AOTUS: Collector in Chief

David S. Ferriero
10th Archivist of the United States
ISOO Report to the President
The Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO), established in 1978, is responsible to the President for overseeing the Government-wide security classification program, and receives policy and program guidance from the National Security Council.  ISOO has been part of the National Archives and Records Administration since 1995.  You can learn more about ISOO at www.archives.gov/isoo
The 34th Annual Report to the President covering 2013 was released earlier this month.
Read the full post on the AOTUS blog.

ISOO Report to the President

The Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO), established in 1978, is responsible to the President for overseeing the Government-wide security classification program, and receives policy and program guidance from the National Security Council.  ISOO has been part of the National Archives and Records Administration since 1995.  You can learn more about ISOO at www.archives.gov/isoo

The 34th Annual Report to the President covering 2013 was released earlier this month.

Read the full post on the AOTUS blog.

Stay cool out there this summer!

Image: Apparatus for Treating Air – Willis H. Carrier, 09/1904 – 01/02/1906.  National Archives Identifier 7268013

Read the full post on the AOTUS blog.

I’m loving Joseph McCormack’s new book, Brief: Make a Bigger Impact by Saying Less. The focus is on lean communication.  McCormack terms it Six Sigma for your mouth!  “In our attention deficit economy, being brief is what’s desperately needed and rarely delivered.”
People speak at about 150 words per minute, but we have the mental capacity to deal with 750 words per minute.  That leaves a space of 600 words where we drift—think other thoughts, take a mini-vacation, lose focus, etc.
McCormack’s tips for clear, concise, and compelling oral presentations are simple:  map it, tell it, talk it, and show it. 
Read the full post on the AOTUS blog.
Image: Military Photographer of the Year Winner 1997. Title: Thoughts Elsewhere. Major Kurt Tek daydreams while coming home from a deployment, 01/01/1997. National Archives Identifier 6498091

I’m loving Joseph McCormack’s new book, Brief: Make a Bigger Impact by Saying Less. The focus is on lean communication.  McCormack terms it Six Sigma for your mouth!  “In our attention deficit economy, being brief is what’s desperately needed and rarely delivered.”

People speak at about 150 words per minute, but we have the mental capacity to deal with 750 words per minute.  That leaves a space of 600 words where we drift—think other thoughts, take a mini-vacation, lose focus, etc.

McCormack’s tips for clear, concise, and compelling oral presentations are simple:  map it, tell it, talk it, and show it. 

Read the full post on the AOTUS blog.

Image: Military Photographer of the Year Winner 1997. Title: Thoughts Elsewhere. Major Kurt Tek daydreams while coming home from a deployment, 01/01/1997. National Archives Identifier 6498091

Happy Fourth of July!

238 years ago, the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence. And John Adams envisioned future celebrations of the event.  In a letter to his wife, he wrote:  “It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn acts of Devotion to God Almighty.  It out to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward for ever more.”

Read the full post on the AOTUS blog.

The Allure of the Archives
Arlette Farge, Director of Research in Modern History at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris, has written a wonderful little book about doing research in archives.
“Contact with the archives begins with simple tasks, one of which is handling the documents.  Combing through the archives—a beautifully evocative term—requires a host of tasks, and no matter how complex the planned intellectual investigation will be, they cannot be bypassed.  They are both familiar and simple, and they purify one’s thoughts, temper the spirit of sophistication, and sharpen one’s curiosity.  These tasks are performed without haste, and necessarily so.  One cannot overstate how slow work in the archives is, and how this slowness of hands and thought can be the source of creativity.  But more than inspirational, it is inescapable.  The consultation of these bundles, one after another, is never finished.  No matter how carefully you prepare beforehand, sampling documents and putting together research guides in an effort to limit the number of texts you will have to consult, your patience will inevitably be tested.”
Read the full post on the AOTUS blog.
Image: Archivist Matt Law reviews Chinese Exclusion Act Files.; Location: National Archives at Riverside, Perris, CA; Photographer: Joseph S. Peñaranda

The Allure of the Archives

Arlette Farge, Director of Research in Modern History at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris, has written a wonderful little book about doing research in archives.

“Contact with the archives begins with simple tasks, one of which is handling the documents.  Combing through the archives—a beautifully evocative term—requires a host of tasks, and no matter how complex the planned intellectual investigation will be, they cannot be bypassed.  They are both familiar and simple, and they purify one’s thoughts, temper the spirit of sophistication, and sharpen one’s curiosity.  These tasks are performed without haste, and necessarily so.  One cannot overstate how slow work in the archives is, and how this slowness of hands and thought can be the source of creativity.  But more than inspirational, it is inescapable.  The consultation of these bundles, one after another, is never finished.  No matter how carefully you prepare beforehand, sampling documents and putting together research guides in an effort to limit the number of texts you will have to consult, your patience will inevitably be tested.”

Read the full post on the AOTUS blog.

ImageArchivist Matt Law reviews Chinese Exclusion Act Files.; Location: National Archives at Riverside, Perris, CA; Photographer: Joseph S. Peñaranda

One Year of Founders Online
This month we celebrate the one year anniversary of the launch of Founders Online – a tool for seamless searching across the papers of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and Alexander Hamilton. In the past year, the site has received over 400,000 visits.
An example of the power of the site shows in its great search results. When I searched for “Cotton,” “Beverly,” and “Washington,” the results returned the exact document I had in mind – a diary entry by George Washington written in 1789 remarking on his visit to the cotton manufactury in my home town of Beverly, Massachusetts.
Read the full post on the AOTUS blog.

