The tradesmen and manufacturers in Baltimore began drafting this petition asking for duties on certain imported goods in February 1789, before Congress had even met for the first time. The petition is from approximately 750 citizens, and received in Congress on April 11, 1789. The new revenue system passed by the First Congress included four acts that related to foreign trade: the Impost Act, HR 2; the Tonnage Act, HR 5; the Collection Act, HR 11; and the Coasting Act, HR 16.
Petition of the Tradesmen, Manufacturers, and Others of Baltimore, 4/11/1789, Records of the U.S. House of Representatives (NAID 7788930)
"Marian Anderson, world’s greatest contralto, entertains a group of overseas veterans and WACs on [the] stage of the San Antonio Municipal Auditorium…", 04/11/1945
From the series: Photographs of Notable Personalities, 1942 - 1945. Records of the Office of War Information
Earlier this week was the 75th Anniversary of Marian Anderson’s famous outdoor concert at the Lincoln Memorial, on April 9, 1939. (Hear her renowned contralto voice in the audio post!)
National Archives Challenge
Hey todaysdocument! I saw your challenge to create a gif from your online holdings. What do you think of my #HistoryGIf? I used this photo of a Texas picnic ground from Record Group 95: Records of the Forest Service, 1879-2008.
I took some liberties by adding the beaver. I hope you don’t mind?
Check out this #historygif submission from nglspecialcollectionsandarchives at the Sam Houston State University. We’re mostly curious what variety of beaver that is? The Forest Service may want to have a chat with him for damaging signs and misdirecting picnickers.
Thanks for the submission!
“I don’t know whether I am doing a right deed as to plead to you. But I do know that I am all right to plead for my race…I am a Southern colored girl in New York.” –Miss South Carolinean, April 10, 1933
Letter from Miss South Carolinean [Carolinian] to President Franklin Roosevelt Regarding the Scottsboro Case
Clarence Norris, Charlie Weems, Haywood Patterson, Ozie Powell, Willie Robertson, Eugene Williams, Olen Montgomery, Andy Wright, and Ray Wright were known as the “Scottsboro Boys.” In 1931, the nine African Americans were tried and convicted of assault and rape in Alabama by all-white juries within two weeks. Eight were sentenced to death. In this letter to Franklin Roosevelt, “Miss South Carolinian” asked for the President’s help.
The initial speedy trials, the age of the defendants, the racial bias of the juries and the severity of the sentences led to arguments that the defendants never received fair trials and a movement to free them. Their case went to the Supreme Court of the United States, which ruled they were denied the right to counsel, violating their right to due process under the 14th amendment. Eventually, their sentences were commuted and charges against four were dropped, but their lives were forever changed as most spent years in jail. On November 21, 2013, posthumous pardons were issued by the state of Alabama to Charlie Weems, Andy Wright and Haywood Patterson.
This letter is among the featured items at the “Making Their Mark: Stories Through Signatures" exhibit now on display at the National Archives Museum.
Today marks the 75th anniversary of Marian Anderson’s concert on Easter Sunday at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC. More than 75,000 people attended.
Originally, Anderson was scheduled to sing at Howard University, but when officials thought the crowds would be too large, they asked the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) if Anderson could sing in their auditorium at Constitution Hall.
However, in 1939, Washington, DC, was still a racially segregated city, and Constitution Hall had a “white-only” policy for its performers. The DAR declined.
First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt resigned her membership from the organization in protest, surprising the nation (though not the black community) with her support.
Anderson’s manager Sol Hurok proposed that Anderson give an open-air concert at the Lincoln Memorial. Harold Ickes, the Secretary of the Interior and past president of the Chicago NAACP, approved the idea immediately.
This iconic image shows Anderson singing to the 75,000 people gathered in Potomac Park on April 9, 1939. Image: National Archives Identifier 595378.
On April 9, 1963, President John F. Kennedy issued Presidential Proclamation 3525 declaring Sir Winston Churchill an honorary citizen of the United States. (The first to ever receive this honor.)
On April 8, 1789, the Senate elected Samuel Otis as the first Secretary of the Senate, the Senate’s chief legislative, financial, and administrative officer. Otis served the Senate loyally until his death in 1814—he never missed a day of work in the 25 years that he held the position.
Our own Archivist of the United States, David S. Ferriero, will introduce President Carter tonight at the Civil Rights Summit in Austin, Texas.
