Searching for Houdini

Today’s post is written by Daniel Dancis, an Archivist in the Textual Records Branch at the National Archives in College Park, MD.  The name itself conjures up visions of handcuffs, underwater submersions, and impossible escapes. For just a moment imagine yourself in a large theater in the early 1900s. From the upper balcony, surrounded by … Continue reading Searching for Houdini

James Wong Howe: Hollywood’s Ace Cinematographer

This post was written by Audrey Amidon. Audrey is a Preservation Specialist in the Motion Picture Preservation Lab and writes for The Unwritten Record. James Wong Howe was one of America’s greatest cinematographers, with a career stretching from the golden age of silent cinema to the early 1970s. Nominated for ten Academy Awards, Howe won … Continue reading James Wong Howe: Hollywood’s Ace Cinematographer

Architectural Drawing of a lighthouse showing a plan and elevation view. National Archives Identifier: 85967585

Winslow Lewis and the Expansion of Early Federal Lighthouses

By Andrew Begley, Archives Specialist at the National Archives at Boston When the First Congress passed “An Act for the establishment and support of Lighthouses, Beacons, Buoys, and Public Piers” on August 7, 1789, there were only twelve lighthouses illuminating the shores of the newly formed nation. By 1842, that number had grown to 250. … Continue reading Winslow Lewis and the Expansion of Early Federal Lighthouses

Asian/Pacific American History: Learning Our Legacy

APA Heritage Month is an opportunity to...contribute to the wider understanding of what it means to be an American. - Alex Villaseran, archives technician and APA Unity co-chair Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month was born of years of work by Asian/Pacific American (APA) community members, activists, educators, and politicians to have their histories and cultures recognized … Continue reading Asian/Pacific American History: Learning Our Legacy

“I Am Indeed Proud to Have the Opportunity to Present These Memoranda”: The Environmentalist Photographer Meets the Conservation President

By Daria Labinsky, Archivist at the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library & Museum Together, Mr. President, I am certain we can indeed do this one right the first time! - Ansel Adams to Jimmy Carter, November 6, 1979.[1] While legendary photographer Ansel Adams is best known for his dramatic landscapes, he made images in many genres, … Continue reading “I Am Indeed Proud to Have the Opportunity to Present These Memoranda”: The Environmentalist Photographer Meets the Conservation President

Gordon Gilkey: A Man for All Seasons

Today’s post is written by Dr. Greg Bradsher, Senior Archivist at the National Archives at College Park, MD. At the beginning of my freshman year at Oregon State University, I went to see the Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences (now Liberal Arts) to discuss with him the courses I should be … Continue reading Gordon Gilkey: A Man for All Seasons

image of virginia hall

The Secrets of the Office of Strategic Services Personnel Records: Spotlight on Virginia Hall

Today’s post is by Cara Moore Lebonick, Archives Reference Specialist at the National Archives at St. Louis In 1931 Virginia Hall, born this month, was appointed as a “Clerk” for the U.S. Department of State, to be stationed in Warsaw. She failed the “career service” exam twice, once in 1929 and again in 1930, before … Continue reading The Secrets of the Office of Strategic Services Personnel Records: Spotlight on Virginia Hall

The Percentage of Permanent Records in the National Archives: A 1985 Article Revisited

Today’s post is written by Dr. Greg Bradsher, Senior Archivist at the National Archives at College Park, MD. Thirty-five years ago the National Archives had a space problem. It still does, even with the opening of the National Archives at College Park, MD in 1994 (known to staff and researchers as Archives II or just … Continue reading The Percentage of Permanent Records in the National Archives: A 1985 Article Revisited

Three women working on exhibit cases.

The Freedom Train, 1947-1949

Today’s post is written by Dr. Greg Bradsher, Senior Archivist at the National Archives at College Park, MD. Early in my career at the National Archives, my branch chief assigned me the task of describing the records of the American Heritage Foundation, part of the National Archives Gift Collection. This sounded boring, and somewhat was … Continue reading The Freedom Train, 1947-1949

image of writing taken from page 21.

Record Book of Justice of the Peace Ebenezer Ferguson of Philadelphia, 1799-1800

Today’s post is by Claire Kluskens, Digital Projects Archivist at the National Archives in Washington, DC The National Archives recently digitized the Record Book of Ebenezer Ferguson, Justice of the Peace, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, December 1799-July 1800 (National Archives Identifier 155501037). Mr. Ferguson chronicled actions taken by him in his official capacity from December 1799 to July 1800. … Continue reading Record Book of Justice of the Peace Ebenezer Ferguson of Philadelphia, 1799-1800