"Marian Anderson, world’s greatest contralto, entertains a group of overseas veterans and WACs on [the] stage of the San Antonio Municipal Auditorium…", 04/11/1945
From the series: Photographs of Notable Personalities, 1942 - 1945. Records of the Office of War Information
Earlier this week was the 75th Anniversary of Marian Anderson’s famous outdoor concert at the Lincoln Memorial, on April 9, 1939. (Hear her renowned contralto voice in the audio post!)
Happy 110th Birthday, Times Square!
Originally named Longacre Square, it was officially renamed Times Square on April 8, 1904 in honor of the New York Times.
Snapshots of the “Crossroads of the World” from the 1910s, 1940s, 1970s, 1980s and 2000s:
- New York City celebrating the surrender of Japan. They threw anything and kissed anybody in Times Square., 08/14/1945. National Archives Identifier: 520697
- A view of the neon lights of Broadway. The United Services Organization (USO) GEN Douglas MacArthur Memorial Center, located in Times Square at 45th Street and Broadway…01/01/1983. National Archives Identifier: 6367334
- Peace rumor, New York. Crowd at Times Square holding up Extras telling about the signing of the Armistice. The Government report that the news was not true did not stop the celebration. National Archives Identifier: 533477
- TIMES SQUARE, 08/1973. National Archives Identifier: 554298
- Sailors attached to USS IWO JIMA (LHD 7) gather together for an impromptu group shot while on liberty in Times Square during Fleet Week 2002.05/22/2002. National Archives Identifier: 6640589
- V-J Day in New York City. Crowds gather in Times Square to celebrate the surrender of Japan., 08/15/1945. National Archives Identifier: 531350
Mickey Rooney, Legendary Actor and Entertainer
(September 23, 1920 - April 6, 2014)
"Private First Class Mickey Rooney imitates some Hollywood actors for an audience of Infantrymen of the 44th Division. Rooney is a member of a three-man unit making a jeep tour to entertain the troops. Kist, Germany, April 13, 1945."
From the series: Signal Corps Photographs of American Military Activity, 1754 - 1954
The Merkers Salt Mine Cache
ReichsBank wealth, SS loot, and Berlin Museum paintings that were removed from Berlin to a salt mine vault located in Merkers, Germany. The 3rd U.S. Army discovered the gold and other treasure in April 1945.RG 111-SC-205409
In early April, 1945, the German village of Merkers fell to elements of Lt. General George Patton’s Third Army. Stories soon began to emerge about a local salt mine packed with gold, treasure, and priceless art. At 10 a.m. on April 7, 1945, Lt. Col. William A. Russell of the Ninetieth Infantry Division, and other staff followed German mining officials into the mine. The elevator took them to the bottom of the main shaft twenty-one hundred feet beneath the surface, where the image above awaited them.
(Catch up on some of our earlier Monuments Men posts!)
Happy 125th Birthday to the Eiffel Tower! Or should we say, Bon anniversaire à la Tour Eiffel!
Now an iconic part of the Parisian landscape, Gustave Eiffel’s eponymous tower first opened to the public 125 years ago on March 31, 1889 as part of the Exposition Universelle.
Excerpted from: RESULTS OF STRATEGIC BOMBING IN THE PARIS AREA, 1944
"Warm Springs, California. Harry Konda is shown above in strawberry field on March 27, 1942, six weeks before he and 142 other farmers were evacuated from this district in Santa Clara County. He is an officer of the Japanese American Citizens League. Evacuees of Japanese descent will be housed in War Relocation Authority centers for the duration."
National Archives Identifier: 537589
Dorothea Lange, Photographer. From the series: Central Photographic File of the War Relocation Authority, 1942 - 1945
"Stay off gobbledygook language."
Seventy years ago, there just wasn’t a suitable term for those brain-scalding, rage-inducing concoctions of grammar and syntax masquerading as language. Well, Mr. Maury Maverick came up with one:
Here is his memorandum to the staff of the federal agency he headed, the Smaller War Plants Corporation; the first known usage of this faintly exotic, yet viciously accurate, addition to the English language.
Memorandum from Maury Maverick to Everybody in Smaller War Plants Corporation. 3/24/1944
From the series: Field Letters and Memoranda, 1943 - 1945. Records of the Smaller War Plants Corporation, 1940 - 1948
(Today’s post comes via Alan Walker, an archivist in Research Services at the National Archives in College Park, Maryland.)
These days Mr. Maverick would just be seen as a rather outspoken proponent of what we in the government call “plain language.”
Maybe you call it “jargon,” ”legalese,” or ”doublespeak” — what’s your favorite term for “Gobbledygook”?
