Prologue: Archives of Previous Issues
(Indexed by subject and author, organized by year.)
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Tables of Contents
(Links to titles of articles by year of publication, on this page.)
Remembering World War I
(Spring 2017) - Archivist David S. Ferriero surveys the many ways the National Archives is commemorating the centennial of World War I.
America Enters the Great War
(Spring 2017) - A look at the events that led Woodrow Wilson to ask Congress for a declaration of war, taking the nation into World War I.
12,000 Marks for Texas
(Spring 2017) - After a devastating hurricane hit Galveston, Texas, in 1900, U.S. consuls in Germany raised funds for assistance.
JFK in Congress
(Spring 2017) - In his years in the House and the Senate, John Kennedy developed expertise on key issues and prepared him for his 1960 presidential bid.
Where Our WWII Leaders Spent WWI
(Summer 2017) - America's top military leaders in World War II had smaller but, in some cases, similar roles to play in World War I.
Reclaiming Stolen History
(Fall 2017) - Archivist David S. Ferrriero reasserts the agency's intolerance for the theft of records.
(Fall 2017) - A new exhibit at the National Archives seeks to help us understand the full impact of the war.
(Fall 2017) - A German American cultured bacteria for germ warfare used on horses in the U.S. during World War I.
Prologue’s Story—So Far
(Winter 2017–18) - The magazine celebrates 49 years of discovering history as it comes to the end of print production.
The Revolutionary Summer of 1862
(Winter 2017–18) - During the summer of 1862, the U.S. Congress passed sweeping legislation affecting slavery, civil rights, and westward expansion.
Launching the “History Hub”
(Spring 2016) - Archivist David S. Ferriero introduces the “History Hub,” an online meeting place for researchers and archivists.
Murder! Orphans! Escape!
(Spring 2016) - The story of five orphans and the attack on their missionary family in China in 1940 is told through records of the U.S. consulate.
Secret Weapons, Forgotten Sacrifices
(Spring 2016) - Records of the Office of Scientific Research and Development in World War II document off-beat weapons research and the sacrifices of those who worked on them.
(Spring 2016) - The 1935 "Broken Blossoms" trial revealed how poor young Chinese women were lured to San Francisco with promises of marriage and jobs but instead were forced into prostitution.
The CCC Indian Division
(Summer 2016) - The CCC-ID employed thousands of Native Americans during the Great Depression.
Women Workers in Wartime
(Fall 2016) - Explore the personnel records of women who worked for the federal government during both World War I and World War II.
Celebrating the Bill of Rights
(Winter 2016) - Archivist David S. Ferriero outlines the ways we celebrated the 225th anniversary of the Bill of Rights.
The Zimmermann Telegram
(Winter 2016) - Follow the chain of events leading up to U.S. participation in World War I.
The Day of Infamy
(Winter 2016) - The surprise attack on Pearl Harbor 75 years ago thrust the United States into World War II.
Moving Out, Moving In
(Winter 2016) - Learn about the important role the National Archives plays in the transition from one Presidency to the next.
Testing the 15th Amendment
(Winter 2016) - After passage of the 15th Amendment, African Americans still faced obstacles to excercising their new right to vote.
Hitler's Final Words
(Spring 2015) - During his last hours in his Berlin bunker, Hitler dictated his final political statement and personal will.
Managing Those Emails
(Summer 2015) - Archivist David S. Ferriero discusses the challenges of electronic recordkeeping.
Tea and Equality
(Summer 2015) - A 1929 congressional wives tea became the focus of an uproar because one of women was African American.
Creating the Obama Library
(Fall 2015) - Archivist David S. Ferriero describes the process of starting up a new presidential library.
Ike at 125
(Fall 2015) - For the 125th anniversary of Dwight Eisenhower's birth, we take a fresh look at his presidency.
Eisenhower and McCarthy
(Fall 2015) - President Eisenhower worked quietly behind the scenes to discredit Senator Joseph McCarthy.
