News From Our Blog

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From the Archives Foundation:

Happy National Teddy Bear Day! Political cartoonist Clifford Berryman is credited with introducing the teddy bear into the American vernacular after President Theodore Roosevelt famously refused to shoot an old, haggard bear during a hunting trip. Berryman changed the old bear into a cute, cuddly “teddy bear”—named for the President—and it became a common symbol in Berryman’s cartoons.  This self-portrait shows Berryman’s “signature style” in the exhibit “Making Their Mark: Stories Through Signatures,” on display in the National Archives Museum’s O’Brien Gallery through January 4, 2015.“Making Their Mark: Stories Through Signatures” is made possible in part by the Foundation for the National Archives with the generous support of Lead Sponsor AT&T. Major additional support provided by the Lawrence F. O’Brien Family and members of the Board of the Foundation for the National Archives.  Image: "Self-Portrait of Clifford Berryman, 1904"

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From the Archives Foundation:

Happy National Teddy Bear Day! Political cartoonist Clifford Berryman is credited with introducing the teddy bear into the American vernacular after President Theodore Roosevelt famously refused to shoot an old, haggard bear during a hunting trip. Berryman changed the old bear into a cute, cuddly “teddy bear”—named for the President—and it became a common symbol in Berryman’s cartoons.

This self-portrait shows Berryman’s “signature style” in the exhibit Making Their Mark: Stories Through Signatures,” on display in the National Archives Museum’s O’Brien Gallery through January 4, 2015.

“Making Their Mark: Stories Through Signatures” is made possible in part by the Foundation for the National Archives with the generous support of Lead Sponsor AT&T. Major additional support provided by the Lawrence F. O’Brien Family and members of the Board of the Foundation for the National Archives.

Image: "Self-Portrait of Clifford Berryman, 1904"

How the Government Became “Uncle Sam”

The federal government is often referred to as, “Uncle Sam.” However, not many people know why, or from where this nickname stems.

During the War of 1812, a meat-packer from Troy, NY named Samuel Wilson supplied the U.S. Army with barrels of beef. Wilson was known around town as “Uncle Sam” and when he labeled the barrels with “U.S.” the soldiers assumed that’s what the initials stood for.  It actually meant “United States,” and the ideas combined where Uncle Sam stood for the United States of America. A newspaper picked up on the story, and as word traveled, the term “Uncle Sam” eventually became synonymous with the federal government.

Decades later, a political cartoonist popularized the image of Uncle Sam— with the white beard, stars and stripes suit, and top hat. The same cartoonist, Thomas Nast (who was German) also created the modern image of Santa Claus, as well as the Democratic donkey and Republican elephant.

During WWI, the Uncle Sam image was greatly popularized when it was used with the slogan “I want you for the U.S. Army” for recruitment purposes. With over four million copies printed, this effort has been called the “most famous poster in the world.” Uncle Sam was officially adopted as a national symbol of the U.S. in 1950.

Troy, NY now calls itself, “The Home of Uncle Sam.”

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From PBS:

September 5, 1905: Theodore Roosevelt Negotiates a Peaceful Settlement of the Russo-Japanese War
On this day in 1905, peace delegates in New Hampshire signed the Treaty of Portsmouth which officially ended the Russo-Japanese War, a conflict over control of Manchuria and Korea. The Japanese emerged victorious as the first non-Western world power.  Theodore Roosevelt, who helped mediate the treaty negotiations, later won the Nobel Peace Prize for his achievement.  
Watch real footage of Theodore Roosevelt receiving the Nobel Peace Prize with this preview from Ken Burns’s The Roosevelts.
Photo: Russian and Japanese peace delegates with Teddy Roosevelt in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, 1905. Theodore Roosevelt Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard University

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From PBS:

September 5, 1905: Theodore Roosevelt Negotiates a Peaceful Settlement of the Russo-Japanese War

On this day in 1905, peace delegates in New Hampshire signed the Treaty of Portsmouth which officially ended the Russo-Japanese War, a conflict over control of Manchuria and Korea. The Japanese emerged victorious as the first non-Western world power.  Theodore Roosevelt, who helped mediate the treaty negotiations, later won the Nobel Peace Prize for his achievement. 

Watch real footage of Theodore Roosevelt receiving the Nobel Peace Prize with this preview from Ken Burns’s The Roosevelts.

Photo: Russian and Japanese peace delegates with Teddy Roosevelt in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, 1905. Theodore Roosevelt Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard University

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From the National Archives:

World War II Begins Seventy Five Years Ago:

Bedside Note of President Franklin D. Roosevelt Regarding the Invasion of Poland by Germany, 09/01/1939

In the early morning of September 1, 1939, German tanks crossed the German-Polish border—sparking World War II. Five hours later, at 3:05 A.M. local time, President Franklin D. Roosevelt received a phone call from Ambassador William C. Bullitt in Paris, who relayed the news from Ambassador Anthony Biddle in Warsaw. After notifying the military, FDR jotted down this bedside note.
via DocsTeach

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From the National Archives:

World War II Begins Seventy Five Years Ago:

Bedside Note of President Franklin D. Roosevelt Regarding the Invasion of Poland by Germany, 09/01/1939

In the early morning of September 1, 1939, German tanks crossed the German-Polish border—sparking World War II. Five hours later, at 3:05 A.M. local time, President Franklin D. Roosevelt received a phone call from Ambassador William C. Bullitt in Paris, who relayed the news from Ambassador Anthony Biddle in Warsaw. After notifying the military, FDR jotted down this bedside note.

via DocsTeach

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From the Presidential Libraries:

It’s the Birthday of LBJ!

Lyndon Baines Johnson was born on August 27, 1908, in central Texas, not far from Johnson City, which his family had helped settle. 

In 1937 he campaigned successfully for the House of Representatives on a New Deal platform, effectively aided by his wife, the former Claudia “Lady Bird” Taylor, whom he had married after a whirlwind courtship in 1934. 

During World War II, Lyndon Johnson served briefly in the Navy as a lieutenant commander, receiving a Silver Star in the South Pacific. After six terms in the House, he was elected to the Senate in 1948. In 1953, he became the youngest Minority Leader in Senate history, and the following year, when the Democrats won control, Majority Leader. With rare legislative skill he obtained passage of a number of measures during the Eisenhower Administration. He became, by many accounts, the most powerful Majority Leader of the twentieth century.

LBJ’s “Great Society” program included aid to education, Medicare, urban renewal, beautification, conservation, development of depressed regions, control and prevention of crime and delinquency and removal of obstacles to the right to vote. Read More

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Studio portrait of Lyndon B. Johnson at 18 months old, ca. 1910.

Portrait of President Lyndon B. Johnson in the Oval Office. December, 1963.

-from the LBJ Library