National Archives

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Why Obama's Library Won't Have Original Documents

His library will be the first to forgo National Archives funding

(Newser) - President Obama's Chicago-based presidential library will differ in one big way from the 13 other presidential libraries that exist around the country. The Chicago Sun-Times reports the Obama Foundation plans to foot the $675 million startup bill for the center through fundraising, forgoing financial support from the National Archives... More »

Trump Has Big Decision to Make on Secret JFK Files

3.6K government files will be released unless he intervenes

(Newser) - A happy day for historians and conspiracy theorists could be right around the corner. A 1992 law mandated that all materials related to President John F. Kennedy's assassination be maintained in a single collection—and that those documents that had been kept secret be released 25 years later. That... More »

Declaration of Independence Copy Is Unlike All the Others

It was uncovered in archives of English town

(Newser) - An amazing find by Harvard researchers has brought the number of known parchment copies of the Declaration of Independence to two: One in DC's National Archives, and one in a tiny records office in the place the US declared independence from. Researchers Emily Sneff and Danielle Allen believe the... More »

White House Advised to Keep Deleted Trump Tweets

National Archives reassures senators

(Newser) - The National Archives wants to preserve all of President Trump's tweets for the historical record—including ones deleted because of misspellings. Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero wrote in a letter to Sens. Claire McCaskill and Tom Carper that the White House has been advised to "... More »

What Clinton, Bush Told Their Successors Released

Both men had plenty of encouraging words in letters left behind

(Newser) - It may be many years before the contents of the letter President Obama will leave in the White House for Donald Trump Friday morning are known to the public, but the notes from the two previous presidents to their successors can now be seen for the first time. In letters... More »

Missing Patent for Wright Bros' 'Flying Machine' Found in Cave

The 'holy grail' of lost documents hadn't been seen in decades

(Newser) - Missing for decades, the Wright brothers' patent for their "Flying Machine" was found last month in a manila envelope among 15-foot-high stacks of patent files in a limestone cave outside a small Kansas city. The Washington Post has a fascinating story on how the "holy grail" of missing... More »

Top-Secret JFK Files Coming Soon—Maybe

National Archives preparing for planned October 2017 release

(Newser) - The 1992 JFK Records Act established that 40,000 documents relating to the assassination of John F. Kennedy would be made public in October 2017. Now that the date is little more than two years away, seven archivists and technicians with top-secret security clearances have begun poring over the pages... More »

Clinton Only Used Personal Email at State

Staff only recently provided 55K pages of email to government

(Newser) - Hillary Clinton's communications as secretary of the State Department may have broken the rules. She used a personal email account, the New York Times reports, and it seems she didn't have a government one. The Federal Records Act says her emails should have been held on government servers,... More »

Declaration of Independence Transcript May Hold Error

In the form of a period, says Danielle Allen

(Newser) - It's being hailed as "the battle of the period." Is a small spec of ink that appears on the Declaration of Independence a period or not? In a draft paper that one historian calls "a remarkably convincing piece of detective work," Danielle Allen argues that... More »

Lincoln's Funeral? Rare Photos May Capture the Moment

Retired accountant spots telling pics on archive website

(Newser) - Two photographs hidden in the National Archives for decades may be rare images of Abraham Lincoln's funeral procession in New York City, the Washington Post reports. They capture the blur of a big black object—possibly a horse-drawn carriage—and hundreds of men, some with bowed heads, outside what... More »

1940 Census Site Crashed By Curious

New data dump proves too popular for its own good with 22.5 million hits

(Newser) - The National Archives wasn't prepared for just how many people would be clamoring to check out its newly released trove of detailed data from the 1940 census . Hordes of curious browsers flooded the site within minutes of its launch yesterday, overwhelming the servers and leaving it essentially unusable, the... More »

SEC Shredded Files to Cover Up Crimes: Whistleblower

Matt Taibbi reports on an insane, probably illegal practice

(Newser) - Police aren’t generally in the habit of destroying evidence from failed investigations—but the SEC is, according to one whistleblower. SEC attorney Darcy Flynn spilled the beans to Congress in July, saying that the SEC routinely destroys all documents related to its preliminary investigations if they don’t proceed.... More »

40 Years Later, Pentagon Papers Officially Released

1st Amendment landmark pivotal moment in presidential history

(Newser) - The National Archives has at long last published the entire 7,000-page Vietnam report known as the Pentagon Papers. The documents are among the most important in modern presidential history, leading the Nixon administration to crack down on leaks that led to phone taps, break-ins, and arguably even Watergate, the... More »

Historian Faked Date on Key Lincoln Artifact

Researcher 'rewrote history,' says archivist

(Newser) - An Abraham Lincoln researcher has confessed to changing the date on a Lincoln document, effectively altering history for his own gain, AOL News reports. Thomas Lowry changed the date from April 14, 1864, to 1865—the date of Lincoln's assassination—so that it would seem he’d discovered one of... More »

WWII GI Returns Looted 16th Century German Books

Vet took 400-year-old legal volumes home as souvenirs

(Newser) - Retired optometrist Robert Thomas handed a pair of books he filched as an 18-year-old GI 64 years ago to the German ambassador in a ceremony at the National Archives this week. Thomas, 83, found the 400-year-old legal volumes stashed among millions of others in a salt mine while inspecting recently... More »

Plan Could Divine Missing Watergate Minutes, CSI-Style

Archivist pushes plan to uncover lost pages' imprints

(Newser) - A Watergate hobbyist has a plan to discover what was discussed during the 18½ minutes erased from a taped conversation between President Nixon and his chief of staff after the break-in. Phil Mellinger doesn’t want to examine the tape itself; that's been done without success. He says the answer... More »

Decades of US Immigration History Comes to Light

National Archives receives documents of 21 million

(Newser) - The US is sending the files on some 21 million immigrants to the National Archives, revealing volumes of early 20th-century history, USA Today reports. The documents tell the stories of celebrities like Salvador Dali as well as the successes and tribulations of ordinary people, from refugees to “enemy aliens.... More »

Lost-and-Found Letter Shows Lincoln's Terse Side

Embattled prez had more to deal with than Civil War

(Newser) - A handwritten note dated just a few days before Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address has finally made its way back to the National Archives, the Washington Post reports. The terse communication from the president to Treasury Secretary Salmon P. Chase addressed corruption charges against a Lincoln appointee. "Even though this... More »

Judge: Cheney Won't Dump Records

Accepts aide's word that docs will go safely to Archives

(Newser) - A federal judge yesterday rejected historians’ and nonprofits’ complaint that Vice President Dick Cheney planned to illegally dump some of his papers, the Washington Post reports. The judge instead took the word of a White House aide that the documents would go to the National Archives as required. The ruling... More »

White House Ordered to Find Missing Emails

Judge issues last-minute bid to archive Iraq letters

(Newser) - As current White House employees pack their bags, a federal judge today ordered the president's executive office to find and properly archive missing e-mails written by senior Bush appointees. At issue are communications that date to the period between 2003 and 2005, specifically documents that relate to the invasion of... More »

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