Happy Birthday to the National Archives! The act creating the National Archives was signed on June 19, 1934, by President Roosevelt. The creation of a national archives for the United States had begun earlier, however. In 1926 Congress appropriated $6.9 million (later increased to $8.5 million) for a national archives building.
The building was designed as a “temple of history” by John Russell Pope, the architect who designed the National Gallery of Art and the Thomas Jefferson Memorial. The original plan for the National Archives Building had a courtyard into the center of the building. (It was quickly filled in to provide more storage space.) Ground was broken for the National Archives on September 9, 1931, and President Herbert Hoover laid the cornerstone of the building in February of 1933.
Construction was a huge task: installation of specialized air-handling systems and filters, reinforced flooring, and thousands of feet of shelving were needed to meet the building’s archival storage requirements. The exterior took more than 4 years to finish. But the number of records kept growing, and in 1993 a second National Archives building in College Park, MD, added 1.8 million square feet for storage of records.
The National Archives now also includes 13 Presidential libraries and many regional archives and temporary records centers across the country. You can read more about our history and our holdings here: http://go.usa.gov/vBW
Song of My Beard
(with apologies to the original Whitman poem!)
I celebrate my beard, and sing my beard,
And what I grow you shall grow
For every follicle belonging to me as good as belongs to you.
I loafe and stroke my beard
I lean and stroke my beard at my ease observing the other bushy mustaches.
My hair, every follicle of my face, form’d this beard, this ’stache
Grown here of my hair grown from hairs the
same, and their hairs the same,
I , now ageless forever in photographs begin,
Hoping to inspire more beard growing.
Walt Whitman spent many months with wounded soldiers in the hospitals of Washington, DC, while one of his brothers fought in numerous battles. Walt and his family were prolific letter writers. You can read more about his correspondence and experiences in the Civil War in this new Author on the Record interview with Robert Roper in the Summer 2010 issue of Prologue.
Whitman also worked as a clerk in the attorney general’s office during the Civil War. Recently, a researcher discovered over 3,000 documents in Whitman’s handwriting from his time as a civil servant in the holdings of the National Archives. You can read more about this fascinating discovery “Whitman, Walt, Clerk” in the Winter issue of Prologue magazine.
[This post originally appeared as a “Facial Hair Friday” post on the Pieces of History blog. We’re reposting in honor of Walt’s birthday today!]
Just 19 days until the release of the 1940 Census!
Albert Einstein would have been counted in the 1940 census. He entered the United States in June of 1935 and filed this declaration of intent to become a citizen in January of 1936. He became a U.S. citizen in 1940.
Happy Birthday, Albert Einstein!
Just 32 days left until the release of the 1940 Census…
It’s also the 140th birthday of Yellowstone National Park! The park was included in the many enumeration maps made for the 1940 census.
These maps are important because the 1940 Census does not have a name index. To search for a family, you will need to know the address where they lived.
If you have the address of an ancestor from 1940, find the address on the map and then look for the enumeration district number for that address. The ED number may be a two part number separated by a hyphen. The first number represents the county number and the second number the number of the enumeration district within that county.
Save the enumeration district numbers for the opening of the 1940 Census on April 2, 2012. You will be able to search the digitized copies of the census by ED number and then browse for your family members’ census entry.
For a more detailed explanation, visit our web page to help you get started!
The National Archives at Atlanta hosted a special birthday celebration for Elvis! Guests viewed videos of the King, read original and scanned documents from the files of the National Archives, and enjoyed a slice of this humorous birthday cake.
If you missed the party of January 7, there’s lots of other events across the National Archives this February!
See the original photograph in ”The Roosevelts: Public Figures, Private Lives,” a new exhibit opening this spring at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum.
Franklin Roosevelt’s harsher critics sometimes compared him to a dictator. In 1934, the President and his staff turned this criticism into a lighthearted joke at FDR’s 52nd birthday party. Roosevelt is Caesar, and Eleanor Roosevelt is sitting behind the President dressed as the Oracle of Delphi. Find out who wore the toga in this blog post.
We’re having a birthday party for Elvis! Join us at the National Archives in Atlanta on Saturday, January 7, for a party with Elvis, cake, and maybe even a hound dog.
It’s free! The party is from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. at our facility at 5780 Jonesboro Road, in Morrow, GA.