Covert Cartoons: Animated Anti-Communism in Mexico and Beyond

Still image from "Viaje Interplanetario." (306.6296) In the 1950s, the United States and its allies were deep in the throes of the Cold War. To face and fight the spread of communism, the United States Information Agency (USIA) unleashed anti-communist film campaigns across the globe. Although laden with serious political messages, some films took the … Continue reading Covert Cartoons: Animated Anti-Communism in Mexico and Beyond

Film Preservation 101: Why does this film smell like vinegar?

Film Preservation 101 is an occasional series in which we answer our most frequently asked questions.  You may have heard that old films can be dangerous, and potentially even explosive (we covered this topic in Film Preservation 101: Is Nitrate Film Really Dangerous?) and you’re worried about your grandfather’s home movies that you keep in … Continue reading Film Preservation 101: Why does this film smell like vinegar?

Spotlight: Happy Birthday, West Virginia

West Virginia officially became a state on June 20, 1863 and will celebrate its 157th birthday this year. The state was created when several northern Virginia counties were admitted to the Union during the Civil War after several years of petitioning the United States Government. Economic and social differences between southern and northern Virginia lead … Continue reading Spotlight: Happy Birthday, West Virginia

A Trip to the Hawaiian Islands

The Hawaiian Islands (FC-FC-484) is a silent, black and white film from 1924, part of the Ford Motor Company Collection.  At the time this film was made, Hawaii was a territory to the United States and would remain that way until it achieved statehood on August 21, 1959.  The film consists of unique footage of … Continue reading A Trip to the Hawaiian Islands

VE Day in Color

Still from 18-SFP-9148 Meeting at Torgau The Germany city of Torgau is located on the banks of the Elbe River just 100 miles from the county's capital of Berlin. It is there that American and Soviet forces met on April 25, 1945 marking the end of World War II in Germany. Twelve days later, on … Continue reading VE Day in Color

The Land of the Morning Calm: U.S. Army Films from the Korean War

Korea has long been known as the “Land of the Morning Calm”, a reference to the region’s natural beauty and tranquility. This tranquility has been belied by some seven decades of conflict, from the Korean War through to the present day. Today we will take a look at two different eras of that conflict from … Continue reading The Land of the Morning Calm: U.S. Army Films from the Korean War

Duck and Cover in the Family Fallout Shelter: Civil Defense Preparedness in the Cold War Era

On September 23, 1949, President Harry S. Truman released a brief statement to the press stating that within recent weeks, an atomic explosion had been detected within the U.S.S.R, signaling the start of a new arms race. In order to ease Americans' fears and coordinate civil defense strategies between the federal, state, and local governments, … Continue reading Duck and Cover in the Family Fallout Shelter: Civil Defense Preparedness in the Cold War Era

Spotlight: Saving Time with “A Step Saving Kitchen”

Since many of us have been spending more time in our kitchens cooking lately, we thought this would be a good time to highlight the film A Step Saving Kitchen (16-P-1783).  It comes from the Records of the Department of Agriculture, in the series "Public Information and Training Motion Picture and Television Productions, 1990 – … Continue reading Spotlight: Saving Time with “A Step Saving Kitchen”

Mobile Libraries: Culture on the Go

Today’s post is written by Joseph Smith, who volunteers at the National Archives at College Park.  National Bookmobile Day is April 22, part of National Library Week (April 19-25).  A library is a place that stores information, a place where people from all walks of life have the opportunity to obtain textual and audiovisual material … Continue reading Mobile Libraries: Culture on the Go

Opening Credits for "It's Up to You" (208.50) showing Director, Photographer, and Editor

Finding Elizabeth Wheeler: Rediscovering a 1940s Woman Filmmaker

Today's guest blog post is by Sharon Thompson, Executive Director of the Lesbian Home Movie Project (LMHP). A writer, editor, and film archivist, Thompson has used NARA records in her research into women filmmakers. We asked her to write about one of her research projects to close out Women's History Month. Between one question and … Continue reading Finding Elizabeth Wheeler: Rediscovering a 1940s Woman Filmmaker