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One of the best parts of the holiday season is the opportunity to say thank you to our Catalog community and Citizen Archivists. We are grateful for your efforts to make the records of the National Archives more accessible to everyone.

As we wrap up another year of online access, we’re sharing some highlights from the past year. We look forward to sharing more of our holdings and history with you in 2022.

Together we explored Catalog records:
Map of St. Raphael, Italy
Maps in the Catalog
We charted a course through the cartographic holdings at the National Archives. 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. Learn more.
Handwritten escape and evasion report of McQueen, Sebron Andrew Jr. (2 L.t)

World War II Escape and Evasion Reports
Nearly 3,000 reports are part of a series containing information on escape and evasion activities and training of U.S. soldiers serving in the European theater during World War II. Within these records, you will find dramatic and gripping first hand accounts of survival from U.S. soldiers in Europe during World War II. Learn more.

"Confederate Slave Payrolls"
During the U.S. Civil War, the Confederate Army required enslavers to loan their enslaved people to the military. Throughout the Confederacy from Florida to Virginia, these enslaved people served as cooks and laundresses, labored in deadly conditions to mine potassium nitrate to create gunpowder, worked in ordnance factories, and dug the extensive defensive trench networks that defended cities such as Petersburg, Virginia.
Handwritten confederate slave payroll listing names and wages
To track this extensive network of thousands of enslaved people and the pay their enslavers received for their lease, the Confederate Quartermaster Department created the record series now called the "Confederate Slave Payrolls." Learn more.
We introduced new research tools and shared strategies for online research:
Screenshot of the Harmon Foundation Collection from the Donated Collections Explorer

Donated Collections Explorer
In addition to Federal records, the National Archives holds collections of donated historical materials, many of which pertain to and illustrate historical activities of the United States, or document a significant program or activity of the U.S. government. To help you navigate the universe of records held at the National Archives, we are excited to introduce the third in a series of online finding aid tools: the Donated Collection Explorer! Learn more.

Photograph of 3 students in desks at a classroom with their hands raised
Education Resources
Whether you are a teacher or a learner in an online or in-person environment, the National Archives has an abundance of resources for students and educators. Our Educator Resources web page contains information and resources on working with primary sources, free distance learning programs, professional development, civic education, and more. Learn more.
Black and white photograph of a man looking through binoculars with a kitten sitting on his lap
Navigating the Catalog
Did you know the National Archives Catalog contains over 159 million pages of digitized historical records and more than 27.6 million descriptions of the records in our holdings? And new pages and descriptions are being added to the Catalog each week! With so much information and material available to search, we are excited to share updated Catalog Help pages with new instructional videos to help you navigate the Catalog and make the most of your research online. Learn more.
Animated gif of a woman sitting at a computer typing with one hand while writing with the other
History Hub special edition
Are you stuck in your historical research? Have you hit a wall in your genealogy quest? Find your answer on History Hub! We invite you to explore History Hub, our pioneering crowdsourced history and genealogy research community. Make History Hub your first stop! You can ask—or answer—questions on History Hub, or see if your question has already been answered. Learn more.
We commemorated several important historical anniversaries:

100th anniversary of the Tulsa Massacre
The Tulsa Massacre of 1921 was one of the worst instances of mass racial violence in American history. The violence centered on Tulsa’s Greenwood District (also known as “Black Wall Street”), a commercial area with many successful Black-owned businesses. In 24 hours, hundreds were killed, thousands displaced, and 35 city blocks were burned to ruins. The attack on Black Wall Street included the first aerial bombing of a U.S. city.

