It gets such a bad rap, red tape. But it's been around for a long time.
The National Archives' own Howard Wehmann weighed in on the subject,
in a letter to the local paper.
The Washington Post, June 11, 1980
That kind of puts red tape in perspective, doesn't it?
Here is a popular little item in an old library supply catalog:
Gaylord, Inc. catalog, 1928
It's dead useful for all sorts of jobs.
When a stack of papers is just too fat for an Acco fastener, a bit of red tape can save the day!
And the guvmint bought plenty of the stuff.
The Washington Post, March 6, 1944
How and when "red tape" came to connote bureaucratic hoop jumping is anyone's guess.
But it sure took hold in the popular imagination.
And the National Archives itself was accused of being a perpetrator.
NAID 7582964, file "April - September 1938"
Well, guilty as charged. But the National Archives couldn't (and still can't) be too careful
when it comes to disposal of records.
So the rest of the government just has to deal.
But it's true that there is plenty of unnecessary "red tape" twining around our lives.
Life, August 26, 1957
Where did it go? Oh, it's around. I clipped this one from a 1921 report just the other day.
NAID 567368, file "Plan of Organization and Operation"
Well, look at that, will you?
Seventeen, October 1955
Cutting that tape can certainly be satisfying.
On a visit to Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia recently, this caught my eye.
Collection MUNDN, file "Misc. Letters and Writings"
Now the National Archives uses white twill tape for binding records.
It just doesn't have the same ring, though..
Looking for a different kind of Valentine's Day gift?