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Remember, if approached by a librarian, keep still. Do not run away.

Welcome to a tumblr of wonders. Special Collections, archives, and libraries have many wonderful items, but getting to them all can be a bit like trying to walk into Mordor, unless you have unlimited time and grants. But now, thanks to Tumblr, you too can explore collections around the world, and one of the best comes to us from the University of Iowa. Want a Hamlet quote on a miniature book that unfolds into a tiny Globe Theatre? Of course you do. Actual flying squirrels? Adventure with Alice! Get close to illuminations? Catch a glimpse of hipster frames circa 1504? More awesome librar* tumblrs inside. [more inside]
posted by jetlagaddict on Dec 26, 2013 - 13 comments

The Bonfire of Empire

The marking "DG" was said to be an abbreviation of deputy governor, but in fact was a protective code word to indicate that papers so marked were for sight by "British officers of European descent only". -- Before withdrawing from its colonies, UK colonial officials made certain to destroy any papers that "might embarrass Her Majesty's [the] government", that could "embarrass members of the police, military forces, public servants or others eg police informers", that might betray intelligence sources, or that might "be used unethically by ministers in the successor government".
posted by MartinWisse on Dec 11, 2013 - 15 comments

Keeping It All Together: Paper Fasteners at the National Archives

"I think about what has kept me here at the National Archives for all this time. It couldn’t be the bone-wearying monotony of shuffling heavy cartons of records from here to there...No, there’s something else that gets me in the door every morning. Fasteners." A brief survey of various paper clips and their ilk encountered by employees at the National Archives. [more inside]
posted by marxchivist on Jun 6, 2013 - 12 comments

Let There Be Light

"A post-World War II documentary, banned by the military in 1946 but lately released online, is one of the earliest depictions of psychotherapy." Let There Be Light, a film by John Huston. [more inside]
posted by bluefly on Aug 20, 2012 - 9 comments

“The Documerica file will serve the public interest only to the extent that the images are published.”

The EPA's 1971-1978 Documerica project (at Flickr, at the National Archives) set out to 'photographically document subjects of environmental concern.' Last month, The Atlantic put up a gallery of 46 of the photos (here are three more curated galleries, from Wired, Colorcubic and the Mother Nature Network).
posted by box on Dec 26, 2011 - 9 comments

This Moment in Movember History Brought to you by the Letter J

In 1941, the Special Operations Executive forged documents, including passports, in order to help the resistance. Here's the one they made for Adolf Hitler, with a better view of the photos available on this site.
posted by gman on Nov 9, 2011 - 16 comments

"The deepest of the deep"

In event of moon disaster...
posted by Artw on Nov 5, 2010 - 70 comments

Digital Vaults

This is a collection of the National Archives stored in the Digital Vaults. You can browse through hundreds of photographs, documents, and film clips and discover the connection between some of the National Archives' most treasured records. With the Pathways tool you can see the unique and surprising connections between events and people and test your knowledge of history. As you travel through the site and collect documents, images and films, you can then merge the objects to create your own poster or movie from your collection.
posted by netbros on Jul 17, 2008 - 16 comments

Pursuing Purloined Papers

To Catch A Thief. How a Civil War buff's chance discovery led to a sting, a raid and a victory against traffickers in stolen historical documents. Related article: Pay Dirt in Montana. And photo gallery.
posted by amyms on Apr 27, 2008 - 20 comments

CreateSpace, an Amazon on-demand self-publishing service, inks deal with National Archives for 100,000's of public domain films

CreateSpace is the new name of Amazon's on-demand self-publishing service for the super long tail of books, audio CD's and film DVD/Blue-ray. Products automatically get an ISBN number and are listed on Amazon.com, including "Search Inside" for books. The National Archives and CreateSpace will be publishing movies from its collection of over 200,000 public domain films, raising some provocative copyright issues.
posted by stbalbach on Aug 8, 2007 - 34 comments

That's 2 shillings and sixpence in old money

Ever wondered what old amounts of money would be worth today? Or what you could buy with your current salary if you went back 200, 400, or 600 years? Now you can find out with a tool that converts English currency from 1270 onwards into today's prices. Based on Treasury records, it tells you that Mr Darcy's £10,000 a year would now be worth nearly £350,000, or that your house would only have to be worth the equivalent of £500 now to qualify for the vote after 1832.
posted by greycap on Jun 28, 2006 - 22 comments

Did A Purloined Letter Save a Supreme Court Nomination?

The Case of the Disappearing Affirmative Action Letters In August 2005, letters written by future Chief Justice John Roberts, dealing with the Reagan Administration's policies on affirmative action, disappeared from the Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California. The National Archives and Record Administration was so concerned they conducted their own investigation, but their report on the investigation has so many redactions it raises more new questions than it answers about White House lawyers who had unguarded access to the papers.
posted by jonp72 on May 12, 2006 - 12 comments

The National Archives on Google Video

The National Archives of the United States and Google have announced a pilot project to digitize historic films and make them available via Google Video for free. The project's initial offering of 101 films include NASA documentaries on the spaceflight program, samples of United Newsreels from World War II, and early films from the Department of the Interior highlighting public works such as the construction of the Hoover Dam and the work of the National Park Service. Also of note is the earliest film in the National Archives holdings, an odd compilation circa 1894 containing Carmencita's Spanish Dance, boats being pulled upstream, people crossing a bridge, and Japanese women playing stringed instruments (on silent film, of course...) last link is direct to video, 2 minutes 46 seconds in duration
posted by edverb on Feb 25, 2006 - 24 comments

oh, the irony.

Diebold does it's part to protect the Constitution.
posted by Espoo2 on Nov 16, 2004 - 51 comments

The King Meets Tricky Dick

Since it's Elvis Presley's 68th birthday today and Richard Nixon's 90th birthday tomorrow, it's only natural to herald the December 21, 1970 meeting that has inspired a novel, a Showtime made-for-cable movie, musical novelties, and a mini-memoir from a Nixon staffer. The National Archives has received so many requests for photos of Elvis shaking hands with Nixon that they posted this online exhibit.
posted by jonp72 on Jan 8, 2003 - 8 comments

The Reagan Papers?

The Reagan Papers? "The confidential memos, letters and briefing papers passed among Ronald Reagan and his top advisers were to have come out in January -- 12 years after Reagan left office, as established by post-Watergate laws.

But the White House counsel's office asked the National Archives to delay the release until at least June 21 so government lawyers can look at the files that researchers and others are waiting to dig through. "
posted by owillis on Jun 7, 2001 - 12 comments

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