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Lesson 6


Here is where you add what you found on ARC this week.  

Keep in mind that learning this is an exercise that will serve you well when searching on OPA or the search engines of other archival facilities.  This is particularly true when you are deciding what search terms to use. 

You do not need to master ARC, because some day (sooner or later) it will be gone. 

Using ARC while it is still available is a great way to experience the thinking behind archival description and some practice time spent here should help you understand ways in which records might be found in other archival search engines.


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  • My Robeson search discovered lots of pictures and artistic renderings such as:7314570291?profile=original


  • I begin by looking for Dorothea Dix materials....I started searching her name, then went on to metal health, then reform, etc.  Using the advanced search seemed also fruitless.  I switched topics to Paul Robeson, famous singer and activist in the 1940's.  Discovered a lot more.  I realized that the more contemporary you are the more resources are available to you.  Interesting in that if we teach modern history we have pretty good resources; but it may be difficult the farther back in time you search, or the more relatively obscure the figure? 

    I stumbled across this in my last lesson search.  I am not sure that I liked it in all honesty.  I do feel like I am uncovering slowly in doing these lessons like I am learning some sort of secret coding system, haha. 

  • I spent a lot of time today exploring the archives, the ARC, OPA etc.  I practiced refining my searches.  I found this log book from the Revenue Cutter Bear through the ARC in the digital copies.  The whole book is digitized.  The log book talks about Dr. Jackson and Dr. Gambell on board.  It talks about stopping at reindeer stations.  It was a fascinating log book.  It also talks about Lapp herders being transported.  For me, the National Archives are not the first place I would go.  I would do other research first, then when I have more information on time periods, possible government agencies involved and a specific topic, then I would go to the National Archives.  The research there may take me other places, but I would have the information necessary to begin a research project.  I found many valuable pieces today for my topic.


    USRCS Bear, 07/1901 - 10/1901

    ARC Identifier 6919230 / MLR Number NC-31 159A

    Textual Records from the Department of the Treasury. U.S. Coast Guard. (1915 - 04/01/1967)

    National Archives at Washington, DC - Textual Reference, Washington, DC

    File Unit from Record Group 26: Records of the U.S. Coast Guard, 1785 - 2005

  • After searching for documents pertaining to native schools, particularly BIA schools that served many Alaskan Natives, and finding very little that was interesting to me, I decided to change my topic to the National Park System.  I did a search on ARC for national park service AND history.  I limited my results to Record Groups, Collections, and Series in order to get a better idea where this information was generated.  I found 78 series that met my criteria, and found most of information came from RG 79: Records of the National Park Service, 1785-2006.  One series I thought might be interesting was

    Photographs of the Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks, 1929, compiled 1929 - 1929

    ARC Identifier 520209 / Local Identifier 79-ZBC

    I looked it over, and it turns out that there are 364 items (photographs of various parts of both of these beautiful National Parks) in this series.  I was thinking about reasons why someone would have taken these pictures in a way that would have them included in the National Archives, and the best I can come up with is that it was done in order to either assist in creating maps of the parks, or as a means of documenting the landforms.  I did a little additional research on the parks, and as it turns out Bryce Canyon was not yet a National Park at this time.  It was still a National Monument, so maybe the photos were used as a tool to determine whether or not the Monument should be upgraded to Park status.  I'm just guessing here.  This is a photograph of Ebeneezer Bryce's home. 

    Click for full size image

  • For this particular lesson I focused on explorations of Record Group 261 and intend to visit the ANC facility in the next several days to look through some of the microfilm... 


    Here are some of my thoughts:

