In celebration of American Archives Month, the National Archives is teaming up with the Academy of American Poets. Throughout the month we’ll be publishing original poems inspired by the holdings of the National Archives. To view the poets performing their original works, visit the National Archives YouTube Channel.
Today’s poem, “The Buttonhook” by Mary Jo Slater, was inspired by a National Archives photograph of Ellis Island showing uniformed inspectors examining newly arriving immigrants eyes.
Learn more about this story and and watch Mary Jo Slater read her poem at: http://blogs.archives.gov/prologue/?p=14232.
Image: Ellis Island, NY, Line Inspection of Arriving Aliens, 1923 (National Archives Identifier 6116683) http://research.archives.gov/description/6116683
Happy 195th Birthday, Walt Whitman!
(May 31, 1819 - March 26, 1892)
From the series: Series: Mathew Brady Photographs of Civil War-Era Personalities and Scenes
Walt Whitman fan? It’s no Leaves of Grass, but check out the file of Walt Whitman items from his time as a Federal Government clerk.
Maya Angelou, Celebrated Author & Poet
(April 4, 1928 - May 28, 2014)
From the series: Photographs Relating to the Secretary’s Trips, Speeches, and Other Functions, and Agency Officials, Events, and Managed Sites, 2002 - 2009. Records of the Office of the Secretary of the Interior, 1826 - 2009
Robert Frost: March 26, 1874 - January 29, 1963
Born 140 years ago today, iconic American poet Robert Frost’s World War I draft registration card is among the featured items at the “Making Their Mark: Stories Through Signatures" exhibit now on display at the National Archives Museum.
World War I Draft Registration Card for Robert Frost;
From the series: Draft Registration Cards, 1917 - 1918
Robert Frost Poster;
From the series: Propaganda Posters Distributed in Asia, Latin America and the Middle East, ca. 1950 - ca. 1965
(H/T to queenslibrary for the reminder!)
Mollifying a future father-in-law
In his letter dated March 12, 1914, poet Ezra Pound wrote to the Consul General of the United States in London seeking information that would help him ease the reservations of his future father-in-law that Pound’s marriage to his daughter would be invalid if he returned to the United States. Pound is a well-known and influential poet, but at the time of this letter, he was a struggling artist.
National Archives, Records of the Foreign Service Posts of the Department of State
Not only is today World Poetry Day but this letter from then-unknown poet Ezra Pound is featured in the new exhibit: “Making Their Mark: Stories Through Signatures"opening today, March 21, at the National Archives Museum!
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Celebrating Aviation with Magee’s “High Flight”
You may be familiar with these lines—the first of John Gillespie Magee, Jr.’s 1941 sonnet “High Flight”. Many of us likely recognize them from President Ronald Reagan’s speech on the day of the Challenger disaster, but “High Flight” has a much longer history with aviators and astronauts.
In 1966, astronaut Michael Collins took the text of the poem with him into space during the Gemini 10 mission. Cadets at the United States Air Force Academy must learn to recite it from memory. In addition, “High Flight” is showcased in a number of films produced by the United States Air Force, like the one below.
John Gillespie Magee, Jr. was an American who joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1940, before the United States entered World War II. He wrote “High Flight” shortly before he was killed in a midair collision on December 11, 1941. In his honor, we present you with a short 1972 Air Force film celebrating the joy of flight.