Photograph of Tulsa Oklahoma after the massacre
The American National Red Cross provided relief to many victims of this massacre. The Tulsa Chapter compiled reports and a photo album relating to their management of the disaster relief effort, showing riot scenes, devastated areas, National Guard troops, destroyed homes, dead victims, and massacre survivors in temporary housing. Learn more.
Firefighters unfurl a large American flag over the scarred stone of the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia

20th anniversary of 9/11
This year marked the 20th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States. As the nation’s record keeper, the National Archives holds many records  related to the events of September 11, including the 9/11 Commission Records, 9/11 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Records, and more than 50,000 photographs from White House photographers capturing the horror and heroism, the courage and compassion surrounding the attacks. Learn more.

Photograph of the Pearl Harbor memorial at night with lights from the city in the background
80th anniversary of Pearl Harbor
On the morning of December 7, 1941, Japanese bombers and torpedo planes staged a surprise attack on the U.S. Pacific fleet anchored at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, propelling the United States into World War II. Within the holdings of the National Archives, you will find records chronicling U.S. military history and battles, including photographs, video footage, maps, ship plans, and other records related to the events of Pearl Harbor. Learn more.
Citizen Archivist Mission History
Black and white photograph of soldiers dancing aboard a ship
And we unlocked history! Thanks to our online volunteers, more than 1 million pages in the National Archives Catalog have been enhanced with your tags, transcriptions and comments this year. All of your contributions help improve search results for our records and make handwritten or difficult-to-read text accessible for a wider audience. Thank you!
Soldiers Dancing Aboard Ship, 5/2/1944. National Archives Identifier 138926282

Want to see more of the Citizen Archivist Missions you’ve worked on? Curious about the kinds of missions we’ve done in the last few years? Check out our Mission History page. On this page we list our previous missions so that you can review the records from previous projects. In a few cases, we still need some help completing the transcription or tags, so review the list and help us out. Did you have a favorite Mission this year? Let us know!

Top 50 Contributors of 2021

A big THANK YOU to each of our contributors! We look forward to unlocking more history together in 2022. And a special shout-out to our top 50 contributors this year:

tmccolle

jammon49

Aapiaom

WWEBER

ONEILL

scludwig

Cassone

irakirshenbaum

Dphacker

smalzkuhn

soonerfactor3

ask4john

Ackman

Nightingale

jclagett

abryan

smithal

twilcox

mlmorse

Chensley

WLambert

jknorr

nstephenson

Jerfisher

kdawkins

Gregs

cmcutrona

cjacquet

takeahike5

Hypatia

gypsi

heidimarie

rbass

SAO

RCrawford

ddoerner

Divine

rsowell

awalker

archivesjim

dkwashington

cmokeefe

andersont

RonnaB

MaryLouMissall

Jocko

CharlesMiller

GoreckiC

Trumanvol

wpopp

Animated gif of a group of soldiers filing out of a tent. Many smile at the camera, while one man smiles and tips his hat before walking away

Happy New Year from all of us at the National Archives. We wish you a wonderful, peaceful holiday season.

Start your research on History Hub
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Have a question? Find your answer on History Hub!

History Hub’s research and user community has provided answers to thousands of fascinating questions over the past year, including:

  1. Top Secret WW2 documents- still secret?
  2. Re: When has the government used "Cannot Confirm or Deny"?
  3. How to search U.S. Census records?
  4. What is the latest information on Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan?
  5. Seeking Clayton's Guide or other guides to 1850s Oregon Trail
  6. Searching for war bride records from Europe
  7. Where can I find my Great-Grandfather's Homestead Application?

 

See also Top History Hub Questions of 2021 and Select your Favorite History Hub Question of 2021

See our recent newsletter for more details, information, and instructions about Getting Started with History Hub

Citizen Archivists, there's a group just for you!  You can share tips and strategies, find new challenges, and get support for your work.  Get started with our poll: What kinds of records do you like to transcribe?

Make History Hub your first stop! You can ask—or answer—questions on History Hub, or see if your question has already been answered.

History Hub logo

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.

