Of Civil Works, Red-Bellied Woodpeckers, and the Randomness of Records in the Cartographic Branch

When you work with cartographic records at the National Archives, it is fair to say that you never know what you are going to randomly come across when you open a folder. Sometimes, it is a newer, published map. Sometimes (on a really great day) it is a 200-year-old manuscript map, and somedays, it's random … Continue reading Of Civil Works, Red-Bellied Woodpeckers, and the Randomness of Records in the Cartographic Branch

Keeping Cool with Cool Patents the 4th of July!

One of my favorite record groups is RG 241: Records of the Patent and Trademark Office, because of the dazzling displays of ingenuity! These patents, as usual, do not disappoint. Enjoy!! https://catalog.archives.gov/id/159160063RG 241: Restored Patent Drawings, 1836-1978. Patent 6558-X. J. Barron's Patent Drawing for a Mechanical Fan. NAID: 159160063. RG 241: Utility Patent Drawings, 1837-1911. … Continue reading Keeping Cool with Cool Patents the 4th of July!

BOOM! – Looking Back at When the Bodie Island Lighthouse Went Dark in May of 1863

The Outer Banks of North Carolina are a 200-mile-long string of barrier islands located on the eastern coast of the United States, in the mid-Atlantic region. This tiny strip of land forms a barrier between the Pamilico Sound, the Albemarle Sound, and the Carrituck Sound and the Atlantic Ocean. Now a major tourist destination, the … Continue reading BOOM! – Looking Back at When the Bodie Island Lighthouse Went Dark in May of 1863

Just a Walk in the Park in Washington, D.C.

Ah!  Spring is in the air and what better time is there for a walk in the park? From the huge expanse of Rock Creek Park to the much smaller green spaces like Reservation No. 22, Washington D.C. is home to an abundance of parks and green spaces of all sizes and shapes.  Likewise, the … Continue reading Just a Walk in the Park in Washington, D.C.

The Only Constant in the Nation’s Capital is Change!

If you have ever visited Washington, D.C., one of the most striking features of the city is the National Mall and the area surrounding it.  If you stand in the middle of the mall and look due east, you will find yourself facing the stately white dome of the Capitol Building.  From there, if you … Continue reading The Only Constant in the Nation’s Capital is Change!

The Washington National Monument – A National Contest for a National Monument

Maybe it is my past as a field archaeologist and a museum geek, but I love a good collection!  Projectile points, pottery shards, fossils, drawings, or maps - groupings of things, especially old things catch my eye.  So, how was I to resist writing about it when I came across a collection of beautiful drawings … Continue reading The Washington National Monument – A National Contest for a National Monument

Travelling Back in Time to the New York City of 1767-1768 via the Ratzen Map

There’s just something about old maps – some ineffable quality that draws the attention and makes one stop and bend closer to see what is there……and what’s not there.  Has the landscape changed?  Are towns missing or are towns shown that no longer exist?  Is it engraved or is it a manuscript map?  Are there … Continue reading Travelling Back in Time to the New York City of 1767-1768 via the Ratzen Map

RG 241: Restored Patents Now Fully Digitized and Available Online!

The RG 241: Restored Patents (NAID 305885) are finally here and available for viewing and download via the National Archives catalog!  In addition to containing some very detailed and colorful images, this series is particularly interesting because of its unique background. In 1836, the Patent Office was being housed in the Blodget Hotel in Washington, … Continue reading RG 241: Restored Patents Now Fully Digitized and Available Online!

RG 76: Maps and Records Pertaining to the Northeastern Boundary of the United States – An Artistic Glimpse of Past

Deep in the stacks of the Cartographic Branch at Archives II, nestled in RG 76, is a series entitled “Maps and Records Pertaining to the Northeastern Boundary of the United States”.   This series contains manuscript maps and drawings of various locations along the border, including a set of spectacular color drawings and manuscript maps offering … Continue reading RG 76: Maps and Records Pertaining to the Northeastern Boundary of the United States – An Artistic Glimpse of Past

What Might Have Been: Original Concept Art for the Lincoln Memorial

In the time since the cornerstone was laid in 1915, the Lincoln Memorial has become a national symbol and is easily one of the most recognizable structures in the United States.  Situated between Arlington National Cemetery and the Reflecting Pool, the Lincoln Memorial provides a breathtaking view of the World War II Memorial, the Washington … Continue reading What Might Have Been: Original Concept Art for the Lincoln Memorial