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Citizen Archivists

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Discovering a poster in a photograph can help contextualize it and bring it to life. However, to do so may take some searching and a good bit of luck. The following is a case in point and one that had me doubting what I saw until everything was lined up just right. 

 

I recently came across this image in the National Archives Catalog, titled "Liberty Bonds - 4th Campaign - War activities, Ypsilanti, Michigan" (National Archives ID 45493771, Local ID 165-WW-244C-38)

This image is chock full of wall hangings and posters. I was able to identify four of the posters. The poster of the hand print appears twice, one on each sidewall (below).

By blowing up the picture to full size (click on the image or open in the Catalog), “Blot it Out” and “Keep these off the U.S.A” were fairly easy to identify. "That Liberty Shall Not Perish . . .(Statue of Liberty)" was more challenging because it is partially obscured by a bright lamp but enough of it is exposed to make identification possible. After identifying them in the photograph I then searched in the Catalog to find the posters. However, one of these was so distorted due to the perspective that it was difficult to know for sure.

I zoomed in on the poster in the photo and then searched in the World War I Posters series (4-P) for a likely match, but it wasn't until I compared the images side-by-side in a photo editing program and used a distortion tool that I knew for certain that I had found the exact poster.

Below is a sequence of identical side-by-side images zoomed in on the poster. On the right of each is the photograph with the poster superimposed at various stages of being compressed and stretched to fit. With just a few steps everything lines up!

Hopefully, this example demonstrates how rewarding it can be to find posters within photographs and that it can provide a unique way to ‘reunite’ different holdings from the National Archives.

 

You can see these posters and the photograph in the National Archives Catalog.

We are endlessly fascinated by stories of coded messages, espionage, and intelligence found in the historical records of the National Archives. Join us as we crack the code in this week’s newsletter to bring you stories of spies, camouflage, and cryptography found in the National Archives Catalog!

Substitution Cipher Wheel
Black and white World War II poster showing women studying detection equipment in an advertisement for the Women's Army Corps

L: Substitution Cipher Wheel, 1865. National Archives Identifier 3854702
R: WACS with the Army Air Forces. National Archives Identifier 515997

World War I Camouflage

When the United States entered World War I in 1917, a group of female art students in New York City joined the National League for Women’s Service and trained to serve in the Camouflage Department of the United States Navy. Students studied the environment and tested camouflage suits, which were designed to keep the wearer safe from detection and blend in with the surrounding environment. Learn more on the Unwritten Record blog.

Black and white photograph of group of women dressed in camouflage suits studying the outdoor environment among rocks and trees

The Women’s Camouflage Reserve Corps of the National League for Women’s Service, tested out camouflage suits at Van Cortlandt Park, New York, during WW1. National Archives Identifier 45568270

Black and white photograph of group of four women dressed in camouflage suits. One women lies on the ground while another helps her into a suit designed to resemble rock formation
Women's Activities, Women's Reserve Camouflage, 10/11/1918. National Archives Identifier 45568262

During WWI, allied forces painted naval ships in abstract patterns with bright colors to make it difficult for German U-boats to determine the speed and precise location of the ship. Beginning in March of 1918, the United States Navy painted a total of 1250 vessels with the unique design. Out of the 96 ships sunk by Germans after March 1918, only 18 of the ships were camouflaged. Learn more on the Unwritten Record blog.

Ship drawing showing abstract colors and designs painted on the outside of the ship for camouflage
British Camouflage, Type 17, Design C, Port. National Archives Identifier 56070827
Black and white photograph of group of women painting a battleship with camouflage in New York City
Women's Activities, Women's Reserve Camouflage, 1918. National Archives Identifier 45568250

The Zimmermann Telegram

In January 1917, British cryptographers deciphered a telegram from German Foreign Minister Arthur Zimmermann to the German Minister to Mexico, Heinrich von Eckhardt, offering United States territory to Mexico in return for joining the German cause. This message helped draw the United States into the war and thus changed the course of history. Find teaching activities and more with Educator Resources.

Western Union telegram written in code
Letter deciphering the Zimmermann Telegram

L: Zimmermann Telegram as Received by the German Minister to Mexico, 3/1/1917. National Archives Identifier 302025

R: Letter from Ambassador Walter Page to the Secretary of State, Original Decipher of the Zimmermann Telegram, 3/2/1917. National Archives Identifier 302024

Code Talkers

During World Wars I and II, the U.S. military needed to encrypt communications from enemy intelligence. American Indians had their own languages and dialects that few outside their tribes understood; therefore, their languages were ideal encryption mechanisms. Over the course of both wars, the Army and the Marine Corps recruited hundreds of American Indians to become Code Talkers. Records at the National Archives document the origins of this program and the group’s wartime contributions.

Find more information and resources regarding Code Talkers on our website. Read more on the Unwritten Record blog: Navajo Code Talkers, and on History Hub: The Unbreakable Choctaw Code.

Black and white photograph of two Navajo code talkers with radio equipment
Photograph of Navajo Indian Code Talkers Preston Toledo and Frank Toledo, 7/7/1943. Photographer: Ashman. National Archives Identifier 100378007

The Pumpkin Papers

These canisters contained film rolls known as the Pumpkin Papers, which were used in the House Committee on Un-American Activities investigation of Alger Hiss. The canisters and film stored inside were found inside a pumpkin on the farm of Whittaker Chambers in Maryland. Learn more about the United States of America vs. Alger Hiss.
Image of four film canisters from the HUAC investigation of Alger Hiss
Records Relating to the Investigation of Alger Hiss, 1948 - 1951, Pumpkin Papers Canisters, 1948. National Archives Identifier 7797870

Rose Greenhow

Rose O'Neal Greenhow (1817-1864) was a popular socialite in Washington, DC, and a spy for the South during the Civil War. During the Civil War, Greenhow wrote ciphered messages to the Confederates and provided information about Union military plans. Confederate President Jefferson Davis credited her with helping the South win the First Battle of Bull Run. Greenhow provided a message about the Union troop's movements in time for Brigadier Generals Beauregard and Johnston to meet at Manassas, Virginia. A young woman working with Greenhow named Betty Duvall carried the message wrapped in a tiny black silk purse and wound up in a bun of her hair. Learn more about the Seized Correspondence of Rose O'Neal Greenhow.

Letter written in cipher
Letter written in cipher
Letter Written in Cipher on Mourning Paper by Rose Greenhow. National Archives Identifier 1634036
Start your research on History Hub

Have a question?  Find your answer on History Hub!

For those looking to conduct research or learn more about cryptography, espionage and intelligence-related records, we encourage you to browse recent posts and questions on History Hub. Recent posts include:

 

Find more questions on the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Office of Strategic Services (OSS)!

Color image of a battleship disguised as an island.

Battleship Disguised as an Island. National Archives Identifier 6997114

Citizen Archivist Opportunities
Document showing mediterranean passport for the ship Falcon signed by Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren

You can help us unlock history! Take a look at our latest Citizen Archivist missions, and jump in to participate! Our current missions include records about Tennessee Valley Authority Family Removal and Population Readjustment Case Files, Protection from Pirates, State Department Briefs Files, and more. Every contribution you make helps make these records easier to find in our Catalog.

