Recalling the Devastating Patent Office Fire of 1836

December 15th marks the anniversary of the first of several major fires to impact the United States Patent Office.  In 1836, the Patent Office was being housed in the Blodget Hotel in Washington, D.C.  Employees of the patent office stored firewood in the basement near where they also disposed of hot ashes and, during the … Continue reading Recalling the Devastating Patent Office Fire of 1836

Mapping the Battle of Fredericksburg

In honor of the anniversary of the Battle of Fredericksburg, which was fought December 13, 1862, the Cartographic Branch is highlighting some of its many maps related to Fredericksburg during the Civil War. In the fall of 1862, both armies began concentrating around Fredericksburg, a town halfway between Washington, DC and Richmond, VA.  Union General … Continue reading Mapping the Battle of Fredericksburg

Oddments From the U.S. Series of RG 77: Civil Works Map Files

From time to time, we find things among the archives holdings that are so unexpected that we just have to share them! The following images come from a series of maps that are currently in the process of being digitized to be added to the catalog.  The maps below all contain examples of doodles and … Continue reading Oddments From the U.S. Series of RG 77: Civil Works Map Files

Captured on Film: Armistice Day 1918

This Veterans Day, November 11th, is the 100th anniversary of the armistice of World War I. The armistice was not an official surrender by Germany, which would come several months later with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, but was essentially the beginning of the end of the war. The Great War, as it is … Continue reading Captured on Film: Armistice Day 1918

Newly Digitized Series : Initial Burial Plats for World War I American Soldiers

November 11 marks the 100th anniversary of the conclusion of World War I. Fighting came to a close in Europe on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918 when Germany signed an armistice with the Allied forces. At the war's conclusion, over 70,000 American soldiers lay scatted in graves … Continue reading Newly Digitized Series : Initial Burial Plats for World War I American Soldiers

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

Summer’s Last Hurrah

Labor Day is quickly approaching, and with it, the unofficial end of summer. But, the long weekend allows for one last chance to enjoy summer pastimes, such as a trip to the fair, amusement park, or beach. If you are looking for ways to spend your Labor Day weekend, look no further, here are some … Continue reading Summer’s Last Hurrah

Capturing the Beauty of America’s National Parks: National Park Service Master Plan Covers

August 25th marks the birthday of the National Park Service, which was established on that date in 1916. Over the course of the last 100 plus years, the National Park Service has grown, and now includes over 400 parks, representing America's vast array of natural wonders and significant historic sites. The Cartographic Branch holds a … Continue reading Capturing the Beauty of America’s National Parks: National Park Service Master Plan Covers