Who knew that October is American Archives Month? But how cool to find out!
The National Archives have billions – read that again – billions, of documents in the collection. These materials are non-classified federal documents which could include anything from homestead certificates to registered patents. That may seem a little crazy, but these documents tell us how we came to be as a country; how we ‘grew up’, so to speak, and how our collective past connects to our present. Online exhibitions about things such as the influenza epidemic of 1918, which killed 50 million people in one year, remind us of epidemics that threaten us today. The photo of Nixon meeting Elvis in 1970 is quirky, to say the least, but reflects the changes underway in our country at that time – always, really. They have collections of election ephemera from the beginning of the electoral process. And photographs! And genealogical records! (If you want to do any genealogical records research, this is the place to start your quest.)
Give those archivists their due. They are the heroes who preserve our past so we can find the connections to our present when we need to.