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The Catalog Newsletter

Learn about newly added records and receive tips on using the Catalog's features, functionality, and guides. The National Archives Catalog is the online public portal to our records where you can learn more about our holdings. This email newsletter is delivered on a biweekly basis. Subscribe to the National Archives Catalog Newsletter

Today marks the start of an exciting countdown: we are officially one year away from the release of the 1950 Census! The National Archives will release the 1950 population census schedules in April 2022, 72 years after the official 1950 census day of April 1, 1950.

We have been busy preparing for the release for many years, and we encourage you to start preparing too!

Black and white photograph of card punch operators sitting in rows of desks working. Boxes of cards surround the workers
Card Punch Operators Working on Agricultural Cards, Population and Housing Cards Carried 45 Columns, All Other Cards Carried 80 Columns. National Archives Identifier 6200858
Do you know where your family was living in 1950? Did you have American relatives living abroad? What did your relatives do for work? What was their household income in 1949? The 1950 census may provide the answers to these questions and more. The 1950 census won’t be released until 2022, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start getting ready for it now.
Black and white photograph of a man sitting on a tractor being pulled by horses. A man in a suit speaks to him and records answers
Enumeration, a Farmer Supplies Answers to the 232 Questions on the Farm Schedule. National Archives Identifier 6200778

Getting started with Census Records and Resources

Census records can provide the building blocks of your research, allowing you both to confirm information and learn more. While you wait for the 1950 Census release, we encourage you to browse our online resources and informational posts; ask questions and find answers on History Hub.

Black and white photograph of three men standing with dogs and a dog sled in the snow

Enumeration, Alaska Too Saw the Census Enumerator Arrive in His Dog Sled. National Archives Identifier 6200721

Why 72 Years?

The first Federal Population Census was taken in 1790, and has been taken every ten years since. There is a 72-year restriction on access to the Census–the 1940 Census was released on April 2, 2012. The 1950 Census will be released on April 1, 2022.

Read more about the “72-Year Rule” History - US Census Bureau
Completed population schedule from the 1910 Census. Form is filled in with handwritten answers

Population schedule page from the 13th Census of the United States: 1910, National Archives Identifier 53333251

Black and white photograph of a woman in the National Archives research room looking at a book containing census population schedules and writing down notes
Researcher Viewing Census Records, 3/1968. National Archives 23855367
1950 Census Enumeration District Map showing New York County in Manhattan, New York. The map shows the numbered enumeration districts throughout the county
1950 Census Enumeration District Maps - New York (NY) - New York County - Manhattan - ED 31-1 to 2440. National Archives 24267411
Citizen Archivist Opportunities

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Black and white photograph of workers sitting in rows of desks indexing the 1920 Census records
WPA Workers Indexing 1920 Census Records. National Archives Identifier 175739355

The Catalog Newsletter

Learn about newly added records and receive tips on using the Catalog's features, functionality, and guides. The National Archives Catalog is the online public portal to our records where you can learn more about our holdings. This email newsletter is delivered on a biweekly basis. Subscribe to the National Archives Catalog Newsletter

Ahoy! This week we’re charting a course through the cartographic holdings at the National Archives.

Topographic map of St. Raphael Italy

Map of St. Raphael, Italy. National Archives Identifier 200235283

More than 15 million maps, charts, aerial photographs, architectural drawings, patents, and ship plans can be found in the cartographic and architectural holdings in College Park, Maryland.

The most recent Archives Hashtag Party hosted by the National Archives invited libraries, archives, and museums around the globe to feature some of their favorite maps and map-related records in #ArchivesYouAreHere. Jump on board with us as we navigate a selection of our favorites in this week’s newsletter!

Hand drawn image of a camouflage design for a cargo ship. Camouflage is painted in blue, black, pink, orange and green colors along the sides of the ship.

Camouflage Design for Cargo Ship. National Archives Identifier 6997120

One of the oldest items in our Cartographic holdings is the Polus Antarcticus atlas page. Published in the 1630s by Henricus Hondius, a Dutch cartographer and engraver, the map is one of the first to depict the South Pole area. Learn more on the Unwritten Record blog, Chronicling Cartographic’s Oldest Record: The Polus Antarcticus Map.

Illustrated atlas page of the Polus Antarcticus

Polus Antarcticus Illustrated Atlas Page , ca. 1649. National Archives Identifier 70187161

This sketch is illustration 19a from the 29th Infantry combat narrative by Lieutenant Jack Shea. The hand-drawn map representing the Normandy Invasion on June 6, 1944 shows the exit path of first troops, 0855 hrs, on Omaha Beach.

Hand drawn illustration of the Normandy Invasion on Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944

Omaha-Dog-White, Exit Path of First Troops, 0855 Hrs., 6/6/1944. National Archives Identifier 6922052

One of our favorite maps isn't even of Earth: this star chart was used by the crew aboard Apollo 11.
Apollo 11 star chart. Black background with labeled stars

Star Chart from Apollo 11. National Archives Identifier 4958425

Black and white photograph of a bombadier standing next to his plane and holding a map. He smiles at the camera and points to the hole in his damaged plane.

Bombardier Lt. Plummer points out a hole in his Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress as he holds a damaged map. The holes were caused by flak that entered the plane, hit the bomb release switch, and dropped the bomb on the target below!

The original caption notes “This is probably the first time the Germans ever helped bomb themselves.” Plummer had just turned to speak to the navigator when the flak came through--a move that saved him from severe injury. National Archives Identifier 193731632

During World War I, French cartographers, part of the Service Géographique de L’armée, made maps in Paris. Our Still Picture Branch holds photos showing this part of the cartographic process. In this 1918 photo, a map of Le Bonhomme is made using a wet collodion plate. A copy of this very map is also part of our WWI cartographic records. National Archives Identifier 55204873

Black and white photograph of two French cartographers making a map of Le Bonhomme
Black and white photograph of a young man assembling street signs

Street signs are very important to know where you are! This National Youth Administration worker assembled street signs in Easthampton, Massachusetts, in 1941. National Archives Identifier 7350925

"Newsmap,” originally published weekly by the U.S. Army, was distributed to the military with news about World War II and the Korean War.

The front of each issue was usually a large map surrounded by news stories, smaller maps, and photographs. National Archives Identifier 66395583

Image of Armed Forces Newsmap, showing a world map in the middle, with pictures and news stories surrounding the map.

An Officer Of The 410Th Bomb Group Points To A Wall Map Showing The Target Of The Day During Briefing At A 9Th Air Force Base, England, 25 July 1944. National Archives Identifier 193737750

Black and white photograph of an officer pointing to a large map on the wall

How do I search the Catalog for maps and charts?

It is best to search the Catalog for a topic, name or phrase and then narrow down the search results using filters. You may need to do several different searches to find the records you are interested in.

