What’s In a Name? American Vessels Called Enterprise

This Saturday, September 8th, marks the 52nd anniversary of the debut of the “Star Trek” series on television. For over two hundred years, ships called Enterprise have been helping us “Boldly Go”.  From vessels that sailed the Great Lakes of the United States in the War of 1812 to the most decorated ship of World … Continue reading What’s In a Name? American Vessels Called Enterprise

Ironclad Navies: The USS Monitor and CSS Virginia during the Civil War

March 9 marks the famous meeting of the Civil War ironclad ships the USS Monitor and the CSS Virginia at Hampton Roads, Virginia. The Cartographic Branch holds numerous plans and maps relating to the Battle of Hampton Roads and to the Civil War ironclads and ships involved in the battle. This post highlights some of … Continue reading Ironclad Navies: The USS Monitor and CSS Virginia during the Civil War

Cartographic’s Favorites of 2017

Co-written with Amy Edwards The Cartographic Branch holds a wide variety of materials. While working with these documents for reference requests, projects, or research room requests, our staff comes across some very cool and significant documents. Today, we are featuring a few of our favorite records that we've come across this year. We hope that … Continue reading Cartographic’s Favorites of 2017

How a Booklet of General Plans Helped Save 32 Trapped Sailors After the Attack on Pearl Harbor

Among the vast holdings of the National Archives, in Record Group 19: Alphabetical Series of Ship Engineering Drawings, are a type of ship plans known simply as “Booklets of General Plans”.  These plans are illustrations various vessels showing elements such as the starboard and portside views of boats, schematics of weaponry, and deck layouts including … Continue reading How a Booklet of General Plans Helped Save 32 Trapped Sailors After the Attack on Pearl Harbor

Now You See Me, Now You…..Still See Me? Hand-Painted British Dazzle Camouflage Templates from WWI

Record Group 19, Camouflage Design Drawings for U.S. Navy Commissioned Ships, U.S. Merchant Ships and British Ships (NAID 566727) contains some of the more colorful ship designs to ever sail in a military fleet. It is in this record group is where you will find the color and design templates for British Dazzle Camouflage.  There are … Continue reading Now You See Me, Now You…..Still See Me? Hand-Painted British Dazzle Camouflage Templates from WWI

How to Research: Photographs Relating to World War II Navy Ships

When it comes to research in the Still Picture Branch, our staff would agree that World War II photographs are by far some of our most requested records. Given their popularity, our How to Research posts are intended to be a quick reference guide, with some tips and examples of how to effectively search through our … Continue reading How to Research: Photographs Relating to World War II Navy Ships

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

Crowds of people standing on each side of the new lock, as well as on the lock gates which are closed. Label on original photograph reads, "August 3, 1896. Opening of Poe Lock. At intermediate gate."

The Mighty Soo: Construction of the Locks at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan

When the Soo Canal was completed at Sault Ste. Marie in 1855, the journey through the rapids of the St. Mary’s river went from seven weeks of arduous portaging to seven minutes through the newly constructed State Locks.1 Over the next century, four locks would be constructed, repaired, and replaced, leading to more tons of … Continue reading The Mighty Soo: Construction of the Locks at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan