U.S. National Archives

Oct 21

In celebration of American Archives Month, the National Archives is teaming up with the The Academy of American Poets. Throughout the month we’ll be publishing original poems inspired by the holdings of the National Archives. To view the poets performing their original work, visit the National Archives YouTube Channel.
Today we have three poems by Eric Pankey, who was inspired by Mathew Brady’s Civil War–era photographs.
Noted photographer Mathew Brady and his associates produced several thousand photographs of battlefields, towns, and people affected by the Civil War.

Among the various scenes the photographers captured were these haunting images related to the Battle of Chancellorsville.
Read the full story, including Eric Pankey’s poem and video at today’s Pieces of History blog post: http://blogs.archives.gov/prologue/?p=14264.
Image: Burying Confederate dead, Fredericksburg, VA, 1863. (National Archives Identifier 524749).http://research.archives.gov/description/524749

In celebration of American Archives Month, the National Archives is teaming up with the The Academy of American Poets. Throughout the month we’ll be publishing original poems inspired by the holdings of the National Archives. To view the poets performing their original work, visit the National Archives YouTube Channel.

Today we have three poems by Eric Pankey, who was inspired by Mathew Brady’s Civil War–era photographs.

Noted photographer Mathew Brady and his associates produced several thousand photographs of battlefields, towns, and people affected by the Civil War.

Among the various scenes the photographers captured were these haunting images related to the Battle of Chancellorsville.

Read the full story, including Eric Pankey’s poem and video at today’s Pieces of History blog post: http://blogs.archives.gov/prologue/?p=14264.

Image: Burying Confederate dead, Fredericksburg, VA, 1863. (National Archives Identifier 524749).http://research.archives.gov/description/524749

Lincoln and the Power of the Press: The War for Public Opinion
Tonight’s talk and conversation will focus on press and politics in the age of Abraham Lincoln, including Lincoln’s dabbling in journalism, and his use of political patronage to secure and maintain press support. Lincoln scholar Harold Holzer, author, co-author or editor of over 40 books will join in discussion with Newseum journalist Frank Bond. The topics will include the publishing giants who dominated Civil War journalism. A book signing will follow the program.
Thursday, October 23, at 7 p.m. in the William G. McGowan Theater. Watch live on YouTube.

Lincoln and the Power of the Press: The War for Public Opinion

Tonight’s talk and conversation will focus on press and politics in the age of Abraham Lincoln, including Lincoln’s dabbling in journalism, and his use of political patronage to secure and maintain press support. Lincoln scholar Harold Holzer, author, co-author or editor of over 40 books will join in discussion with Newseum journalist Frank Bond. The topics will include the publishing giants who dominated Civil War journalism. A book signing will follow the program.

Thursday, October 23, at 7 p.m. in the William G. McGowan Theater. 

Watch live on YouTube.

Oct 20

[video]

Vietnam in American Public Memory
David Kieran discusses his new book Forever Vietnam: How a Divisive War Changed American Public Memory, which explores how memory of the Vietnam War has affected the commemoration of other events, and how those acts of commemoration have influenced postwar debates over American foreign policy.
Thursday, October 23, at noon in Room G-25, Research Center (Penn. Ave. Entrance).

Vietnam in American Public Memory

David Kieran discusses his new book Forever Vietnam: How a Divisive War Changed American Public Memory, which explores how memory of the Vietnam War has affected the commemoration of other events, and how those acts of commemoration have influenced postwar debates over American foreign policy.

Thursday, October 23, at noon in Room G-25, Research Center (Penn. Ave. Entrance).

The Map Thief
Maps have long fascinated viewers—both as beautiful works of art and as practical tools to navigate the world. But for collectors, the map trade can be a cutthroat business. In his book The Map Thief: The Gripping Story of an Esteemed Rare-Map Dealer Who Made Millions Stealing Priceless Maps, author Michael Blanding describes the life of E. Forbes Smiley, a respectable antiquarian map dealer who spent years doubling as a map thief—until he was finally arrested for slipping maps out of books in the Yale University library. A book signing follows the program.
Thursday, October 23, at noon in the William G. McGowan Theater. 
Watch live on YouTube.

The Map Thief

Maps have long fascinated viewers—both as beautiful works of art and as practical tools to navigate the world. But for collectors, the map trade can be a cutthroat business. In his book The Map Thief: The Gripping Story of an Esteemed Rare-Map Dealer Who Made Millions Stealing Priceless Maps, author Michael Blanding describes the life of E. Forbes Smiley, a respectable antiquarian map dealer who spent years doubling as a map thief—until he was finally arrested for slipping maps out of books in the Yale University library. A book signing follows the program.

