News from our Blog
Plan of Alcatraz Prison Towers at the Dock and Power House, 1940
Fifty years ago, the Federal penitentiary on Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay closed on March 21, 1963. Acquired by the Department of Justice in 1933, the federal prison opened in 1934. Over the course of its years in operation, the prison hosted such infamous figures as Al Capone, Robert Stroud (aka The Birdman), George “Machine Gun” Kelly, James “Whitey” Bulger, and Rafael Cancel Miranda. These plans for prison towers at the dock and power house were part of the overall modernization of the prison facilities undertaken in 1940.
You might think that this is just an ordinary Jell-O box, but there is more to it than meets the eye. This particular box of raspberry Jell-O was used as evidence in the espionage trial of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg and Morton Sobell in 1951.
You can read more about the Rosenberg case and the tell-tale Jell-O box in Prologue: Pieces of History.
June 9 is Ask Archivists Day, and the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is participating in the event on Twitter.
Archivists collect, preserve, and protect our historical records and documents. This could be anything from old letters to photographs to emails. An archivist might be able to help you find information about your family using historical military records, land records, or ship passenger logs.
Archivists can help you answer questions such as:
If you have a question for an archivist, just ask it on Twitter using the #AskArchivists hashtag on June 9. The @USNatArchives will be fielding questions for NARA and individual employees will be ready to help. You can also contact NARA via email or phone.
Other government agencies participating in Ask Archivists Day include:
Please note that archivists can’t perform detailed research for you, but they can point you in the right direction. If you’re new to archival research, NARA’s Getting Started Overview is a good introduction.