Think your driver’s license photo makes you look silly? At least you aren’t Department of Commerce official J. Mishell George. No, this isn’t a April Fool’s prank. Newspaper reader Judge L.S. Oliver really thought George looked downright nefarious.
Letter from Judge L.S. Oliver to the Permanent Subcommitte on Investigations, 3/13/1956, Records of the United States Senate
Before and After Operation Doorstep
Mannequin Family in a House at Operation Doorstep, 7,500 Feet from the Blast, before the Blast, 03/17/1953
Mannequin Family in a House at Operation Doorstep, 7,500 Feet from the Blast, after the Blast, 03/17/1953
(see also "Operation Cue" conducted in May of 1955.)
Eisenhower Reaches out to the Russian People
On March 4, 1953 President Dwight D. Eisenhower drafted this statement for the Russian people while Joseph Stalin was gravely ill. Stalin died the next day on March 5, 1953.
Draft statement by President Eisenhower on Joseph Stalin, 03/04/1953
Mickey’s future home
This aerial photograph from March 1, 1954, shows the Lake Buena Vista area southwest of Orlando, Florida. Seventeen years after this photo was taken, the area would be transformed from mostly swampland into the home of the Disney World theme park complex. Today, this landscape has changed drastically as part of the theme park’s 28,000 acres. The lake’s southern and eastern shoreline, in the upper left corner of the photograph, has retained much of its shape since the development of the area.
Aerial Photograph of Disney World, 03/01/1954
From the series: Aerial Photography of the Soil Conservation Service, compiled 1934 - 1954; Records of the Natural Resources Conservation Service, 1875 - 2002
The First French President to Formally Visit the United States
As French President Francois Hollande begins his visit to the United States today, our colleagues at the State Department’s historyatstate tumblr take us back to the first formal visit by a President of France in 1951.
(Find more photos from President Vincent Auriol’s 1951 visit in our online catalog.)
The first formal visit by the President of a French Republic to the United States was Vincent Auriol in Spring 1951. The trip sought to convince U.S. lawmakers and the public that France was steadily recovering from wartime destruction, thanks to Marshall Plan aid, and reinforce the Fourth Republic’s commitment to the transatlantic alliance.
President Auriol took daily English lessons to prepare for his visit because, according to the New York Times, he wanted to “speak at least a few words of English in each of the many talks he expects to make in the United States, notably in an address he will make before a joint session of Congress.”1 In March 1951, Auriol sailed for New York from Le Havre aboard the Ile de France with his wife, son, and Robert Schuman, French Foreign Minister, among others.2 The French presidential party landed in New York then took a train to Washington D.C.’s Union Station on March 28.
Auriol made another notable “first” when he became the first French head of state to address a joint session of the U.S. Congress on April 2. He was also awarded the Legion of Merit, Degree of Chief-Commander, by President Harry Truman. Returning to New York on April 2, Auriol received an honorary doctorate from Columbia University. On Wednesday, April 4, the Auriols visited Eleanor Roosevelt in Hyde Park, NY, and presented her with the Order of Commander of the Legion of Honor before sailing for France that evening.
View the video retrospective of French presidential visits to the United States via France’s Institut National Audovisuel (INA).
The Day the Music Died: 55 Years Ago, February 3, 1959.
This is the Civil Aeronautics Board’s Accident Report of Buddy Holly’s deadly plane crash in Iowa on February 3, 1959. It includes details of the weather, a map of the location and a description of what the “entertainers” were doing in Iowa. On page two, we see the name of Buddy Holly as “Charles Hardin” and the other musicians — “The Big Bopper” (J.P. Richardson), and Ritchie Valens (Richard Valenzuela), who were traveling with him.
You can take a look at the entire 13 pages of the report here: Aircraft Accident Report , 02/03/1959.
Civil Defense Window Display at Sage Allen Department Store in Hartford, Connecticut, 1956
From the series: Civil Defense Photographs, 1951 - 1961, from the Records of the Office of Civil and Defense Mobilization, 1947 - 1962
This photograph depicts a Civil Defense window display at the Sage Allen Department Store in Hartford, Connecticut, which was put in by the Connecticut State Office of Civil Defense from January 16 through January 23, 1956.