  • You can review our Catalog Search Tips
  • If you are looking for a name or phrase, put those terms in quotations for the search, example “New York”
  • Search results bring back all formats of records. Use the filters on the left side to narrow your results to Maps and Charts
  • Not all of the descriptions in the Catalog include digitized records. To see those that have digital images in the Catalog, after conducting a search, use the filter on the left side to narrow your results to Archival Descriptions with Digital Objects
  • If you find a record you'd like to use, you can download it. For a video tutorial, please see How to Download Records from the National Archives Catalog
  • If you have a question about a description in the Catalog, reach out to the reference staff listed in the Contact(s) section.
Color image of a battleship disguised as an island.
Battleship Disguised as an Island. National Archives Identifier 6997114
Learn more about the cartographic records held at the National Archives:
Archives Hashtag PartyWe hope you enjoyed this week’s newsletter, inspired by our most recent Archives Hashtag Party! You’re always invited to join the party with us on social media. Follow the National Archives on Twitter and Instagram as we share highlights from collections around a different theme each month. Check out the archives, libraries, galleries, and museums participating so far, and join us for the next party on Friday, April 2 for #ArchivesTipOfTheHat!
Start your research on History Hub
Have a question? Find your answer here on History Hub! For those looking to conduct research or learn more about Cartographic and Architectural records and resources, we encourage you to browse recent posts and questions on History Hub. Recent posts include:
Color map of the area east and west of the Capitol in Washington, DC showing proposed development.
Proposed Development of the Central Area West and East of the Capitol. National Archives Identifier 6087998

The Catalog Newsletter

Learn about newly added records and receive tips on using the Catalog's features, functionality, and guides. The National Archives Catalog is the online public portal to our records where you can learn more about our holdings. This email newsletter is delivered on a biweekly basis. Subscribe to the National Archives Catalog Newsletter

The National Archives is the home of the 19th Amendment, the Constitutional amendment that prohibited the states from denying the vote on the basis of sex. In 2020, the Archives commemorated the centennial of this landmark document.

Black and white photograph of a group of women nurses gathering together reading letters.
We invite you to continue exploring records that help tell the story of women’s rights and history, including the fight for the vote, and recognize the great contributions women have made to our nation throughout history.

This month we are highlighting a selection of the many trailblazing women throughout history whose stories can be found within the holdings of the National Archives.
A contingent of nurses arrive in the southwest Pacific area, received their first batch of home mail at 268th Station Hospital, Australia, 11/29/1943. National Archives Identifier 531410

Mae Jemison

Mission Specialist (MS) Mae Jemison poses in Spacelab-Japan (SLJ), facing forward.
Mae Carol Jemison became the first African American woman accepted into NASA’s space training program on June 4, 1987. Five years later, on September 12, 1992, she became the first black woman to travel into space when she served as a mission specialist aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavor.

Learn more on the Pieces of History blog: Mae Jemison: First Black Woman in Space.

Mission Photographs Taken During the Space Shuttle Program , 4/12/1981 - 7/21/2011. STS-47, Mission Specialist Mae Jemison, 11/19/1998. National Archives Identifier 22725970

Ida Bell Wells-Barnett

Born enslaved in Mississippi in 1862, Ida Bell Wells-Barnett dedicated her life to fighting for racial and gender equality. She was a journalist, suffragist, advocate of racial justice, and anti-lynching activist.

In this letter to Republican Senator Henry Dawes of Massachusetts, Ida B. Wells appeals for justice in the lynching of Postmaster Frazier B. Baker and his two-year-old daughter, Julia, in South Carolina, in 1898. Learn more on the Rediscovering Black History blog post, The Honorable Agitator.

Page 1 of a handwritten letter from Ida B. Wells to Mr. Dawes
Page 2 of a handwritten letter from Ida B. Wells to Mr. Dawes

Letter from Ida B. Wells-Barnett to Mr. Dawes, 1898. National Archives Identifier 24746870

Jeannette Rankin

After helping to secure women the right to vote in Montana in 1914, Jeanette Rankin was the first woman to be sworn into Congress in April 1917. She served as a Representative from Montana's at-large district, from March 4, 1917 until March 3, 1919 and again as Representative from Montana's 1st district from January 3, 1941 until January 3, 1943.

Learn more on the Pieces of History blog: Women can’t vote, but they can run for Congress
Black and white still photograph from newsreel stock. Jeannette Rankin stands in a white dress among several other women

Still image from Motion Picture Newsreel Films Used for a Documentary Series on World War I, National Archives Identifier 89241

Shirley Chisholm

In 1969, Shirley Chisholm became the first African American woman to serve in Congress, representing New York's 12th Congressional District. She was a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus in 1971 and the Congressional Women's Caucus in 1977. Chisholm was also the first woman and the first African American to seek the Democratic Presidential nomination in 1972.

Learn more on the National Archives Featured Document Display: Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm: “Unbought and Unbossed”

Photograph of rules committee sitting at their seats in Congress. Shirley Chisholm sits in the middle of the front row.

Photograph of the Rules Committee, 95th Congress, ca. 1977. National Archives, Records of the U.S. House of Representatives

Geraldine Ferraro

In 1984, Democratic Presidential nominee Walter Mondale announced that Congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro of New York would be his running mate. Ferraro would make history as the first female Vice Presidential nominee for a major party.

Black and white photograph of Geraldine Ferraro talking with President Jimmy Carter

Jimmy Carter with Congresswomen, Geraldine Ferraro, 9/21/1978. National Archives Identifier 181476

Mary McLeod Bethune

As a presidential advisor of African American Affairs during the Roosevelt administration, Mary McLeod Bethune formed the Federal Council of Negro Affairs, which would become known as the Black Cabinet. The Black Cabinet was instrumental in creating jobs for African Americans in federal executive departments and New Deal agencies.

Mary McLeod Bethune shakes hands with a woman while Eleanor Roosevelt looks on
Bethune’s influence within the Roosevelt administration also allowed her to direct funds created by the New Deal program to Black people. Programs such as the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and National Youth Administration (NYA) were successful in employing over 300,000 African Americans during the Great Depression.

Mary McLeod Bethune, Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt and others at the opening of Midway Hall, 5/1943. National Archives Identifier 533032

Page from Mary McLeod Bethune's personnel file
Mary McLeod Bethune also currently has the honor of the only Official Personnel Folder digitized in the National Archives Catalog: Official Personnel Folder for Mary McLeod Bethune, National Archives Identifier 158329664

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Amelia Earhart

Photograph of Amelia Earhart standing in front of an airplane
In 1922, Amelia Earhart set a record for reaching the highest altitude for a woman pilot, flying to 14,000 feet. Six years later, Earhart became the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean. In the following 10 years, Earhart continued to set aviation records for speed and distance. She also helped create a women’s aviation club, the Ninety-Nines, and was elected the first president. The organization still exists today and works to promote female pilots.

Amelia Earhart, 7/30/1936. National Archives Identifier 6708609

Learn more on the Pieces of History blog, Amelia Earhart: Showing What Women Can Do – Pieces of History and explore more records relating to Amelia Earhart on our website.
Page 1 of a typewritten letter from Amelia Earhart to President Roosevelt
Page 2 of a typewritten letter from Amelia Earhart to President Roosevelt

Letter from Amelia Earhart to President Roosevelt Regarding her World Flight, 11/10/1936. National Archives Identifier 6705943

Start your research on History Hub

Have a question? Find your answer here on History Hub!