(Fall 2015) - Excerpts from a new book show how historians' views of Eisenhower as President have shifted over the years.
Murder in Manila
(Winter 2015) - An Army officer posted to the Philippines in 1925 murdered the woman he loved.
(Winter 2015) - A new exhibit in Washington, DC, explores the how the U.S. Constitution can be changed.
(Spring 2014) - A Japanese kamikaze plane crashed into an American submarine in a unique attack toward the end of World War II.
The Scottsboro Boys
(Spring 2014) - A group of African American youths were wrongly accused of assault in 1930s Alabama.
“OK, We'll Go”
(Spring 2014) - Just what did Ike say to launch the D-day invasion in June 1944?
Being German, Being American
(Summer 2014) - German Americans joined the U.S. armed forces in World War I despite often facing suspicion at home.
Meeting Our Customers’ Needs
(Fall 2014) - Archivist David S. Ferriero sees a stronger connection ahead between the National Archives and its customers.
(Fall 2014) - U.S. submarines acted as lifeguards for downed pilots during World War II.
Maximizing Our Value to the Nation
(Winter 2014) - Archivist David S. Ferriero explains the National Archives' strategic goal to ensure the enduring cultural and historical value of our records.
Henry Ford: Movie Mogul?
(Winter 2014) - Explore the film collection of auto industry baron Henry Ford—a collection now part of the National Archives.
(Winter 2014) - A new exhibit at the National Archives in Washington, DC, explores alcohol's role in American history.
The Bloodiest Battle
(Winter 2014) - Photographs tell the story of the bloodiest battle of World War II—the "Battle of the Bulge" 70 years ago this winter.
Burnt in Memory
(Spring 2013) - Looking back, looking forward—The 1973 fire in St. Louis and its aftermath.
Young Bess in Hats
(Spring 2013) - Before she became Mrs. Harry Truman, she was "Young Bess in Hats."
The Mutiny at Pisgah Forest
(Summer 2013) - During World War I, African American soldiers in South Carolina protested against poor conditions in camp.
The Struggles for Rights
(Fall-Winter 2013) - Archivist David S. Ferriero takes a closer look at the records in the new Rubenstein Gallery.
Records of Rights
(Fall-Winter 2013) - A new exhibit at the David M. Rubenstein Gallery examines the "Records of Rights."
The Ike and Harry Thaw
(Fall-Winter 2013) -Samuel W. Rushay, Jr., recalls efforts to end the frosty relationship between President Dwight D. Eisenhower and former President Harry S. Truman.
Tin Cans and Patents
(Fall-Winter 2013) - The evolution of tin cans for storing food and the changing rules for patents and trademarks.
(Spring 2012) - Archivist David S. Ferriero discusses the role of the NHPRC in helping archivists work smarter.
All for a Sword
(Spring 2012) - Sarah Hutchins's quest for a gift for a Confederate cavalryman led to a treason conviction.
The Artist at War
(Spring 2012) - Artists in camouflage units did their bit during World War I.
To Choose a President
(Summer 2012) - Archivist David S. Ferriero describes the Federal Register's role in the Electoral College.
An Orphan of the Holocaust
(Summer 2012) - Thirteen-year-old Michael Pupa came to America after fleeing the Nazis and spending years as a "displaced person" in Europe.
Finding the Stones
(Summer 2012) - The National Archives discovers several engravings done by William Stone of the Declaration of Independence.
The War of 1812: Stoking the Fires
(Summer 2012) - Impressement of seamen was one American grievance before the War of 1812, but the U.S. Navy seized British sailors on occasion.
One Step from Nuclear War
(Fall 2012) - The 50th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis prompts a search for historical perspective.
An Ailing Ike
(Fall 2012) - President Dwight Eisenhower's health in 1960 affected the politicals fortunes of his Vice President, Richard Nixon.
Choosing a President
(Fall 2012) - How the nation really elects its President and Vice President—and how the National Archives plays a part in the Electoral College.
Errors in the Constitution
(Fall 2012) - Over the course of two centuries, small errors have crept into the U.S. Constitution at the hands of scribes and printers.
