Foreign Reaction to President Nixon’s Resignation

Today’s post was written by David Langbart, an Archivist in the Textual Records Division at the National Archives at College Park.

Last week’s post discussed President Nixon’s resignation and foreign policy.  Among the countries potentially most affected by the transfer of the Presidency was the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (U.S.S.R.).  President Nixon had developed and pushed the policy of détente with the Soviet Union to ease Cold War tensions.  Despite assurances that basic American foreign policies would continue under President Ford, Soviet leaders had to be concerned about the transition. Continue reading

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President Nixon’s Resignation and Foreign Policy

Today’s post was written by David Langbart, an Archivist in the Textual Records Division at the National Archives at College Park.

Forty-two years ago today, President Richard M. Nixon resigned from office.

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The Rent is Too Darned High

Today’s post is written by M Marie Maxwell, an Archives Specialist in Textual Processing who works at Archives I, in Washington, DC. 

Recently I rehoused a few series, moving documents from old boxes and folders into newer, archival quality folders and boxes. In doing so I encountered the letters from District of Columbia residents of the past almost all complaining that their rent was too high. This reminded me of a small New York City political party based on rising rent who inspired a meme a few years ago and inspired this post.

The series I processed are from a little used record group, Record Group 132 Records of the Rent Commission of the District of Columbia. The whole series is less than 8 cubic feet in size and quite small. The Rent Commission was established as an emergency agency by a 1919 Congressional act in response to rising rents after World War I.

RG 132 Entry 3 folder 1920J Letter

Letter From Charles Jenkins to Brigadier General I. W. Littell (NAID 34922747)

The title General Correspondence, 1920-1925 (NAID 2524363) does not truly reveal what is contained. A majority of the letters are from tenants appealing to the Rent Commission to complain that their landlords have raised the rent and their rent was too much. Sometimes letters come from supervisors or others on behalf of tenants as was the case with the Letter From Charles Jenkins to Brigadier General I. W. Littell (NAID 34922747), who in turn contacted the Commission. In an October 3, 1920 letter Jenkins wrote to Littell explaining that his rent at 1111 3rd St SW went from $19.50, then $22.50 and finally $25.00 in less than a year. In a previous August letter to Littell he complained about a leaking roof, falling plaster, a rotting porch and rising rents. The Commission responded October 14th requesting Mr. Jenkins to contact them directly.

In their letters to the Commission, tenants describe their living conditions and challenges, sometimes going into detail, which in turn give a sense of what life was like. In Ms. Annie Onley’s February 28, 1922 letter (Letter from Annie Onley to Commission, NAID 34922764) she describes the row of houses where she lives as having three presumably African American families and three white families. She claimed her neighbors were paying $13.30, and she $30.50 for a similar house. She mentions a small “Summer Kitchen” which could explain something about 19th century working class residential housing in the District of Columbia. Other letter writers go into multi-page detail regarding their rents, their living conditions, their landlords and other matters outside of the Commission’s purview.

Feb 28, 1922 handwritten letter

Letter from Annie Onley to the Commission (NAID 34922764). Front of letter.

 

132-e3-1922o-2-3

Second and third parts of Letter from Annie Onley to the Commission (NAID 34922764)

The Rent Commission came to an end in 1925. The Commission experienced several legal challenges, particularly from the owners of large apartment buildings, such as the owners of the Chastleton– see Chastleton Case Files, 1923 – 1923 (NAID 2524366). The owners of the Chastleton appealed to the Supreme Court, and appears to have challenged the constitutionality of the Rent Commission. Others did too as well, with Karrick v Cantrill in the Court of Appeals of the District of Columbia, which may be found in Cases Appealed to the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia, 1923 – 1924 (NAID 2524365). According to the Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives of the United States, the Commission was abolished effective “May 22, 1925, as provided in final extension act, May 17, 1924.” Yet even in their last year residents were appealing to Commission to complain their rent was too darned high.

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A Catalog for the Records, 1936

Today’s post is written by Alan Walker, an Archivist in the Textual Records Division at the National Archives at College Park.

Today, if you can’t make it in to a National Archives facility or presidential library, you will be diving into our online catalog to find what you’re looking for. But in the early days of the agency, the research process was “hands on” from beginning to end. Here is the story of how our catalog began.