One Year of Founders Online

This month we celebrate the one year anniversary of the launch of Founders Online – a tool for seamless searching across the papers of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and Alexander Hamilton. In the past year, the site has received over 400,000 visits.

An example of the power of the site shows in its great search results. When I searched for “Cotton,” “Beverly,” and “Washington,” the results returned the exact document I had in mind – a diary entry by George Washington written in 1789 remarking on his visit to the cotton manufactury in my home town of Beverly, Massachusetts.

Read the full post on the AOTUS blog.

Happy Memorial Day!
The photograph was taken at Soldier Field, Chicago, in July of 1967. The Navy’s Recruit Training Command at Great Lakes provided the manpower to create The Living Flag. In the upper right corner of the blue field, wearing a blue plastic bag over whitehat, stands recruit David S. Ferriero!
Remembering boot camp on this Memorial Day weekend.
Read the full post on the AOTUS blog.
Image: “Soldier Field, Chicago, Illinois, July 8, 1967: 10,000 sailors from the Great Lakes Naval Training Center form a living flag. Mayor Richard J. Daley and Rear Admiral William S. Guest, Commandant, Ninth Naval District, are the principal speakers at the event during which several classes of recruits graduated from the Training Center” …  428-N-1124035

Happy Memorial Day!

The photograph was taken at Soldier Field, Chicago, in July of 1967. The Navy’s Recruit Training Command at Great Lakes provided the manpower to create The Living Flag. In the upper right corner of the blue field, wearing a blue plastic bag over whitehat, stands recruit David S. Ferriero!

Remembering boot camp on this Memorial Day weekend.

Read the full post on the AOTUS blog.

Image“Soldier Field, Chicago, Illinois, July 8, 1967: 10,000 sailors from the Great Lakes Naval Training Center form a living flag. Mayor Richard J. Daley and Rear Admiral William S. Guest, Commandant, Ninth Naval District, are the principal speakers at the event during which several classes of recruits graduated from the Training Center” …  428-N-1124035

Sleepover at the National Archives
It gives me great joy to be able to share the treasures of the National Archives with kids and their families.
In January, we held the first-ever National Archives Sleepover in the Rotunda. It was a great way to create a meaningful experience for families, while giving us the opportunity to explain the important role of the Archives in preserving government records and making them accessible to the public.
We are hosting our next sleepover in the Rotunda on August 2.  It will feature an “Explorers Night” night theme, complete with hands-on activities to help young explorers investigate, – through music, chats with historical figures, games, and more – some of the greatest adventures of all time.
Registration is now open. For more information, please visit archivesfoundation.org/sleepover.
Image: Archivist of the United States David Ferriero (right) and author Brad Meltzer (center) serve breakfast at the first National Archives sleepover.

Sleepover at the National Archives

It gives me great joy to be able to share the treasures of the National Archives with kids and their families.

In January, we held the first-ever National Archives Sleepover in the Rotunda. It was a great way to create a meaningful experience for families, while giving us the opportunity to explain the important role of the Archives in preserving government records and making them accessible to the public.

We are hosting our next sleepover in the Rotunda on August 2.  It will feature an “Explorers Night” night theme, complete with hands-on activities to help young explorers investigate, – through music, chats with historical figures, games, and more – some of the greatest adventures of all time.

Registration is now open. For more information, please visit archivesfoundation.org/sleepover.

Image: Archivist of the United States David Ferriero (right) and author Brad Meltzer (center) serve breakfast at the first National Archives sleepover.

Public Service Recognition Week and the Archivist’s Awards
Despite the challenges of the past year–sequestration, the government shutdown, and other obstacles we have had to face– the staff of the National Archives has consistently risen to the occasion and has done some extraordinary work.
For me, every week is Public Service Recognition Week and I have come to look forward to the Archivist’s Awards day when we celebrate our staff’s accomplishments.  
As you all know we have amazing records in our holdings, but I want you to realize that the most important treasure at the National Archives is the staff. None of this would be possible without each one of them. To staff across the agency, I thank you for your service today and every day.
Read the full post on the AOTUS blog.
Image: Staff receive awards at the 2014 Archivist’s Awards Ceremony at the National Archives in College Park

Public Service Recognition Week and the Archivist’s Awards

Despite the challenges of the past year–sequestration, the government shutdown, and other obstacles we have had to face– the staff of the National Archives has consistently risen to the occasion and has done some extraordinary work.

For me, every week is Public Service Recognition Week and I have come to look forward to the Archivist’s Awards day when we celebrate our staff’s accomplishments.  

As you all know we have amazing records in our holdings, but I want you to realize that the most important treasure at the National Archives is the staff. None of this would be possible without each one of them. To staff across the agency, I thank you for your service today and every day.

Read the full post on the AOTUS blog.

Image: Staff receive awards at the 2014 Archivist’s Awards Ceremony at the National Archives in College Park

Patent of the Month: Tucker “Torpedo”

During World War II, the South Side of Chicago was home to one of the largest war plants in the country, used by Dodge-Chrysler to build bomber plane engines. After the war, Preston Tucker leased two of the buildings to build his “Torpedo” car. This site is now the home of the National Archives at Chicago! 

Read the full post on the AOTUS blog.

Image: Tucker “Torpedo” Patent Drawing, 06/14/1949. National Archives Identifier 594674