Nixon on the Home Front
(Winter 2012) - In President Nixon's centennial year, we look at his administration's domestic policies.
How the West Was Settled
(Winter 2012) - Greg Bradsher describes how the Homestead Act lured settlers into the sparsely populated West in the 1800s.
A Heart of Purple
(Winter 2012) - Fred Borch tells the story of America's earliest military decoration.
A Look Back at John Brown
(Spring 2011) - Paul Finkelman takes a look at the man whose body "lies a-mouldering in the grave" and his role in history.
Back to a Forgotten Street
(Spring 2011) - Robert Fahs recalls how journalist Bernard B. Fall tried to warn U.S. officials about the perils of a war in Indochina.
Making Access Easier
(Summer 2011) - Archivist David S. Ferriero discusses ways we're making the records available to more people in more ways.
What’s Cooking, Uncle Sam?
(Summer 2011) - A 2011 exhibit chronicles the federal government's effect on the American diet in war and peace.
A Culture of Vigilance
(Fall 2011) - Archivist David S. Ferriero reaffirms NARA's commitment to protecting the records in our custody.
1 Archives Drive
(Fall 2011) - A new home for the National Personnel Records Center keeps the records of military and civilian personnel safe and accessible.
Hit the Road, Jack!
(Fall 2011) - Jack Kerouac, in his pre-Beat days, sought to join the U.S. Navy, but the Navy rejected him.
A Leading Role for Change
(Winter 2011) - The President charges the National Archives and Records Administration with overseeing a major overhaul in the way agencies create and manage their records.
While Chicago Burned
(Winter 2011) - Federal court records reveal the reactions of some Chicago residents when fire destroyed the heart of one of our largest cities in 1871.
Let the Records Bark!
(Winter 2011) - M. C. Lang dives into the personnel records of "a few good dogs" in the Marine Corps during World War II.
“Whitman, Walt, Clerk”
(Winter 2011) - Kenneth Price shares his discovery of thousands of documents in the Archives penned by Walt Whitman during his tenure as a government clerk.
Remembering Pearl Harbor
(Winter 2011) - Deck logs of the ships hit at Pearl Harbor 70 years ago reveal in real time what went on during the attack.
In Search of a Better World
(Winter 2011) - A new exhibit about Benjamin Franklin provides new insights into the life of one of America's Founding Fathers.
Out of War, a New Nation (Spring 2010) - Pulitzer–prize-winning historian James McPherson discusses the lasting impact of America's bloodiest war. At the Edge of the Precipice
(Spring 2010) - Robert V. Remini shares an excerpt from his book about Henry Clay's role in the Compromise of 1850.
“A Reasonable Degree of Promptitude”
(Spring 2010) - Claire Prechtel Kluskens reviews how pension office handled the unprecedented growth in its caseload during and after the Civil War.
Discovering the Civil War
(Spring 2010) - Exhibit curator Bruce Bustard explains how the National Archives' latest exhibit makes the Civil War "strange again" for its viewers.
Pieces of History: A Seal of Guilt
(Spring 2010) - The metal die for the seal of the Knights of the Golden Circle was confiscated when the Knights' founder was arrested in 1863.
Magellans of the Sky
(Summer 2010) - Robert Crotty recalls when flight was young and a race to circumnavigate the globe got worldwide attention.
Children as Topic No. 1
(Summer 2010) - Marilyn Irvin Holt documents the evolution of White House conferences on children in the 20th century.
No Pensions for Ex-Slaves
(Summer 2010) - Miranda Booker Perry examines the federal government's active, and successful, role in suppressing a movement to gain federal pensions for ex-slaves in the 19th century.
Frame After Frame
(Summer 2010) - Philip W. Stewart provides an overview of the motion picture holdings of the National Archives in College Park.
Women of the Polar Archives
(Summer 2010) - Audrey Amidon puts the spotlight on two women who were drawn to the Arctic regions and whose exploits were captured on film.
