Sinking the Fleets of World War I

Some of the National Archives’ finest footage of the bombardment and sinking of World War I-era ships dates from after the war. In 1921, 1923, and 1931, the United States Navy, in cooperation with the Army Air Forces, bombarded American and German vessels with bombs ranging in size from 25 to 2000 pounds. These spectacles … Continue reading Sinking the Fleets of World War I

Lesser-Known and “Hidden” Newsreels of NARA

You may be familiar with some of the big series of newsreels we hold here at NARA: March of Time, Universal, United News, and War Pictorial News. Recently, as part of an online course about newsreels, I took a deep dive into other newsreels domestic and foreign, which are frequently interfiled in other series. NARA … Continue reading Lesser-Known and “Hidden” Newsreels of NARA

Navajo Code Talkers

The United States Marine Corps possessed an extraordinary, unbreakable code during World War II: the Navajo language. Utilized in the Pacific theater, the Navajo code talkers enabled the Marine Corps to coordinate massive operations, such as the assault on Iwo Jima, without revealing any information to the enemy. Code talkers didn’t speak plain language in … Continue reading Navajo Code Talkers

Why We Fight: Prelude to War, America’s Crash History Lesson

Why We Fight stands among the most ambitious and successful film projects ever undertaken by the United States government. Over the course of seven films, released from 1942 to 1945, director Frank Capra and his team argued forcefully for American service-people and civilians to unite in the massive labor of defeating the Axis Powers and … Continue reading Why We Fight: Prelude to War, America’s Crash History Lesson

Summer Theater in The March of Time

The October 18, 1935 release of the The March of Time newsreel serial contains a segment on "Summer Theatres." The outtakes from this segment shine a light on a time when summer stock theater was an important way for emerging actors and other artists to be seen by film studio representatives. Often taking place outdoors, sometimes in a mere tent, … Continue reading Summer Theater in The March of Time

Summer Road Trip 2019: San Francisco and Yosemite National Park

This post was co-written by Audrey Amidon and Ashley Behringer. On the Streets of San Francisco Next on our summer tour of the National Archives’ non-textual holdings, we move on from Los Angeles to San Francisco. The city has featured prominently in 20th Century American culture and history, from the devastating 1906 earthquake, to the Haight-Ashbury district’s … Continue reading Summer Road Trip 2019: San Francisco and Yosemite National Park

A Holiday Playlist, To: You, From: The Unwritten Record

'Tis the season for holiday films on repeat. Have you grown tired of the leg lamp? Soured on that aloof beagle? Wearied of the mean one with termites in his smile? Are you, gentle reader, bored of Bedford Falls? Fear not, for the National Archives has holiday films that entertain and inform beyond the wildest … Continue reading A Holiday Playlist, To: You, From: The Unwritten Record

Big Shot 2: A Shiny Space Balloon

The NASA Science and Engineering Series (255-SE) consists of footage of experiments and events associated with various programs including Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo. NARA staff have processed 5,848 film reels so far. Fortuitously, most of the films came to us labeled with excellent metadata including title, date, and location, or even with paper scene lists. … Continue reading Big Shot 2: A Shiny Space Balloon

Y2K: The New Year’s Disaster That Wasn’t

"Since the Council began its work, the enormity of the year 2000 problem has become increasingly apparent. It is not just a Federal systems problem or an American problem, it is a global problem." -President's Council on Year 2000 Conversion, May 5, 1998, https://catalog.archives.gov/id/18514276 Humanity's worst fears about a Y2K meltdown on January 1, 2000 never … Continue reading Y2K: The New Year’s Disaster That Wasn’t