For those looking to conduct research or learn more about Women’s History records and resources, we encourage you to browse recent posts and questions on the Women's Rights and Suffrage community. Recent posts include:

Black and white photograph of a group of women welders breaking for lunch
Records of the War Manpower Commission, 1936 - 1951. Student Welders Having Lunch. National Archives Identifier 192810599
These are just a few of the many stories of trailblazing women that can be found within the holdings of the National Archives. We invite you to explore more! Learn more through our online resources:
Black and white photograph of Eleanor Roosevelt speaking with Marian Anderson

Eleanor Roosevelt and Marian Anderson in Japan, 5/22/1953. National Archives Identifier 195989

New Transcription Mission!
Screenshot of the Carded Service Records transcription mission

Carded Service Records of Hospital Attendants, Matrons and Nurses, 1861 - 1865.

Help us transcribe records relating to the service of hospital attendants, matrons and nurses.

Would you like to transcribe these records more efficiently? Try using our template for transcription! These records consist of a standard typewritten form with handwritten details. We’ve created a template for the standard typewritten form found on each card, so you can simply copy and paste the template in the transcription field, and then type in the remaining details.

Find the template and learn more on History Hub.

Women's History Collection on GIPHY

Have you seen our Women’s History collection on GIPHY?  Find historic footage of Suffrage Marchers, Pioneering Women, and more!

Animated gif of suffrage marchers protesting by their prison train

Suffrage marchers, protesting by their prison train

It’s just one of several new GIF collections in the National Archives’ GIPHY channel, which just surpassed 3 Billion total cumulative views! 

Screenshot of the Women's History collection on the National Archives GIPHY channel

The channel features hundreds of vintage animated GIFs featuring everything from fun retro patents to famous prominent Americans.

Animated gif of a one-wheeled velocipede patent
One-Wheeled Velocipede Patent
Animated gif of Amelia Earhart waving from her airplane
Aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart

The Catalog Newsletter

Learn about newly added records and receive tips on using the Catalog's features, functionality, and guides. The National Archives Catalog is the online public portal to our records where you can learn more about our holdings. This email newsletter is delivered on a biweekly basis. Subscribe to the National Archives Catalog Newsletter

Civil rights guarantee our rights as individuals and form an essential part of our democracy. The United States has a long history of endeavoring to define, secure, and protect the civil rights of Americans.

Black and white photograph of group of marchers with signs at the March on Washington, 1963

Civil Rights March on Washington, DC,  August 28, 1963. Records of the U.S. Information Agency, Record Group 306, National Archives Identifier 542044

The National Archives holds records that document civil and social rights movements, illustrate how individuals and groups asserted their rights, and include court records, decisions, and case files that have expanded civil rights in the United States. While the topic of Civil Rights runs the entire history of the United States and overlaps with many other areas of research, here are a few of the major civil rights court cases, decisions, and acts that can be found in the National Archives Catalog.
Radiogram concerning Mabel Ping-Hua Lee. The image featured the RCA logo at the top with a picture of Lee in the upper left hand corner.

Radiogram about Mabel Ping-Hua Lee, 6/26/1937. National Archives Identifier 197859987
The Chinese Exclusion Act limited rights of Chinese American laborers and prevented Chinese immigrants from becoming citizens. Under this act, Lee was not a citizen, and therefore was unable to vote. Yet she and others still fought for universal suffrage even without the ability to benefit directly from its success.

Black and white photograph of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speaking at the March on Washington. A group of men watch and listen.
Black and white photograph of a man in a clergy collar holding a sign advocating for voting rights
L: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Civil Rights March on Washington, DC, August 28, 1963. Records of the U.S. Information Agency, Record Group 306. National Archives Identifier 542014
R: Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C. [A man holding a sign that reads "We Demand Voting Rights Now!"], 8/28/1963. National Archives Identifier 542036
Voting Rights

Voting Rights Act of 1965

Considered one of the most far-reaching pieces of civil rights legislation, the Voting Rights Act, signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson, was necessary to remove state and local barriers that prevented African Americans from voting in many southern states after the Civil War. Learn more on DocsTeach.

First page of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 document with public law stamp at top
Signature page of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 document, showing Lyndon Johnson's signature

Act of August 6, 1965, Public Law 89-110, 79 STAT 437, Which Enforced the Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, 8/6/1965. National Archives Identifier 299909

Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857)

Dred Scott was an enslaved man that sued his owners for his freedom after he had been taken from Missouri to Illinois, claiming that he had automatically been freed once crossing into a territory where slavery was illegal. In this ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court stated that slaves were not citizens of the United States and, therefore, could not expect any protection from the Federal Government or the courts. The opinion also stated that Congress had no authority to ban slavery from a Federal territory. Learn more on DocsTeach.

Handwritten document of the judgement in the U.S. Supreme Court Case Dred Scott v. Sanford, 1857

Judgment in the U.S. Supreme Court Case Dred Scott v. John F. A. Sandford, 3/6/1857. National Archives Identifier 301674

Learn more about the Laws and Court Cases related to Voting Rights.

Education

Mendez v. Westminster

Mendez v. Westminster School District landed an important blow to school segregation in California. And it underscored that the struggle for civil rights in America crossed regional, racial, and ethnic lines. Learn more on DocsTeach.

First page of the petition in Mendez v. Westminster
Second page of the petition in Mendez v. Westminster

Gonzalo Mendez et al v. Westminster School District of Orange County et al. This Petition summarizes the complaint made by several parents of children in the Westminster, Garden Grove, and El Modeno School Districts and the City of Santa Ana schools. It charges that the schools were violating students' civil rights by segregating students of "Mexican and Latin" ancestry in separate schools. National Archives Identifier 294940

Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka

On May 17, 1954, in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (five separate cases consolidated under a single name), the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously that separate but equal public schools violated the 14th Amendment. A year later in what is now referred to as “Brown II,” Chief Justice Warren required that the students be “admit[ted] to public schools on a racially nondiscriminatory basis with all deliberate speed.”

First page of the judgement in the Supreme Court Decision for Brown V. Board of Education
Reverse page of judgement in the Supreme Court Decision for Brown v. Board of Education, dated May 31, 1955

Judgement in the Supreme Court Decision for Brown et al. v. Board of Education of Topeka et al., 5/31/1955 National Archives Identifier 596300

Morgan v. Hennigan

In 1972, the parents of African American children brought a class action lawsuit alleging that the Boston School Committee violated the 14th Amendment of the U. S. Constitution by a deliberate policy of racial segregation in the Boston Public Schools. Learn more about this case on the Rediscovering Black History blog: Morgan V. Hennigan: Desegregation of Boston Public Schools.

First page of the Morgan v. Hennigan Complaint document

Tallulah Morgan et al. v. James W. Hennigan et al. Complaint. National Archives Identifier 4713867

View the full case file in the National Archives Catalog.

Explore more documents related to school desegregation on DocsTeach.

Marriage Rights

Loving v. Virginia

Loving v. Virginia (1967) was a landmark civil rights decision of the United States Supreme Court which invalidated laws prohibiting interracial marriage. Chief Justice Earl Warren authorized the court’s opinion, stating: “the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual, and cannot be infringed by the State.”

