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21 Posts authored by: History Hub Administrator Expert

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!

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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.

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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.

Veterans Day is observed annually on November 11, honoring those who served in the United States Armed Forces. Each year, we acknowledge the work done and sacrifices made by our men and women in uniform.

Photograph of a joint services color guard marching in a parade
A joint services color guard marches in the dedication day parade for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, 1/1/1983. National Archives Identifier 6375696

We invite you to explore the wealth of records held by the National Archives that document U.S. military encounters from the 18th century through the 20th century, including the Veterans Day Military History roundup on the Unwritten Record blog, and our Veterans Day Resources on archives.gov.

Photograph of two armed services members maintaining a OV-1A

Color Photographs of Signal Corps Activity, 1944 - 1981. 2.75 mm Rockets Loaded on to a OV-1A, 9/11/1967. National Archives Identifier 176250302

The National Archives is proud to serve veterans and their families, especially through our work at the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, MO. You can find out how we help veterans access their records to receive benefits, and read about the work our Preservation staff do to make these records accessible. Be sure to take a look at our free special programs on topics from the Revolutionary War to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and World War II movies.

To all veterans and their families: thank you for your service.

Black and white photograph of an engineer camp during the civil war, 8th state militia

Mathew Brady Photographs of Civil War-Era Personalities and Scenes. Engineer camp, 8th N.Y. State Militia, ca. 1860-1865. National Archives Identifier 524918

Black and white photograph of a group of men from the 369th 15th NY in 1919
Men of 369th (15th N.Y.) who won the Croix de Guerre for gallantry in action, 2/12/1919. National Archives Identifier 26431282
Black and white photograph of three women from Women Airforce Service pilots in and around an airplane consulting documents

WASPs Around a Curtis A-25A, ca. 1943. National Archives Identifier 176250894

Photograph of sailors kneeling in a line placing wreaths on memorials of casualties of Pearl Harbor. A mountain is seen in the background

Photograph of Sailors Paying Tribute to Casualties of the Pearl Harbor Attack at a Hawaiian Islands Cemetery. National Archives Identifier 12009116

Photograph of american troops gathered together and smiling for the camera as they prepare for the Normandy invasion
Photograph of American Troops on LCT Preparing for Normandy Invasion, 6/1944. National Archives Identifier 12008276
Black and white photograph of a group of army nurses in the bed of a truck
U.S. Army nurses arrive to relieve the nursing problem of Santo Tomas University prison camp, Manila, Luzon, P.I. National Archives Identifier 204950951
Black and whilte photograph on a mounting card of the flag raising at Iwo Jima

Flag Raising on Mount Suribachi, Iwo Jima, Japan, 2/23/1945. National Archives Identifier 100310761

Color photograph of a woman working on an airplane

Woman Working on Inside of SNV Fuselage at Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Plant in Downey, California, 7/1943. National Archives Identifier 176217199

Transcribe Records as a Citizen Archivist

American Civil War Military Service Records, “United States Colored Troops”

In honor of Veterans Day, we invite you to help transcribe records related to the “United States Colored Troops." These records include the military service records of Union volunteer soldiers who served during the American Civil War. Records include jackets (folders) containing cards on which information relating to individuals, companies, and regiments of the Volunteer Service of the United States during the Civil War have been copied from original records such as muster rolls, returns, descriptive books, and morning reports.

Military service record for David Cyles, United States Colored Troops
On May 22, 1863, the War Department issued General Order 143, establishing a “Bureau of Colored Troops” in the Adjutant General’s Office to recruit and organize African American soldiers to fight for the Union Army. With this order, all African American regiments were designated as “United States Colored Troops (USCT).” Learn more about the digitization of these records on the Pieces of History blog.

Military Service Record of David Cyles, United States Colored Troops: 56th US Colored Infantry. National Archives Identifier 200635072

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.

100th Anniversary of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

November 2021 marks the centennial of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. On November 11, 1921, following the end of World War I, the repatriated remains of an unknown member of the American Expeditionary Forces were interred at Arlington National Cemetery. Since then, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier has provided a final resting place for Unknowns from World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. Learn more on the Education Updates blog.

Photograph of President Barack Obama at a wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

President Barack Obama Participates in a Wreath Laying Ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, 11/11/2012. National Archives Identifier 176552676

This new exhibit on Google Arts and Culture showcases special media records, including drawings, photographs, and film, relating to the history of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The Tomb is one of America’s most iconic memorials and is visited every year by millions of visitors.

Screenshot of the Google Arts and Culture exhibit for the 100th anniversary of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
Photograph of a service member placing a wreath at the tomb of the unknown soldier

Memorial Day Services, Memorial Amphitheatre, Arlington National Cemetery, 5/30/1936. National Archives Identifier 209280045

Photograph of gold star mothers at the tomb of the unknown soldier

Annual Pilgrimage of the Gold Star Mothers, Inc. of New York and nearby States, to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Arlington National Cemetery., 9/30/1934. National Archives Identifier 209280039

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From Navy Deck Logs to Army Unit Histories, History Hub’s Military Records Community covers a variety of military and veterans-related topics, including:

Be sure to explore the Military sub-communities, including:

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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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

Ribbons, thread, sealing wax, grommets. Do you have a favorite historical fastener? Join us as we cut through the red tape in this week’s newsletter to bring you stories of various document fasteners found in the records at the National Archives.

Photograph of handwritten documents shown tied together with red tape

Original red tape keeping a bundle of documents together. Government documents were wrapped in red ribbon or tape, so that you would literally have to “cut through the red tape” to gain access to these records. (Photo by the National Archives)

In the centuries before the self-inking notary public’s stamp, U.S. government clerks and secretaries used brightly-colored silk ribbons, wax seals, and embossed paper seals attached with wafers to verify the security of important documents. Learn more on the Pieces of History blog:  Holding It Together: Before Passwords—Ribbons and Seals for Document Security.

