Special Topics Pages
On the Monday nearest January 15, we honor the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and remember his contributions to the nation and his role in the civil rights movement.
February (third Monday): We honor our first President, George Washington, whose birthday is February 22. We also traditionally honor President Abraham Lincoln, whose birthday is February 12.
May: Memorial Day, initially referred to as Decoration Day, was observed by many communities since the Civil War when the nation lost an estimated 620,000 casualties, roughly 2 percent of the total population at the time.
June 19: On this day in 1865, U.S. Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger issued General Order No. 3, which informed the people of Texas that all enslaved people were now free. This day has come to be known as Juneteenth, a combination of June and 19th, and is now a federal holiday.
July 4: Join us on July 4 as we celebrate our nation's birthday! Find out about events in Washington, DC, and at Presidential libraries. Learn more about the Declaration of Independence, which is on permanent display in the National Archives Building.
September (first Monday): The National Archives holds extensive records created or received by the U.S. Government on issues of labor and labor rights.
Each year, we acknowledge the work done and sacrifices made by our men and women in uniform. The National Archives and Records Administration is proud to serve veterans and their families, especially through our work at the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, MO. We are also proud to include many veterans among our staff.
On October 3, 1789, President George Washington issued a proclamation naming Thursday, November 26, 1789 as an official holiday of "sincere and humble thanks." The nation then celebrated its first Thanksgiving under its new Constitution. On October 3, 1863, President Lincoln made the traditional Thanksgiving celebration a nationwide holiday to be commemorated each year on the fourth Thursday of November.
February: National Archives holds a wealth of material documenting the African American experience, and highlights these resources online, in programs, and through traditional and social media.
March: The National Archives celebrates Women’s History Month, recognizing the great contributions that women have made to our nation. Learn about the history of women in the United States by exploring their stories through letters, photographs, film, and other primary sources.
March: The National Archives celebrates the contributions of Irish Americans in our nation’s history during Irish American Heritage Month.
May: NARA is proud to observe Jewish American Heritage Month in May and to recognize Jewish contributions to American culture, history, military, science, government, and more.
May: Asian American and Pacific American Heritage Month. The National Archives holds a wealth of material documenting the Asian and Pacific Islanders experience, and highlights these resources online, in programs, and through traditional and social media.
The National Archives holds extensive records created or received by the U.S. Government on issues of sexual identity and rights. We not only hold these records, we provide access to them.
Caribbean American Heritage Month in June promotes the rich culture and heritage of the Caribbean American people and their contribution to the United States of America.
September 15 to October 15: We celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month to recognize the achievements and contributions of Hispanic American champions who have inspired others to achieve success.
The National Archives holds extensive records created or received by the U.S. Government relating to Native Americans. We not only hold these records, we provide access to them.
Other Holidays and Observances
January 27: The National Archives holds and provides access to millions of records created or received by the U.S. Government during and after World War II that document Nazi war crimes, wartime refugee issues, and activities and investigations of U.S. Government agencies.
April 22: The first Earth Day took place on April 22, 1970. Recognized by many as the birth of the U.S. environmental movement, the nationwide demonstration spurred a dramatic rise in public concern about environmental issues.
May: The first full week of May has been set aside as Public Service Recognition Week (PSRW) to honor the men and women who serve our nation as federal, state, county, and local government employees.
September 11: The National Archives safeguards many records related to the 2001 attacks on the United States, including those of the 9/11 Commission, the 9/11 Federal Aviation Administration records, and the records of the George W. Bush Presidential Library.
September 17: Constitution Day and Citizenship Day commemorate the signing of the U.S. Constitution in Philadelphia on September 17, 1787. Learn more about the U.S. Constitution through our public programs, family activities, and online resources.
October: Each year we celebrate American Archives Month to raise awareness about the value of archives and archivists.
December 15: Bill of Rights Day commemorates the ratification of the document on December 15, 1791.
Although the Emancipation Proclamation did not end slavery in the nation, it captured the hearts of Americans, transforming the character of the Civil War.
The White House
The National Archives preserves and shares with the public records that trace the story of our nation, government, and the American people. Learn why Records Matter, and discover the relevant processes, legalities, timelines, and more.
On January 20 every four years, the President of the United States takes the oath of office. The inauguration usually takes place at the United States Capitol and includes a ceremonial program and a parade down Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House.
To honor the 100th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s birth, 10 cultural institutions across Washington, DC, and Boston partnered to mark the centennial of the 35th President.
In 2018, the National Archives celebrated the 100th anniversary of the birth of Elizabeth Anne "Betty" Ford.