    • 261.1  These are primarily records from the Department of State, written in Russian.  I think it would be worth finding out which high schools (and maybe even colleges) in Anchorage as well as in Alaska in general, teach Russian as a foreign language.  What cool translation exercises might be found in here...
    • 261.2  Any and all Russian government papers, archives and documents existing in Alaska on the day of sale to the US were turned over in this subset.  (Is it correct to call each of these decimal subsets of 261 a "series" or a Geographic Subdivision?)     Again, I suspect that most of these records are in Russian, given their history, but unlike 261.1, there is no language note stating that...  Why is that?  Could these be mainly in English? I don't get it... Want to check in particular correspondence and reports associated with Indigenous revolts...
    • 261.3  Hmmm.. consulate as opposed to embassy records... I wonder how the records for the consulate in Philadelphia are similar and different then those from the consulate in San Francisco?  I suspect that the consulate in Seattle may be quite different than all the others, given Seattle's history as a staging area for U.S. energies in Alaska.  Also, bet there could be some very interesting stuff on the little know occupation of Russian areas by American troops after WWI was over and the Red Scare was in full swing...
    • 261.4  A committee that coordinated military purchases not only through WWI but also through US occupation of Russia in support of the White Russians.  Would love to see some of these reports.  Was Alaska used to supply the Russian Far East?
  • I continued my ARC Search trying to find audio or video records from the Little Rock Nine, the same subject I researched for Lesson 6.  I started with a general term, "Civil Rights," from which I then found:

    Class 144 (Civil Rights) Sound Recordings, compiled 1939 - 1970
    ARC Identifier 1078586 / Local Identifier 60-CRa
    Sound Recordings and Textual Records from the Department of Justice. Civil Rights Division. (12/09/1957 - )
    National Archives at College Park - Motion Pictures, College Park, MD
    Series from Record Group 60: General Records of the Department of Justice, 1790 - 2002

    Although there were 84 items they are being held in College Park Maryland and not available online. The scope and content states, "The recordings primarily relate to the Department of Justice's role in the court - ordered desegregation of the University of Mississippi and the enrollment of James Meredith, its first African - American student. Most recordings contain statements given by federal officials, national guardsmen, and local police officials who witnessed the events on the campus and in the town of Oxford, Mississippi in October, 1962."

    I then searched the "Digital Copies" tab for "Civil Rights" and including words "Little Rock," and I refined the search to only include audio recordings or moving images. The search resulted one video recording of the "Little Rock Nine" Receiving the Congressional Gold Medal: 11/09/1999 - 11/09/1999
    ARC Identifier 6850859, William J. Clinton Library, Little Rock, AR, Item from Collection WJC-WHTV: Video Recordings of the White House Television Office (Clinton Administration), 01/20/1993 - 01/20/2001.

    Selecting “view” didn’t allow me to view the A/V file
    Selecting control+click allowed me to save the movie as an .mp4 (1.0GB)

  • Spent about an hour perusing to find information about the American "colonization" of Alaska, but I've not been very good at searching so far.  Part of it is my fault, but I cannot get 1000 or 2000 results at a time.  I get the message :

    Service Temporarily Unavailable

    The server is temporarily unable to service your request due to maintenance downtime or capacity problems. Please try again later.

    However, when I do the 100 results, it works just fine.  I shall try again tomorrow, perhaps there's something going on with the server today.

  • Okay, my brain is about to explode and my eyes are bleary from the computer. I have spent many, many hours on this lesson. (Not complaining mind you, I love research, but it’s been frustrating.) Anyway, I’m going with what I have so I can move on to the next lesson! I started out thinking my topic would be Andersonville Prison, then I checked out the Star Spangled Banner, and after that I found interesting articles about women soldiers in the civil war. I tried all sorts of search terms in ARC without any satisfactory results for all three topics. So, since I’m doing a jazz unit with my kiddos, out of curiosity I typed in Louis Armstrong. Well, what do you know, there was plenty there.

    I found a good number of sound recordings and movies to be found at the National Archives, College Park, MD, for example:

    • Special Feature: Giant of Jazz, Louis Armstrong

    ARC Identifier 135103 / Local Identifier 306-EN-71-8154

    Sound Recordings from the U.S. Information Agency. Voice of America. (08/01/1953 - 04/01/1978)

    National Archives at College Park - Motion Pictures, College Park, MD Item from Record Group 306: Records of the U.S. Information Agency, 1900 – 2003


    • Universal Newsreel Volume 33, Release 88, 10/31/1960

    ARC Identifier 2050320 / Local Identifier 200-UN-33-88

    Moving Images from the MCA/Universal Pictures.