Thursday, October 23, at noon in the William G. McGowan Theater. 

Watch live on YouTube.

Oct 19

In celebration of American Archives Month, the National Archives is teaming up with the The Academy of American Poets. Throughout the month we’ll be publishing original poems inspired by the holdings of the National Archives. To view the poets performing their original works, visit the National Archives YouTube Channel.
Today’s poem, “A Carpapalooza: An American Anthem” by Regie Cabico, was inspired by documents from the National Archives exhibit “What’s Cooking Uncle Sam.”
Using original documents from the nationwide holdings of the National Archives, the exhibit explored the Government’s efforts to inspire, influence, and control what Americans eat and the unexpected consequences, dismal failures, and life-saving successes of those efforts.

For the entire story, including Regie Cabico’s poem and video, go to today’s Pieces of History post: http://blogs.archives.gov/prologue/?p=14210.
Image: Poster, “Eat the Carp!” 1911. (National Archives Identifier 5710027) http://research.archives.gov/description/5710027.

In celebration of American Archives Month, the National Archives is teaming up with the The Academy of American Poets. Throughout the month we’ll be publishing original poems inspired by the holdings of the National Archives. To view the poets performing their original works, visit the National Archives YouTube Channel.

Today’s poem, “A Carpapalooza: An American Anthem” by Regie Cabico, was inspired by documents from the National Archives exhibit “What’s Cooking Uncle Sam.”

Using original documents from the nationwide holdings of the National Archives, the exhibit explored the Government’s efforts to inspire, influence, and control what Americans eat and the unexpected consequences, dismal failures, and life-saving successes of those efforts.

For the entire story, including Regie Cabico’s poem and video, go to today’s Pieces of History post: http://blogs.archives.gov/prologue/?p=14210.

Image: Poster, “Eat the Carp!” 1911. (National Archives Identifier 5710027) http://research.archives.gov/description/5710027.

Oct 18

Happy International Archeology Day! Our young guests at tonight’s ‪Archives Sleepover‬ will be combining archives with archeology for our theme “History, Heroes, and Treasures.”
What’s the connection? Archeologists plan their digs—in the ground or the water—by doing research in archives. They use historic documents to prepare where to dig and what to expect they will find, as well as learn about the people who lived or worked at the site that is now being excavated.
Tonight our archival explorers will dive into the records of the National Archives! They will meet an underwater archeologist from the National Park Service who is exploring the shipwreck of the “America”as well as representatives from the Navy History and Heritage Center. 

Our archival explorers will learn about mapping underwater shipwrecks and see tools used by underwater archeologists, as well as artifacts found in shipwrecks. They’ll even have the chance to dress up as underwater archeologists!
We’ll share photographs of their adventures on Monday!
‪

Happy International Archeology Day! Our young guests at tonight’s Archives Sleepover‬ will be combining archives with archeology for our theme “History, Heroes, and Treasures.”

What’s the connection? Archeologists plan their digs—in the ground or the water—by doing research in archives. They use historic documents to prepare where to dig and what to expect they will find, as well as learn about the people who lived or worked at the site that is now being excavated.

Tonight our archival explorers will dive into the records of the National Archives! They will meet an underwater archeologist from the National Park Service who is exploring the shipwreck of the “America”as well as representatives from the Navy History and Heritage Center.

Our archival explorers will learn about mapping underwater shipwrecks and see tools used by underwater archeologists, as well as artifacts found in shipwrecks. They’ll even have the chance to dress up as underwater archeologists!

We’ll share photographs of their adventures on Monday!

In celebration of American Archives Month, the National Archives is teaming up with the The Academy of American Poets. Throughout the month we’ll be publishing original poems inspired by the holdings of the National Archives. To view the poets performing their original work, visit the National Archives YouTube Channel.
Today’s poem, “Much Tattooed Sailor Aboard USS New Jersey” by Jehanne Dubrow, was inspired by a photograph of sailors during World War II.
Lt. Comdr. Charles Fenno Jacobs took this photograph of two sailors in December 1944. Jacobs was part of the Naval Aviation Photographic Unit—a group of military photographers, under the command of Edward Steichen, who documented activities of the United States Navy during World War II.

For the full story, including Jehanne Dubrow’s poem and video, go to today’s Piece of History post: http://blogs.archives.gov/prologue/?p=14188.
Image: Much tattooed sailor aboard the USS New Jersey. 12/1944. (National Archives Identifier 520883).http://research.archives.gov/description/520883

In celebration of American Archives Month, the National Archives is teaming up with the The Academy of American Poets. Throughout the month we’ll be publishing original poems inspired by the holdings of the National Archives. To view the poets performing their original work, visit the National Archives YouTube Channel.

