August 8, 2010 |
When Paul Brachfeld took over as inspector general of the National Archives, guardian of the country's most beloved treasures, he discovered the American people were being stolen blind. The Wright Brothers 1903 Flying Machine patent application? Gone. A copy of the Dec. 8, 1941 "Day of Infamy" speech autographed by Franklin D. Roosevelt and tied with a purple ribbon? Gone. Target maps of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, war telegrams written by Abraham Lincoln and a scabbard and belt given to Harry S. Truman?
January 24, 2010 |
Until recently, David Ferriero's favorite artifact at the National Archives was the canceled $7.2-million check -- "an actual check!" -- that was used to purchase the territory of Alaska back in 1868. But this month, Ferriero, the archives' new director, saw an old American Indian treaty in a secret vault. It was etched on parchment and festooned with ribbons and, he recalled, "a string of the most beautiful cobalt blue and white beads." "Wampum!" he exclaimed in a recent interview.
January 14, 2010 |
The National Archives is like a safe-deposit box for America's really important papers -- the Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence, the $7.2-million canceled check for the purchase of Alaska, the picture of Richard Nixon and Elvis Presley shaking hands in the Oval Office. Copies of that photo -- the president in his charcoal suit, the king of rock 'n' roll in his purple velvet cape -- are requested more than just about any of the archives' treasures, including the Constitution.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 1, 2010 |
The men are wearing neckties. The women are in hats, many of them holding babies. There are 187 people in the black-and-white photograph standing in front of a building, all of them Japanese except for three white people, a man toward the back with a long white beard and two partly obscured women. The photo was taken Nov. 24, 1923. "Commemorative photograph of the dedication ceremony for the farm cooperative hall at the Port of San Pedro, Calif., U.S.A." is the caption, written in Japanese.
October 9, 2009 |
Robert Thomas, 83, breezed into the National Archives with a smile, a white hankie peeking out of his suit coat pocket and an old briefcase containing the two rare books he filched in Germany 64 years ago. He was a World War II GI then, fresh from the horrors of combat. He had blundered into one of the notorious salt mines where the Germans stashed their national treasures. And this one contained books. Millions and millions of books from institutions across Germany. Thomas poked around, saw two that looked old and took them.
September 20, 2009 |
It was a historian's nightmare. During the change from the Clinton to the Bush administration, websites affiliated with the Clinton White House went dark, and an unknown number of online documents and files were forever lost. Such Internet deaths inspired the Cyber Cemetery at the University of North Texas, which preserves government websites in their final form. The Cyber Cemetery archives sites when commissions or panels expire, allowing the online work of defunct government bodies to live on and remain accessible to the public.
June 4, 2009 |
Historical government files that chronicle the lives of immigrants in the U.S. will become part of the National Archives instead of being destroyed, officials announced Wednesday. The files could reveal the untold stories of millions of immigrants, including scores of Jews who fled Europe after World War II and Chinese who came to the U.S. as part of the diaspora.
January 14, 2009 |
The Obama administration must be given copies of documents the Bush White House has been withholding from Congress on the firings of nine U.S. attorneys, U.S. District Judge John Bates ruled. The House Judiciary Committee has sought the documents as part of an investigation that led to the resignation of Atty. Gen. Alberto Gonzales. The Bush administration contended that it was required to give the documents to the National Archives. The House panel wanted them left at the White House.