May 29, 2009

National Archives Recovers Lost Lincoln Letter

I heard a nice NPR story on the way home last night about this letter from Abraham Lincoln that was just returned to the National Archives:

"The National Archives on Thursday added a new prize to its collection of historic documents — a letter written in 1863 by President Abraham Lincoln.

"Lincoln penned the two-sentence missive about a personnel issue to Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase on executive mansion stationery on Nov. 14, 1863 — just five days before delivering the Gettysburg Address."

May 22, 2009

The Interactive Vietnam Wall

This morning I saw this story on The Washington Times' website about the Interactive Vietnam Wall. Seems like a good reminder with Memorial Day coming up.

Things have changed a little with The Interactive Wall since we released it last year. Contributions to someone on the Wall are now automatically added to a Footnote Person Page for that person

and those pages are also available in the new I Remember application on Facebook.

Of course, Footnote Pages and I Remember aren't limited to the Vietnam Memorial Wall. You can use them to share your remembrances of anyone who has been important to you.

Happy Memorial Day.

May 14, 2009

The Life of a Ball Turret Gunner

From the yes, a picture is worth a thousand words file, here are a few images of ball turret gunners from World War II. Imagine spinning around in one of these, thousands of feet off the ground, with flak exploding around you.

Page 1; Black and White and Color Photographs of U.S. Air Force and Predecessor Agencies...

Page 1; Black and White and Color Photographs of U.S. Air Force and Predecessor Agencies...

Page 11; Black and White and Color Photographs of U.S. Air Force and Predecessor Agencies...

May 7, 2009

Celebrating the Surrender of Germany

NARA's Document of the Day celebrates the 44th anniversary of the surrender of Germany from WWII on May 7, 1945.

WWII Germany Surrender Celebration
"Jubilant American soldier hugs motherly English woman and victory smiles light the faces of happy service men and civilians at Piccadilly Circus, London, celebrating Germany's unconditional surrender. England, May 7, 1945." (ARC Identifier: 531280); Signal Corps Photographs of American Military Activity, 1754 - 1954; Records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer, 1860 - 1982; Record Group 111; National Archives.

The unconditional surrender of the German Third Reich was signed in the early morning hours of Monday, May 7, 1945 at Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF) at Reims in northeastern France. Present were representatives of the four Allied Powers—France, Great Britain, the Soviet Union, and the United States—and the three Germany officers delegated by German President Karl Doenitz—Gen. Alfred Jodl, who had alone been authorized to sign the surrender document; Maj. Wilhelm Oxenius, an aide to Jodl; and Adm. Hans-Georg von Friedeburg, one of the German chief negotiators. Lt. Gen. Walter Bedell Smith, SHAEF chief of staff, led the Allied delegation as the representative of General Eisenhower, who had refused to meet with the Germans until the surrender had been accomplished.

This image got me poking around the World War II Army Air Force Photos on Footnote. Here are a couple of interesting ones.

Voting on a Downed Nazi Plane
US Serviceman reviewing a ballot while sitting on the tail wing of a downed German plane.

Queen Elizabeth meets with US Airmen of the 379th Bomb Group, 6 July 1944
Britain's Queen Elizabeth meets with US Servicemen.

Occasionally, when looking through these photos we come across some color ones. Today after looking through a few of them I decided to create a Footnote Page where I could collect them.

I'll keep adding to the page, and if you find any, you are welcome to add them too.

May 6, 2009

This morning I as poking around The Library of Michigan and Archives of Michigan have been putting together this site:
To enrich quality of life by providing access to unique historical information that promotes Michigan’s cultural heritage. We define cultural heritage as the stories of Michigan’s families, homes, businesses, communities and landscapes as told by unique source documents, maps, films, images, oral histories and artifacts.
You can search the site, use the "Discover" section to browse the site's resources or read interesting tidbits that have been pulled into a blog in the "Look" section. The "Teach" section is another blog that provides "Ideas for teaching kids to Seek, Discover, and Look at Michigan’s Stories."

The site includes some great primary documents including maps ( always a personal favorite), WPA Property Inventories, civil war photographs and more.

Perhaps the most ambitious project is digitizing 1,000,000 Michigan Death Records from 1897-1920. They are about 1/3 of the way through the project, so if you are looking for someone who died in Michigan in those years Seeking Michigan could be a good place to start.

This is a great site. Hopefully we'll see more from it and more like it in the future.