Appeal for Loving V. Virginia, 1966

Loving v. Virginia Appeal, 5/27/1966. National Archives Identifier 7873520

Learn more on the Prologue blog, The Fight for the Right to Marry: The Loving v. Virginia Case, and on the Rediscovering Black History blog, Virginia is for the Lovings.

Disability Rights

File for Deborah Sampson Gannett
During the American Revolution, Deborah Sampson disguised herself as a man and enlisted, under the name of Robert Shurtleff, in the Continental Army under the Fourth Massachusetts Regiment. She fought in several battles before her true identity was discovered following an injury. In 1809, after 20 years of petitioning the federal government, she received a disability pension of four dollars per month. Learn more on DocsTeach.

Page within Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty Land Warrant Application for Deborah Gannett

Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty Land Warrant Application File S 32722, Deborah Gannett, Mass. National Archives Identifier 54636851

From personal letters to historic legislation, records from the Presidential Libraries provide insight into efforts over the past century to establish programs and to protect the rights of people with disabilities. Learn more on the Americans with Disabilities Act web page.

For further research, resources at the National Archives provide a variety of documents, photographs, articles, and other educational resources covering many different topics related to civil rights, including slavery, racism, citizenship, women’s independece, immigration, and more.

Black and white photograph of group of young Japanese Americas at Poston, Arizona war relocation center.

After the attack on Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066, relocating 117,000 Japanese Americans. Photograph, Poston, Arizona, January 4, 1943. Central Photographic File of the War Relocation Authority National Archives. National Archives Identifier 536627

Browse textual, photographic, motion pictures and electronic records with the Black History Guide: Civil Rights. Additionally, explore Civil Rights Cases held at the National Archives at Chicago.

Learn more about photographs and other materials in the custody of the Still Picture Branch including images documenting the Civil Rights Movement and other social movements in the United States.

Black and white photograph of young women together at the March on Washington.

Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C. Young women at the march, 8/28/1963. National Archives Identifier 542022

Black and white photograph of group of marchers resting on the grass at the March on Washington. Two men in suits smile at the camera. One man holds a sign above both of their heads for shade.

Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C. Marchers sitting on the grass, 8/28/1963. National Archives Identifier 542009

For primary sources, teaching activities and more, explore DocsTeach: Rights in America.

Handwritten appeal request from Lenny Bruce, 1964

Appeal Request from Lenny Bruce, December 15, 1964. Lenny Bruce vs Hon. John M. Murtagh, Criminal Court of the City of New York: Special Sessions: County of New York. National Archives Identifier 2641487
After his conviction, Lenny Bruce appealed, claiming that his rights to due process, guaranteed under the 14th Amendment, were violated. The appeal overturned his conviction, but only after Bruce had died on August 3, 1966.

Aurelia S. Browder et al. v. W. A. Gayle et al.

This case file contains documents resulting from a Federal court suit that challenged segregation within Montgomery, Alabama's public transportation system. The case is renowned for its relation to the 1955 bus boycott in Montgomery, a pivotal event in the Civil Rights Movement. Although not a party to the case, Rosa Parks' arrest record and fingerprints are exhibits to the case. The plaintiffs in this case were Aurelia Browder, Susie McDonald, Claudette Colvin, and Mary Louise Smith, all of whom had been either arrested for refusing to give up their seats to white passengers or harmed by being forced to comply with segregation codes. In this case, the three-judge panel ruled Montgomery segregation codes unconstitutional due to their violation of the due process and equal protection clauses of the 14th Amendment. The U.S. Supreme Court later affirmed the District Court's judgment.

First page of civil case file for Browder v. Gayle
Exhibit from Browder v. Gayle case file showing Rosa Parks fingerprint card

Civil Case FIles, 9/1938-11/26/1968. Aurelia S. Browder et al. v. W. A. Gayle et al., No. 1147. National Archives Identifier 279205

Civil Rights Act of 1964

This act, signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson on July 2, 1964, prohibited discrimination in public places, provided for the integration of schools and other public facilities, made employment discrimination illegal, and enforced the constitutional right to vote. It was the most sweeping civil rights legislation since Reconstruction. Learn more on DocsTeach.

First page of Civil Rights Act of 1964

Civil Rights Act of 1964, 7/2/1964. National Archives Identifier 299891

Start your research on History Hub

Have a question? Find your answer here on History Hub!

For those looking to conduct research or learn more about Civil Rights records and resources, we encourage you to browse recent posts and questions on History Hub:

Civil Rights Collection on GIPHY

Have you seen our new Civil Rights collection on GIPHY?  Find historic footage of First-Time Voters, Civil Rights Marchers, and more!

Black and white animated GIF from the March on Washington. A little boy sits on a man's shoulders and claps as he goes by
Scene from the "March on Washington," August 1963

It’s just one of several new GIF collections in the National Archives’ GIPHY channel, which just surpassed 3 Billion total cumulative views! 

Screenshot of National Archives account page on GIPHY showing the African American History GIF collection

The channel features hundreds of vintage animated GIFs featuring everything from fun retro patents to famous prominent Americans.

Animated gif of one wheeled vehicle patent. The image shows the cyclist pedaling across the page
One-Wheeled Velocipede Patent
Animated gif of Sammy Davis, Jr. performing on stage. His back is to the crowd, and he turns around to face the crowd while holding a microphone
Sammy Davis, Jr. performs at a USO show, ca. 1972.

The Catalog Newsletter

Learn about newly added records and receive tips on using the Catalog's features, functionality, and guides. The National Archives Catalog is the online public portal to our records where you can learn more about our holdings. This email newsletter is delivered on a biweekly basis. Subscribe to the National Archives Catalog Newsletter

Join us in a celebration of African American History Month! The National Archives holds a wealth of materials documenting the African American experience. We invite you to learn more about the extraordinary contributions of African Americans to United States history and culture through online resources, research guides, and upcoming events and programs.

Photograph of Dr. Roscoe Brown, Jr, a Tuskegee Airman, signing the exterior of a plane. Dr. Brown is wearing a brown leather jacket with an American flag on the sleeve. A videographer is filming Dr. Brown in the background.
Black and white photograph of women from the WAC battalion during a parade in Rouen, France

L: Dr. Roscoe C. Brown, Jr., member Tuskegee Airmen, signs a canopy modeled after his P51 D Mustang during a reception following unveiling ceremonies, 5/18/1996. National Archives Identifier 6497047
R: Photograph of the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion in France, 5/27/1945. National Archives Identifier 175539237

Guide to Black History

In 1984, to support the growing demand for knowledge of African American history, Dr. Debra Newman Ham, with the help of several other colleagues, took on the responsibility of compiling a guide to Black history records at the National Archives. With the publication of Black History: A Guide to Civilian Records in the National Archives, NARA became recognized as one of the primary sources for African American historical documents. Here you will find records, information, research tools and resources on topics such as Civil Rights, Education, Diaspora, Women, and more.