Today’s poem, “Much Tattooed Sailor Aboard USS New Jersey” by Jehanne Dubrow, was inspired by a photograph of sailors during World War II.

Lt. Comdr. Charles Fenno Jacobs took this photograph of two sailors in December 1944. Jacobs was part of the Naval Aviation Photographic Unit—a group of military photographers, under the command of Edward Steichen, who documented activities of the United States Navy during World War II.

For the full story, including Jehanne Dubrow’s poem and video, go to today’s Piece of History post: http://blogs.archives.gov/prologue/?p=14188.

Image: Much tattooed sailor aboard the USS New Jersey. 12/1944. (National Archives Identifier 520883).http://research.archives.gov/description/520883

Oct 17

On August 21, 2014, the National Archives recognized Bernard Gardner’s extraordinary value to the National Archives and its customers by dedicating the Washington National Records Center research room in his honor. It is now known as the Bernard E. Gardner Research Room. This recognition is a testament to his lifetime of accomplishments, which have largely been behind the scenes, and to the values he embodies each and every day.
Bernie started with General Service Administration’s National Archives and Records Service, the predecessor to the National Archives and Records Administration, in September 1967 and, by then, had already worked more than a decade in positions at the Department of Navy and the Civil Service Commission. This humble gentleman embodied customer service and a commitment to provide access to Federal records long before it was mentioned in any Strategic Plan.
 Throughout his years with the Washington National Records Center (WNRC), Bernard Gardner became a subject matter expert in some of the most complex collections stored at the WNRC—the Department of Defense overseas collection, Veterans Affairs XC claim files, and Selective Service records. Many agency records officers will attest they have Bernie on speed dial. When others have been unsuccessful with locating a case with limited information, Bernie will methodically search for the file and has a near 100% find rate. He is a walking, talking finding aid.
From left to right, Chief Operating Officer William Bosanko, Deputy Archivist Debra Wall, Executive for Agency Services Jay Trainer, Bernard Gardner, WNRC Director Christopher Pinkney, Archivist David Ferriero, and Federal Records Center Program Director David Weinberg.

On August 21, 2014, the National Archives recognized Bernard Gardner’s extraordinary value to the National Archives and its customers by dedicating the Washington National Records Center research room in his honor. It is now known as the Bernard E. Gardner Research Room. This recognition is a testament to his lifetime of accomplishments, which have largely been behind the scenes, and to the values he embodies each and every day.

Bernie started with General Service Administration’s National Archives and Records Service, the predecessor to the National Archives and Records Administration, in September 1967 and, by then, had already worked more than a decade in positions at the Department of Navy and the Civil Service Commission. This humble gentleman embodied customer service and a commitment to provide access to Federal records long before it was mentioned in any Strategic Plan.

Throughout his years with the Washington National Records Center (WNRC), Bernard Gardner became a subject matter expert in some of the most complex collections stored at the WNRC—the Department of Defense overseas collection, Veterans Affairs XC claim files, and Selective Service records. Many agency records officers will attest they have Bernie on speed dial. When others have been unsuccessful with locating a case with limited information, Bernie will methodically search for the file and has a near 100% find rate. He is a walking, talking finding aid.


From left to right, Chief Operating Officer William Bosanko, Deputy Archivist Debra Wall, Executive for Agency Services Jay Trainer, Bernard Gardner, WNRC Director Christopher Pinkney, Archivist David Ferriero, and Federal Records Center Program Director David Weinberg.