Seals with famous signatures on the Treaty of Paris

Treaty of Paris, 9/3/1783 National Archives Identifier 299805

A small, raised dot of red on a document—is it sealing wax? Not always. In some cases what looks like sealing wax is actually a wafer seal, sealing wax’s cheaper cousin. Wafers are thin, flat, baked adhesive discs made from starch, binders, and pigment that were used for joining and sealing documents during the 17th through 19th centuries in Great Britain and other European countries and their colonies. Although they were usually red in color, they were produced in a variety of colors and sizes according to their intended purpose. Learn more on the Pieces of History blog, Holding It Together: A Seal—Or Not?

Examples of wafer seals appear on this land bounty application from 1851, where the wafers from the now-separated papers are clearly visible at the bottom, and the wafers at the top are visible through the paper. Bounty Land File for Colonel Richard E. Parker, 1851. National Archives Identifier 27494175

Even in the decades when the oldest records in the National Archives were being created, government clerks and officials had access to many different ways to hold documents together, including ribbon, pins, thread, sealing wax, and wafers. With a store of silk ribbon or cotton tape nearby, they could easily attach documents to each other by cutting two slits in the paper and feeding a ribbon through them. This would let them quickly bind several sheets together into a pamphlet, or sew sheets together to create a longer piece of paper.

This treaty is composed of several sheets of paper sewn together: the use of blue silk ribbon highlights the diplomatic importance of the treaty. Treaty between the United States and the Sioux, Cheyenne, Arapho, Crow, Assiniboin, Gros Ventre, Madan, and Arikara Indians at Fort Laramie, Indian Territory, 9/17/1851, image cropped. National Archives Identifier 12013686

Before the invention of stapled bindings, the “pamphlet stitch” was common to sew short texts together—though most used plain thread, not silk ribbon. After this treaty was printed, the sheets were folded into pages, and the pages were sewn together to form a pamphlet:

Treaty between the United States and the Six Nations of New York Indians, shown with pamphlet stitch binding the pages together

Printed Copy of the Treaty Between the United States of America and the Six Nations of New York Indians, Concluded January 15, 1838, as Amended by the Senate June 11, 1838, and Ratified April 4, 1840. National Archives Identifier 176561681

Some documents were attached or repaired by even simpler methods: threading a needle with a piece of linen thread, and sewing a torn document back together, or attaching papers with a loop of thread, as shown in this heavily-worn fraktur. Learn more on the Pieces of History blog Holding It Together: Ribbons in NARA's Records.

Family record (fraktur) shown stitched together with thread

Illustrated family record (Fraktur) found in Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land-Warrant Application File W6302, for John Tomlin, Virginia. National Archives Identifier 300246

And last but not least, red tape! While red tape may be used in the metaphorical sense these days, it used to refer to literal red tape: a narrow ribbon made from cotton or linen, dyed red. This was used by government clerks for all sorts of purposes, from tying bundles of related papers together, to sealing official documents, to tying shut envelopes. Learn more on the Pieces of History blog Holding It Together: From Red Tape to Grommets.
Handwritten document shown bound with red tape
Staff showing document bound with red tape to a child during Take Your Daughters and Sons to Work Day at the National Archives

Staff take out a document bound with faded red tape during Take Your Daughters and Sons to Work Day at the National Archives. Photo by Jeff Reed, National Archives

Special thanks to Rachel Bartgis, conservator technician at the National Archives in College Park, Maryland. This feature was adapted from Rachel’s “Holding it Together” series on the Pieces of History blog.

Transcribe Records as a Citizen Archivist
Thumbnail images of documents in the National Archives Catalog showing blue tags indicating transcription

Do you like helping to complete every page of a transcription project? Then we need your help with the "Don’t Leave Us Hanging" mission. Records in this mission have not yet been fully transcribed and completed. To transcribe, select a record from the list and find a page that does not have a blue tag on the thumbnail. Every page helps us make these records more searchable and accessible in the Catalog.

Get started transcribing!

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Have a question? Find your answer on History Hub!

Did you know October is American Archives Month? Learn more about how our staff make your history accessible to you!  In celebration of American Archives Month, we invite you to “Ask an Archivist” on History Hub!

We encourage you to browse recent posts and questions on History Hub, such as:

See our recent newsletter for more details, information, and instructions about using History Hub for your research.

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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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 safeguards billions of documents and materials created in the course of business conducted by the U.S. government. In addition to these 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.

Robert Peary standing outside of a house wearing fur clothing. Three dogs on leashes stand beside him
Robert Peary in Furs with Dogs, 1909. National Archives Identifier 12013129. From the Rear Adm. Robert E. Peary Papers Collection.

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!

Screenshot of the homepage of the Donated Collections Explorer
This next-generation finding aid includes 826 Collections and provides access to over 829,000 digital pages available in the National Archives Catalog. Within the Donated Collection Explorer, you will find donated materials that document significant programs or activities of the U.S. government, materials with historical or intrinsic value, donations from notable military figures, records from polar exploration, wars, and more.
Typewritten document dictated by General George S. Patton, Jr.
Statement Dictated by General George S. Patton, Jr., 6/11/1945, National Archives Identifier 128215416. From the George S. Patton, Jr. Papers Collection.

As with our other next-generation finding aids, this data visualization allows you to browse NARA’s holdings by donated collection. Click on any collection name to see an overview of the scans available online, and find links to records in the Catalog, organized by format.

Each Donated Collection page has a progress bar that provides an estimate of the percentage of textual pages that are currently available online.

Screenshot of the Harmon Foundation Collection page
Harmon Foundation Collection
Screenshot of the John A. Pope papers collection
John A. Pope Papers Collection
Screenshot of the Ford Motor Company collection
Ford Motor Company Collection

Give our Donated Collection Explorer a try! We’d love to hear your input on how this might be beneficial to you in your research, and your ideas about how we could further refine our data visualizations for future projects. Also, the data powering our Explorers will be updated regularly, so check back to see what we have added and what changes have been made.

