Detour Ahead: The Paving of the White House Driveway

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

The scourge of road trip vacations. The bane of work commutes. Chances are every person who drives has a recent complaint or two about road construction hindering their plans and it’s possible that 79 years ago President Franklin Roosevelt too had similar complaints when four months were spent paving the White House south driveway.

The National Park Service Denver Service Center is the main planning, design, and construction management office for the hundreds of National Park Service sites nationwide and the planning and project files from the office can be found in the National Archives at Denver’s Record Group 79, Records of the National Park Service holdings. It is here where one finds the report for the south White House grounds paving project as the White House and surrounding area are within the National Park Service’s purview as the President’s Park.

map

Map showing project location.

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James Longstreet: After the Civil War

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

After the Civil War, former Confederates moved forward with their lives. They returned to their homes, many in tatters, their plantations and farms, now without slaves, and their businesses, now in ruins. Over the following decades, many ended up working for the government of the country from which they had attempted to break. Among them was former Confederate Lieutenant General James Longstreet.

Born in South Carolina, although largely raised in Georgia, and an 1842 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Longstreet fought in the War with Mexico and against Indians on the frontier. He resigned from the Army in June 1861, and joined the Confederacy. He led troops in critical battles in the eastern theater – First Manassas, the Peninsula Campaign, Second Manassas, Antietam, Fredericksburg, and Gettysburg. In October 1862, having led a wing of the Army of Northern Virginia under Robert E. Lee, he was made a Lieutenant General to lead the First Corps of that army. Detached with part of his corps to go west, he helped secure the September 1863 Confederate victory at Chickamauga Creek in Georgia. He then led an unsuccessful effort to capture Knoxville, Tennessee. He and his troops returned to Virginia for the spring 1864 campaign. He was seriously wounded by his own men during the Battle of the Wilderness in May 1864. Out of action for several months, he returned to duty in October to take part in the defense of Richmond and Petersburg. He was with the Army of Northern Virginia at the time of the surrender at Appomattox on April 9, 1865. Continue reading

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“In the Interest of the Efficiency of the Foreign Service”: Changes in U.S. Diplomatic Representation Abroad After the Election of 1944

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

An earlier post discussed President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s decision to request the formal resignation of all chiefs of U.S. diplomatic missions overseas (ambassadors and ministers), both career and non-career, after the election of 1940 and what led to that action. A similar directive went out after the election of 1944.

On November 10, three days after the election, Under Secretary of State Edward Stettinius, referring to the 1940 telegram, asked President Roosevelt if he wanted to follow the same practice. FDR “said he thought it would be wise.” As a result, the Department of State sent the following telegram:[1]

121-411-1944-1

121.4 [11-1944.1] Circular to All Chiefs of Mission, Nov. 14, 1944

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Window into the Soviet Union, 1951/Introduction to CREST

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

Recently, I located the following 1951 Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) report analyzing Soviet nylon stockings:

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Technical Examination of Soviet Nylon Stocking, June 29, 1951, p.1.

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Technical Examination of Soviet Nylon Stocking, June 29, 1951, p.2.

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Arnold Palmer: Record-setting Round-the-world Flyer

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

Noted golfing great Arnold Palmer died recently.  His obituaries noted his golfing prowess and his success as a businessman, both in enterprises relating to golf and otherwise.

Palmer also held a world record for an around-the-world flight in a business jet.  The flight took place in May 1976.  The idea was born at an annual meeting of the Aviation/Space Writers Association and was partly in celebration of the U.S. bicentennial.  The Gates Learjet Corporation supported the idea and provided an airplane (a Learjet 36).  Palmer, along with Learjet Pilots James Bir and Lewis Purkey, took off from Denver, CO on May 17, 1976 and flew east, returning to Denver on May 19.  Their elapsed time – 2 days, 9 hours, 25 minutes, and 42 seconds – set a new record. Continue reading

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Oliver Pollock – Supporter of the Revolution, Creator of ‘$’

Today’s post was written by Jackie Kilby, Archives Technician at the National Archives at College Park, MD.

Oliver Pollock is a name not widely known in American History.  He was an Irish immigrant who settled in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and later found work as a successful merchant and trader in Philadelphia.  After the end of the French and Indian War, he moved to New Orleans in 1768 during the transition from French to Spanish rule, and married into a prominent Irish family.

The city of New Orleans soon found itself in danger of famine, as the population swelled with Spanish troops and the food reserves were quickly depleted.  Pollock was able to use his connections to Philadelphia to provide food shipments at the city’s most dire hour.  In response, the Governor of New Orleans, Don O’Reilly, gave Pollock free trading rights within the Louisiana Territory.  Continue reading

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“In the Interest of the Efficiency of the Foreign Service”: Changes in US Diplomatic Representation Abroad after the Election of 1940

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

In an unusual move, given that the incumbent President remained in office, after winning the election of 1940, Franklin D. Roosevelt requested the formal resignation of all chiefs of U.S. diplomatic missions overseas (ambassadors and ministers), both career and non-career.  Continue reading

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New Webpage for World War I Records on the Meuse-Argonne Offensive

Today’s post is written by Scott Ludwig, Archivist at the National Archives at College Park.

The 26th of September marks the 98th Anniversary of the start of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, which was the largest operation of the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) in World War I.  Commanded by General of the Armies John J. “Black Jack” Pershing and with over a million American soldiers participating, it was a part of the final Allied offensive on the Western Front of World War I and was one of the attacks that brought an end to the War. The Meuse-Argonne Offensive was fought from September 26 – November 11, 1918, when the Armistice was signed. Continue reading

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“Heart Attack Strikes Ike,” President Eisenhower’s 1955 Medical Emergency in Colorado

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

Today the University of Colorado Anschultz Medical Campus provides state of the art medical care while teaching the next generation of medical professionals. Taking over the former Fitzsimons Army Hospital in Aurora, Colorado upon its closure in the 1990s, the school and the facilities are firmly entrenched in modern medicine with one notable exception: a suite of rooms on the eighth floor of Building 500, once the centerpiece of the army hospital and now the administrative center for the campus. These three rooms have been meticulously restored to be frozen in time, 1955 to be exact, when the entire country’s eyes were upon the hospital and its famous patient: President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

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The Department of State Reports on the George Foreman-Muhammad Ali Fight (“The Rumble in the Jungle”) 1974, Part II

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

Part 1 discussed preliminary activities relating to the bout, including the “Zaire 74” festival.

 In the lead-up to the fight, Foreman’s sparring partner inflicted a cut over Foreman’s right eye during a training session on September 16.  Such an injury obviously had the potential to affect the timing of the fight or cause it to be cancelled.  Cancellation of the fight could be seen as a blot on Zaire and Zairian authorities reacted in a somewhat panicked way as reported in the embassy’s telegram of the following day.

 

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