October is American Archives Month. To celebrate, we are highlighting our staff around the country and their favorite records from the holdings in the National Archives. Today’s staff member is Gail Farr, Archives Specialist with the National Archives at Philadelphia. Her favorite record comes from Record Group 36, U.S. Customs Service, Baltimore, “Orders and Reports Concerning Slaves on Ships, 1819 – 1820.” (PH-2318), Box 1 (of 1), HC1-80767746. http://research.archives.gov/description/7710706. Here’s what she says about her favorite record: “I nominated this small series as my favorite National Archives records because they focus on a period in American history that I thought I was familiar with (antebellum U.S.) and made me want to drop everything I’m doing – and go do research! The series consists of a series of memos submitted to the collector of customs at the Port of Baltimore from November 1819 – December 1820 by customs inspectors at the port acting upon the collector’s order to start inspecting and reporting the condition of slaves on outgoing ships. Although the collector does not explicitly state what he means by “condition,” from the documents it is clear that the collectors were interviewing black passengers on outbound vessels and trying to determine whether they were slave or free. The papers also contain a memo indicating that in ordering these inspections, the customs collector was acting upon a request from the chief justice of the Baltimore City Court, Nicholas Brice, who asked the customs officers to gather the information. Why a county court official would ask a federal official to take on such a task is not known from documentation we are aware of. We do know that the collector advised the inspectors “to be accompanied in the above examination by one of the Society of Friends,” i.e., Quakers. And we do know that Quakers were one of the religious groups in the U.S. who were most outspoken in their opposition to slavery. Even though the importation of slaves was illegal by 1820, slaves who were already in the U.S. and their children continued to be bought, sold, and geographically relocated by their owners. This type of transport became more common from the 1820s on as Southern plantation owners began moving into lands further west and sought slave labor from older Southern states such as Maryland and Virginia to grow new crops such as cotton. My guess is that the records document a type of opposition to slavery (using U.S. customs apparatus to interfere with the slave trade) which is not widely known. My National Archives at Philadelphia colleagues are not aware that any similar records exist for other U.S. ports but we would like to know if there are comparable slave inspection reports in customs records for other ports in this period.Interestingly enough, the Baltimore records indicate that the ship inspections did have at least limited impact in deterring the slave trade. In this particular document (see illustration), written on or around December 20, 1820, the customs collector directs one of the inspectors to detain “Kesiah and her two children, one boy and one girl, the wife & children of negro Arthur on board the Emily [who] appear to have been illegally shipped” so they may be brought before the Baltimore City Court for further investigation. The series ends thereafter and we do not know the fate of Kesiah and her children or whether customs officers continued to check the “slave” or “free” status of slaves on board ships departing from Baltimore.”Image: Report Regarding Slaves on Ships. National Archives Identifier: 12126504.

October is American Archives Month. To celebrate, we are highlighting our staff around the country and their favorite records from the holdings in the National Archives. 

Today’s staff member is Gail Farr, Archives Specialist with the National Archives at Philadelphia. Her favorite record comes from Record Group 36, U.S. Customs Service, Baltimore, “Orders and Reports Concerning Slaves on Ships, 1819 – 1820.” (PH-2318), Box 1 (of 1), HC1-80767746. http://research.archives.gov/description/7710706

Here’s what she says about her favorite record: 

“I nominated this small series as my favorite National Archives records because they focus on a period in American history that I thought I was familiar with (antebellum U.S.) and made me want to drop everything I’m doing – and go do research! 

The series consists of a series of memos submitted to the collector of customs at the Port of Baltimore from November 1819 – December 1820 by customs inspectors at the port acting upon the collector’s order to start inspecting and reporting the condition of slaves on outgoing ships. Although the collector does not explicitly state what he means by “condition,” from the documents it is clear that the collectors were interviewing black passengers on outbound vessels and trying to determine whether they were slave or free. 

The papers also contain a memo indicating that in ordering these inspections, the customs collector was acting upon a request from the chief justice of the Baltimore City Court, Nicholas Brice, who asked the customs officers to gather the information. Why a county court official would ask a federal official to take on such a task is not known from documentation we are aware of. We do know that the collector advised the inspectors “to be accompanied in the above examination by one of the Society of Friends,” i.e., Quakers. And we do know that Quakers were one of the religious groups in the U.S. who were most outspoken in their opposition to slavery. 

Even though the importation of slaves was illegal by 1820, slaves who were already in the U.S. and their children continued to be bought, sold, and geographically relocated by their owners. This type of transport became more common from the 1820s on as Southern plantation owners began moving into lands further west and sought slave labor from older Southern states such as Maryland and Virginia to grow new crops such as cotton. My guess is that the records document a type of opposition to slavery (using U.S. customs apparatus to interfere with the slave trade) which is not widely known. My National Archives at Philadelphia colleagues are not aware that any similar records exist for other U.S. ports but we would like to know if there are comparable slave inspection reports in customs records for other ports in this period.

Interestingly enough, the Baltimore records indicate that the ship inspections did have at least limited impact in deterring the slave trade. In this particular document (see illustration), written on or around December 20, 1820, the customs collector directs one of the inspectors to detain “Kesiah and her two children, one boy and one girl, the wife & children of negro Arthur on board the Emily [who] appear to have been illegally shipped” so they may be brought before the Baltimore City Court for further investigation. The series ends thereafter and we do not know the fate of Kesiah and her children or whether customs officers continued to check the “slave” or “free” status of slaves on board ships departing from Baltimore.”

Image: Report Regarding Slaves on Ships. National Archives Identifier: 12126504.