And be sure to check out the exhibit “Discovery and Recovery: Preserving Iraqi Jewish Heritage” at the National Archives through January 2014
The strange story of the Iraqi Jewish Archives starts with a phone call and then includes a very long flight to Baghdad, drowning documents in a secret basement, a trip to Texas for freeze drying, several years of conservation treatment, and digitization.
Hear the whole story on Thursday at 7 p.m. at the National Archives building in Washington, DC.
Doris Hamburg and Mary Lynn Ritzenthaler of the National Archives discuss the story behind our exhibit of historical materials—discovered in 2003 in Saddam Hussein’s flooded intelligence headquarters—relating to the Jewish community in Iraq.
Joining them are Maurice Shohet, analyst at the Middle East Media Research Institute, and William D. Cavness, Jr., retired Foreign Service officer. Greg Myre, journalist and NPR’s digital editor for international news, will moderate.
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”
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.
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?
We want YOU to fill this empty display case!
Today is the last day to vote for the first document to be displayed in this case when our new ‘Records of Rights” exhibit opens on December 10.
Which document would you like to see on display first?
- Equal Protection of the Laws: Joint Resolution for the 14th Amendment, 1868
- Lowering the Voting Age: Certification for the 26th Amendment, 1971
- Protecting Americans with Disabilities: Americans with Disabilities Act, 1990
- Ending Segregation in the Armed Forces: Executive Order 9981, 1948
- Immigration Reform: Immigration Reform Act, 1965
Tell us what document you want to see: cast your vote now!
Today is the last day to vote! Do you want the Americans with Disabilities Act to be displayed first in the new “Records of Rights” gallery?
At the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (known as the ADA) on July 26, 1990, President George H.W. Bush said,
“Three weeks ago we celebrated our nation’s Independence Day. Today we’re here to rejoice in and celebrate another ’Independence Day,’ one that is long overdue. With today’s signing of the landmark Americans for Disabilities Act, every man, woman and child with a disability can now pass through once-closed doors into a bright new era of equality, independence and freedom.”
Image: On July 26, 1990, President George Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act into law. With him on the South Lawn of the White House are (from left to right, sitting) Evan Kemp, Chairman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and Justin Dart, Chairman of the President’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities; and (left to right, standing) Rev. Harold Wilke and Swift Parrino, Chairperson, National Council on Disability. Image from the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library.
Yesterday we celebrated our veterans. But during World War II, one million African American men and the thousands of African American women were serving their country in racially segregated units.
In 1948, President Truman changed that by signing this landmark document.
This Executive Order called for equality of treatment and opportunity in the armed forces of the United States. Do you think it should be the first document to go display in our new “Records of Rights” exhibit? http://go.usa.gov/Djrh
Many years later, General Colin Powell would credit Truman for this move towards equality and civil rights:
“The military was the only institution in all of America—because of Harry Truman—where a young black kid, now twenty-one years old, could dream the dream he dared not think about at age eleven. It was the one place where the only thing that counted was courage, where the color of your guts and the color of your blood was more important than the color of your skin.”
Cast your vote for Executive Order 9981 to be displayed first in the new “Records of Rights” gallery. http://go.usa.gov/Djrh
In June of 2003, the National Archives Preservation Programs received a call for help from Iraq.
American soldiers had found tens of thousands of documents and 2,700 Jewish books while searching in the flooded basement of Saddam Hussein’s intelligence headquarters. The historic material was soaking wet.
And so Doris Hamburg and Mary-Lynn Ritzenthaler boarded a C-130 cargo plane and flew to Iraq.
Over the next several years, the documents would be cleaned, rehoused in custom-built boxes, stabilized, cataloged, and digitized. Experts in Jewish history, Iraqi and Jewish history, the Iraqi Jewish community, and Jewish rare books lent their skills and knowledge.
On November 7, 2013, the exhibit “Discovery and Recovery: The Iraqi Jewish Archive” opened to the public at the National Archives, and it will be on display until January 5, 2014. You can also see the documents online in a new website.
Read the full story on the Prologue blog: http://go.usa.gov/W82m
Ten years after a call for help, Iraqi Jewish documents go on display
In June of 2003, the National Archives Preservation Programs received a call for help from Iraq. Sixteen American soldiers had found tens of thousands of documents and 2,700 Jewish books while searching in the flooded basement of Saddam Hussein’s intelligence headquarters. The historic material was soaking wet.
And so Doris Hamburg and Mary-Lynn Ritzenthaler boarded a C-130 cargo plane and flew to Iraq.
To read more about this story, visit NARA’s Prologue: Pieces of History blog!
The new exhibit, Discovery and Recovery: Preserving Iraqi Jewish Heritage is now open at the National Archives in Washington, DC!
The movie “12 Years A Slave” tells the story of Solomon Northup, a free black man who was kidnapped. His journey into slavery can be found in our records.
In the slave manifest for the brig Orleans, Solomon Northup is gone, but Plat Hamilton is present.
A ban on federal slavery legislation was written into the Constitution in 1787. But an 1807 Act of Congress outlawed foreign importation of slaves. Slave manifests that documented each slave’s name, sex, age, and color were then required.
When slaves were forced into the haul of the Orleans on April 27, 1841, the Port of Richmond collector Thomas Nelson approved the slave manifest. When the ship docked in New Orleans on May 24, 1841, the inspector matched Solomon Northup’s description to the name Plat Hamilton. And Solomon Northup the free man of color ceased to exist.
Northup was transported on the Orleans with approximately forty other slaves to New Orleans where he was later sold to Edwin Epps, who owned a cotton plantation in the Louisiana Red River area. Northup was enslaved for the next twelve years. All rights and privileges that come with freedom, beginning with his given name, were stripped away from him.
To see more documents related to the life of Solomon Northup, go to the National Archives Education blog: http://go.usa.gov/WBjw
Image: Slave Manifest for the Brig Orleans, including Solomon Northup, listed as Plat Hamilton (#33)
What document would an archivist save from a zombie attack? Find out this month as we profile our archivists at the Presidential libraries for American Archives Month.
Today’s featured archivist is Matthew Schaefer, outreach archivist for the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum. What documents would Schaefer grab in the face of a zombie?
“If slow zombies were shuffling across the prairie toward the Hoover Library, I’d get the key to our specially protected records storage area [two minutes forty seconds], grab the reading copy of Hoover’s inaugural address [forty-five seconds], lace-up my Asics, and head north over the creek [one minute].
If fast zombies threatened, I’d grab oversize album 19, the photographic record of the Hoover Dam. While its 18-pound heft would slow my escape, it might prove useful as a bludgeon or shield.”
Read more about Matthew Schaefer and the work he does here: http://go.usa.gov/DhNT