A Fair to Remember: Colored Lantern Slides at the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition

One century ago, San Francisco's 1915 World’s Fair closed its doors, ending one of the most unique events in American history.  For 288 days, the fair brought together an odd array of individuals that seemingly belong in different chapters of the history textbook.  Civil War veterans could watch as Henry Ford produced a car every … Continue reading A Fair to Remember: Colored Lantern Slides at the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition

Daring Deliveries: The U.S. Post Office and the Birth of Commercial Aviation

At the beginning of the 20th century, dreams of flying morphed from science fiction to reality. From the Wright Brothers' early expeditions in Kitty Hawk, to the World War I fighter pilots in Europe, the airplane generated excitement around the world. Yet despite intense interest and publicity, the airplane’s practicality was still in doubt. Although … Continue reading Daring Deliveries: The U.S. Post Office and the Birth of Commercial Aviation

This Week in Universal News: A Hovercraft Crosses the English Channel, 1959

On July 25, 1909, Louis Bleriot became the first man to fly over the English Channel. In 1959, the flight was commemorated with the first crossing by hovercraft. Taking a hovercraft between England and France was a reality for commercial passengers between 1968 and 2000, when a commercial hovercraft service offered transportation across the English Channel. … Continue reading This Week in Universal News: A Hovercraft Crosses the English Channel, 1959

This Week in Universal News: Tennis Legends Wills and Wightman Take on the Boehm Twins, 1931

On July 15th, 1931, legendary tennis players Helen Wills and Hazel Hotchkiss Wightman competed against Hilda and Helen Boehm in the first round of the National Doubles Championship at Longwood Cricket Club in Brookline, Massachusetts. The 17-year-old Boehm twins were junior doubles champions in 1931. Between 1922 and 1938, Helen Wills won 19 of the … Continue reading This Week in Universal News: Tennis Legends Wills and Wightman Take on the Boehm Twins, 1931

Alternative Aviation: Rocket Men and Flying Platforms

This post was written by Heidi Holmstrom. Heidi works in the Motion Picture Preservation Lab, which is responsible for performing conservation and preservation work on motion picture records held across the National Archives. You may recall our blog post from the beginning of April about the Avrocar, the U.S. Air Force’s flying saucer. The Avrocar wasn’t the … Continue reading Alternative Aviation: Rocket Men and Flying Platforms

This Week in Universal News: Introducing the Boeing 747, 1966

This week in 1966, Boeing introduced the world to the 747, the first jumbo jet. Today, production of the 747 is winding down, but when it first debuted with commercial airlines in 1970, the double-decker represented both scale of economy and the lap of luxury for those fortunate enough to travel in first class. Even … Continue reading This Week in Universal News: Introducing the Boeing 747, 1966

I Saw Kitty Hawk: Film, Memory, and Archives

A couple of weeks ago, we wrote about the 110th anniversary of “The Great Train Robbery,” a film that pioneered editing techniques that are so commonplace as to be invisible to viewers today and is acknowledged as the first example of modern film fiction narrative. But this wasn’t the only important innovation taking place in … Continue reading I Saw Kitty Hawk: Film, Memory, and Archives

Celebrating Aviation with Magee’s “High Flight”

Today’s post is by Heidi Holmstrom. Heidi works in the Motion Picture Preservation Lab, which is responsible for performing conservation and preservation work on motion picture records held across the National Archives. “Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth . . . . Put out my hand and touched the Face of God.” You … Continue reading Celebrating Aviation with Magee’s “High Flight”