Photographs of Buffalo Soldiers serving at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, NY, during the early 20th century recently came to light at the National Archives. The Buffalo Soldiers instructed cadets in military horsemanship until 1947.
Wars and Conflicts
As the largest repository of American World War I records, the National Archives invites you to browse the wealth of records and information documenting the U.S. experience in this conflict.
Each year, we acknowledge the work done and sacrifices made by our men and women in uniform. On this date, our country remembers and reflects 80 years later on the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on December 7, 1941.
To commemorate the 75th Anniversary of FDR’s Executive Order 9066 that interned Japanese Americans during World War II, the National Archives makes available its extensive related holdings including photos, videos, and records that chronicle this chapter in American history.
From February 19 to March 26, 1945, the United States Navy and Marine Corps executed Operation Detachment, the code name for the 36-day American invasion and capture of the heavily fortified Japanese island of Iwo Jima.
August 2020 marked the 75th anniversary of the United States bombing the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The National Archives preserves the documents that trace the evolution of the project to develop the bombs, to their use in 1945 and the aftermath.
At the height of the Cold War, for two weeks in October 1962, the United States and the Soviet Union stood on the brink of nuclear war. The peaceful resolution of the crisis with the Soviets is considered to be one of President Kennedy’s greatest achievements.
The National Archives has a wealth of records and information documenting the U.S. experience in the Vietnam conflict. These include photographs, textual and electronic records, audiovisual recordings, exhibits, educational resources, articles, blog posts, lectures, and events.
The year 1968 marked the 50th anniversary of the Tet Offensive, one of the largest military campaigns and a turning point of the Vietnam War.
This exhibition presents both iconic and recently discovered National Archives records related to 12 critical episodes in the Vietnam War.
On November 9, 1989, thousands of East Germans began to head to crossing points in Berlin, surging toward the West. Within days, an icon of the Cold War—the Berlin Wall—came down.
The National Archives and Records Administration provides access to many government records on Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs) through the National Archives Catalog and NARA's website.
Apollo 8 was the first manned spaceflight to leave the Earth’s orbit. Ignited by rumors of a possible Soviet manned lunar mission, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) launched Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and Bill Anders into space on December 21, 1968. The men became the first humans to enter lunar orbit.
On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first men to walk on the Moon. On this 50th anniversary of the historic Apollo 11 mission, the National Archives highlights records and events relating to NASA and the space program.
The National Archives’ holdings contain a variety of interesting records related to previous solar eclipses. Visitors can see these in our catalog, and they can also stop by the National Archives in Washington, DC.
Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan disappeared during their attempt at a round-the-world flight in July 1937. The National Archives contains records relating to the proposed flight and the search for their airplane.
Elections and Voting
Every four years, on the first Tuesday (after the first Monday) of November, we cast our votes for the next President of the United States. The National Archives and Records Administration has a unique role in the election process: NARA’s Office of the Federal Register administers the Electoral College.
Within the National Archives you will find numerous records relating to voting rights and elections.
Explore images from from an assortment of sports: Sporty Presidents and First Dogs, ice skating and other snow sports, soccer, track and field, gymnastics, football, and baseball.
The National Archives celebrates America's favorite pasttime! Baseball has played a major role throughout American history.
The first Winter Olympics was held in Chamonix, France in 1924. The original five sports (broken into nine disciplines) were bobsleigh, curling, ice hockey, Nordic skiing, and skating.
With its massive Corinthian columns and the largest sliding bronze doors in the world, the National Archives Building is the most ornate structure in Washington, DC’s Federal Triangle. Completed in 1935, the building holds the records of our country’s history and symbolizes our faith in the permanency of the nation.
In July 1973, a fire at the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, MO, destroyed millions of military personnel records. To mark the 50th anniversary, the National Archives created the most comprehensive online collection to date of records, photos, and articles about the event and its aftermath.
The 1918 influenza virus, often called “the Spanish Flu,” infected roughly 500 million people—one-third of the world’s population—and caused 50 million deaths worldwide (double the number of deaths in World War I).
While the National Archives does not collect or hold IRS tax forms or returns for individuals or entities, it does hold a wealth of material about taxes.
The mission of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is to provide access to the permanent records of the federal government, which include Presidential records from NARA’s Presidential Libraries.
1968 was a turning point in U.S. history, a year of triumphs and tragedies, social and political upheavals, that forever changed our country. In the air, America reached new heights with NASA’s Apollo 8 orbiting the moon and Boeing’s 747 jumbo jet’s first flight.