A interesting complement to our post yesterday of nuns stocking their school fallout shelter.
— Kansas City Archives (@KCArchives)January 23, 2014
60 years ago the USS Nautilus-the world’s first nuclear-powered submarine-was launched on January 21, 1954.
After shattering the traditional bottle of champagne across the bow of the USS Nautilus, First Lady Mamie Eisenhower and others gathered at the Electric Boat Yard of General Dynamics Corporation in Groton, Connecticut, on January 21, 1954, watched as the world’s first nuclear-powered submarine slipped into the Thames River. The submarine became the first commissioned nuclear-power ship in the U.S. Navy on September 30, 1954.
Shown here is stock US Navy footage from the Nautilus' visit to New York City.
A free screening and discussion of the Mildred and Richard Loving story, tonight, January 9 at 7pm at the National Archives!
A racially charged criminal trial and a heart-rending love story converge in this 2007 documentary film about Mildred and Richard Loving.
On Thursday, January 9, at 7 p.m. watch a free screening at the National Archives in Washington, DC. Attorney Phil Hirschkop (who pled the case in front of the US Supreme Court) will discuss the film. (77 minutes.)
The marriage of Mildred (who was part African American black and part Native American) and Richard (who was white) was declared illegal in 1958 by their home state of Virginia. They refused to leave one another and, with the help of the ACLU, pursued their right to happiness.
Their case reached the Supreme Court, which in 1967 struck down laws against interracial marriage in this country. With newly discovered footage of the Lovings and their lawyers, first-person testimony, and rare documentary photographs, this film takes us behind the scenes of the legal challenges and the emotional turmoil of the landmark case.
Some intrepid skiers hit the slopes for the first day of winter in this vintage clip courtesy our colleagues in the National Archives Motion Picture Preservation Lab.
From the clip: “Avalanche Hunters”, Universal Newsreel Volume 30, Release 90, 11/04/1957
"Atoms for Peace"
President Dwight D. Eisenhower was determined to solve “the fearful atomic dilemma” by finding some way by which “the miraculous inventiveness of man” would not be dedicated to his death, but consecrated to his life. In his Atoms for Peace speech before the United Nations General Assembly on December 8, 1953, President Eisenhower sought to solve this terrible problem by suggesting a means to transform the atom from a scourge into a benefit for mankind.
“Atoms For Peace" posters From the series: Propaganda Posters Distributed in Asia, Latin America and the Middle East, ca. 1950 - ca. 1965. From the Records of the U.S. Information Agency
Police Report on Arrest of Rosa Parks
On December 1, 1955, during a typical evening rush hour in Montgomery, Alabama, a 42 year-old woman took a seat near the front of the bus on her way home from the Montgomery Fair department store where she worked as a seamstress. Refusing to yield her seat to a white passenger when instructed by the bus driver, police were called and she was arrested.
The police report shows that Rosa Parks was charged with “refusing to obey orders of bus driver.” According to the report, she was taken to the police station, where she was booked, fingerprinted, and briefly incarcerated.
The event touched off a 381-day boycott of the Montgomery, Alabama, bus system in which a 26-year-old unknown minister, Martin Luther King, Jr., emerged as the leader.
(more via DocsTeach)
As Fire Prevention Month comes to a close, here’s a catchy reminder from country star Eddy Arnold and the Forest Service about everyone’s favorite forest fire prevention advocate.
Ever wondered - is it Smokey Bear or Smokey the Bear?
Smokey’s official name has no “the” in the middle though. It was added in 1952 to achieve proper rhythm in the song “Smokey the Bear”, written by Steve Nelson and Jack Rollins.
Did you know? Just like his colleague Woodsy Owl, Smokey has a Public Law (P.L. 82-359) protecting him. Congress passed the law in 1952 to prevent Smokey from being used to sell commercial products. It was believed that this would dilute Smokey’s forest fire prevention message. Their strategy seems to have worked. Wildfire prevention is one of the most successful campaigns that the Ad Council has ever produced.