    National Archives at College Park - Motion Pictures, College Park, MD

    Item from Collection UN: MCA/Universal Pictures Collection, 1929 - 1967

    SATCHMO SWINGS IN CONGO:    One of American's most extraordinary ambassadors, Louis Armstrong, arrives in the troubled Congo with his jazz band on a State Department - sponsored good-will mission, and receives a real swinging reception.


    Digital copies found were:


    • Louis Armstrong Appearance: 03/24/1959

    ARC Identifier 6948729 / Local Identifier 306-PPB-2

    National Archives at College Park - Still Pictures, College Park, MD

    Item from Record Group 306: Records of the U.S. Information Agency, 1900 - 2003


    • World War I Draft Registration Card for Louis Armstrong, 09/12/1918

    ARC Identifier 596218

    Textual Records from the War Department. Office of the Provost Marshal General. Selective Service System. (1917 - 07/15/1919)

    National Archives at Atlanta, Morrow, GA

    Item from Record Group 163: Records of the Selective Service System (World War I), 1917 - 1939

    Louis Armstrong's draft card indicates that he registered in New Orleans, Louisiana, where he was born.



    As I continued to look for information related to A.J. Dimond, I came across some interesting materials regarding the territorial years leading up to Alaskan statehood.

    • "Alaska: The Outpost State" from the US Army series The Big Picture. This series provided briefing videos on various topics for the army. ARC Identifier 2569687. Item from Record Group 111: Records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer, 1860 - 1985. I found the complete video on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lhCZ8PqU_20.
    • The photograph below from Dutch Harbor after a Japanese attack fits in nicely with my research on Dimond. I read in Dimond of Alaska by Edward Herron and learned that Dimond raised the alarm in Congress in the late 1930s about the suspicious number of Japanese "fishermen" in the Aleutians before hostilities began between Japan and the US. It seemed quite clear to Dimond that there was little fishing going on, and that their presence was much more about getting a good lay of the land.
       attack on Dutch Harbor, June 3, 1942. Group of Marines on the "alert" between attacks. Smoke from burning fuel tanks in background had been set afire by a dive bomber the previous day. Alaska., 1943 - 1958," ARC Identifier 520589, Record Group 80: General Records of the Department of the Navy, 1804 - 1983.


    • The next image I found was only marginally related to my searching, primarily because the Gold Rush is what brought Dimond to Alaska. It is an image of a gold dredge north of Fairbanks. I have visited Gold Dredge No. 8, which is a historic site and restaurant in the area, several times, and I wonder if this picture is showing that same dredge. It certainly looks like it to me.


  • Continuing with my theme of the Progressive Era, I found The Keating-Owen bill of 1916.

    An Act to Prevent Interstate Commerce in the Products of Child Labor, and for Other Purposes, 09/01/1916

    ARC Identifier 5730381 / MLR Number A-1 5A (1789-1823 segment), A-1 5B (1824-1956 segment) (...)

    Item from Record Group 11: General Records of the United States Government, 1778 - 2006. 

    This document was the first child labor law passed as a result of Congress flexing its right to regulate interstate trade, and thus, child labor.  "The act banned the sale of products from any factory, shop, or cannery that employed children under the age of 14, from any mine that employed children under the age of 16, and from any facility that had children under the age of 16 work at night or for more than 8 hours during the day."  Interstingly, though, it was overturned by the Supreme Court in 1918 because the government had gone outside its duties to regulate interstate commerce.  

    In conjunction with this I found letters supporting both sides, including a petition of support from a group of high schoolers

    (Letter from Lyons Township High School Students Supporting Keating-Owen Child Labor Bill, 03/07/1916

    ARC Identifier 5685998 / Local Identifier SEN64A-J38 )
    as well as a letter opposing the bill (

    Letter from Marshall Dilling Opposing Keating-Owen Child Labor Bill, 03/20/1916

    ARC Identifier 5685999 / Local Identifier SEN64A-J38 )

    written by a man who was himself put to work in the mills at age 11 by his father to help provide for his family.

    On a separate note, I feel my search capabilities are extremely inefficient at this time.  While obviously practice will help with this, as a teacher my time is a very precious commodity and something I never have enough of.  I just don't see when I will have time to devote to getting better at using these tools, which is disheartening because there are so many interesting documents out there!  This class is helping, but I feel my learning curve is so steep that my progress by the end of class will be minimal.

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