80 years ago today, on the morning of December 7, 1941, Japanese bombers and torpedo planes staged a surprise attack on the U.S. Pacific fleet anchored at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, propelling the United States into World War II. In less than 2 hours, the U.S. Pacific Fleet was devastated, and more than 3,000 Americans were either killed or wounded.

USS Arizona memorial at night with lights from the neighboring area illuminating the water and memorial
The USS Arizona Memorial the night before the 62nd Commemoration of the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, 12/6/2003. National Archives Identifier 6669640

Within the holdings of the National Archives, you will find records chronicling U.S. military history and battles, including photographs, video footage, maps, ship plans, and other records related to the events of Pearl Harbor.

US serviceman on board the USS Arizona memorial folding an American flag as they retire the colors

US servicemen on the USS ARIZONA Memorial retire the colors at a mass re-enlistment ceremony, 7/20/1984. National Archives Identifier 6389552

Sailors pay tribute to casualties of the Pearl Harbor attack at a Hawaiian Islands cemetery, circa Spring 1942. National Archives Identifier 12009116
Color photograph of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, showing smoke and fire on the water
Photograph of Pearl Harbor, 12/7/1941. National Archives Identifier 12009098

Wreckage at Naval Air Station, Pearl Harbor. National Archives Identifier 520595

Black and white photograph of the USS shaw in drydock while clouds of dark smoke can be seen in the background
USS Shaw (DD373) lies in drydock YFD-2 after being hit by three bombs which exploded her forward magazine. Part of the drydock at right is under water while while the other side is listing heavily. National Archives Identifier 12008979
Document showing the radar plot from station Opana Pearl Harbor

Radar Plot from Station Opana, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, ca. 1941. National Archives Identifier 2600930

“This is not a Drill” Dispatch, 12/7/1941

This Navy dispatch sent from the Commander in Chief of the Pacific announces the attack on the U.S. Naval Base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii by the Japanese Navy. It was received at the Squantum Naval Reserve Aviation Base on December 7, 1941 from the First Naval District. It states, “AIR RAID ON PEARL HARBOR X THIS IS NOT DRILL.”

Received dispatch reading "Air raid on Pearl Harbor X this is not a drill"
National Archives Identifier 596244

DocsTeach, the online tool for teaching with documents from the National Archives, has online teaching activities related to Pearl Harbor. In Pearl Harbor Dispatch Analysis, students analyze the “This is Not Drill” naval dispatch in an activity that encourages students to look for evidence to decode the true meaning of the message.

Learn more on the Education Updates blog.

USS Arizona Memorial at dusk with a line of sailors on the dock assigned to the ceremonial guard

US Navy (USN) Sailors assigned to the ceremonial guard Naval Station (NS) Pearl Harbor, Hawaii (HI), preparing in the early morning hours for the 63rd commemoration of the December 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor at the battleship USS ARIZONA (BB 39) Memorial, 12/7/2004. National Archives Identifier 6669772

The Cartographic unit at the National Archives holds maps and aerial photographs depicting Pearl Harbor, as well as plans for ships that were present on December 7, 1941.

Manuscript color map of Pearl Harbor after the attack

Manuscript color Map of Pearl Harbor after the Attack, National Archives Identifier 29032720. Prepared by the Joint Intelligence Center, Pacific Ocean Areas to illustrate the locations of roads, railroads, airfields, buildings, storage tanks and positions of unnamed ships in the harbor.

The battleship USS Arizona (BB-39) was bombed and sunk during the attack on Pearl Harbor. The following ship plans for the USS Arizona list alterations to the ship’s design dated as late as June 1941. 