Lee W. Court painting Antarctica oil
Antarctica Oil #682 Bellinghausen/ King George Island/ South Shetland Islands, ca. 1969. National Archives Identifier 5634739. From the Lee W. Court Paintings Collection

Interested in our other next-generation finding aids? Check out these tools to help you with your research online:

  • Record Group Explorer: includes all of NARA’s Record Groups (over 600) and provides access to over 140 million of our digital pages.
  • Presidential Library Explorer includes 14 Presidential Libraries and provides access to over 1.6 million digital pages.
Album with yellowed paper showing a print painting of Marie Antoinette
Vigée-Lebrun: "Bildnis der Koenigin Marie-Antoinette." National Archives Identifier 12015367. From the Monuments Men Foundation for the Preservation Art Collection
Transcribe Records as a Citizen Archivist

Donated Collection Explorer mission

Join us in celebrating the launch of the Donated Collection Explorer by transcribing a variety of records that can be viewed in the Explorer.

Get started transcribing!

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

Illustrated map of the Antarctic Region
Illustrated Map of Antarctic Region, ca. 1650. National Archives Identifier 70187163. From the Albert Lincoln Washburn Papers Collection
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Have a question? Find your answer on History Hub!

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

Seeking Red Cross records about my mother

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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

Join us in a celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month as we commemorate the histories, cultures, and contributions in the United States by the Latino and Hispanic communities with roots in Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. Read on to learn more about the records held at the National Archives that document these achievements and contributions, and learn how you can help transcribe records as a Citizen Archivist.

Mission Specialist Ellen Ochoa working in space

Mission Specialist (MS) Ellen Ochoa drifts through the Functional Cargo Block (FGB) / Zarya during the STS-110 mission, 4/12/2002. National Archives Identifier 23362715

Poster showing two military servicemen shaking hands above a family sitting on the ground.

Las Americas Unidas Para La Victoria Y El Progreso Humano. CIAA Poster, Spanish version. National Archives Identifier 44268165, Local ID 44-PF-833

Hispanic and Latino Records at the National Archives

NARA’s holdings regarding Hispanic and Latino Americans include documents on a wide range of subjects including labor rights, arts and entertainment, and politics. Highlights include:

Cover page of oral deposition of Gordon Green

Oral deposition of Gordon Green from the 1958 segregation case of Hernandez v. Driscoll Consolidated Independent School District (DCISD), et al. The issue was treatment of Mexican-American children in DCISD schools. National Archives Identifier 26548257

Typewritten form for petition of naturalization for Antonio Rudolfo Quinn
Petition for Naturalization for Antonio Rudolfo Quinn (Anthony Quinn). National Archives Identifier 595184
Photograph of Judge Sonia Sotomayor talking with President Obama as Vice President Biden looks on
Judge Sonia Sotomayor Talks with President Barack Obama and Vice President Biden in the Blue Room of the White House, 5/26/2009. National Archives Identifier 157649738
Black and white photograph of a group of singers during a performance

Staff of the Biblioteca Benjamin Franklin, Mexico, 12/22/1949. National Archives Identifier 23932423

Mendez v. Westminster School District

This landmark suit was brought on March 2, 1945 by Felicitas and Gonzalo Mendez, along with other parents living in Orange County, California, against four local school districts. The Petition (National Archives Identifier 294940) notes "That all children or persons of Mexican or Latin descent ... are now excluded from attending, using, enjoying and receiving the benefits of the education, health and recreation facilities of certain Schools." The complaint further charged "that said children are now and have been segregated and required to and must attend and use certain Schools in said District and Systems, reserved for ... children and persons of Mexican and Latin descent..."

In Judge Paul J. McCormick's Judgement and Injunction (National Archives Identifier 294946), he concurred with the petitioners, issuing an injunction against the school districts' segregation policies.

Learn more about this case on our Educator Resources page. 

First page of brief in Mendez vs. Westminster
Final page of brief in Mendez vs. Westminster
Gonzalo Mendez et al v. Westminster School District of Orange County et al, Brief of National Lawyers Guild, and American Civil Liberties Union, Amici Curiae. National Archives Identifier 294943

This brief was filed by the Los Angeles Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild and the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of the petitioners in Mendez v. Westminster in support of integrating Mexican and Mexican-American students into the schools.

Transcribe Records as a Citizen Archivist

Hispanic American History mission

Continue in a celebration of Hispanic Heritage month and help transcribe records as a citizen archivist! Records at the National Archives regarding Hispanic and Latino Americans include documents on a wide range of subjects including labor rights, arts and entertainment, and politics. Help transcribe these records to make them more searchable and accessible in the Catalog.

Get started transcribing!

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

Painted mural photographed by David Valdez
General Records of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Select photographs, from coverages of assorted communities, accenting Hispanic heritage theme: residents, neighborhoods, buildings, murals. Photographer: David Valdez. National Archives Identifier 6190415
Oil painting by Diego Rivera in 1915

This oil painting is a cubistic still life, painted by Diego Rivera in 1915. It was given to Lyndon B. Johnson by His Excellency Gustavo Diaz Ordaz, President of Mexico. National Archives Identifier 192416

Wood carving of Patrocina Barela

Taos County, New Mexico. Wood carvings of Patrocina Barela. National Archives Identifier 521864

Visit National Archives News for more records and resources celebrating Hispanic culture. The National Archives recently hosted a Virtual Pajama Party Program with Winifred Conkling and Sylvia Mendez, which presents a fictional account of the friendship between two children whose lives intersected during World War II. Though the live event has passed, you can watch a recording of the pajama party.

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

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

Seeking recorded interviews of the 65th Infantry Regiment

How many Mexican born Americans fought in the Korean War?

Seeking Puerto Rico Census for 1870, 1872 & 1880

Seeking records showing Caribbean influence on American agriculture

The history of Latinos in America

See our recent newsletter for more details, information, and instructions about using History Hub for your research.

