center for legislative archives

Join “Amending America” Curators Christine Blackerby and Jennifer Johnson of the National Archives for a Tumblr #AnswerTime!

On Tuesday, May 17 at 2:00pm ET / 11:00am PT Jennifer & Christine will be answering your questions about their newest exhibition, “Amending America” here on @usnatarchivesexhibits.

Only 27 times—out of more than 11,000 proposals—have Americans reached consensus to amend the Constitution.  “Amending America” marks the 225th Anniversary of the ratification of the Bill of Rights and highlights the remarkably American story of how we have amended, or attempted to amend, the Constitution in order to form “a more perfect union.”

About Jennifer & Christine:

Jennifer N. Johnson is co-curator of “Amending America.” She joined the National Archives Museum in 2006 and has been sharing Archives records with the public through exhibitions ever since.

Christine Blackerby is co-curator of “Amending America.” She is an education and public outreach specialist in the Center for Legislative Archives in Washington, DC. She uses historical records to promote a better understanding of American history and government.

Ask Jennifer & Christine about Amending America!

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Gay and Lesbian History in Congressional Records

Judith Adkins, archivist, introduces LGBT-related records within the holdings of the National Archives Center for Legislative Archives.

Tuesday, June 4, at 11 a.m. in Room G-25, Research Center (Penn. Ave. Entrance).

Repeated on Thursday, June 12, at 11 a.m. at the National Archives at College Park, MD, Lecture Room C. 

Image: Executive Order 10450, April 27, 1953; General Records of the United States Government (RG 11); National Archives and Records Administration

As the nation’s record keeper, we are passionate about the opportunity to support research and scholarship at the National Archives.  As part of this commitment to research and inquiry, we recently awarded the first National Archives Legislative Archives Fellowship to Dr. Peter Shulman, Assistant Professor of History at Case Western Reserve University.  Learn more about Peter Shulman’s fellowship on the AOTUS blog.

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Congress in the Archives will feature a monthly staff post on our blog. October’s post comes from Center archivist, Kristen Wilhelm.

IMing has nothing on file SEN53B! These two folders, categorized as Senate “miscellany” from the 53rd Congress (1893-1895), have intrigued me for years. This file contains personal correspondence to an unnamed Senate employee (A senator? A Clerk? Who knows!) usually addressed as “my own Darling” from a woman named Mary, who often signed the letters “Little One.”

These pages don’t document legislation or shed light on a history-changing treaty. They are simply chatty little snippets of a bygone era when ladies and gentlemen eagerly awaited a few gracefully written words courtesy of snail mail. It was deliberate and exudes a greater sincerity by its permanence.

There are no envelopes in the file, so no full names, address, or postmarks can be found. We just see clues like letterhead from The Home Magazine located in the Pulitzer Building in New York City. Were these two people old friends, relatives, or possibly lovers? I suspect we’ll never know. But thanks to their letters becoming a part of the official records of the United States Senate, anyone who wants to take a stab at discovering their identities can do so.

In the meantime, I give the tray that houses this charming glimpse into the personal side of the Senate a little tap whenever I pass by. No doubt my anonymous friends would be amazed and somewhat chagrined that their correspondence has found a home in the National Archives. I don’t know how the letters ended up in the Senate’s records but they are awfully fun to have around!

Letter from “Little One,” undated, Records of the U.S. Senate

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Happy ‪#‎AskAnArchivist‬ Day!

We have five staff members from across the National Archives answering your archives questions. Tweet us your questions–our experts will be standing by at 11 am ET  on Twitter at @usnatarchives!

@NARAMediaLabs

Audrey Amidon and Criss Kovac
Audrey and Criss work in the Motion Picture Preservation Lab, where they and their colleagues perform conservation and preservation work on motion picture records held across the National Archives. They write about their work and their favorite film finds on The Unwritten Record. Audrey studied film archives at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England and previously worked at the Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum. Criss studied film preservation at the L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation and has been supervisor of the Motion Picture Lab since 2005.