Photograph of a vote registration drive. Two women behind a desk assist another woman with registration
Black and white photograph of a man with a long mustache holding a sign in each hand. One sign contains 6 stars and the other sign contains 5 stars, representing his eleven sons in military service

L: Vote Registration Drive National Archives Identifier 556258
R: Ike Sims of Atlanta, Georgia, 87 years old, has eleven sons in the service. National Archives Identifier 533583

In addition, the African American History research page provides archives resources, blog posts and articles, featured records, public programs, subject portals, and more. Subject portals on topics such as Black Power, Voting Rights, and World War I highlight selected records, guidance for researchers, and additional resources for further study.

Screenshot of subject portals on African American History page

For the latest updates, subscribe to the Rediscovering Black History blog! Learn more about the vast amount of records at the National Archives and Presidential Libraries related to the African American experience.

The National Archives will present more African American History Month programs throughout the month of February. All programs are free and open to the public and available for viewing on the National Archives YouTube channel.

Start your research on History Hub

For those looking to conduct research on African American History, we encourage you to browse recent posts and questions in History Hub's African American Records community:


Photograph of a group of students socializing at the George Westinghouse High School
Image of map and program from the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. A map of the Washington Mall is on the left side and a program of events is on the right side of the page

L: At the George Westinghouse High School. National Archives Identifier 553804 
R: March on Washington For Jobs and Freedom. National Archives Identifier 26080947

Citizen Archivist Transcription Mission:
African American History

Join us as a Citizen Archivist and help make records more searchable and findable in the Catalog! For this Citizen Archivist mission, explore and help transcribe records in the Catalog documenting African American History. Every word you transcribe helps unlock history.

Black and white photograph of a group of African American infantry men arriving in New York City. The men are waving and cheering

The famous 369th arrive in New York City. Members of the 369th colored infantry, formerly 15th New York regulars. "Back to little old New York."  National Archives Identifier 26431290

How many records can you transcribe? Get started transcribing now.
New to the Citizen Archivist program? Learn how to register and get started.

The Catalog Newsletter

Learn about newly added records and receive tips on using the Catalog's features, functionality, and guides. The National Archives Catalog is the online public portal to our records where you can learn more about our holdings. This email newsletter is delivered on a biweekly basis. Subscribe to the National Archives Catalog Newsletter

International Holocaust Remembrance Day is a memorial day designated by the United Nations to mark the anniversary of the January 27, 1945, liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi concentration and death camp.

Black and white aerial photograph of Auschwitz Concentration Camp taken in August 1944

Auschwitz I (Main Camp) - Oswiecim, Poland, 8/25/1944. From the series: Aerial Photography of Auschwitz Concentration Camp. Records of the Central Intelligence Agency, 1894 - 2002. National Archives Identifier 305899

The National Archives is the international epicenter of Holocaust-related research. NARA holds millions of records created or received by the U.S. Government during and after World War II that document Nazi war crimes, wartime refugee issues, and activities and investigations of U.S. Government agencies involved in the identification and recovery of looted assets (including gold, art, and cultural property)—as well as captured German records used as evidence at the Nuremberg International Military Tribunals. We not only hold these records, we provide access to them.

Page 1 of a handwritten letter to Reverend and Mrs. D.H. Porter from their son, describing the conditions of the concentration camp at Dachau, Germany, written in 1945
Page 2 of a handwritten letter to Reverend and Mrs. D.H. Porter from their son, describing the conditions of the concentration camp at Dachau, Germany, written in 1945
Letter to Rev. and Mrs. D. H. Porter, 5/7/1945 describing the concentration camp at Dachau, Germany. National Archives Identifier 1055429
History Hub

Start your research on History Hub
For those looking to conduct research on the Holocaust and other World War II-related topics, we encourage you to browse recent posts and questions here on History Hub:

Citizen Archivist Transcription Mission:
World War II Looted Art

The Third Reich’s Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg, or ERR, was the main agency involved in the systematic looting of cultural treasures in Nazi-occupied countries. Hitler ordered that all looted art be placed at his personal disposal. These plundered treasures and gold were hidden in castles such as Neuschwanstein Castle in Hohenschwangau, Germany, and in salt mines such as those found in Altaussee, Austria and Merkers, Germany.

Black and white photograph of Adolf Hitler inspecting looted artwork
Photograph of Hitler Inspecting Looted Artwork National Archives Identifier 175539523

For this World War II Looted Art transcription mission, help us transcribe property control cards which include information indicating to which country Nazi-looted cultural objects were restituted. In addition, the cards may include information such as artwork classification, measurements, identifying marks, history and ownership, condition and repair, arrival, destination and exit information, and the disposition of each item. In some cases, a photograph of the artwork is attached to the corresponding card.  These cards are digitized microfilm, so many are dark and low contrast. There is no need to mimic the layout of each card, just capture the data found within each field.

Property control card for a painting of the Dutch canal
Paintings: Wie 5589, Dutch Canal. National Archives Identifier 74149473

How many records can you transcribe? Get started transcribing now.
New to the Citizen Archivist program? Learn how to register and get started.

Black and white photograph of Master Sergeant Maus with an engraving found among looted art treasures, 1945

Master Sergeant Harold Maus of Scranton, PA is pictured with the Durer engraving, found among other art treasures at Merker, 5/13/1945. National Archives Identifier 5757194

Black and white photograph of two soldiers inspecting a Rembrandt self portrait among looted art treasures

"A priceless original Rembrandt, self portrait, is inspected by (left to right): Lt. Dale V. Ford and Tec 4 Harry L. Ettlinger. Lt. Ford is a resident of Grand Rapids, Michigan, while Tec 4 Ettinger hails from Irvington, New Jersey. Hielbronn." 5/3/1946. National Archives Identifier 176250354

Learn more on our Google Arts & Culture exhibit, World War II Looted Art: Turning History into Justice.

Title slide of the online exhibit, World War II Looted Art: Turning History into Justice

The Catalog Newsletter

Learn about newly added records and receive tips on using the Catalog's features, functionality, and guides. The National Archives Catalog is the online public portal to our records where you can learn more about our holdings. This email newsletter is delivered on a biweekly basis. Subscribe to the National Archives Catalog Newsletter

As digitization standards have evolved throughout the years, NARA has worked to keep up with best practices. However, despite our efforts to stay ahead of the curve, there are still photographs in our Catalog that were digitized many years ago and don’t necessarily meet the requirements to be considered “high resolution.” Specifically, researchers are likely to come across GIF (Graphics Interchange Format) files, which is more or less an outdated format in terms of digitization. While we are currently working to replace GIF files in our Catalog, in the meantime, researchers may be able to obtain higher resolution JPG/JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) and TIF/TIFF (Tag Image File Format) versions by searching Wikimedia Commons. The following is a step-by-step guide on how to find JPG and TIF files when the only version available in our Catalog is a GIF.*

 

 

You find a GIF file in the National Archives Catalog. Highlight and copy the National Archives Identifier number.

 

 

Go to Wikimedia Commons and paste the National Archives Identifier into the search bar (located in the top right-hand corner).

 

 

If there are any higher resolution copies of the photo available on Wikimedia Commons, the files usually appear within the top 5 search results.

 

 

After choosing the file format you want to use (JPG, TIF), click “download.”

 

 

Choose file resolution.

