National Archives

No known photographs of Swann survive. This 1903 postcard depicts two Black actors, one of whom is dressed in drag, performing a cakewalk in Paris.

The First Self-Proclaimed Drag Queen Was a Formerly Enslaved Man

In the late 19th century, William Dorsey Swann's private parties attracted unwelcome attention from authorities and the press

Through the Freedmen's Bureau, formerly enslaved people were able to obtain formal legal recognition of their marriages.

Newly Digitized Freedmen's Bureau Records Help Black Americans Trace Their Ancestry

Genealogists, historians and researchers can now peruse more than 3.5 million documents from the Reconstruction-era agency

The Library of Congress recently completed a major digitization effort, making collections of 23 U.S. presidents' papers available online for study. From left: Calvin Coolidge, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Benjamin Harrison and Thomas Jefferson; behind: Jefferson's June 1776 draft of the Declaration of Independence

Library of Congress' Presidential Papers, From Washington's Geometry Notes to Wilson's Love Letters, Are Now Online

Four newly added collections mark the conclusion of a two-decade digitization project

Ratified Indian Treaty 37: Eel River, Wyandot,Piankashaw, Kaskaskia, and Kickapoo—Vincennes, Indiana Territory, August 7, 1803

Hundreds of Native American Treaties Digitized for the First Time

The National Archives has scanned more than 300 agreements between the United States and Indigenous tribes

Written in ornate cursive by a general’s aide and signed by Maj. F.W. Emery on behalf of Granger, “General Orders No. 3” had long been hidden in a book of formal orders housed at the archives.

National Archives Locates Handwritten Juneteenth Order

On June 19, 1865, the decree informed the people of Texas that enslaved individuals were now free

Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero displays historical objects recovered from the Arlington National Cemetery time capsule.

Arlington National Cemetery Opens Its 105-Year-Old Time Capsule

The trove of artifacts, hidden in a cornerstone in 1915, is now available to explore online

As women entered through the “Ladies” side of a turnstile, Lenna Winslow’s “Voting Machine” concealed ballot items on which they could not vote.

The Voting Machine That Displayed Different Ballots Based on Your Sex

In an era of partial suffrage, these inventions helped women cast their votes

Authorities Are Looking for the Suspect Who Started a Fire at the National Archives

An exterior wall of the building sustained some damage, but no one was harmed by the flames

Desert kites, stone structures used for hunting, discovered in the U2 images.

U-2 Spy Plane Images Reveal Ancient Archaeological Sites in the Middle East

Two patient archaeologists organized and scanned the images to find structures destroyed or covered up over the last 60 years

Forty Years Ago, 12.6 Million Feet of History Went Up in Smoke

Remembering the fire at a National Archives film vault that destroyed years worth of flammable nitrate film newsreels

Agreements like the Treaty With the Delawares (1778) are powerful reminders of American Indian nations' legal right to territorial sovereignty.

Why the Very First Treaty Between the United States and a Native People Still Resonates Today

The Treaty With the Delawares, signed in 1778, has arrived at the National Museum of the American Indian

The Museum at FIT tweeted about its "Black Fashion Designers" exhibition drawn from its permanent collection.

In Honor of Black History Month, Cultural Institutions Are Sharing Archival Treasures

The best of the U.S. National Archive's #ArchivesBlackHistory

This law set the forced removal of Native Americans in the American Southeast into motion.

Witness the Document that Set the Trail of Tears in Motion

The Indian Removal Act is on display at the National Archives through June 14

President Herbert Hoover (center right) plays a rousing game of Hooverball on the South Lawn of the White House.

Newly Discovered Color Movies Show Herbert Hoover’s Softer Side

From Hooverball to White House frolics, you've never seen the staid president quite like this

This once-secret memo lays out methods for secret writing once used by intelligence agencies.

Celebrate Sunshine Week By Transcribing Once Top-Secret Documents

The National Archives wants you…to make documents more accessible to future generations

This image, entitled "Doing Their Share, Too," celebrated the war work of black women.

This African American Artist’s Cartoons Helped Win World War II

Charles Alston knew how to turn art into motivation

Score was a tiny communications satellite attached to a really big rocket.

Celebrate Christmas With the First Voice Ever Broadcast in Space

Eisenhower kicked off the space race with a goodwill wish

Today, America's founding documents reside in the Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom in the National Archives.

What Happened to America’s Most Precious Documents After Pearl Harbor?

Librarians and archivists made sure the nation’s records didn’t become casualties of World War II

A statue of the people present at the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention can be seen at the Women's Rights National Historical Park in Seneca Falls.

Five Things to Know About the Declaration of Sentiments

From seating to suffrage, here’s why the document is relevant today

Front and back of the letter written by Charles Darwin to Ferdinand Vandeveer Hayden on May 2, 1875

A Letter Written by Charles Darwin, Twice Stolen, Returns to the Smithsonian

After being snatched by an intern in the mid 1970s, the missive written by the scientist returns to Washington

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