Ship plans for the USS Arizona
Ship plans for the USS Arizona

L: Plans for the Battleship USS Arizona (BB-39): Booklet of General Plans - Second Deck / Third & Splinter Decks / First Platform. National Archives Identifier 75840426

R: Plans for the Battleship USS Arizona (BB-39): Booklet of General Plans - Inboard Profile, 8/31/1934. National Archives Identifier 75840420
Map of Pearl Harbor

Map of Pearl Harbor, one of approximately 40 new pictures of combat action during first six months of Pacific war, released in connection with publication of “Battle Report” by Comdr. Walter Karig, USNR and Lt. Welbourne Kelley, USNR. Rec’d Nov. 27, 1944. Local ID: 80-G-47105. National Archives Identifier 12009088

Because the bombing of Pearl Harbor was a surprise, there is very little American footage of the attack itself. The following film captures about three minutes of the attack and its aftermath:

Japanese planes bomb Pearl Harbor, USS Arizona explodes & sinks, 12/7/1941. National Archives Identifier 76168

Learn more on the Unwritten Record blog.

“Day of Infamy” Address

The day after the attack on Pearl Harbor, President Franklin Roosevelt delivered a six-minute speech before a joint session of Congress that ended with a request for a declaration of war. Congress approved within hours.

Learn more about the writing of this speech on the Pieces of History blog.

Annotated draft of FDR's "Day of Infamy" address, page 1
Annotated draft of FDR's "Day of Infamy" address, page 2

President Franklin D. Roosevelt's annotated draft of a proposed message to Congress requesting a Declaration of War against Japan. The speech was dictated by Roosevelt on December 7, 1941 in the hours following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The handwritten notations are Roosevelt's modifications and corrections to the typewritten first draft. The final version of the speech incorporating Roosevelt's annotations was delivered by the President to a Joint Session of Congress on December 8, 1941. National Archives Identifier: 593345

USS Arizona memorial with the American flag raised above

The American flag is raised at the USS ARIZONA Memorial, 6/1/1988. National Archives Identifier 6434051

On DocsTeach, the online tool for teaching with documents from the National Archives, you can find primary sources like maps and speeches – even images taken by the Japanese military during the attack that were later captured.

DocsTeach also includes posters that used the attack on Pearl Harbor as a rallying cry for a variety of war efforts, like joining the Coast Guard, buying war bonds, or working harder in a factory. Learn more on the Education Updates blog.

World War II poster reading "The Navy needs ships to avenge Pearl Harbor let's go"
World War II poster of Dorie Miller reading "above and beyond the call of duty"

Learn more about the records held at the National Archives related to Pearl Harbor:

The American Soldier in World War II

We invite you to explore The American Soldier in World War II website, offering a portrait of Americans who served in the war and of U.S. society and culture in the 1940s.

During World War II, the U.S. Army administered more than 200 surveys to over half a million American troops to discover what they thought and how they felt about the conflict and their military service. Topics covered by the army’s troop surveys include leave policies, food preferences, radio listening habits, combat experiences, racial views, mental and physical health, postwar plans, and more. The surviving collection of studies, held by the National Archives, is now accessible at The American Soldier in World War II. Browse and search over 65,000 pages of responses handwritten by service members, view and download survey data and original analyses, read topical essays, and access additional learning resources.

Screenshot of the American Solider in World War II website"

The American Soldier in World War II website is based at Virginia Tech and directed by Virginia Tech assistant professor of history Edward J.K. Gitre. It has been made possible in part by grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Democracy demands wisdom (PW-253766-17 and PW-264049-19) and has also received support, resources, and cooperation from Zooniverse.org, National Archives and Records Administration, University of Virginia Biocomplexity Institute, Social Science Research Council, and George C. Marshall Research Library. The records and transcriptions will be made available in the National Archives Catalog in the future.

This resource is also made possible by the nearly 7,200 citizen-archivists who submitted a combined quarter-million transcriptions and annotations in a little over two years. Learn more at: https://americansoldierww2.org

Start your research on History Hub
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Have a question? Find your answer on History Hub!

History Hub’s Military Records community has fielded dozens of questions related to the Attack on Pearl Harbor, including:

Where can I find transcripts of the Pearl Harbor Hearings?

