A telegram from Martin Luther King Jr. to President Kennedy re: the 16th Street Church bombings. Fifty years ago today, four girls - Addie Mae Collins (14), Denise McNair (11), Carole Robertson (14), and Cynthia Wesley (14) - were killed in the attack.
Telegram to Ringling Brothers Shows announcing the sale of property from “Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show.”, 08/11/1913; and
Telegram from Ringling Brothers to Dewey Bailey, court receiver charged with public sale of assets from “Buffalo Bill’s” Wild West Show., 08/11/1913
From the Bankruptcy Proceedings file of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show from the Bankruptcy Case Files of the District Court of the United States
After 30 years of touring, William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody’s famous “Wild West Show” was forced to declare bankruptcy in 1913. These telegrams announcing the bankruptcy sale (and subsequent response) are from the associated bankruptcy case file.
"…I respectfully appeal to you requesting that you take all those measures that you may deem convenient to bring about the cessation of all such acts in violation of law and order which have caused intense alarm among my nationals…"
Alfredo Elias Calles, the Mexican Consul in Los Angeles, sent this telegram to Rear Admiral D.W. Bagley, Commandant of the Eleventh Naval District on June 9, 1943. He was especially concerned with the apparent targeting of Mexican nationals by American “sailors soldiers marines and civilians.” Those clashes are better known as the Zoot Suit Riots.
Here is the text of Bagley’s reply later that day:
I deeply regret that individual incidents of hoodlumism in Los Angeles have been interpreted as acts specifically involving nationals of either Mexico or the United States. For the very explicit reasoning of your telegram, I already have acted to cope with the deplorable situation and will continue to act within my prerogatives until matters are adjusted to our mutual satisfaction. I am deeply appreciative of your telegram because of its sincere intent to deny any individual or group an opportunity to disrupt the amiable relations treasured by our respective peoples. The frankness of your telegram assures me that you and I are sympathetic to each other’s position in a situation which should have been classified as simple rowdyism and handled accordingly at its inception. My already great admiration for Mexico, its people and its officials has been increased through understanding of the sincere motive of your telegram.
Explore the 70th Anniversary of the Zoot Suit Riots through the records of the U.S. Navy. This telegram, and the Commandant’s response can be found in the Commandant’s records at the National Archives at Riverside (RG 181).
"…guard against any dastardly attempt at incendiarism or destruction."
Telegram Regarding German Espionage Conducted within the United States, 03/30/1918
This telegram to the Navy Yard at Portsmouth, NH, indicates the possibility of German espionage activity against United States shipping, in addition to the ongoing World War I submarine campaign, aimed at the destruction of American ships. It recommends that the utmost scrutiny should be given to all ships, personnel, supplies, and cargo.
Photograph of the wreckage of the USS MAINE, 1898
This telegram from the Key West Naval Station forwards word from Charles S. Sigsbee, Captain of the Maine about the destruction of his ship in Havana harbor on the evening of February 15, 1898, a pivotal event leading up to the Spanish-American War. Read More about the legacy of the USS Maine at Prologue…
Care of Captured Indian Ponies, 01/20/1891
From the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ file: Correspondence Between Military Officers Regarding Wounded Knee Tragedy, 11/24/1890 - 01/24/1891
Telegram from James Meredith to Robert Ellis, Registrar of the University of Mississippi, 1962
After a series of legal battles, James Meredith became the first African American accepted at the segregated University of Mississippi. Backed by a Supreme Court ruling, he attempted to register at the Ole Miss campus in Oxford on September 20, 1962 but was personally blocked by Mississippi Governor Ross Barnett.
Another Amelia Earhart Mystery?
On August 24, 1945 a telegram was sent via U.S. Naval Radio that relayed personal messages from civilian internees liberated from Weihsien Internment Camp located in present-day Weifang, Shangdong, China.
These very brief messages usually gave a few words of reassurance “…family all well…,” “Advise Mother all concentration camp liberated…,” “Health perfect spirits high,” and then signed by the internee.
However, one is very unusual. Found on page 10 it was written to G. P. Putnam, Amelia Earhart’s widower – it reads: G P PUTNAM 10042 VALLEY SPRING LANE NORTH HOLLYWOOD CALIFORNIA CAMP LIBERATED ALL WELL VOLUMES TO TELL LOVE TO MOTHER
Unsigned and rather mysterious – the message to Putnam was sent anonymously and it has never been determined who actually sent it. According to conspiracy theorists, “Love to Mother” was a phrase Amelia Earhart used to say. The fact of its anonymity is what makes the telegram so interesting, and (along with never finding Earhart’s plane or remains) has led to a few theorists saying that this was proof that Earhart survived on an island in the Pacific for years during the war and ended up in a Japanese camp, and after it was liberated, decided to live out the rest of her life in quiet anonymity instead of coming back the States as a rescued celebrity.
Here at Today’s Document, we’re not coming to any conclusions about Earhart, but we thought you might enjoy a little mystery for your Friday.
Left: Page 1 of the 12 page document
Right: Page 10 with text of Telegram to G. P. Putnam
Received April 28, 1917, this telegram was sent from the California Hop Growers Association, in protest of a proposed wartime ban on brewing beer.
Telegram, in code, from Theodore Roosevelt to Admiral Dewey, 02/26/1898
This telegram, in code from Assistance Secretary of Navy Roosevelt to Admiral Dewey, Commander, Pacific Squadron, was sent without the knowledge of Secretary of Navy Long. Sent 11 days after the USS Maine had been mysteriously destroyed in Spanish-controlled Havana, the telegram authorized Dewey to engage the Spanish fleet, although war would not be declared until April. Dewey would go to destroy the Spanish fleet at the Battle of Manila Bay on May 1.
Decoded in the days after it was intercepted by British Naval Intelligence, Germany’s Zimmermann Telegram was ultimately revealed to the initially incredulous American Embassy in late February 1917. In the telegram Germany proposed a military alliance with Mexico against the United States, promising in return the restoration of lost territories such as Arizona, Texas and New Mexico.
Shown here is a later confirmation decode made by Edward Bell of the American Embassy in London, and sent to the State Department on March 2, 1917
This telegram, written by German Foreign Secretary Arthur Zimmermann and received by the German Ambassador to Mexico on January 19, 1917, is a coded message sent to Mexico, proposing a military alliance against the United States. Intercepted and deciphered by British cryptographers, the message would be revealed after a calculated delay. The obvious threats to the United States contained in the telegram inflamed American public opinion against Germany and helped convince Congress to declare war against Germany in 1917.