President Franklin Roosevelt signed the ambitious but controversial Tennessee Valley Authority Act 80 years ago on May 18, 1933, to provide navigation, flood control, electricity generation, fertilizer manufacturing, and economic development in the Tennessee Valley, a region particularly affected by the Great Depression.
The siege of Vicksburg, Mississippi by Union forces under Major General Ulysses S. Grant began 150 years ago on May 18, 1863. Confederates forces would surrender the fortress city after 40 days, effectively yielding control of the Mississippi River to the Union.
Map of the Siege of Vicksburg, Miss., By the U. S. Forces Under the Command of Maj. Genl. U. S. Grant, U. S. Vls., Maj. F. E. Prime, Chief Engr. Surveyed and constructed under direction of Capt. C. B. Comstock, U.S. Engrs., and Lt. Col. J. H. Wilson, A. I. Genl. 1st Lt., Engrs….Drawn by Chs. Spangenberg, Asst. Engr., 08/20/1863
The Prime Crew for the NASA’s First Manned Skylab Mission Meet the Press in a Final Briefing Prior to Isolation for the Coming Launch of Skylab II, 05/01/1973
Skylab, the first American space station, was launched unmanned on May 14, 1973. This photo is of the prime crew for the first manned Skylab mission at a final briefing prior to isolation for the coming launch, which occurred on May 24, 1973. The astronauts are (L. to R.) Charles Conrad Jr., Commander, Paul J. Weitz, Pilot, and Dr. Joseph P. Kerwin, Science Pilot.
Photograph of General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson
Accidentally shot by his own troops following the Battle of Chancellorsville, Confederate General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, Robert E. Lee’s “right arm”, died of complications from his injury on May 10, 1863.
Sometimes an “S” is just an “S”
When Harry S. Truman was born on May 8, 1884, his parents decided to name him Harry, after his mother’s brother Harrison Young. But what about a middle name? Should it be Shipp, in honor of his paternal grandfather, Anderson Shipp Truman? Or should it be Solomon, in honor of his maternal grandfather, Solomon Young?
In the end, they entered his middle name as simply S, which led to a never-ending controversy about Harry S. Truman’s middle name. Read more.
Here’s President Truman behind his Oval Office desk sign - “The Buck Stops Here.”
“The mission of this Allied Force was fulfilled at 0241, local time, May 7th, 1945.
Top secret document sent by General Eisenhower to his superior officers to inform them that his mission was fulfilled - Germany was defeated and the war in Europe was over.
-from the Eisenhower Library
Kaiser shipyards, Richmond, California. Miss Eastine Cowner, a former waitress, is helping in her job as a scaler to construct the Liberty Ship SS George Washington Carver launched on May 7, 1943.
From the series: Negro Activities in Industry, Government, and the Armed Forces from the Records of the Office of War Information.
Sometimes it seems like that commentary is missing on your end though, and since you’re the govt it’s reinforcing troubling normative whitewashed history. Lots of us are critical thinkers but a lot of people have never heard a competing narrative!
That’s actually deliberate. As the National Archives, our role is to preserve & make these records—the raw materials of history—available to the public. Speaking very generally, commentary and interpretation goes beyond our mandate, especially as a non-partisan Federal Agency. If there’s background information that accompanies the record we’ll include it, and may add any necessary context. But in general we try to stick to the basic facts and let the records speak for themselves (and on Tumblr that usually works surprisingly well).
Thanks for writing!
Well that’s an upsetting primary source.
While this comment was in reference to this morning’s letter requesting the National Guard’s assistance at Kent State, you could probably say that about many of our posts. But these comments are an opportunity we hate to miss. Sometimes history is upsetting (a lot of the time, actually). This is probably a good time to mention our post from last year:
In short, if you’re not bummed out sometimes by our posts, then we’re probably not doing our job.
But to make up for it, maybe you missed our post from Bugs Bunny’s sort-of-75th birthday?
And thanks for writing!
For roughly 4 cents an acre, the fledgling United States doubled in size with the Louisiana Purchase Treaty, signed 210 years ago with France on April 30, 1803.
Acting on orders from President Thomas Jefferson (who had put his doubts as to the constitutionality of the expansion aside) American agents James Monroe and Robert Livingston had planned only to negotiate for the purchase of New Orleans and Florida from France. Instead they were offered the entire territory for the equivalent of 15 million dollars, an offer they hastily accepted.
William Randolph Hearst—newspaper magnate and congressman—born 150 years ago today. Cartoonist Clifford Berryman depicts the multimillionaire as trying to pass himself as a man of the people during a possible presidential run.
Newspaper publisher and multi-millionaire William Randolph Hearst was viewed as a strong candidate for the Democratic nomination for President in 1908. This illustration entitled, “Hearst’s New Make-up”, by cartoonist Clifford Berryman, appeared in the Washington Evening Star on June 5, 1907 and shows Hearst attempting to convince the common man that he is their friend. Hearst was born on April 29, 1863.
Hearst’s New Make-up by Clifford Berryman, 6/5/1907, U.S. Senate Collection (ARC 6010707)
April 28, 1965. 4:40 PM. Ambassador Bennett sends this cable from Santo Domingo to the White House less than two hours after the previous one. It begins: “Regret report situation deteriorating rapidly.”
LBJ’s secretary Juanita Roberts (foreground at her desk, in 1968) hand-delivers it to the President seven minutes after it is received, interrupting a meeting with foreign policy advisors.LBJ Library, National Security File, Country File Dominican Republic, Bennett “HELP,” Box 48, #7c.
George W. Bush Presidential Center Dedication
Today the National Archives and Records Administration will dedicate the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas. The facility will open to the public on May 1.
The Bush Library is the 13th of NARA’s federally owned Presidential libraries, whose holdings span eight decades of American history. It also increases our presence in Texas, where we already operate the Lyndon B. Johnson Library in Austin, George H.W. Bush’s library in College Station, and our regional archives and records center in Fort Worth.
We look forward to developing partnerships with the George W. Bush Presidential Center and with SMU to present joint programming, share our expertise, draw on our holdings, and bring together SMU’s academic departments and the library. These kinds of partnerships at the 12 other Presidential libraries have enriched the learning experience for students and scholars.
The new Bush Library holds 70 million pages of textual records, 40,000 artifacts (mainly gifts to the Bushes), four million photographs, and 80 terabytes of electronic information – including 200 million emails of about five pages each, or one billion pages.
Read the full post on the AOTUS blog.
FDR at The First Presidential Library Dedication
The first Presidential Library and Museum was conceived and built under President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s direction from 1939 to 1940 in Hyde Park, NY. The official FDR Library dedication was a small, quiet affair, with close friends and family attending the ceremony.
-History of the FDR Library