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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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

Did you know the National Archives Catalog contains over 140 million pages of digitized historical records and more than 27 million descriptions of the records in our holdings? And new pages and descriptions are being added to the Catalog each week!

Black and white photograph of a Coast Guard member looking through binoculars while two cats sit on his lap

Cat Stands the Dog Watch. Records of the U.S. Coast Guard. National Archives Identifier 205583221

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.

Using the National Archives Catalog

Our updated Using the National Archives Catalog help pages can help you learn more about the Catalog, including topics such as: How to Search; Refining a Search; Searching Within a Record Group, Series or File Unit; Using the Advanced Search; and much more. We know that people learn in different ways, so in addition to written instructions, we’ve included several new how-to videos.

Screenshot of Catalog help pages showing an image of the how records are organized in the archival hierarchy

Take a look and let us know what you think! Do you have ideas for further content or instructional videos? What else would you like to see covered in our Help pages? Let us know at catalog@nara.gov

Frequently Asked Questions about Searching the Catalog

The Catalog description doesn’t have an image; what do I do?

Black and white photograph of a small dog, wearing a hat and tie, sitting in front of binoculars and a compass

While we have over 140 million digitized pages in the Catalog, this represents only a small percentage of the total holdings at the National Archives. Not all records have been digitized and made available in our Catalog, and some records have been described without digital images added. For questions about a particular description or to request a digitized copy, please contact the reference staff listed in the Contact(s) section of the description.

Image: Coast Guard's Saltiest Spar, Records of the U.S. Coast Guard. National Archives Identifier 205583239

Do I need a Catalog account to search the Catalog?

Black and white photograph of a Coast Guard SPAR driving a tractor while towing a seaplane

You do not need a Catalog Account to search the Catalog. You will need an account if you want to save lists of your searches or a bulk download of descriptions. Of course you’ll need an account to join us as a Citizen Archivist to contribute tags, transcriptions, and comments to the Catalog.

Image: SPAR Anita Jones. Records of the U.S. Coast Guard. National Archives Identifier 205582537

Can I search for records without transcriptions so I can find records to transcribe?

The quickest way to tell if a record has been transcribed is to open up the individual record and look at the thumbnail pages beneath the viewer. If you see a blue tag on the thumbnail image, that means there is a contribution on that page. If the record has multiple pages, each page with a contribution will have a blue tag. Look for a page without this tag. But just because a page has a blue tag does not mean the transcription is complete; you can always open up the page to see if the transcription is complete or needs revision.
Black and white photograph of a coast guard signalman sending a message with flags while standing on top of a submarine
Image: Coast Guard Signalman Sends a Wig-wag Message by Semaphore Flags, Records of the U.S. Coast Guard. National Archives Identifier 205577174

You may also have to load all the pages of a record to find a page that hasn't been transcribed. Here's how you do it:

1.  Slide the bar in the thumbnail section all the way down
2.  Click "Load All" to see all pages available

If you are working on records found in our Citizen Archivist Missions, we suggest you skip 10,15, 20 or more pages in the list or navigate to the end of the list of records and work backwards. Often people work on records from the first to the last, you may find more records that haven't been worked on by starting at the end.

Additional Catalog Resources

Record Group Explorer and the Presidential Library Explorer

Looking for a more visual way to browse the Catalog? Try our Record Group Explorer and Presidential Library Explorer! These next generation finding aids allow you to browse NARA’s holdings by Record Group, and by the holdings of NARA’s Presidential Libraries.  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 through the National Archives Catalog.

Screenshot of Record Group 15: Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs, showing what records are available in the National Archives Catalog

Searching for something in the Catalog? Check out our Search Strategies newsletter for tips on how to refine and filter your searches.

For our Citizen Archivist contributors, we also encourage you to view our Citizen Archivist Resources page for helpful information, tips and tricks, instructional videos and more.

Interested in genealogy? Check out our 2021 Genealogy Series workshops. You can watch on-demand video recordings and view presentation materials from our recent series of workshops offering family history research tools on federal records for all skill levels.

Black and white photograph of maritime service enrollees learning how to use a compass
Image: Maritime Service Enrollees Learning the Use of a Compass, 4/24/1942. Records of the U.S. Coast Guard. National Archives Identifier 205582415
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Have a question? Find your answer on History Hub!

Free and open to anyone, you can ask questions and get answers from multiple sources including National Archives staff, other archives, libraries, museums, and a community of genealogists, history enthusiasts, and citizen experts like you.

See our recent newsletter for more details, information, and instructions about using History Hub for your research.

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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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 Summer Olympics officially begin on July 23, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. Time to lace up those running shoes, tune up the bicycle, and go for that perfect 10!

Join us this week as we share a variety of records held at the National Archives related to historic Olympic Games and participants.

Members of the US olympic team in matching track outfits, walking on the track and waving to the crowd in the stands

Members of the US Olympics Team wave to spectators as they march into the LA Coliseum during the opening ceremonies for the 1984 Summer Olympics, 8/9/1984. National Archives Identifier 6386474

The Presidential Libraries of the National Archives hold memories of Olympic Games, as Presidents have traditionally welcomed Olympic teams and athletes to the White House, and sometimes attended the games in person. Additionally, at prior Olympic games, military photographers captured images of servicemen and women competing in the games. These photographs are part of the series Combined Military Service Digital Photographic Files, 1982 - 2007.

