National Archives

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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 »

Lawsuits, Tech Glitches Keep Bush Emails Under Wraps

Millions still due to be released in a month

(Newser) - Technical snags and lawsuits are holding up the release of hundreds of millions of Bush White House emails to the National Archives, the Washington Post reports. Historians and nonprofits are in a legal battle with the White House, as administration officials sift through backup tapes to recover lost documents. "... More »

Obama Job Applications Headed for National Archives

Privacy rules will keep much secret, but applying to government does have perils

(Newser) - You know how they say your Facebook page will come back to haunt you? Now imagine if it weren’t just on the Internet, but in the National Archives. That’s the likely destination of personal information submitted by applicants to Barack Obama’s administration, reports Politico. Not to fear,... More »

'That Is the End of This Broadcast'

UK declassifies BBC's Cold War script for nuclear attack

(Newser) - A radio script that the British government planned to broadcast to survivors of a nuclear attack has been made public for the first time, the BBC reports. The script, written in the 1970s and released by the National Archives, warns listeners to stay in hiding for 14 days and to... More »

Cheney Sued to Expose Secrets

Citizens group asks judge to order his records preserved for public access

(Newser) - A federal judge is being asked to prevent Dick Cheney from destroying or hiding what some believe are the administration's best kept secrets, reports the Washington Post. The advocacy group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics is calling for a court order to force the powerful vice president to preserve his... More »

Julia Child Dished Up Secrets in WWII

Chef one of several famous Americans revealed as spies

(Newser) - Legendary chef Julia Child, Hollywood star Sterling Hayden, White Sox catcher Moe Berg and historian Arthur Schlesinger were all spies for the US, according to newly declassified documents. Untold stories and clandestine heroics of World War II will come to light today as authorities release 750,000 pages of files... More »

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