"Negro sailors of the USS MASON commissioned at Boston Navy Yard 20 March 1944 proudly look over their ship which is first to have predominantly Negro crew."
From the series: General Photographic File of the Department of Navy, 1943 - 1958
The USS Mason was one of only two ships during World War II with predominately African American crews. The experiences of the USS Mason’s crew would later be dramatized in the film Proud (2004).
More images of the USS Mason and her crew at the U.S. Navy’s History and Heritage site.
Join the #MonMenChat, today at 2:30 p.m. EDT!
The real Monuments Men (and Women) worked to protect Europe’s cultural heritage during World War II. Learn more about them in a Twitter chat on Tuesday, March 11, at 2:30 p.m. ET hosted by the National Gallery of Art, Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and the National Archives.
(And catch up with some of our past Monuments Men posts!)
Escape and Evasion Case File for Flight Officer Charles (Chuck) E. Yeager, 03/05/1944
On March 5, 1944, future test pilot Chuck Yeager’s P-51 Mustang was shot down while on a mission to Bordeaux, France and he was forced to bailout over Nazi-occupied France. His harrowing account details how he was nearly shot while descending helplessly in a parachute and narrowly escaped capture with the help of the French Resistance.
STARVE THE SQUANDER BUG. BUY MORE WAR BONDS
From the series: World War II Posters, compiled 1942 - 1945; Records of the Office of Government Reports, 1932 - 1947
Born 110th years ago on March 2, 1904, illustrator and author Theodore Seuss Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss, designed the “Squander Bug” for World War II propaganda posters, inspired by a British creation of the same name.
During the war Seuss also worked on Army training films, such as those featuring the bumbling Private SNAFU.
Bringing Battle to the Home Front: With the Marines at Tarawa
Will you be watching the Oscars this Sunday? Did you know that a number of films produced by the United States government were nominated or won Academy Awards? One such film is With the Marines at Tarawa, which brought the experience of a major battle to the American public and consequently won the 1945 Academy Award for best documentary short.
With the Marines at Tarawa hit theaters March 2nd, 1944. Sunday’s Oscar broadcast marks the 70th anniversary of the film’s release.
The Unites States Marine Corps fought the Battle of Tarawa over four days in November, 1943. At the end of the battle, nearly a thousand Marines were dead, and over two thousand were wounded. Of those holding the island, there were nearly 4700 casualties. Only seventeen Japanese soldiers surrendered; of about a thousand Korean forced laborers, 129 survived the battle.
Beyond the strategic value of the victory, the battle is significant today because so much of it was caught on film by our combat cameramen. Seeing the footage made the experience real for those on the home front, and serves as a record of the horror of war for those of us who watch it now.
With the Marines at Tarawa was carefully crafted to bring viewers into the experience, from the somber mood during preparation, through the chaos of battle, the overwhelming sadness of counting and caring for the dead, and the sense of accomplishment as the American flag was raised on the island.
In addition, the film focuses on how lives were saved by competent medical personnel and the possibility of blood transfusions, a fact that would have provided hope to those with loved ones on the front lines. Viewers are left with a sense of grief, as well as patriotism in knowing that “our boys” were bravely fighting this “war we did not want.”
"Sounds harmless enough. Innocent stuff. But let’s take a look in, and find out what’s cookin’…"
Happy 110th Birthday, Dr. Seuss!
Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known to many as children’s author Dr. Seuss, was born on March 2, 1904. During World War II, Geisel contributed to the war effort through the production of instructional and cautionary cartoons featuring the negligent and aptly named Private Snafu, many with Seuss’ trademark rhyming and wordplay.
Watch more in the Private Snafu playlist on the U.S. National Archives YouTube Channel:
Notice to Aliens of Enemy Nationalities, 02/09/1942
From the series: Public Relations Records, 1940 - 1954; Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service
This is a Department of Justice notice directed towards aliens of German, Italian, and Japanese nationalities to apply for a Certificate of Identification by the deadline of February 28, 1942.
Red Cross workers assembled at the IP, Avenue C and 7th Street, Camp Patrick Henry.
Left to right, front row, are Edna Elizabeth Dick of Williamsburg, Kentucky; Mrs. Madeleine Carroll Hamilton; Marcia Hinrichs, Alexandria, Virginia. Left to right, back row, Megan Downey, Cleveland Heights, Ohio; Anne Hayes, Atlanta, Georgia; and Helen Hubbell, New York City.
Official photograph United States Army Signal Corps, Hampton Roads Point of Embarkation, Newport News, Virginia. 02/27/1944