Press/Journalists
Press Release
October 30, 1997
National Archives to Open "American Originals: Part III" in December

If stacked in a single pile, the nationwide holdings of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) would stretch 378 miles. On Friday, December 19, 1997, a new selection of documents from NARA’s vast holdings will be on display, some for the first time, in "American Originals," a major exhibition in the Rotunda of the National Archives Building. For the past two years, "American Originals" has presented a tiny sampling of NARA’s documentary treasures, including some of the most compelling and significant materials in NARA’s holdings. This exhibition is free and open to the public through December 1998.

The new exhibition combines the familiar with the obscure, presenting both milestone documents and little-known treasures. The documents on display range from the 1703 last will and testament of a Spanish conquistador to the 1991 draft of President Bush’s address to the nation announcing the beginning of Desert Storm.

These materials, drawn from the National Archives holdings in the Washington DC area, from the regional archives across the country and from NARA’s ten Presidential libraries, breathe life into the dramatic unfolding of events known as American history. Whether a highly formalized treaty or an spontaneously scribbled note, original documents deepen our understanding of history. They are physical links to real people and events of the past and hold messages far beyond their words.

Highlights of the new exhibition include:

  • The Lee Resolution, the first call for independence formally proposed to the Continental Congress, June 7, 1776;
  • President George Washington’s nominations for the Supreme Court, September 24, 1789;
  • Documents from the Supreme Court case relating to the Amistad, January 23, 1841;
  • First official report of U.S. Army on the Battle of Little Big Horn, June 27, 1876;
  • "Death Book" from the Nazi Mauthausen concentration camp, listing prisoners who died at the camp, August 1940 - March 1942;
  • Theodore H. White’s notes and draft of the "Camelot" interview with Jacqueline Kennedy, November 29, 1963;
  • Chap stick tubes holding tiny microphones presented as evidence during the 1973 trial of the Watergate burglars.

    The National Archives Building is located on Constitution Avenue, between 7th and 9th Streets, NW. Winter hours are 10 A.M. through 5:30 P.M., seven days a week. The National Archives Exhibition Hall is open every day, except December 25. For information on upcoming activities and exhibitions, the public may call the National Archives public events line at (202) 501-5000. The hearing impaired should call TDD (202) 501-5404.

    For additional PRESS information, please contact the National Archives Public Affairs staff at (301) 837-1700 or e-mail public.affairs@nara.gov.

    98-10

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