Seeking deck log of USS Pompano (SS-181) during the attack on Pearl Harbor

Looking for Pearl Harbor testimony of Private Joseph McDonald

How does one copy and save photographs from Pearl Harbor attack?

Seeking list of Hickam Field personnel on 7 Dec 1941

Seeking hull specification for the USS Oklahoma BB-37     

See our recent newsletter for more details, information, and instructions about Getting Started with History Hub

Citizen Archivists , there's a group just for you!  You can share tips and strategies, find new challenges, and get support for your work.  Get started with our poll: What kinds of records do you like to transcribe?

Make History Hub your first stop! You can ask—or answer—questions on History Hub, or see if your question has already been answered.

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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 holiday season is here. Time to put on our historic chef hats, preheat the oven, and get started on our winter weather menus!

Black and white photograph of two chefs in the kitchen preparing food
Executive Chef Cliff Ledford and Mary Bloxson prepare a salad in the kitchen of the Mustin Beach Officers Club. Naval Air Station, Pensacola, 2/16/1990. National Archives Identifier 6453020

This time of year always inspires us to peruse the National Archives Catalog for historic recipes and food related records, many of which were favorite recipes of the First Families, as well as those prepared by White House kitchen staff for special events through the years.

US troops serving and being served Thanksgiving dinner from a buffet line

A view of the Thanksgiving dinner served to U.S. troops taking part in Exercise Bright Star '82, 11/1/1981. National Archives Identifier 6347662

Handwritten and typed Thanksgiving dinner menu during the Truman administration in 1947

President Truman White House Menu, 11/26/1947 Thanksgiving. National Archives Identifier 6882370

We hope you find inspiration from these historic recipes and photographs found in the National Archives. Bon Appetit!

Recipe card for Julie Nixon Eisenhower's Spanish eggs on White House stationary

Serving brunch this year? Why not try Julie Nixon Eisenhower’s Spanish Eggs recipe. She recommends it served with sliced tomatoes, green salad or fruit.

National Archives Identifier 6727957

Recipe card for a Cinpac Special drink

When it’s time for a cocktail, we’re intrigued by this recipe for a "Cinpac Special" developed by Admiral Nimitz when he was Commander in Chief of the Pacific during World War II. At the time, liquor was rationed to a bottle a week per person and frequently rum was the only kind available.

National Archives Identifier 139308885

If a cocktail is not your style, how about a mocktail? Try this Recipe for Punch that serves 200.

You’ll need some appetizers to go along with your cocktails. Why don’t you serve the Plains Special Cheese Ring. It’s a staff favorite around here!
Recipe card for Plains Special Cheese Ring

Plains Special Cheese Ring Recipe. National Archives Identifier 6783885

Family photograph of Jimmy Carter and family at Christmastime wearing festive holiday hats
Carter family Christmas portrait, 12/25/1978. National Archives Identifier 182893

Is it Dressing or Stuffing? Bess Truman called hers “Turkey Dressing” and the recipe includes sausage, rice and pecans. Mrs. Truman has a second Turkey Dressing recipe if you prefer a bread base with the option of adding oysters.

Handwritten recipe card for Bess Truman's turkey dressing. The recipe is written on a "Missouri Pacific Lines" letterhead
Recipe for Turkey Dressing. National Archives Identifier 139308816
Photograph of President Harry Truman and Bess Truman on the front porch of their home in Missouri. The couple are looking at one another while their arms are wrapped around each other

Photograph of President Harry S. Truman and Mrs. Bess Truman on the Porch of Their Independence, Missouri Home, 1953. National Archives Identifier 596500

Looking for some side dishes? Rosalynn Carter shared a favorite recipe for Eggplant Souffle. In true 1950s style, this Eisenhower recipe for Honeydew Melon, Filled and Frosted includes Jello. You can also try the Georgia Sweet Potato Souffle found on page 5 of The Republican Congressional Cook Book.

