Photograph of a Bird in front of Unexploded Ordnance

Bird is the Word

Generally, when thinking of Bird(s), you may have in mind those belonging to the animal kingdom, but at the National Archives, our Catalog will surprise you at every turn.  A search for the term “Bird” (filtered for Still Picture Branch results, only) comes back with 6,091 Items, 155 File Units, and 53 Series, all with … Continue reading Bird is the Word

Patent Drawings from Beyond the Grave

With Halloween just around the corner (at last!), I thought our readers would enjoy a little something spooky to get in the spirit.. or perhaps to get in touch with the spirit. Automatic writing, or psychography, as a means of communicating with the spirit world has been in use for almost a thousand years. However, … Continue reading Patent Drawings from Beyond the Grave

60th Anniversary: The Cuban Missile Crisis

Local Identifier: 342-B-ND-018A-167731USAF; Original Caption: MRBM Field Launch Site, San Cristobal #1, October 14 1962. (This photo provided the first photographic evidence of Soviet offensive missile deployment in Cuba.) The Cuban Missile Crisis was a confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union in October 1962. The international crisis escalated when American missiles were … Continue reading 60th Anniversary: The Cuban Missile Crisis

Throw a Nickel on the Grass and Have a Doughnut

Unfortunately, the subject of the film in the title has nothing to do with actual donuts and a whole lot to do with the kind pictured below, the circular aiming sight of a jet fighter, referred to as a "doughnut" in pilot vernacular. Specifically, the film documents the United States Air Force and Navy findings … Continue reading Throw a Nickel on the Grass and Have a Doughnut

Captain Chuck Yeager: Breaking the Sound Barrier

On October 14, 1947, USAF Captain Charles E. "Chuck" Yeager became the first person to fly faster than the speed of sound. Yeager flew a Bell XS-1, nicknamed "Glamorous Glennis" (a tribute to his wife), over Rogers Dry Lake located at Edward's Air Force Base (formerly named Muroc Air Force Base). The X-1 reached a speed … Continue reading Captain Chuck Yeager: Breaking the Sound Barrier

President Truman’s Media Milestone: The First Televised Speech from the White House

Today’s post is by Laurie Austin. Laurie is an audiovisual archivist at the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library.  In 2022, we take for granted that the president can communicate directly with the American people whenever necessary through a White House speech. The media landscape now provides a staggering array of ways to view such a … Continue reading President Truman’s Media Milestone: The First Televised Speech from the White House

Fat Bear Week 1978

79-HFC-383x1 Every fall, the brown bears of Katmai National Park embark upon one of the greatest food binges in the natural world. Entering a state of hyperphagia (hypereating), they pack on up to four pounds a day as they prepare to hibernate over the winter. Some bears weigh over 1000 pounds by the end of … Continue reading Fat Bear Week 1978

Next Round is on the General! Recalling the Time When General “Lightning Joe” Collins Bought a Round for 600 Men

When you hear “Cartographic Records”, what is the first thing that comes to mind?  Most likely, you would be inclined to think of maps - topographic maps, geopolitical maps, navigation charts, township plats, and any of a hundred other, different sorts of maps.  But did you know that maps aren’t the only type of records … Continue reading Next Round is on the General! Recalling the Time When General “Lightning Joe” Collins Bought a Round for 600 Men

In Memoriam: Photographs of Queen Elizabeth II (1926-2022)

Queen Elizabeth II (April 21, 1926 – September 8, 2022) served as Queen of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth realms for 70 years up until her death at age 96, making her reign the longest of any British monarch. Here in the Still Picture Branch at the National Archives, we have a handful of photographs within our holdings of the late Queen Elizabeth II and her official travels to the United States.

A Summers Day in the Nation’s Capitol: Dawn Strikes the Capitol Dome (1936)

The end of summer will soon be upon us, but before that comes let’s take a look back at another sunny summer day in Washington, D.C. some 88 years ago.  Title image from the film "Dawn Strikes the Capitol Dome". (Local Identifier: 69.48, NAID: 12362) This summer day was captured in a short film called … Continue reading A Summers Day in the Nation’s Capitol: Dawn Strikes the Capitol Dome (1936)