(Summer 2010) - Frances M. McMillen and James S. Kane relate the history of St. Elizabeths Hospital in Washington, D.C.
Genealogy Notes: 68,937 and Counting
(Summer 2010) - Tim Rives and Steve Spence investigate a little-used source for genealogical research: inmate case files from the U.S Penitentiary at Leavenworth.
(Fall 2010) - A battalion of U.S. Marines lured Japanese troops away from a key U.S. target during World War II in the South Pacific—with a bit of help from Lt. John F. Kennedy.
In Freedom’s Shadow
(Fall 2010) - Renty Greaves was a slave in South Carolina, but after the Civil War he rose to prominence as a lucrative business leader and elected official in the only state to have a black majority in the legislature during Reconstruction.
(Fall 2010) - The National Archives' newest teaching tool puts primary source documents into the hands of students and teachers around the world through a rich, interactive online environment.
Transforming the Archives
(Winter 2010) - Archivist David S. Ferriero discusses changes to make the Archives a better place for staff and customers.
The Founding Fathers Online
(Winter 2010) - Learn about an ambitious project to put online all the writings of six prominent Founding Fathers.
The Magna Carta Returns to the Archives
(Winter 2010) - David M. Rubenstein went to an auction one night—and ended up buying the only copy of the Magna Carta in America to bring it back to display at the National Archives.
The Nuremberg Laws
(Winter 2010) - The original documents used by Adolf Hitler's Third Reich to legalize the persecution of Jews came to the National Archives in 2010.
Truman at 125
(Spring 2009) - The man from Missouri shaped a postwar world with decisiveness, determination, and common sense.
Harry Truman’s History Lessons
(Spring 2009) - Samuel W. Rushay, Jr., examines the way the 33rd President used history to make some of the important decision of the post-World War II era.
Adventures with Grandpa
(Spring 2009) - Clifton Truman Daniel recalls memorable visits with his famous grandfather.
(Spring 2009) - A highlight of the Environmental Protection Agency's ambitious project to capture environmental crises and cures in the 1970s.
NARA’s Up-to-Date in Kansas City
(Spring 2009) - Kimberlee N. Ried previews the Central Plains regional archives' move to the cultural and historical heart of Kansas City.
Becoming World Class
(Summer 2009) - The Acting Archivist reflects on the Archives' growth into a world-class archives.
In the King’s Service
(Summer 2009) - Hugh Finlay had some big shoes to fill after King George III fired the nation's first postmaster, Benjamin Franklin.
(Summer 2009) - On June 19, 1934, the National Archives was born. Seventy-five years later it has grown into the nation's record keeper. Learn about its colorful past here and in the timeline of NARA history.
Sitting in Judgment
(Summer 2009) - Judge Advocate General Myron C. Cramer not only prosecuted German saboteurs during World War II but also presided at the trials of Japanese war leaders.
Lead the Way
(Summer 2009) - A guide to research on Indian Scouts during the opening of the American West.
Face to Face with History
(Fall 2009) - A rare photograph of an African American Union surgeon is discovered among the pension records in the Natinal Archives.
“I Wish to Acknowledge”
(Fall 2009) - Over the years many archivists have helped Pulitzer Prize–winning authors, and less prolific writers research their works. Learn the stories behind the books.
The Congressional Archives
(Fall 2009) - The Center for Legislative Archives maintains the records of both houses Congress, and holds a few surprises as well.
An Amibitious Agenda
(Winter 2009) - Archivist David S. Ferriero looks ahead with an ambitious agenda for the National Archives.
Shaping the National Archives
(Winter 2009) - Greg Bradsher recounts how Wayne Grover, the third Archivist of the United States, placed the building blocks of the agency as it is known today.
The Alaskan Frontier in Panorama
(Winter 2009) - Some of the first panoramic photos of the Alaskan wilderness are held in the National Archives. Richard E. Schneider tells the story of how these century-old photos were preserved.