Here is a selection of some of our favorite Olympic images that can be found in the National Archives Catalog:

Fencing athlete pointing the sword near the direction of the camera
Man in a wrestling uniform smiles at the camera

Army Reserve 1ST Lieutenant John Moreau from San Antonio, Texas, participates in the fencing competition at the 1984 Summer Olympics, 8/1/1984. National Archives Identifier 6380124

T.J. Jones, US Navy, a member of the wrestling team competing at the 1984 Summer Olympics, 8/1/1984. National Archives Identifier 6380163

Jim Thorpe crouched in a runner's start, looking ahead
Two olympic athletes hold up their kayak

Photograph of Jim Thorpe, ca. 1910. National Archives Identifier 595347

Army Captain David L. Gilman, left, from Oakland Army Base, California, and Army National Guard Private First Class Daniel W. Schnurrenberger, members of the kayak team competing at the 1984 Summer Olympics, 8/1/1984 National Archives Identifier 6380088

A group of women swimmers dive off the starting blocks
Black and white photograph of a man jumping over the high jump while President Ford observes

Susan Rapp, the daughter of an Army colonel, is among the participants at the start of a race at the 1984 Summer Olympics. She won a silver medal for her performance in the 200 meter breaststroke, 8/6/1984 National Archives Identifier 6380010
Photograph of President Gerald Ford Watching Track and Field Athletes Practice for the 1976 Summer Olympics at New York State University College Campus in Plattsburgh, New York, 7/10/1976 National Archives Identifier 7062579

Olympic ceremonies at the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Lights and light from an aircraft are seen in the night sky over the bridge
President Reagan poses with the members of the US Olympic team. President Reagan wears a cowboy hat

A US Air Force F-111 Aardvark aircraft, with it's after burner on, clears the Sydney Harbour Bridge during closing ceremonies of the 2000 Olympics games in Sydney, Australia, 10/1/2000 National Archives Identifier 6514773

President Ronald Reagan During a Ceremony to Welcome Home The United States Olympic Team Members Who Competed in Seoul, Korea Which Includes Robert Helmick Greg Barton Matt Biondi Janet Evans Florence Griffith Joyner and Andrew Maynard on The South Lawn, 10/24/1988 National Archives Identifier 75856325

President George W Bush hits a volleyball on the beach to Misty May Treanor
President Obama poses with Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney

President George W. Bush Hits a Volleyball to U.S. Women's Beach Volleyball Team Member Misty May-Treanor, 8/9/2008 National Archives Identifier 148035494

President Barack Obama and U.S. Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney recreate her 'not impressed' photograph, 11/15/2012. National Archives Identifier 183898490

1936 Olympic Games in Berlin
Black and white photograph of Jesse Owens jumping through the air

Photograph of Jesse Owens at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Germany, 1936. National Archives Identifier 148728022

Photographs of the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin were captured from Nazi Germany at the end of World War II, and can be found in Record Group 242: National Archives Collection of Foreign Records Seized. Learn more about the Return of Captured Records from World War II on the Pieces of History blog.

Photograph of Jesse Owens racing an opponent
Photograph of Jesse Owens sitting at a table writing with his medals on display

Photograph of Jesse Owens at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Germany, 1936. National Archives Identifier 148728028

Photograph of Jesse Owens at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Germany, 1936. National Archives Identifier 148728032

You can view additional examples from the photograph series 242-HD: Summer Olympic Games, Berlin, August 1936 in the National Archives Catalog. Photographs in this series include the lighting of the Olympic Torch at Mt. Olympus; the opening ceremonies in Berlin; pre-games training by different teams; athletes in the Olympic Village; various ceremonies, pageants and parades; athletes participating in various events; and informal portraits of athletes, crowd scenes and spectators including Adolf Hitler.

Learn more about the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin on the Unwritten Record blog: This Week in Universal News: The 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin  

Louis Zamperini

Before he was a war hero, Louis Zamperini was an Olympian. Read about his amazing Olympic and war story in the Unwritten Record post, Louis Zamperini: The Story of a True American Hero.

Photograph of Louis Zamperini examining a hole in his plane

Photograph of Lt. Lou Zamperini, Bombardier, Examining the Damage a Japanese Cannon Shell did to His Liberator, 1943 National Archives Identifier 16801970

Interested in additional Olympic resources? Find dozens of primary sources related to the Olympics from throughout history on DocsTeach.org, our online tool for teaching with documents. Learn more on the Education Updates blog.

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

Free and open to anyone, you can ask questions and get answers from multiple sources including National Archives staff, other archives, libraries, museums, and a community of genealogists, history enthusiasts, and citizen experts like you.

For those looking to conduct research or learn more about records related to historic Olympic games and participants, we encourage you to browse recent posts and questions on History Hub. Recent posts include:

Jesse Owens breaks the 100m tape to win the first of his four gold medals at the Berlin Olympics

 

See our recent newsletter for more details, information, and instructions about using History Hub for your research.

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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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

There is always something to learn and discover in the National Archives Catalog. Join us this week as we celebrate some new, noteworthy, and just plain neat stories from our holdings.

Animated gif of a group of people testing out gymnastic moves in zero gravity
US National Archives on GIPHY. Source: Records of NASA, Motion Pictures Relating to Engineering, Documentary of Gymnastics in Zero-G, 5/22/1985. National Archives Identifier 78077759
Oh Dam(s)!

This newly available series of Construction Progress Negatives from the Records of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) document major construction stages of TVA fossil, hydro, nuclear, and coal gasification projects. Nearly 4,000 photographs in this series also include general activities of people, places and events including portraits, pictures of dedication ceremonies, managers, and presentations.

Cherokee Dam Construction Progress Negatives: National Archives Identifier 196757767
Black and white photograph of the Cherokee Dam Site, showing a landscape of a field with trees and brush
Black and white photograph of the Cherokee Dam construction site. The dam is partially built and surrounded by scaffolding. Workers can be seen on top of the dam, and on the ground.

Cherokee Dam Site, 8/12/1940, National Archives Identifier 204246280
Upstream Cone Area, 4/7/1941, National Archives Identifier 204246914

Kentucky Dam Construction Progress Negatives: National Archives Identifier 196757763

Black and white photograph of a river channel just below the dam site. A barge is floating in the middle of the river
Black and white photograph of an outdoor area of a knitting mill. Long tables contain piles of knitted items such a socks. Rocks and trolleys and wheelbarrows are seen throughout.

