Eyewitness: American Originals
from the National Archives

Exhibit Highlights

Eyewitness accounts 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.

EYEWITNESS highlights include:

  • Letter from George Washington to John Hancock re: bioterrorism (small pox), December 4, 1775.

  • Eyewitness account of Thomas Selfridge, a Navy Lieutenant on board the wooden frigate Cumberland, sunk by the Confederate ironclad Virginia, March 8, 1862.

  • Account of Dr. Robert King Stone, President Lincolnís doctor, on his treatment of the President throughout the night of April 14-15, 1865, after he was shot.

  • War Diary (from April 30 to May 13, 1915) of Lieutenant Schwieger, commander of the German U-boat that attacked and sunk the Lusitania.

  • Rose Kennedyís account of the weekend she and Joe spent at Windsor Castle, April 9-11, 1938.

  • Letter from Harold Porter, a U.S. Army surgical technician assigned to the 116th Evacuation Hospital, May 7, 1945, one of the first medical units to arrive at the Dachau concentration camp at the end of World War II.

  • President Kennedyís audio notes summarizing meeting with his advisors, October 18, 1962, during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

  • Televised 1966 interview of American POW, Navy Commander Jeremiah Denton, conducted when Denton was being held by the North Vietnamese. During the interview, he blinked his eyes in Morse code spelling out the word "T-O-R-T-U-R-E."

  • Testimony of John Lewis in Court Case resulting from 1965 March from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, in support of voting rights.

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