In honor of the fiftieth anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library is hosting the summit on April 8, 9, and 10.
You can watch the panel discussions and keynote address live on their website: http://www.civilrightssummit.org/updates/
The keynote speakers include President Barack Obama and three former Presidents: Jimmy Carter will speak on April 8; Bill Clinton will speak on April 9; and George W. Bush will speak on the evening of April 10.
Learn more about the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in our new Google Cultural Institute exhibit, which includes videos, letters, telegrams, meeting minutes, and high resolution photos.
Image: LBJ signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Serial Number: A1030-17a Date: 08/06/1965. Credit: LBJ Library photo by Yoichi Okamoto.
The “Human Squirrel” drops by to celebrate the 110th anniversary of Times Square and #SquirrelWeek!
The “Human Squirrel” who did many daring “stunts” in climbing for benefit of War Relief Funds in New York City. He is shown here at a dizzy height in Times Square. Times Photo Service., ca. 1918
Happy 150th Charter Day, Gallaudet University!
On April 8, 1864, President Lincoln signed a bill into law, to allowing Columbia Institution for the Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb and Blind to confer college degrees.
In 1954, the name of the the school was changed Gallaudet College in honor of its first superintendent, Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet. Gallaudet was granted university status in October 1986 through an act of Congress.
The first three students received their diplomas in June of 1869. President Ulysses S. Grant signed them, beginning a tradition that continues to this day. The diplomas of Gallaudet graduates are signed by the President who is currently in office.
Charter for the Columbia Institution for the Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb and Blind [now called Gallaudet University], Record Group 11, National Archives
Happy 110th Birthday, Times Square!
Originally named Longacre Square, it was officially renamed Times Square on April 8, 1904 in honor of the New York Times.
Snapshots of the “Crossroads of the World” from the 1910s, 1940s, 1970s, 1980s and 2000s:
- New York City celebrating the surrender of Japan. They threw anything and kissed anybody in Times Square., 08/14/1945. National Archives Identifier: 520697
- A view of the neon lights of Broadway. The United Services Organization (USO) GEN Douglas MacArthur Memorial Center, located in Times Square at 45th Street and Broadway…01/01/1983. National Archives Identifier: 6367334
- Peace rumor, New York. Crowd at Times Square holding up Extras telling about the signing of the Armistice. The Government report that the news was not true did not stop the celebration. National Archives Identifier: 533477
- TIMES SQUARE, 08/1973. National Archives Identifier: 554298
- Sailors attached to USS IWO JIMA (LHD 7) gather together for an impromptu group shot while on liberty in Times Square during Fleet Week 2002.05/22/2002. National Archives Identifier: 6640589
- V-J Day in New York City. Crowds gather in Times Square to celebrate the surrender of Japan., 08/15/1945. National Archives Identifier: 531350
This ‘letter of recommendation’ is from members of the Confederation Congress on behalf of James Mathers, who served as their doorkeeper and messenger in 1788. On April 7, 1789, the Senate elected James Mathers to be Senate Doorkeeper. Mathers served as Doorkeeper (and later Sergeant at Arms) until his death in 1811.
As Doorkeeper, Mathers maintained the Senate chamber, stoked the fire, cared for the Senate’s two horses, oversaw the transfer of records and furnishings to Philadelphia in 1790 and Washington, DC in 1800, and kept order once the galleries were permanently opened. In 1795, his job was expanded to Sergeant at Arms and Doorkeeper to enforce the law should anyone refuse to appear before the Senate in cases of trial and impeachment.
Recommendation From Members of the Confederation Congress to Appoint James Mathers Senate Doorkeeper, 3/4/1789, Records of the U.S. Senate (NAID 7788932)
The committee appointed to report on the rules and orders of proceedings of the House on April 2, 1789 issued its first report on April 7. The report included duties of the Speaker of the House, rules of decorum and debate, rules for bills, and rules for the Committee of the Whole House. The House adopted the rules with little debate.
Mickey Rooney, Legendary Actor and Entertainer
(September 23, 1920 - April 6, 2014)
"Private First Class Mickey Rooney imitates some Hollywood actors for an audience of Infantrymen of the 44th Division. Rooney is a member of a three-man unit making a jeep tour to entertain the troops. Kist, Germany, April 13, 1945."
From the series: Signal Corps Photographs of American Military Activity, 1754 - 1954