River channel below dam site, 2/16/1943, National Archives Identifier 201241318
Priester knitting mill, 2/18/1937, National Archives Identifier 201241386

Nottely Dam Construction Progress Negatives: National Archives Identifier 196757770

Black and white photograph of a group of lumberjacks cutting and sawing trees in a large wooded area.
Black and white photograph of the tunnel outlet of the dam. Wooded area in the foreground of the photo.

Sawing Trees, 7/18/1941, National Archives Identifier 204262251
Tunnel Outlet and Spillway Area, 10/28/1942, National Archives Identifier 204262453

Juneteenth

On June 19, 1865, two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln’s historic Emancipation Proclamation, U.S. Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger issued General Order No. 3, which informed the people of Texas that all enslaved people were now free. They were the last group of Americans to be informed that all formerly enslaved persons were now free.

Zoomed in clip of General Order Number 3, informing the people of Texas that all enslaved people are now free.
General Order 3, 6/19/1865. National Archives Identifier 182778372

To understand Juneteenth’s significance, one must understand how geography, military occupation, timing, and the resilience of a proud people solidified June 19, 1865, as the date that symbolizes freedom for African Americans. The National Archives is the home of General Order No. 3 (National Archives Identifier 182778372), the document whose date of issue gave this celebration and holiday its name.

Learn more on the Rediscovering Black History blog: Juneteenth: The Celebration of a New Freedom in America and on Archives.gov.

Double Take: Finding Posters within Photos

For our staff, it is always a thrill to find something new in the millions of the digitized photographs, especially if it connects other records in our holdings. Once Daniel Dancis, a textual records archivist, started to notice some familiar WWII posters within WWII photographs in our holdings, he started to see them everywhere. He shares these finds and looks at the messaging in these meta moments in history in the Unwritten Record blog.

Animated gif of a man sitting at a desk in the Office of War information while talking on the phone. His office shows WWII posters on the walls behind him.
US National Archives on GIPHY. Source: Theodore R. Poston, Office of War Information, National Archives Identifier 535824
Recovery of 1810 Census Rolls

Local 1810 census records from Massachusetts, long missing from the collection of census records of the time, are finally in Washington, DC, after a 211-year delay, thanks to a social media post.

Book cover of the 1810 Census. The cover is a green and blue mottled print
Page of 1810 Census showing handwritten names and information
1810 Census of Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts. National Archives Identifier 205601220

A National Archives employee scrolling through Instagram saw a February post from the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) Library that connected archives, genealogy, and Black history, using the 1810 Essex County census record book. You can now view the digitized version in the National Archives Catalog.
Learn more about the document’s recovery story on Archives.gov.

Animated gif of a 1950 census promotional video showing a group of people inside an outline of the United States.

Speaking of the census, have you visited the Census Records community on History Hub? As we gear up for the exciting release of the 1950 census population schedules in April 2022, be sure to stay tuned on History Hub for Census Fun Facts, tips for census research, and more.

Today's Document

Interested in daily featured documents from today in history from the holdings of the National Archives? Look no further than Today’s Document! You can follow Today’s Document on Tumblr, Twitter and Facebook.

Here are a few popular recent posts:

Richard and Mildred Loving’s marriage license, June 2, 1958, via @TodaysDocument on Twitter.

As an interracial couple, their marriage was against Virginia law. The Lovings appealed their case, and SCOTUS ruled that race-based restrictions on marriage violated the 14th Amendment.

Marriage license for Richard Loving and Mildred Jeter. The names and dates and locations are typed into the standard license form

National Archives Identifier 17412479

The Coast Guard Beach Patrol, June 17, 1926, via @TodaysDoc on Facebook.

Black and white photograph of a coast guard member wearing a raincoat, hat, and boots, patrolling the beach.
National Archives Identifier 205581988

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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

On June 28, 1969, the Stonewall Riots began following a police raid on the Stonewall Inn, one of New York City's best known LGBTQ clubs. Forty-seven years later, the site was declared a National Monument by Presidential Proclamation. The nomination for its status as a National Monument is in the National Archives Catalog.

Black and white photograph of the Stonewall Inn Historic site in New York City

A view of Stonewall Inn Historic Site 1999. National Register of Historic Places Registration, National Archives Identifier 75319963

The month of June was chosen to honor the LGBT+ community because of the Stonewall Riots, which are viewed as the beginning of the modern-day LGBT+ rights movement.
Photograph of the White House at dusk lit in rainbow colors. The Washington Monument can be seen in the background

The White House is lit with the colors of the rainbow in celebration of the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage, June 26, 2015. National Archives Identifier 176549838

Records at the National Archives constitute a rich documentary history of the experience of LGBT+ individuals. Here are a few examples of records from the National Archives Catalog documenting such experiences:

Baker v. Nelson

The earliest same-sex marriage case to be reviewed by the Supreme Court was Baker v. Nelson in 1972. On May 18, 1970, University of Minnesota students Richard Baker and James Michael McConnell applied for a marriage license in Minneapolis. The District Court Clerk of Hennepin County, Gerald Nelson, denied the couple’s application because they were both men. In response, Baker and McConnell sued the county office for discrimination, but the court dismissed the couple’s claims and ordered the clerk not to issue the license.

Typewritten document from the Baker v. Nelson case
Typewritten document from the Baker v. Nelson case
Records of the Supreme Court of the United States, Baker V. Nelson, #71-1027. National Archives Identifier 26318353

After their appeal was dismissed by the Minnesota Supreme Court, Baker and McConnell filed an appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States, where it was also dismissed “for want of a substantial federal question,” meaning the Court decided the issue did not directly relate to Federal laws. Although Baker and McConnell’s case was never technically heard by the Supreme Court, its dismissal set a lasting precedent against same-sex marriage, culminating in the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in 1996.

Gay Students Organization of the University of New Hampshire, et al. vs. Thomas N. Bonner, et al.