A Place in the Archives
(Winter 2009) - Love, dinosaur tracks, and your own letters are all part of the National Archives. Miriam Kleiman shows us the personal side of our nation's holdings.
A Tower in Nebraska
(Winter 2009) - What do Maryland's National Naval Medical Center and Nebraska's state capitol building have in common? A lot more than you'd think. Raymond P. Schmidt recounts how Franklin Delano Roosvelt's design for the medical center was inspired by a stopover in middle America.
Sage Prophet or Loose Cannon?
(Summer 2008) - A sharp Navy intelligence officer predicted Japan's actions while earning the ire of the top brass.
LBJ: Still Casting a Long Shadow
(Summer 2008) - The legacies of the Great Society and the Vietnam War buildup that shape history's assessment of the nation's 36th President.
Attacking the Backlog
(Summer 2008) - A major Archives project works to get a billion unprocessed records available to the public.
Exodus to Kansas
(Summer 2008) - An 1880 congressional inquiry investigated the beginnings of the African American migration from the south.
(Winter 2008) - For 70 years, Presidents and their families have enjoyed this idyllic retreat in the Maryland mountains.
Escorting a Presidency into History
(Winter 2008) - When a President leaves office, the National Archives is standing by to take custody of his records, which will help determine how history treats him.
Follow the Money
(Winter 2008) - Learn how to track down pension payments made to Revolutionary War Army veterans and widows.
Hemingway on War and Its Aftermath
(Spring 2006) - How his chronicles of World War I affected one of the 20th century's most influential writers and, in turn, the course of American literature.
Ike's Interstates at 50
(Summer 2006) - Young Dwight Eisenhower's views on the importance of good roads later served as a catalyst in creating today's half-century-old interstate highway system.
Reclaiming Pieces of Camelot
(Summer 2006) - A complicated legal trail led to the recovery of many long-missing papers and artifacts from John F. Kennedy's years in the White House and Congress.
(Winter 2006) - Archivist Allen Weinstein recalls how an eight-year-old boy struggled to come to terms with FDR's death in 1945.
FDR at 125
(Winter 2006) - To mark the 125th anniversary of FDR's birth on January 30, 1882, Prologue looks at the impact of his presidency and his legacy.
NARA’s Armies of Volunteers
(Winter 2006) - They serve on the front lines, without pay, and help the National Archives provide first-rate customer service at all locations around the country.
The Frozen Sucker War
(Spring 2005) - In pre–air-conditioning America, Good Humor and Popsicle square off in search of market share in the growing frozen sucker market.
The Presidential Libraries Act after 50 Years
(Summer 2005) - FDR had already built his presidential library and donated it to the government, but it took some carefully crafted legislation before any more Presidents could do so.
Where Have You Gone, James Madison?
(Fall 2005) - Archivist Allen Weinstein discusses the relevance of the U.S. Constitution and the thoughts of its leading architect, James Madison.
The "Z Plan" Story
(Fall 2005) - Japan's secret plan to defeat the U.S. fleet is lost at sea, but soon drifts into "enemy" hands-those of American generals and admirals.
Bill of Rights Memories
(Winter 2005) - Allen Weinstein writes about some "radical" notions in need of some attention.
The Ordeal of Herbert Hoover
(Summer 2004) - The 31st President hid his warm, human side as he fought the Great Depression, only to be rejected by the voters.
Creating the National Archives
(Summer 2004) - Seventy years ago, on June 19, 1934, FDR signed into law "an Act to establish a National Archives of the United States Government."
Authors on the Record:
(Summer 2004) - President Jimmy Carter talks about the setting for his book, The Hornet's Nest,
the first-ever novel by a U.S. President.
The Flip Side of History
(Winter 2004) - No treasure maps can be found, but the backsides of some famous documents still provide us with some interesting facts about American history.
Harry Truman, Poker Player
(Spring 2003) - The 33rd President often looked forward to a game of cards to relax and enjoy the company of friends or his staff— and even a visiting British legend.
20 July 1969
(Summer 2003) - How Americans observed the day on Earth when man first landed on the Moon is recreated in this special preview of the National Archives Experience.
