945.

Keep reading at: The Unwritten Record » The Fury of Hell on Wheels: Tank Warfare, April 1945