U.S. National Archives

On February 8, 1954, Congressman Edward Rees (R-KS) introduced H.R. 7786, an act to honor veterans on the 11th day of November of each year, a day dedicated to world peace. Previously, November 11 had served as Armistice Day to honor the end of World War I and its veterans. With Rep. Rees leading the charge, Congress voted to extend the day of remembrance and thanks to all veterans. Speaking on the floor, Rep. Rees told the House that he had introduced the bill so that “a grateful nation may pay proper homage to all its veterans who have contributed so much to the cause of world peace and the preservation of our way of life.” President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the bill into law on June 1, 1954. In 1966, Veterans Day was moved from November 11 to the fourth Monday in October. With the support of the general public, the holiday was moved back to its original November 11 date by Congress and the President in 1978.

H.R. 7786, SEN 83A-C4, Records of the U.S. Senate (ARC 1157550)

Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C. by The U.S. National Archives on Flickr.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., President of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and Mathew Ahmann, Executive Director of the National Catholic Conference for Interrracial Justice, in a crowd.


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

Happy Birthday Yosemite National Park!

On October 1, 1890 the Yosemite National Park was created. One of the first steps to preserve the Yosemite region was taken in 1864 when President Lincoln signed Senate Bill 230, which removed the area from the public domain and granted it to California for “public use, resort, and recreation.” This was the first time the federal government acted to protect and preserve scenic lands, paving the way for the creation of the National Park Service and the first National Park.

S. 203, introduced 3/28/1864, Records of the U.S. Senate

One Year of Founders Online

This month we celebrate the one year anniversary of the launch of Founders Online – a tool for seamless searching across the papers of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and Alexander Hamilton. In the past year, the site has received over 400,000 visits.

An example of the power of the site shows in its great search results. When I searched for “Cotton,” “Beverly,” and “Washington,” the results returned the exact document I had in mind – a diary entry by George Washington written in 1789 remarking on his visit to the cotton manufactury in my home town of Beverly, Massachusetts.

Read the full post on the AOTUS blog.

Happy Election Day!

In this cartoon from the 1907 off-year election, political cartoonist Clifford Berryman reminds us of how elections reflect the public mood and, thus, of the importance of voting. Illustrated here, William Jennings Bryan, William Randolph Hearst, and President Theodore Roosevelt anxiously calculate the impact of state and local elections on their political futures. The books scattered around the floor suggest that forecasting the consequences of an election is “infinitesimal calculus.” Bryan went on to run unsuccessfully for President the next year, and Hearst ran unsuccessfully for Mayor of New York City in 1909. Roosevelt did not run for reelection and instead went into temporary retirement after his term expired. 

Figgerin’ on the Returns, 11/7/1907, U.S. Senate Collection (ARC 1693465)


The National Archives is proud to join other federal agencies in support of the “It Gets Better Project.” Our participation in this project represents an opportunity for federal agencies and employees to openly talk about issues, share messages and stories of hope, and provide resources for support.

Thanks to all the NARA staff across the country who shared their stories and supported this project. And remember, it truly does get better.

Read the full post on the AOTUS blog.