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

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

Inside the Muppet workshop.

Season’s Greetings from the U.S. Information Agency: “Vision USA” Visits Emmet Otter

In the 1970s, the United States Information Agency’s "Vision USA" brought images of American life to television screens across the globe. The program focused on current events, and occasionally, Muppets. Episode 72 of "Vision USA," released in 1978, takes a behind-the-scenes look at Jim Henson's "Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas." Emmet Otter was one of the … Continue reading Season’s Greetings from the U.S. Information Agency: “Vision USA” Visits Emmet Otter

Animatics and Anti-Communism: Payut Ngaokrachang Animates Hanuman for the USIA

We work on a lot of cartoons in the Motion Picture Preservation Lab. Some were made for military service members. Some were made to illustrate the dangers of drug use. But the most consistently surprising cartoons are the ones we find in the films of the United States Information Agency (USIA). During the Cold War … Continue reading Animatics and Anti-Communism: Payut Ngaokrachang Animates Hanuman for the USIA

Stock Footage Spotlight: Historically Black Colleges and Universities in WWII

When scanning films in the National Archives Motion Picture Lab, we sometimes come across images that we want to learn more about. We recently transferred several reels of unedited footage depicting African American college students in various classroom settings. The posters on the wall indicated that the footage had been shot during wartime. The slates … Continue reading Stock Footage Spotlight: Historically Black Colleges and Universities in WWII

Celebrating America: The USIA Young Filmmaker Bicentennial Grant Project

The United States’ Bicentennial celebration was huge. America’s 200th birthday saturated popular culture in the mid-1970s, with Bicentennial-themed products and media. In addition, years of planning by the American Revolution Bicentennial Administration culminated in a year of more formal events put on by the United States government. Many federal agencies hopped on the Bicentennial bandwagon, … Continue reading Celebrating America: The USIA Young Filmmaker Bicentennial Grant Project

Football Photographs at the National Archives

With the NFL playoffs underway, millions of fans will crowd around their television sets, eat buffalo wings, and cheer for (or against) the remaining Super Bowl contenders.  Yet football has played an important part in American culture far beyond the National Football League.  Photographs at the National Archives reflect the pervasiveness of football in United … Continue reading Football Photographs at the National Archives

A Bike Like No Other

How do you get around when you live on a 1.2 square-mile island with no privately owned vehicles? If you live on Kwajalein Island, bicycles are the answer. But these aren’t just any bicycles. Kwajalein Island is a part of the United States’ Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site (formerly Kwajalein Missile Range). The … Continue reading A Bike Like No Other

Topic Magazine: Spreading Information to Africa

In 1990, editors at the Harvard Law Review elected their first black president in the journal’s 102-year history.  The newly elected 28-year-old president was a law student and community activist.  By that time, the lawyer-to-be had gained the respect of his peers and professors, all of who praised the student’s modesty, integrity, and drive to … Continue reading Topic Magazine: Spreading Information to Africa

Photographs Relating to the Marshall Plan and Post-WWII Economic Recovery in France

In 1973 the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) transferred to the National Archives approximately 31,000 negatives and corresponding prints created by the Economic Cooperation Administration (ECA) and its successor, the Mutual Security Agency (MSA), to document economic recovery in Western Europe after World War II under the Marshall Plan. After processing, this accession became … Continue reading Photographs Relating to the Marshall Plan and Post-WWII Economic Recovery in France