National Archives and Records Administration

American Originals Exhibit

Here will be preserved all . . . the records that bind State to
State and the hearts of all our people in an indissoluble union.
--President Herbert Hoover, upon laying the cornerstone
of the National Archives Building, February 20, 1933

Original documents are the raw stuff of history. They are physical links to the past. The original documents of the United States government--those that have been identified as having permanent value--are preserved and made available to the public by the National Archives. This online exhibit is based on the "American Originals" series of exhibitions that appeared in the Rotunda from 1995-2001. American Originals presents a selection of some of the most significant and compelling documents from the National Archives holdings.
On July 2, 1776, Congress approves a Resolution for Independence severing ties to Great Britain.

George Washington speaks of his determination to make democracy a success in his first inaugural address (April 30, 1789).

In 1803 the young republic nearly doubles in size with the Louisiana Purchase.

A casualty list of the 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment reveals the sacrifices of the most celebrated African-American regiment that fought in the Civil War.

A police blotter lists the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, April 14, 1865.

An 1868 treaty with the Sioux Indians recognizes the Black Hills of Dakota as part of the Great Sioux Reservation.

The collision of the Titanic with an iceberg is reported in a U.S. Navy memorandum of April 15, 1912.

A U.S. district court renders its verdict against gangster Al Capone,October 17, 1931.

Eleanor Roosevelt resigns from the Daughters of the American Revolution in 1939 over its refusal to permit Marian Anderson to perform at Constitution Hall.

President Franklin Roosevelt asks that Congress declare war against Japan, December 8, 1941.

The U.S. announces recognition of the State of Israel in a statement released, May 14, 1948.

President John F. Kennedy's speech cards show his remarks in Berlin, June 26, 1963.

President Richard M. Nixon resigns the Presidency in a letter dated August 9, 1974.

President Richard M. Nixon's daily diary lists his telephone conversation with Apollo 11 astronauts on the moon, July 20, 1969.

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National Archives and Records Administration
Last updated: March 1996