@DocsTeach

Stephanie Greenhut

Stephanie Greenhut runs DocsTeach.org, the online tool for teaching with documents from the National Archives, and shares teaching resources via National Archives Education on Facebook and the Education Updates blog. She focuses on education technology, incorporating primary sources into websites, apps, eBooks, and other online learning resources. She is a former classroom teacher.


@CongressArchive

Natalie Rocchio
Natalie specializes in digital outreach for the Center for Legislative Archives. She creates content, manages, and maintains the Center’s twitter and tumblr accounts, as well as the Center’s portion of archives.gov. She has a Master’s degree in History with concentrations in American History and Public History from American University.


@archivespres (Preservation Programs)

Nancy Stanfill
Nancy is a Preservation Technician at the St. Louis Preservation Program. She co-chairs the Preservation Programs Social Media accounts, which includes highlights from the Persons of Exceptional Prominence (PEP) records and updates on breakthroughs in filming and scanning severely burned records. She has a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science with a Certificate in Conservation from the University of Texas at Austin, where she was a member of the first class to begin the program in 1993.


@boston_archives

Joseph P. Keefe

Joe is an Archives Specialist and Reference Team Lead and Social Media co-coordinator with the National Archives at Boston. He began his National Archives career in the Federal Records Center where he worked in both research and the Transfer of records into the facility. He moved to his current position as an Archives Specialist in 2006. Joe has a bachelor’s degree in History from Framingham State University in Framingham, Massachusetts and a MA in American History from the University of Massachusetts, Boston.

He has lectured on numerous subjects in New England including genealogical research, Census, Naturalization and Passenger Lists and 18th 19th and 20th Century Military records, 54th Massachusetts Infantry and National Archives records related to World War II.

Join us on Twitter for #AskAnArchivist! Archivists at National Archives locations around the country will be ready to take your questions. 

8 am ET @usnatarchives Tune in as young archivists talk about getting started in an archives career.

9 am ET @congressarchives Hear from archivists in the Center for Legislative Archives.

10 am ET @boston_archives Talk about Federal records in New England.

11 am ET @USNatArchives Ask your questions about Declassification.

11 am ET @FDRLibrary Talk about working in the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library.

NOON ET @usnatarchives Special video chat!!! Ask archivist Alex Champion your questions and he’ll answer on video. 

Noon ET @CarterLibrary Ask questions about President Carter and his Library.

1 pm ET @USNatArchives Tune in as archivist Alan Walker takes over.

2 pm ET @TrumanLibrary @LBJLibrary @HooverPresLib @JFKLibrary Chat with archivists from these four Presidential libraries.

3 pm ET @Bush41Library Learn about the archives of the George H. W.  Bush Presidential Library.

4 pm ET @StLouisArchives Ask questions about military personnel data records.

5 pm ET @StLouisArchives Chat about Civilian Official Personnel Folders.

6 pm ET @NixonLibrary Talk to Carla Braswell about all things Nixon.

Happy #AskAnArchivist Day! And Happy #ArchivesMonth, too!

Join us on Twitter as archivists at National Archives locations around the country will be ready to take your questions.

8 am ET @usnatarchives Tune in as young archivists talk about getting started in an archives career.

9 am ET @congressarchives Hear from archivists in the Center for Legislative Archives.

10 am ET @boston_archives Talk about Federal records in New England.

11 am ET @USNatArchives Ask your questions about Declassification.

11 am ET @FDRLibrary Talk about working in the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library.

NOON ET @usnatarchives Special video chat!!! Ask archivist Alex Champion your questions and he’ll answer on video.

Noon ET @CarterLibrary Ask questions about President Carter and his Library.

1 pm ET @USNatArchives Tune in as archivist Alan Walker takes over.

2 pm ET @TrumanLibrary @LBJLibrary @HooverPresLib @JFKLibrary Chat with archivists from these four Presidential libraries.

3 pm ET @Bush41Library Learn about the archives of the George H. W.  Bush Presidential Library.

4 pm ET @StLouisArchives Ask questions about military personnel data records.

5 pm ET @StLouisArchives Chat about Civilian Official Personnel Folders.

6 pm ET @NixonLibrary Talk to Carla Braswell about all things Nixon.