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Eyewitness: American Originals
from the National Archives

My Dear Wife it is with grate joy I take this time to let you know whare I am. I am now in Safety in the 14th regiment of Brooklyn. This day I can address you thank god as a free man…
Letter from John Boston, fugitive slave from Maryland, to his wife Elizabeth, 1862.

Promptly a few minutes before twelve I looked up from the desk and there stood Stalin in the doorway…
From President Truman's personal diary, describing his first meeting with Joseph Stalin, July 17, 1945.

I cast one last look over my shoulder and saw in the President's car a bundle of pink, just like a drift of blossoms, lying on the back seat. I think it was Mrs. Kennedy lying over the President's body…
Transcript of Mrs. Johnson's audio diary describing the events of November 22, 1963.


These original accounts of watershed events in American history are part of a major exhibition entitled "Eyewitness: American Originals from the National Archives" now on a two-year, six-city national tour. The national tour of "Eyewitness" is sponsored by The Boeing Company.

In 2008, "Eyewitness" will be on display at the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin, the Richard M. Nixon Presidential Library in Yorba Linda, California, and the Durham Western Heritage Museum in Omaha, Nebraska. See the complete travel schedule.

In 2007, the traveling exhibition opened at the Jimmy Carter Library and Museum in Atlanta and also was on display at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia and the Ford Museum of the the Gerald R. Ford Library and Museum in Grand Rapids, Michigan. "Eyewitness" was originally on display in the Lawrence F. O'Brien Gallery at the National Archives in Washington, DC, from June 23, 2006 - January 2, 2007.

Treasures in the form of letters, diaries, photographs, and audio and film recordings, culled from the billions of documents in the holdings of the National Archives and its Presidential libraries, open new and unique windows onto well-known events. History books describe the slaves' fight for freedom or the liberation of concentration camps at the end of World War II, but the power of the original accounts written or recorded by players in these dramas enable visitors to be transported back in time to these events, almost as if they are experiencing them firsthand. Lady Bird Johnson, former First Lady, wrote that she recorded the things she saw because she found her experience "too great a thing to have alone."



Contact Information

For additional images, or for more information, contact the National Archives Public Affairs Media Desk or call (202) 357-5300.


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The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
1-86-NARA-NARA or 1-866-272-6272

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