 

 

GIF version of 412-DA-731 (Santa Cruz, CA in May 1972, Photographer: Dick Rowan)

GIF version of 412-DA-731 (Santa Cruz, CA in May 1972, Photographer: Dick Rowan)

JPG version of 412-DA-731 (Santa Cruz, CA in May 1972, Photographer: Dick Rowan)

 

 

NARA staff have been working to add higher resolution versions to series that were originally uploaded as GIFs, so there are some instances where there are multiple file types available to download from our Catalog. In instances where a GIF and a JPG exist, but there is no TIF version, it is worth searching Wikimedia Commons to see if a TIF is available. The following is an example of that scenario.

 

 

*Please be aware that these instructions only apply to older digitization project in which GIFs were the original files uploaded to the Catalog.

 

A version of this post was originally published on the National Archives' Unwritten Record blog. The Unwritten Record is dedicated to highlighting special media holdings at NARA. Check it out!

Native American Photographs Tagging Mission


Citizen Archivists, we have a new mission for you! More than 18,000 photographs from the Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) are now available in the National Archives Catalog. We are looking for Citizen Archivists to add specific topical subject tags to each photograph in the Record Group.

Black and white photo of woman and child by teepee
Black and white photo of two men working on stone house construction

L: Women and child by teepee, ca. 1936. National Archives Identifier 285205
R: Stone House during Construction / Men Working. National Archives Identifier 7867978

Check out the mission page for the list of topical subject tags. Please add one or more of these topical subject tags to each photograph in the mission. Tagging Native American records with these topical subjects will make them more searchable in the Catalog, and will help organize them by subject for use in future projects and resource guides.

For this project, all tags should be added to the left side of the image and description, as shown in this example:

Screenshot of photo from Catalog showing a group of men in a class photo. To the left of the image shows tags added to description
Moscow, Idaho School of Welding class photo, ca. 1940. National Archives Identifier 285195

In addition to adding at least one of the tags in the list, you are welcome to add as many other descriptive tags as you would like. For this project, you can even add a topical subject tag if the term is already found in the Title or Scope and Content Note. Please see our What Makes A Good Tag how-to guide to learn more about tagging.

Black and white photograph of men constructing a stone house
Black and white photo of a family standing in front of a stone house.
L: Camp Building- Mt. Goseping L.O. National Archives Identifier 118973791
R: M&M Bluecloud, Daughter and Granddaughter by Home. National Archives Identifier 7867887

Check out the mission page and get started tagging! Thank you for helping make these rich records more accessible.

New to the citizen archivist program? Learn how to register and get started.

Black and white photograph of a young girl sitting in the doorway of a reed house
Black and white photograph of a woman feeding goats

L: Indian girl in native dress sitting in doorway of reed summer house, ca. 1935. National Archives Identifier 285204
R: Women feeding goats, ca. 1940. National Archives Identifier 285246

New in the Catalog

Lantern Slides of Navy Vessels and the Fifth Marine Regiment in France during World War I, ca. 1917 - ca. 1963. National Archives Identifier 559374

This series consists of lantern slides taken during World War I. Some of the images document the activities of the Fifth Marine Regiment serving under General Charles A. Doyen, United States Marine Corps, during June of 1917.

Slide showing two men sitting atop a stone wall talking
Slide showing car full of U.S. Marines driving down a road while a group of people watch and wave

L: Lantern Slide of Explaining Baseball to a British Sailor. National Archives Identifier 178140484
R: Lantern Slide of Greeting U.S. Marines in France. National Archives Identifier 178140520

In addition, this series includes views of various naval vessels from World War I. Some of the images are artist renderings of ships from that era. Among the types of ships pictured are destroyers, battleships, and submarines.

History Hub
Also be sure to explore the Native American Records community here on History Hub!  Bring your questions about Native American history and records, or help answer other users' questions!

The Catalog Newsletter

Learn about newly added records and receive tips on using the Catalog's features, functionality, and guides. The National Archives Catalog is the online public portal to our records where you can learn more about our holdings. This email newsletter is delivered on a biweekly basis. Subscribe to the National Archives Catalog Newsletter

1 Million Pages!

We reached a BIG milestone.

Thanks to our community of Citizen Archivists, more than ONE MILLION pages of records are now enhanced by citizen archivist contributions to the National Archives Catalog!

Animated gif of group of people cheering
US National Archives on Giphy. Source: America in Space - The First Decade, 1968. National Archives Identifier 45015

This goal is part of the National Archives Strategic Plan, 2018-2022, which was established as a way to Connect with Customers, encouraging the public to engage with their government and explore American history by contributing unique content to the National Archives Catalog.

All of your contributions—including tags, transcriptions and comments—help improve search results for our records and make handwritten or difficult-to-read text accessible for a wider audience.

Looking for records from a previous citizen archivist mission? Wondering what types of records we’ve featured in transcription missions recently?

Check out our new Mission History page to see what our community of citizen archivists have been working on lately!
We couldn't have made it to 1 million pages without our Citizen Archivists. A big thank you to our top contributors of all time!

1. smithal
2. lcahalan
3. gypsi
4. PhillipEverettBacon
5. Trumanvol
6. SPietro
7. SAO
8. Nightingale
9. MM2
10. DonnaDP

11. maileann

12. WWEBER

13. garywysocki

14. jammon49

15. tmccolle

16. Ceili

17. Conrad

18. bibliophile

19. dar4cubs

20. Groenblad

World War II poster of a woman reading a letter. Top says Thanks gang, for the swell job you're doin
World War II Posters, 1942 - 1945, 'Thanks, Gang, for the Swell Job You're Doin'". National Archives Identifier 514685

Let's keep moving to the next million! Check our latest citizen archivist missions and get started transcribing today. Every contribution you make helps unlock a piece of history.

New to the citizen archivist program? Learn how to register and get started.

Introducing the Presidential Library Explorer

You may remember the launch of our Record Group Explorer last year, a data visualization tool to help you navigate the universe of records held at the National Archives.

We are pleased to share our second next-generation finding aid: the Presidential Library Explorer!

Screenshot of William Clinton Presidential Library display

This tool is a new path into the digitized holdings of NARA’s Presidential Libraries, providing a browseable experience that complements the deep dive that search in the National Archives Catalog provides.

The Presidential Library Explorer provides a visual summary of each Library, featuring:

  • a compelling image from each Library at the top,
  • a bar that indicates the scanning progress for each Library,
  • portals for browsing records within each Library organized by format,
  • portals for descriptions that do not have scans online,
  • and a call to action for citizen archivists.
Screenshot of Presidential Library Explorer showing how to browse our records

Give our Presidential Library Explorer a try! We’d love to hear your feedback about how you may find this tool useful, and how we can further improve it.

The data powering the Presidential Library Explorer will be updated monthly, so check back to see what we have added and any changes we’ve made. Also stay tuned for future next-generation finding aid projects in the works!


Questions about Presidential Records?  Bring them to the Presidential Records community here on History Hub

Or share your presidential knowledge with other community members!

New in the Catalog

We love patents! Thousands of new patent drawings were added to this series that consists of patent drawings illustrating proposed inventions of various types of equipment containing mechanical components.

