"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
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.
Remembering Pearl Harbor - USS Nevada escapes
The Japanese air attack at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii began at 8:01 AM, Sunday, December 7, 1941. The Nevada, tied up with the U.S. Pacific Fleet, brought down several attacking planes. Although she sustained many hits; she was able to slip her mooring and unsuccessfully attempted to reach the open sea. The logbook entry describes those first harrowing 40 minutes of the attack that resulted in over 100 wounded and 47 killed or missing crewmembers.
The entire entry for December 7th 1941 can be viewed in our catalog: Logbook of the USS Nevada
Photograph of the USS Nevada beached at Hospital Point after the attack on Pearl Harbor, 12/07/1941
Cheers, Prohibition Ends!
Eighty years ago on December 5, 1933, the 21st Amendment was ratified, as announced in this proclamation from President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The 21st Amendment repealed the 18th Amendment of January 16, 1919, ending the increasingly unpopular nationwide prohibition of alcohol.
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
We asked Senior Paper Conservator, Kathy Ludwig, about the most interesting project she’s worked on. The most intrinsically valuable document she has treated at the National Archives is the Monroe Doctrine. The document is the Senate version the 36-page text of President James Monroe’s seventh annual Message to Congress on December 2, 1823. The Monroe Doctrine, hand-written by an administrative assistant and signed by the President, was a defining moment in American foreign policy. We’ll explore its conservation treatment in the next few posts.
The “Big Three” in Teheran, November 30, 1943
From November 28 to December 1, 1943, the “Big Three”—Franklin D. Roosevelt, Joseph Stalin, and Winston Churchill—met at Teheran, Iran to discuss the progress of the war and plans for what would become the D-day invasion of June 6, 1944.
Frames excerpted from:
THE CAPTURE OF TARAWA FROM JAPAN! [ETC.], 1943
Mission: Turkey! Thanksgiving Dinner by Air
Stressed out for getting ready for Thanksgiving? Imagine being a mess sergeant tasked with cooking and bringing the meal to Special Forces troops in the field.
“November 22, 1966
TRADITIONAL THANKSGIVING DAY TURKEY ENJOYED BY SPECIAL FORCES IN VIETNAM
(Official U.S. Army film released by the Department of Defense)
A Thanksgiving Day dinner including the traditional turkey and all the trimmings was enjoyed by members of A Detachment, 5th Special Forces located at Xom Cat, thanks to Sergeant First Class Lonnie Mitchell (Supply, North Carolina).
Sergeant Mitchell prepared the tasty repast at the 5th Special Forces Headquarters at Bien Hoa, and the meal was delivered in hot steaming containers by helicopter to the 12 men of A Detachment at Xom Cat in the War Zone D area.
The team at Xom Cat is composed of three officers and nine enlisted men. Their only means of resupply is by air.
Sergeant Mitchell is Mess Sergeant of Detachment C-3, 5th Special Forces.”
Learn more about the mission of providing Thanksgiving dinner in the U.S. military, using examples from 111-DD, Filmed News Releases of the Department of Defense, recently digitized by our Motion Picture Preservation Lab and now on the U.S. National Archives’ YouTube Channel!
Records We’re Thankful to Have at the National Archives
Thanksgiving is an anticipated time of year…unless you’re a turkey! While our traditions today may not even include the iconic bird (hello, Tofurkey!), this holiday is still cherished as a time to gather with friends and family and give thanks. But before you start setting the table, enjoy a “harvest” of some of our favorite Thanksgiving records!
What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?
The “Battle Above the Clouds,” 150 years ago today:
"Point of Lookout Mountain showing ladders used by Union soldiers at the "Battle Above The Clouds." November 24, 1863. Photograph taken the day after the battle."
From the series: Mathew Brady Photographs of Civil War-Era Personalities and Scenes
Besieged in Chattanooga following their defeat at the Chickamauga in September, Union forces begin their breakout with a victory in the Battle of Lookout Mountain, Tennessee on November 24, 1863.
President John F. Kennedy Peers into Space Capsule at the Presentation Ceremony of NASA Distinguished Service Medal (DSM) to Astronaut and Colonel John Glenn, Jr. at Hangar ‘S’ at Cape Canaveral, Florida, 02/23/1962
(Another user submission for our #RememberingJFK series - thanks!)
John Fitzgerald Kennedy
May 29, 1917 - November 22, 1963
The JFK Library is observing the 50th anniversary of the death of President Kennedy both online and through a special program, “A Nation Remembers: A Tribute to President John F. Kennedy.”
Image: President Kennedy reaches out to the crowd gathered at the Hotel Texas Parking Lot Rally in Fort Worth, Texas. November 22, 1963. Cecil Stoughton, White House Photographs.
-from the JFK Library