Recipe card for Georgia sweet potato souffle from Mrs. Capers Rice, Republican National Committeewoman for Georgia

The Republican Congressional Cook Book, ca. 1962. National Archives Identifier 30806124

Do you like to serve bread, rolls or biscuits? There are lots of options that can be found in the Catalog. Try Sequoia Orange Biscuits or Bran Rolls. If you are looking for a recipe that reads like a baking show challenge, try Bess Truman’s Drop Biscuits where the recipe doesn’t include information on how to bake the biscuits.

This photograph depicts two people baking biscuits at an emergency mass feeding course at Fort Dix, New Jersey. The oven is open and the people are inspecting the platter
Baking Biscuits at Fort Dix, 9/1/1954. National Archives Identifier 7385035

Time for dessert! Do you serve pumpkin or pecan pie for Thanksgiving? Why choose just one? Whip up Nancy Reagan’s Pumpkin Pecan Pie. Or skip the pie all together and make a cake. Try the Truman family’s 200 Year Old Pound Cake, Rosalynn Carter’s recipe for Japanese Fruit Cake, or adjust the proportions and make the White House Wedding Cake for Tricia Nixon Cox's Wedding.

Black and white photograph of a group of Salvation Army members wearing helmets and making pies for soldiers

Salvation Army Girls, Gladys and Irene McIntyre, Myrtle Turkington and Stella Young, with steel helmets and gas masks, making pies free for soldiers. 26th Division, Ansonville, France., 4/9/1918. National Archives Identifier 55181227

Photograph of a chef plating a table full of dishes for a White House event
White House Executive Chef Cris Comerford plates Quinoa Black Bean and Corn Salad in the Old Family Dining Room of the White House before the Kids' State Dinner, Aug. 20, 2012. The salad was a winning recipe from Haile Thomas, 11, of Arizona. National Archives Identifier 178713402

Looking for more? Browse a selection of additional recipes in our Catalog. If you’ve tried any of these recipes, we'd love to know how they turned out! Email us at catalog@nara.gov.

And be sure to check out National Archives News for Thanksgiving records and stories from the National Archives.

We can’t let Thanksgiving go by without expressing our gratitude to each and every one of our Catalog users and Citizen Archivists. We especially want to thank you for your patience through last week’s Catalog maintenance. We are grateful every day for your time and efforts that help make the records of the National Archives more searchable online.

Wishing you a happy and healthy Thanksgiving from all of us at the National Archives!

Animated gif of a bar scene where the bartenders are toasting a crowd of patrons
US National Archives on GIPHY
Transcribe Records as a Citizen Archivist

Ready to relax after a big meal? Take a look at our latest Citizen Archivist missions, and jump in to participate! Our latest missions include Escape and Evasion reports from World War II, American Civil War military service records, Reports of Clerks, Wagonmasters, and Printers Employed at Various Posts, 1865, and more. Every contribution you make helps make these records easier to find in our Catalog.

Photograph of an airman watching a radar screen while holding a plate of Thanksgiving dinner

An air controlman eats Thanksgiving dinner while keeping an eye on the radar scope in the helicopter direction center aboard the amphibious assault ship USS OKINAWA (LPH 3), 11/26/1987. Scene Camera Operator: PH2 (Sw) Jeffrey A. Elliott. National Archives Identifier 6432955

Every word you transcribe helps to make these records more searchable and accessible online. Get started transcribing!

New to the Citizen Archivist program? Learn how to register and get started.

Start your research on History Hub
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Have a question? Find your answer on History Hub!

Some interesting questions this month!

See our recent newsletter for more details, information, and instructions about Getting Started with History Hub.

Citizen Archivists, there's a group just for you! You can share tips and strategies, find new challenges, and get support for your work.  Get started with our poll: What kinds of records do you like to transcribe?

Make History Hub your first stop! You can ask—or answer—questions on History Hub, or see if your question has already been answered.

History Hub logo

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.