Typewritten page from the case file complaint
This file unit consists of documents comprising U.S. District Court for the District of New Hampshire civil action case number 73-279. Filed in 1973, this is one of the earliest cases involving gay and lesbian civil rights. In their complaint, the plaintiffs stated that the defendants had denied their constitutional rights, including those secured by the First and Fourteenth Amendments.

Image: Gay Students Organization of the University of New Hampshire, et al. vs. Thomas N. Bonner, et al., Complaint, 11/28/1973. National Archives Identifier 40945142

Aaron Fricke v. Richard B. Lynch

This file unit consists of material related to civil action case file number 80-214, Aaron Fricke v. Richard B. Lynch. The subject matter of this case file relates to redress sought by the plaintiff, an eighteen-year-old male high school student, who had been denied by school officials of attendance at a school function with a male companion.

National Archives Identifier 29033010

You can help transcribe this record to make it more searchable in our Catalog. Learn how to register and get started.

Karen Ulane

Typewritten termination letter from Eastern Airlines to Karen Ulane

Karen Ulane was a transgender airline pilot who, after sex reassignment surgery, was fired from her job at Eastern Airlines. She sued her employer for sex discrimination and won but the case was overturned by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. The case was from 1981 and an early legal precedent for transgender people. NARA has some of the evidence submitted in the case. Ulane died in a plane crash on May 22, 1989. View Karen Ulane’s record on Social Networks and Archival Context (SNAC).

Image: Exhibit, Termination Letter #1, 4/24/1981, National Archives Identifier 12008912

Photograph of President Obama with Gilbert Baker, standing next to a framed Gay Pride Flag in rainbow colors

President Barack Obama views the Gay Pride Flag with Gilbert Baker, the artist who designed the flag, prior to a reception in recognition of LGBT Pride Month, in the Blue Room of the White House, June 9, 2016. National Archives Identifier 176549434

United States v. Edith Windsor

In the 2013 case United States v. Windsor, the Supreme Court ruled the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA, passed in 1996) unconstitutional. DOMA defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman, allowed states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages granted under the laws of other states, and prohibited married same-sex couples from collecting Federal benefits.

Typewritten file copy from the Supreme Court case US v Edith Windsor
Although it did not legalize same-sex marriage, United States v. Windsor was a milestone in the fight for marriage equality. The decision forced the Federal Government to treat same-sex marriages equally under the law and made tax benefits previously restricted to opposite-sex couples available to same-sex couples. However, this ruling only extended to Federal laws; individual states did not have to recognize same-sex marriages.

National Archives Identifier 29308667

Obergefell v. Hodges

Obergefell v. Hodges is a landmark civil rights case in which the Supreme Court ruled that the fundamental right to marry is guaranteed to same-sex couples and that all states must recognize marriages in other states regardless of sexual orientation. Learn more on the Pieces of History blog, Milestones on the Road to Marriage Equality.

Listen to the audio recordings of the Supreme Court argument and opinion in the National Archives Catalog:

Photograph of the White House lit in rainbow colors. A crowd of people gather in front to look and take photos
The White House is lit with the colors of the rainbow in celebration of the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage, 6/26/2015. National Archives Identifier 118817917
Visit National Archives News to browse additional LGBT+ records, holdings, and resources including:
Photograph of a group of people outside the White House celebrating the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage. A group holds balloons spelling out "Love Wins"
People gather on Pennsylvania Avenue holding balloons that spell out "Love Wins" as the White House is lit with the colors of the rainbow in celebration of the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage, 6/26/2015. National Archives Identifier 138925688
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Have a question? Find your answer on History Hub! For those looking to conduct research or learn more about Civil Rights, Court Records, and LGBTQ-related records, we encourage you to browse recent posts and questions on History Hub, including:

 

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

On September 6, 1943, 22-year-old Oscar Klass Hamblin (T/SGT.) and crew were flying over northern France when they were raked by fire from a German Fw 190, necessitating an evacuation from their plane.

Typewritten escape and evasion report form with handwritten details
Typewritten escape and evasion report with handwritten narrative

Hamblin, Oscar Klass (T/SGT.) Escape and Evasion Reports, 1942 - 1945. National Archives Identifier 5554850.

According to Hamblin’s report, "I made a free fall for about 10000 feet and then opened my chute. I saw three lakes with woods and a field nearby. I tried to drift to the field, but a south wind blew me to the middle of the lake and I went 10 to 12 feet under water. When I began swimming, I became entangled in the shrouds of my chute. Just when I had released myself from the chute, a Frenchman and woman came out in a boat, helped me into it, and pulled the chute in after me. When we reached the shore, they hid my chute, and flying boots under the boat. They took me to their house, there they dressed my wounds, fed me, and gave me some civilian clothes."

On September 3, 1943, 25-year-old Sebron Andrew McQueen, Jr. (2nd Lt) and crew were flying east of Paris when their aircraft was attacked, and the pilot gave the order to evacuate.

Handwritten narrative in escape and evasion report
Typewritten escape and evasion report with handwritten details. Form also shows a drawing of a flying formation

McQueen, Sebron Andrew Jr. (2 L.t) Escape and Evasion Reports, 1942 - 1945. National Archives Identifier 5554889.

McQueen details what happened next in his report:

"I landed in an oat field and wrapped my flying equipment in the chute before covering it with oats. About twenty Frenchmen were watching me quietly, waiting to see what I would do... I could tell they weren't sure of me so I concentrated on a boy who knew a few words of English. Finally when I showed him my dog tags he motioned me to follow him... My friend and I were joined by two Frenchmen who ran with us about two miles. We stopped near a house and while I waited in some bushes the Frenchmen were gone into the house for several minutes before calling me. Inside the house I was treated politely, fed and questioned in great detail. Then I was told by an English-speaking man to go back in the bushes and stay until dark."

On September 6, 1943, 23-year old Allan Johnston (2nd Lt.) and crew were flying over France when their aircraft received heavy damage from a fighter attack.

Typewritten escape and evasion report with handwritten details
Handwritten narrative contained within escape and evasion report

Johnston, Allan G (2nd Lt.) Escape and Evasion Reports, 1942 - 1945. National Archives Identifier 5554852.