Renewing the Spirit of Independence
(Fall 2003) - This fall we celebrate the return of the Charters of Freedom, the reopening of the Rotunda of the National Archives Building, and the first phase of the National Archvies Experience.
Reports from the Front
(Winter 2003) - A National Archives Experience exhibit will bring you eyewitness of military engagements from the Revolutionary War to the Vietnam War.
When FDR Said "Play Ball"
(Spring 2002) - When America's entrance into World War II cast doubt on the future of baseball, FDR gave a "green light" to the national pastime.
The WPA Census Soundexing Projects
(Spring 2002) - The indexes to census schedules and immigration records developed by WPA workers have been a tremendous help to genealogists.
Developing a New National Archives Experience
(Summer 2002) - Through a new interactive "National Archives Experience" visitors to the National Archives Building will learn about the past and how documents and records have shaped the nation and the lives of its citizens.
Race, Nationality, and Reality
(Summer 2002) - America's immigration and nationality laws have been subject over the years to vague and varying interpretations by judges, lawmakers, the public.
Spotlight on NARA: A Classroom Called NARA
(Fall 2002) - The National Archives is more than a custodian of historic documents and vital records. We're also a vast resource for students and teachers to learn more about U.S. history— by visiting us either in person or via the Internet.
Forty Years Ago: The Cuban Missile Crisis
(Fall 2002) - President John F. Kennedy mobilized the nation's armed forces during the hottest point in the long Cold War, when the United States and the Soviet Union stood just a few steps away from a nuclear exchange.
"Remember Me": Six Samplers in the National Archives
(Fall 2002) - Not all records and documents in NARA's vast holdings are on parchment, paper, or computer disks. A few are actually needlework samplers that were considered official records by the U.S. Government.
Join Us for "A Day in the Life" of NARA
(Winter 2002) - September 17, 2002, was a typically busy day for NARA, starting with the President's announcement of a new civics initiative and continuing with day-to-day tasks and special Constitution Day activities.
Travels of the Charters of Freedom
(Winter 2002) - Our founding documents, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights, had a long and sometimes perilous existence before being entrusted to the National Archives in 1952.
Guarding the Railroad, Taming the Cossacks
(Winter 2002) - The U.S. Army on Russian soil? Just after World War I, American soldiers were on a special mission in Siberia, where the enemies were wily, unconventional— and dangerous.
"Our Documents" Captures America's Milestones
(Winter 2002) - A White House initiative to boost civic literacy focuses on milestone documents in NARA's holdings—some very famous ones and some lesser-known ones that charted our nation's history.
Shedding Light on War Crimes
(Fall 2001) - The work of the Nazi War Crimes and Japanese Imperial Government Records Interagency Working Group (IWG).
Semper Fidelis, CodeTalkers
(Winter 2001) - The unbreakable code of the Navajo "code talkers" helped the U.S. Marine Corps battle across the Pacific from 1942 to 1945.
ARC: Archival Research Catalog
(Winter 2001) - If you have come to depend on the NARA Archival Information Locator (NAIL), you will welcome ARC, the new online catalog for which NAIL was the prototype.
(Winter 2000) - How nine of our Presidents have ascended to the office under unusual circumstances, usually upon the death of their predecessors.
A Guiding Light
(Summer 1997) - The story of the making of the Black History: A Guide to Civilian Records in the National Archives.
Confederate Medical Personnel
(Spring 1994) - How to find your Civil War-era ancestor, if he or she served the Confederate army in a medical capacity, in the War Department Collection of Confederate Records.
Thanksgiving: Another FDR Experiment
(Fall 1990) - President Franklin D. Roosevelt broke with tradition and declared Thanksgiving to be the fourth Friday in November instead of the last Thursday.
The Nixon White House Tapes
(Summer 1988) - H. R. Haldeman discloses the story behind the decision to record presidential conversations.
Articles published in Prologue do not necessarily represent the views of NARA or of any other agency of the United States Government.