Census Enumeration District Maps for 1940 and 1950 Available Digitally in Our Catalog

The Decennial Census of Population and Housing, aka ‘the census,’ counts each resident of the country every ten years. Conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, the Constitution mandates the enumeration to determine the number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives. The first census was taken in 1790 during George Washington’s … Continue reading Census Enumeration District Maps for 1940 and 1950 Available Digitally in Our Catalog

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.

Coal Mining in Alaska: Coal Fields of the Alaska Engineering Commission

Mining has been a vital part of Alaska’s economy for hundreds of years. Often when we think of mining in Alaska, we think of gold mining and the gold rush of the late 1800s. In addition to gold, however, Alaska’s mining industry also produces zinc, lead, copper, silver, and coal, as well as, construction materials … Continue reading Coal Mining in Alaska: Coal Fields of the Alaska Engineering Commission

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!

Life-Saving Stations of Maryland: Drawings from RG 26, Maps and Plans for Lifesaving Stations

Does anyone else day dream of warm summer days filled with sun, sand, and surf? I know I do! Growing up in Maryland, I spent many summers visiting Ocean City. If anyone has been to Ocean City, they will surely remember playing in the sand, swimming in the surf, strolling the boardwalk, and eating sweet … Continue reading Life-Saving Stations of Maryland: Drawings from RG 26, Maps and Plans for Lifesaving Stations

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 263 CIA Published Maps: A Digitization Project In Progress

While we frequently share interesting early maps from the Cartographic Branch holdings, today we wanted to focus on some of Cartographic's more recent maps. The RG 263 CIA Published Maps (also called the CIA Numbered Maps or Numerical Series) is made up of over 22,000 declassified maps. These maps date primarily from the 1940s to … Continue reading RG 263 CIA Published Maps: A Digitization Project In Progress

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!