Remembering Pearl Harbor: Personal Stories Salvaged from the USS Arizona
Personal Story Saved from the USS Arizona: 72 Years Later
A big challenge in preserving paper is dealing with the consequences of how records were maintained during the time they were actively used. Navy personnel records are difficult ones. Folded in thirds to fit into “jackets” or “bricks,” as the expandable brown folders are called, pages get torn, creased, and scrunched, requiring treatment. In the case of career Seaman 1st class Walter Lewis Hampton, the record is one hefty assemblage of papers spilling out of the small folder. Enlisted in 1925, Hampton served on the USS Henderson, the Arkansas, and the Wyoming, among others, before reporting for his final duty in December 1940 when he joined the USS Arizona.
Hampton’s sizable record contains a very special segment of documents - the Service Record kept on board the Arizona itself. This portion of his record was maintained to keep at close hand information on his enlistment, service, training, and physical description while at sea. It was among the records salvaged by the Navy after the loss of the USS Arizona on Dec. 7th, 1941. As Archives staff identifies records damaged aboard the Arizona, they are brought to the Paper Lab.
Hampton was among the missing after the attack on Pearl Harbor. He left four children and a wife who had initiated divorce proceedings on the grounds of years of abandonment. Although bearing the scars of the attack, his service record still details his personal description. Brown hair, blue eyes, a ruddy face, and tattoos—a kewpie doll, sailor boy, Red Cross nurse, pig, and rooster. This personal information is all perfectly maintained despite the bloom of heat from the center of the booklet, or accretions of dirt along the edges of the pages that still remain from long ago blasts. For these special documents, not only the information they contain but the remnant damage of battle itself preserve an important piece of history.
ar1704 asked: Is it Russell Lee who did the miner photo??
Yes, thanks for the catch! (now corrected).
You can find more Russell Lee photographs (over 1,200) in our online catalog!
National Miner’s Day
December 6 is the anniversary of the Monongah, West Virginia Mining Disaster, the worst in U.S. history, on December 6, 1907.
"James Robert Howard has gotten his safety lamp at lamp house. Of the 232 employees at this mine, 60% are Negroes., 08/13/1946"
Russell Lee, photographer.
From the series: Photographs of the Medical Survey of the Bituminous Coal Industry, 1946 - 1947
(Ed. note: corrected photographer credit)
Everglades National Park Established December 6, 1947
The park was established to conserve the natural landscape and prevent further degradation of its land, plants, and animals in southern Florida. Today Everglades National Park is a World Heritage Site, an International Biosphere Reserve, a Wetland of International Importance, and a protected area under the Cartagena Treaty.
Chokoloskee Rookery In Everglades National Park, 07/1972
Fred Ward, photographer.
From the series - DOCUMERICA: The Environmental Protection Agency’s Program to Photographically Document Subjects of Environmental Concern, 1972 - 1977
July 18, 1918 - December 5, 2013
President William J. Clinton with Nelson Mandela participating in the Philadelphia Liberty Medal Awards Ceremony and Festival outside Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 07/04/1993.
Robert McNeely, photographer.
From the series: Photographs Relating to the Clinton Administration, 01/20/1993 - 01/20/2001
The 110th Anniversary of The Great Train Robbery
Moving images changed with the debut of The Great Train Robbery in December of 1903. Produced by Thomas Edison, inventor of many audio and visual playback machines, the film began to shift the focus from novelty films such as Carmencita to plot-based cinema.
The Great Train Robbery was one of the first crime dramas and archetype of the western genre. The film introduced moviegoers to robberies, chase scenes, and gun shoot-offs. The film was also one of the first to incorporate a full cast of actors and to shoot on-location.
Most of the films preserved at the National Archives were produced by government agencies. Yet The Great Train Robbery was produced by the Edison Company. This raises the question, how did it get here?
Learn the answer - and more background to The Great Train Robbery at our Media Matters blog: Media Matters » The Great Train Robbery
Sefer Sipur Nes Hanukkah (The Book of the Story of the Miracle of Hanukkah) Baghdad, 1926
"This book contains the prayers for Hanukkah and the story of the miracle in Judeo-Arabic.
The eight-day holiday of Hanukkah commemorates the re-dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem in the second century BCE. Festive Hanukkah celebrations in Iraq were marked by the eating of a local delicacy—fried sweet fritters known as zengoula. Local foods shaped the cuisine and traditions of Iraqi Jews”
[IJA 1103/ReD 26574—Hanukkah Book]
(via Iraqi Jewish Life: Constancy and Change | Iraqi Jewish Archives)
This book was among the cache of water-soaked documents relating to the Jewish community of Iraq discovered in the basement of Saddam Hussein’s intelligence headquarters in Baghdad in 2003. The National Archives was asked to provide advice on how to rescue this important group of materials, and over the past years intensive efforts have been involved in the preservation of these important books and documents. Many of these items including this book, are currently on exhibit in “Discovery and Recovery: Preserving Iraqi Jewish Heritage” at the National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC, through January 2014.
"31st Infantry on practice hike. Officers of Company "A" at mess. New rolling kitchens being tested. Vladivostok, Siberia, December 3, 1918."