According to Johnston’s report: "The order to bale [sic] out was given by the pilot and acknowledged by all crew members. Because the bombardier's arm was injured, I helped him with his chute and watched him leave. Then I crawled forward and set fire to the maps. The pilot and co-pilot were still in their seats. I saw the radio operator go out through the bomb-bay before I jumped at 7500 feet, from the nose.

I think the best way to leave the nose is on the knees, tumbling head-first. Before I fell I unhooked my chute from the chest hooks and hugged it to my chest so that before pulling the rip-cord I could hold the chute over my head and not risk face injury when the straps went up. Leaving the aircraft I seemed to fall first at terrific speed and then more slowly… Touching the ground I hit the release on my chute and it fell away with the silk draped over the limbs of a tree. My flying pants fell off and I remember grabbing them in my hands before running.... I ran in the opposite direction from the soldiers I could still see in the field, I heard the sound of motorcycles. I had a glimpse through an opening in the trees of three chutes coming down in the fields. I stuck to the ridge for several minutes, running hard, before crawling into some blackberry bushes.”

Citizen Archivist Transcription Mission

Hamblin, McQueen, and Johnston’s reports, along with nearly 3,000 others, 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, and are available to view and download in the National Archives Catalog. You can help make these records more searchable in our Catalog! Escape and Evasion Reports are the focus of a new transcription mission for our citizen archivists.

Within these records, you will find dramatic and gripping first hand accounts of survival from U.S. soldiers in Europe during World War II. (Including the Escape and Evasion case file for Flight Officer Charles (Chuck) Yeager.) The records typically include questionnaires about the use of escape and evasion (E&E) training and equipment; a listing of crew members; dates; locations, as well as a typed or handwritten narrative documenting the escape and evasion experience of the escapee or evader. These reports were maintained by the Administration Branch of the Escape and Evasion Section of the Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff (G-2) of the European Theater of Operations, U.S. Army, of the War Department.

We hope you will explore these records and help transcribe them to make them more searchable and discoverable. Transcribing these records will bring history to life and ensure the stories of the soldiers will not be forgotten.

Get started transcribing!
New to the Citizen Archivist program? Learn how to register and get started.
Memorial Day
Photograph of Air Force Airman in uniform saluting a wreath. Onlookers stand behind him.

U.S. Air Force SENIOR AIRMAN Patrick Hunt, Honor Guard, salutes after a wreath laying ceremony during a Prisoner of War/Missing In Action tribute at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.(U.S. Air Force PHOTO by AIRMAN Shawn Wells), 9/14/2004. National Archives Identifier 6687663.

Memorial Day, initially referred to as Decoration Day, began as a way to honor those who died in the Civil War and has become a day to honor all American veterans who gave their lives in sacrifice to our nation. Learn more about its history on our website and in the Pieces of History blog. This Memorial Day, we remember and honor those who have died in service to the United States during peace and war.

Blueprint detailing the location of American soldier battlefield grave sites during World War I.

Initial Burial Plats for World War I Soldiers, National Archives Identifier 12007376. This series consists of blueprint and plane table survey maps and field maps detailing the location of American soldier battlefield grave sites during World War I. Soldiers are identified by name, serial number and unit, if known.

Black and white photograph of the crew of a B-24 standing beside the plane, posing for a photograph

Crew of the Consolidated B-24 Liberator "Goon". Left to right, back row: T/Sgt. Archie L. Fleharty, Cozad Neb; Capt. Samuel J. Skousen, Thatcher, Ariz; T/Sgt. Robert M. Kirk, Alpha, Ill; T/Sgt. Arthur J. Benko, Bisbee, Ariz; (now missing in action) (U.S. Air Force Number 53334AC). National Archives Identifier 204829567.

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For those looking to conduct research or learn more about Military History and Military Records, we encourage you to browse recent posts and questions on History Hub, including the Military Records community and its Army and Air Force Records, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard Records, and Military and Civilian Personnel Records subspaces.

 

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

Panoramic photograph from American Red Cross album of Tulsa following the massacre of 1921.

Records of the American National Red Cross. Photo Album of the Tulsa Massacre and Aftermath, 12/1921. National Archives Identifier 157688056, image 79.

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 from American Red Cross album of a street scene in Tulsa following the massacre of 1921. People are standing near rubble of buildings
Records of the American National Red Cross. Photo Album of the Tulsa Massacre and Aftermath, 12/1921. National Archives Identifier 157688056, image 60.

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. The Red Cross photo album, available in the National Archives Catalog, shows riot scenes, devastated areas, National Guard troops, destroyed homes, dead victims, and massacre survivors in temporary housing.

Please note that some images in the Red Cross album are graphic and viewers might find them disturbing for racial violence.

Black and white photographs from the American Red Cross photo album. Two pictures show a man standing by a temporary tent shelter
Records of the American National Red Cross. Photo Album of the Tulsa Massacre and Aftermath, 12/1921. National Archives Identifier 157688056, image 35.
Black and white photograph of a man performing a medical exam on another man while three women look on
Records of the American National Red Cross. Photo Album of the Tulsa Massacre and Aftermath, 12/1921. National Archives Identifier 157688056, image 12.

In remembrance of the 100th Anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre, Netisha Currie, an archives specialist at the National Archives, curated the a recent Featured Document Display.

Typed report from American Red Cross director describing the relief effort after the Tulsa Race Massacre
Typed report from American Red Cross director describing the relief effort after the Tulsa Massacre

Oklahoma, Tulsa Co. Riot Reports and Statistics. This file unit contains reports, statistical reports, and a photographic album relating to the Red Cross' management of the disaster relief effort after the Tulsa massacre, or race riot, of May 31-June 1, 1921. National Archives Identifier 157670060

Learn more in Rediscovering Black History blog posts:

Additional online resources:

 

Here on History Hub's African American Records community:

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

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
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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
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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

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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