The 1918 Influenza Pandemic (Photos)

This post was written in collaboration with Kevin Quinn, Sarah Lepianka, and Katherine Stinson - Archives Technicians in the Still Photos Branch.   The 1918 Influenza Pandemic, also known as the Spanish Flu, was one of the deadliest events in human history.  While fighting between the Allied Powers and the Central Powers raged on in Europe, … Continue reading The 1918 Influenza Pandemic (Photos)

The Moll Atlas: How the World Appeared in 1721

Among the many treasures tucked away in the Archives is a series of maps known simply as “The Moll Atlas” (RG 76, Series 30).  While the name might not initially scream “excitement”, the Moll Atlas is breathtaking for not only its complexity, but the sheer beauty of the maps themselves.  Unfortunately, this is not the … Continue reading The Moll Atlas: How the World Appeared in 1721

Spotlight: Wedded In Service

This post was written in collaboration with Beth Fortson. "I'd feel like a quitter if I left the service now." - Wren Josephine Mary Kennelly This Valentine's Day, the Still Picture Branch would like to share a photo story from the series 26-G. This series is the subject of one of our ongoing digitization projects … Continue reading Spotlight: Wedded In Service

The Measure of a Screen: Motion Picture Aspect Ratios in the Archives

Take a look at the two movie screens in the photos below. Notice anything different? The screen in the color image, photographed in 1998, is much wider than that in the 1946 black-and-white image. Each screen has a different aspect ratio. Merriam-Webster defines motion picture aspect ratio as “the ratio of the width of a … Continue reading The Measure of a Screen: Motion Picture Aspect Ratios in the Archives

The Digitization of 26-LG

Many different factors are considered when selecting a series for digitization. Records that are particularly fragile or have high intrinsic value might be digitized to help preserve the originals by reducing the amount of physical handling each item receives. Records that are of high historical value might be digitized for posterity in order to ensure … Continue reading The Digitization of 26-LG

Maps of the Great War: Army Cartography in World War I

One of the most illuminating groups of records found in the Cartographic Branch at the National Archives is Record Group 120: Records of the American Expeditionary Forces (World War I), 1848 - 1942 (seen in our catalog here). These records cover many different aspects of the war. Included are maps from various United States army … Continue reading Maps of the Great War: Army Cartography in World War I

Operation Watchtower: The Guadalcanal Campaign

Co-Authored by Kelsey Noel and Corbin Apkin.   This August marks the 75th anniversary of Operation Watchtower, otherwise known as the Guadalcanal Campaign. Operation Watchtower was a series of engagements between the Allied forces (comprised heavily of U.S. Marines) and the Japanese military. The campaign began on August 7th, 1942 with the first amphibious landings … Continue reading Operation Watchtower: The Guadalcanal Campaign

From Norfolk to NARA: The Unexpected Journey of the Navy Shipyard Glass Plate Negatives

As the National Archives adapts to the world of digital records, it is easy to lose sight of the traditional challenges that have plagued archivists for generations. Over the last year, the Still Pictures branch has accessioned and processed a number of series that were originally captured on glass plates.  Such was the case with … Continue reading From Norfolk to NARA: The Unexpected Journey of the Navy Shipyard Glass Plate Negatives

Accessing World War I Photos in the Digital Age

April 6 marks the 100th anniversary of the United States’ entry into World War I, as well as the culmination of a massive digitization project from the National Archives. Through a generous donation made by an anonymous donor, the National Archives was able to digitize over 110,000 photographs and nearly 300 reels of film related to … Continue reading Accessing World War I Photos in the Digital Age

Hidden Women Update: WWI Camouflage in Action

You may remember our July 2016 post about the Women’s Reserve Camouflage Corps, made up of women artists who developed camouflage for use by American troops in Europe during World War I. The website Atlas Obscura also featured the story and photos in October 2016. The Women’s Reserve Camouflage Corps photos held by the National … Continue reading Hidden Women Update: WWI Camouflage in Action