Getting records in the door was only the opening salvo in the battle; now our staff had to perfect their organization, house them, and create a system for accessing them.

64-NA-250 (NAID 12168722) Records of the National Recorvery Administration in the Receiving Room, Oct. 1940

64-NA-250, Records of the National Recovery Administration in the Receiving Room, Oct. 1940 (NAID 12168722)

One of the first operating units established for the Archives was a Division of Cataloging. At first, it had a slightly different name: Continue reading

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Escaping the Killing Fields of Cambodia, 1975

Today’s post was written by David Langbart, an Archivist in the Textual Records Division at the National Archives at College Park.

sydney-schanberg-obit

(c) The New York Times/Redux

Noted journalist Sydney H. Schanberg died on July 9.  While he is perhaps most famous for his reporting from Cambodia during the Khmer Rouge takeover in the mid-1970s, his list of accomplishments and reporting is both long and distinguished.  He won the Pulitzer Prize, the George Polk Award, and Overseas Press Club awards, among others. Continue reading

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The Susan B. Anthony Dollar Coin – the Dollar of the Future?

Today’s post was written by Cody White, Archivist at the National Archives in Denver.

A “Carter Quarter.” The “Edsel of coins.” From newspaper articles found in Record Group 104 Records of the U.S. Mint one gets a glimpse of the widespread dissatisfaction and derision heaped upon the Susan B. Anthony dollar coin, minted for only a few short years between 1979 and 1981. Still occasionally found in change today alongside the newer Sacagawea and presidential dollars coins, the story of the ill-fated Susan B. Anthony dollar can be found in the Denver Mint records held by the National Archives at Denver.

Denver Mint

Photograph of the Denver Mint building, date unknown (NAID 293491)

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“We’re not as bad as we look”: Girls’ Education at the Albuquerque Indian School

Today’s post is written by Jennifer Eltringham, an intern at the National Archives at Denver.

The Albuquerque Indian School was founded in in 1881 during a push to assimilate Native Americans into mainstream American culture through education at off-reservation boarding schools. By removing children from their families and culture, educators hoped to “Kill the Indian, save the man,” as per the motto of Col. Richard Henry Pratt, founder of the Carlisle Indian School in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Until 1934, the teaching of Indian history and culture was forbidden in Indian schools.

Part of this mission involved “educating Indian girls in the hope that women trained as good housewives would help their mates assimilate” (Trennert, p. 272). At the Albuquerque Indian School, girls were trained in home economics – housekeeping, cooking, sewing, and other domestic arts. In addition, they practiced weaving and embroidery, creating items that were sold to interested parties or used at the school. By doing chores such as laundry and cleaning, girls spent a good part of their time in service to the school. Continue reading

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Malvin Whitfield: Ambassador for Track and Field

Today’s post was written by David Langbart, an Archivist in the Textual Records Division at the National Archives at College Park.

Malvin “Mal” Whitfield, a gold medal-winning track star of the 1948 and 1952 U.S. Olympic Teams died in November 2015.  He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery in June 2016.  Whitfield served in the Air Force from 1943 to 1948 and again from 1951 to 1953.  During World War II he was part of the group known as the Tuskegee Airmen and during the Korean War he flew 27 combat missions. Continue reading

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The Approach of World War II: A View from the U.S. Embassy in Poland

Today’s post was written by David Langbart, an Archivist in the Textual Records Division at the National Archives at College Park.

The Textual Records Division is in the midst of a large-scale project to identify and refile a large volume of “orphan” records. These are documents and files that have become separated from their proper filing location or were never properly identified.

I have been working with files from various Foreign Service Posts of the Department of State Continue reading

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A Flag for the United Nations

Today’s post was written by David Langbart, Reference Archivist at the National Archives at College Park.

John Kelly, a respected columnist for the Washington Post, recently (June 14, 2016) wrote about Brooks Harding’s “Four Freedoms Flag.”  Harding designed the flag to represent the countries fighting against Axis tyranny during World War II, commonly referred to as the “United Nations.”  Not surprisingly, Harding was not the only person interested in designing a flag for that cause.

In the records of the Department of State (Record Group 59) for the period of World War II preserved in the National Archives are almost 100 letters from Americans recommending the adoption of a flag for United Nations.  Continue reading

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