Today’s post was written by David Langbart, archivist in Research Services at the National Archives at College Park, MD.

The files of the Department of State (RG 59) do not include a great number of documents with doodles.  Perhaps that means government officials do not scribble on the documents that get filed.  Alternatively, they do not file the documents on which they have scribbled.

Recently, while undertaking ad hoc maintenance work on some records, the following document caught my attention because of the extensive nature of the doodling on it.  None of that was elaborate or particularly artistic but there is a lot of it.  An outlined paperclip.  Filling in the “bubbles” in various letters and numbers.  Geographic shapes.  Boxes around words.  A comet across the sky.

Telegram from London to the Secretary of State, Oct 17, 1953

Source: U.S. Embassy Great Britain to Department of State, Telegram No. 1669, October 17, 1953, file 100.4 FEP/10-1753, 1950-54 Central Decimal File (NAID 302021), RG 59: General Records of the Department of state.

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