Summer Prologue Highlights 75th Anniversary of National Archives
Press Release · Thursday, July 2, 2009

Press Release
July 2, 2009

Summer Prologue Highlights 75th Anniversary of The National Archives

Washington, DC…The National Archives celebrates its 75th anniversary with a special issue of Prologue:  Quarterly of the National Archives and Records Administration.

The issue highlights Acting Archivist Adrienne Thomas’ recollections from her 39-year career at the Archives; the National Archives role in providing war planners with meteorological records and maps for use on D-Day 1944; the inside story behind the transfer of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution from the Library of Congress; the behind-the-scenes battle the agency waged in the 1980s to regain its status as an independent agency; and the pivotal role that the Archives played in preserving the records and tapes of the Nixon Presidency.

The anniversary issue offers a peek at a detail of the drawings of the bronze doors, the largest in the world, by the famous architect John Russell Pope who designed the building. It also tells the story of the early struggles to create the agency, its formative years under President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and how it was transformed over the years by war, government reorganization, and changes in the way records are created and preserved.

Noting that Roosevelt was instrumental in setting the National Archives on its course as the nation’s record keeper, the article states: “He likely would not recognize the National Archives of the 21st century, with its leadership role in Federal records management, in the classification and declassification of government documents, and in finding ways to ensure that the government can preserve the electronic records of today as well as of the future.”

The issue also features a history of the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, the Archives’ grant-making arm, which was also created in the same1934 legislation that created the Archives.

Summer Prologue also contains the regular fare of articles revealing new historical insights and articles about programs and activities at the National Archives nationwide:

  • When the ‘Enemy’ Landed at Angel Island” recounts how the immigration station on Angel Island in San Francisco Bay sought to bar entry to hostile aliens and deport resident radicals during World War I.

  • Sitting in Judgment” recalls the case of Myron C. Cramer, who thought he was finished with the trial of German saboteurs who made it into the United States during World War II, only to find himself sent to Tokyo for the trials of Japanese war leaders.

  • The First Nixon Library” reveals the story of a library in Hong Kong named for Richard Nixon in honor of his visit there as Vice President in the mid-1950s, long before he became President.

  • In the King’s Service” tells the story of Hugh Finlay, who became the nation’s postmaster when George III fired Benjamin Franklin in the Revolutionary period.

For four decades, Prologue has shared with readers the rich resources and programs of the National Archives, its regional archives, and the Presidential libraries. Each issue features historical articles—drawn from National Archives’ holdings and written by noted historians, archivists, and experts—as well as articles explaining and describing many of the National Archives’ activities and programs as the nation’s recordkeeping agency. The Washington Post has said, “Prologue . . . can be regarded quite literally as an invitation for further study. It is also consistently absorbing reading.”

A one-year subscription to Prologue costs $24. To order:

  • Call 1-800-234-8861 or 202-357-5482.
  • Go to the subscribe page, print out the order formOpen order form PDF file, and mail it to Prologue,
    National Archives Trust Fund (Cashier) NAT,
    8601 Adelphi Road, College Park, MD 20740-6001.
  • Order online.
  • Fax credit card orders to Prologue at 202-357-5918.

Single copies of Prologue are available at the Archives Shop or at the Cashier's Office in the National Archives Building in Washington, DC, or at the Publications Sales Office at the National Archives at College Park, MD. Single copies are also available in the shops at some Presidential libraries and at the new National Archives at Kansas City. In Washington, DC, it is available at Politics and Prose (5015 Connecticut Ave NW), The News Room (1803 Connecticut Ave NW), and One Stop News (2000 Pennsylvania Ave NW).

For more information about the National Archives and its programs and exhibits, go to

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For Press information, contact the National Archives Public Affairs staff at 202-357-5300.


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