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13 Things in the Digital Vault of the National Archives

13 Things in the Digital Vault of the National Archives

One of the best resources I have found for students to use is from The National Archives Website. When we think of the National Archives we immediately picture the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, etc., and we should because these very important documents are housed under the care of the National Archives.

BUT….they have sooooo much more, and you can see all of your choices if you visit their website and head down to the Digital Vaults. The Archives contain over 10 billion documents and images, and the Digital Vaults enable us to view online more than we could ever see in a lifetime.

The website can be used in a classroom with small groups. Many of my students use the site as jumping off point for independent research. They can also use the tagging feature to find related documents, and they can create a poster or short video.

Here are just some of the documents I uncovered:

1. A very intricate family record a widow used to prove her relationship to her husband in order to receive his Revolutionary War pension.

2. A statement that was used to prove why a Vietnam era soldier should receive the National Medal of Honor dated May 12, 1968.

3. Photos of Japanese-American couples married during internment in the months following the attack on Pearl Harbor .

4. A World War II poster where Uncle Sam is warning people to be quiet and not speak about troop movements.

5. A photo showing switchboard operators working on a board connecting overseas calls during World War II.

6. A picture of Mamie Doud at 17 taken in 1913. She would one day be our nation’s First Lady as the wife of President Eisenhower.

7. A photo by Russell Lee depicting a Kentucky mining family living in company housing….they rented for $10 a month.

8. Another beautifully decorated Revolutionary claim from a widow for property her husband owned.

9. A 1954 aerial photo of Orlando, Florida prior to Walt Disney World.

10. A photo of Jim Thorpe, a Native American who many believe was the most talented athelete during the early 20th century.

11. Members of Troop C from Fort Grant, Arizona in 1881.

12. A 1956 request sent from Walt Disney on company stationary to then Vice President Richard Nixon requesting an interview.

13. A 1946 aerial view of Mount St. Helens.

So, go explore the National Archives. You might find something amazing.

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