Utility Patent Drawings, 1837 - 1911

We are sure to have some aspiring citizen archivist inventors out there! Do these patent drawings inspire your creativity?

Patent drawing of improvement to knitting machine
H. Pease Improvement in Knitting-Machines, 6/25/1872. National Archives Identifier 177838873

The Catalog Newsletter

Learn about newly added records and receive tips on using the Catalog's features, functionality, and guides. The National Archives Catalog is the online public portal to our records where you can learn more about our holdings. This email newsletter is delivered on a biweekly basis. Subscribe to the National Archives Catalog Newsletter

19th Amendment Centennial

The 19th Amendment was ratified in 1920, but this landmark event was not the beginning or the end of the story for women and the struggle for the right to vote. The National Archives holds the records that help tell this story, including petitions, legislation, court cases, and more.

Image of 19th Amendment document

As the home of the 19th Amendment, the National Archives is commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Constitutional amendment that guaranteed that “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”

Animated GIF of women marching
US National Archives on Giphy. Source: General Marshall is Sworn in as the New Secretary of State, 2/21/1947. National Archives Identifier 23889
We are kicking off this 19th Amendment Centennial Commemoration with a brand new Citizen Archivist mission! Join us and transcribe newly digitized records that document the suffrage movement.
Document showing petition in favor of suffrage amendment
Document show a petition of women in favor of suffrage amendment

L: Petitions of Citizens of California in Favor of a Suffrage Amendment.  National Archives Identifier 169164461
R: Petition of Women of the First Congressional District of Illinois in Favor of the Susan B. Anthony Amendment. National Archives Identifier 167059974

These records include petitions to Congress for and against suffrage for women, resolutions, letters, telegrams, endorsements, resolutions, and memorials. Every word you transcribe helps make the records easier to find in the Catalog.

New to the citizen archivist program? Learn how to register and get started.

#19SuffrageStories

The campaign for women’s suffrage was long, difficult, and often dramatic.

Diverse communities and organizations blazed the trail for equal voting rights across the nation. For many women, especially women of color, the fight didn’t end when the 19th Amendment went into effect on August 26, 1920. Yet the stories of these suffragists have often been overlooked.

Image of women holding banner reading "19 stories about women and voting"

To mark the centennial of the 19th Amendment, the Smithsonian, Library of Congress, and National Archives are collaborating to bring these stories to you on social media.

Follow #19SuffrageStories on Instagram and Twitter now until August 26 to learn voting-rights history from the Library of Congress (@LibraryCongress on Instagram and Twitter), the National Archives (@USNatArchives), and the Smithsonian (@Smithsonian) about the many, diverse women who fought for voting rights, long before and long after the amendment passed.

Join us and use our set of animated social media GIFs and Instagram stickers on your social media posts to mark the centennial.

Animated GIF of Ida B. Wells saying "The way to right wrongs is to turn the light of truth upon them."
Animated GIF of Marie Louise Bottineau Baldwin saying "Indian women were among the first suffragists"

We also invite you to join the National Archives online as we highlight records from our holdings and examine the fight for women’s voting rights through virtual public programs for all ages. Throughout August, we will explore the complex story of the struggle for women’s suffrage, leading up to and beyond the certification of the 19th Amendment on August 26, 1920. Visit our 19th Amendment Centennial Events page to view and sign up for our events, programs and activities.

Animated GIF of purple and yellow banner that reads "Lifting as we climb"
History Hub

Also be sure to explore the Women's Rights and Suffrage community here on History Hub!  Bring your questions about the 19th Amendment or help answer other users' questions about the history of women's suffrage!

The Catalog Newsletter

Learn about newly added records and receive tips on using the Catalog's features, functionality, and guides. The National Archives Catalog is the online public portal to our records where you can learn more about our holdings. This email newsletter is delivered on a biweekly basis. Subscribe to the National Archives Catalog Newsletter

The National Archives recently launched a new pathway to view and explore our records: the Record Group Explorer. This data visualization allows you to browse NARA’s holdings by Record Group. You can use it to get a sense of the scale and organization of records at the National Archives and to explore what is available online via the National Archives Catalog.

 

We now invite you to give the Record Group Explorer a try while contributing as a citizen archivist. To celebrate the launch of the Record Group Explorer, we’ve created special missions for each Record Group. Our first set of missions invite you to help tag and transcribe Records from the U.S. Secret Service and the Records of the Government of the District of Columbia. We’ll feature additional Record Groups for future missions.

 

Each of your contributions to these records will help unlock history and make them easier to find in our Catalog for other users.

 

Record Group Explorer Missions for Citizen Archivists

 

Have questions about the Record Group Explorer? Ask questions and contribute to the conversation here on History Hub. We’d also love to hear your input on how this new tool might be beneficial to you in your research, and your ideas about how we could further refine this data visualization for future projects.

 

The data powering the Record Group Explorer will be updated monthly, so check back to see what we have added and what changes have been made.

As part of our World War I commemoration, we recently invited the public to help transcribe written accounts of World War I soldiers and their first experiences in battles. This series contains remarkable and moving accounts of war through unit histories, station lists, operations reports, messages, and more. 

 

Of the 2,409 records in the series, 6,652 pages were transcribed by our citizen volunteers. We were especially moved by the descriptions of the battlefield by the soldiers who experienced the war first hand, and wanted to find a way to capture their experiences.

 

Now that the transcriptions are nearly complete, we are excited to share how this work transcribing has unlocked the stories within these records, and ensured these soldier’s voices are heard.

 

By performing a "search within" these records in the Catalog, we can now search for events, battlefield conditions, or even emotions that soldiers wrote about within their accounts. For example:

 

 

The word “artillery” can be found in 523 records in this series

“About 4 PM we moved forward to canal under heavy artillery and machine gun fire. Were relieved next morning.”

Transcribed by citizen archivist Ndlund

 

The word “afraid” can be found in 23 records in this series

“I was afraid that we would never reach our objective with one man alive but we only had 4  killed and two wounded all it takes is nerve”

Transcribed by citizen archivist LibrarianDiva

 

Ready to give it a try? Here’s how to search within a series:

 

From the Details section of the series description in the Catalog, click on the blue box: “Search within this series”

 

In the top left search box, remove the wildcard symbols *.* and replace it with the word you would like to search.:

 

 

Click on the magnifying glass or press “enter” on your keyboard to start your search. See your results!

 

 

Give it a try, and let us know what you find within these records! You could try searching for “trench,” or “Verdun,”  or even “pigeon.” Have you discovered something interesting or unexpected? How else could you use this feature in you research?

 

There are a few more records in this series that can still be transcribed! Help us finish up these last few records to make these stirring accounts fully accessible.  Get Started Transcribing!

You did it! During last week’s Citizen Archivist Week of Service, more than 430 citizen archivists helped tag and transcribe more than 3,500 pages! Thanks to all of you for helping us reach (and surpass) our goal.

 

giphy (3).gif

 

Didn’t get a chance to participate last week? Not to worry. Our Citizen Archivist Dashboard is updated regularly with new missions and featured records to tag and transcribe. Check back often to see what’s new, and keep up the great work!