National Archives at Chicago

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Operating as usual


This photograph was taken on May 5, 1936, during a dust storm in South Dakota.

The Dust Bowl was a man-made environmental disaster. It unfolded on the nation’s Great Plains, where decades of intensive farming and lack of soil conservation had left the vast region ecologically vulnerable. A long drought in the early and mid-1930s triggered disaster.

The winds that swept across the plains began carrying off its dry, depleted topsoil in enormous “dust storms" that turned day into night. Once fertile farmlands became barren and dusty wastelands where nothing would grow. Hundreds of thousands of people abandoned the land.

President Roosevelt’s New Deal attacked the crisis on the Great Plains on a number of fronts. The Farm Security Administration provided emergency relief, promoted soil conservation, resettled farmers on more productive land, and aided migrant farm workers who had been forced off their land. The Soil Conservation Service helped farmers enrich their soil and stem erosion. The Taylor Grazing Act regulated grazing on overused public ranges.

Roosevelt’s Shelterbelt Project, created by executive order, fought wind erosion by marshalling farmers, Civilian Conservation Corps boys, and Works Progress Administration workers in an enormous effort to plant over 200 million trees in a belt running from Bismarck, North Dakota, to Amarillo, Texas. This immense windbreak moderated the Dust Bowl’s destructive winds. The Shelterbelt Project remains one of the great environmental success stories of our time.

Read the full post on the "Forward with Roosevelt" blog



Looking for copies of medals for yourself or a family member?

We look at the process to fulfill requests for paperwork determining eligibility for the awards and decorations of the United States Armed Forces.

Sarcasm, anyone? (Note - to actually save the earth, do the opposite of the recommendations from this 1990 publication)#...

Sarcasm, anyone?

(Note - to actually save the earth, do the opposite of the recommendations from this 1990 publication)

#EarthDay #EarthDay2021

"How to Destroy the Earth" was a satirical booklet from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency of Boston. It was released in 1990 in honor of #EarthDay.

Printed on partially recycled paper, it listed suggestions on how to waste energy. "These earth-destroying tips are so simple anyone can use them," advises the first page. "So kick back, grab a styrofoam cup of coffee, turn on every light in the house and read on."

From wasting water to releasing toxic chemicals, the booklet is full of "helpful" suggestions for the average American. Happily, it concludes with several pages of agency contact information--from recycling to energy grids--to help change harmful behavior.

Image: How to Destroy the Earth, 1990. See the full pamphlet in our online Catalog:


Looking for a certified (red ribbon with a gold seal) Petition for Naturalization from a Federal Court in Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio or Wisconsin? Send us an email with the applicants name, city, and birthdate to [email protected]

Below is a Petition from District Court of the United States in Chicago. If the record you are viewing says County Court, then it is not a federal record, and not held at a Federal archive. (Sometimes a Federal Court is listed as a Circuit Court, but that is rare)

The six digit number on the top right is the petition number, which these documents are filed by.

(We do not hold Certificates, unfortunately, just the paperwork leading up to an individual attaining their citizenship)


Willa Beatrice Brown took her first flight in Chicago in the early thirties. Within a decade, she went from flying enthusiast to aviator, flight instructor, and later officer and civil rights activist, creating a path for thousands of Black men and women to become pilots.

Brown began taking lessons at the racially segregated Harlem Airport outside Chicago, joined a black flying club called the Aero Challenger Club, and met pilot, plane mechanic, and future husband Cornelius Coffey.

From 1934 to 1937, while she trained to be a pilot, she earned her master mechanic’s certificate and a master’s in Business Administration at Northwestern University. Brown gained her first “first” in 1938, when she became the first black woman to be licensed as a private pilot in the United States.

In 1938, Brown and Coffey opened the Coffey School of Aeronautics at Harlem Airport. Their school was the first flight school owned and operated by African Americans.

When Congress appropriated $5,675,000 for the Civil Aeronautics Authority (CAA) to begin 220 pilot training programs across the country, the Coffey School of Aeronautics was authorized as a CAA school by January 1940. Brown’s roles were director and coordinator of training.

Letters from Brown to numerous leaders in Washington, DC, show her tireless efforts for their school to be part of the Army training program. Despite Brown’s disappointment that the Army would not allow the Coffey School of Aeronautics to train pilots for the Army, the school was selected to provide black trainees for the Air Corps pilot training program at the Tuskegee Institute.

This pilot training program led to the creation of the Tuskegee Airmen, and Brown trained nearly 200 of the men and women who went on to become cadets or instructors. Many of her former students made up the 99th Fighter Squadron, also known as the “Red Tails.”

Learn more in our blog post on Pieces of History:

Photo: “Lola Albright and Willa Brown, black pilots, at Harlem Airport, Chicago.” Records of the Federal Aviation Administration, National Archives

#WHM2021 #WomensHistoryMonth

USS Monitor Gun Carriages
USS Monitor Gun Carriages

USS Monitor Gun Carriages

March 8–9, 2021, marks the 159th anniversary of the Battle of Hampton Roads, also known as the Battle of the Monitor and Merrimack. This battle is significant as the first fight between two ironcla…

Moving our Mission Forward
Moving our Mission Forward

Moving our Mission Forward

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, a large portion of NARA has been teleworking 100%. Even with limitations on our ability to conduct work on-site and despite the incredibly challenging circ…

Spotlight: Finding Footage for National History Day Projects
Spotlight: Finding Footage for National History Day Projects

Spotlight: Finding Footage for National History Day Projects

In recent months, the National Archives’ Education Updates blog has posted a series of pieces focusing on award-winning National History Day documentaries. National History Day is an annual c…

New accessions are Federal records and other historical material, such as Presidential papers, recently added to the Nat...
New Accessions 1st Quarter FY 2021

New accessions are Federal records and other historical material, such as Presidential papers, recently added to the National Archives. Here is a list of our recent acquisitions.

New accessions are Federal records and other historical material, such as Presidential papers, recently added to the National Archives. These materials may not be available for research until they have been processed. Processing includes arranging and placing the materials in proper containers, desc...

Photos from US National Archives's post

Photos from US National Archives's post

Russian Wild Boars at Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Russian Wild Boars at Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Russian Wild Boars at Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Today’s post comes from Patrick Connelly, supervisory archivist at the National Archives at Philadelphia. The National Park Service (NPS) is well known for its robust efforts in the area of environ…


George Washington knew his inaugural address was a historic one. His first words as President would set the tone not just for his Presidency, but for the entire country.

See the handwritten address in our new online exhibit:

Image: George Washington’s First Inaugural Address, page 1,
National Archives, Records of the U.S. Senate

US National Archives

US National Archives

In 1944, these two sailors celebrated Christmas far from their families. The original caption reads:

“There wasn’t any fragrant pine or mistletoe or drifting snow, but the two blue-jackets pictured here were able to capture the Christmas spirit under the towering palms of this advanced Naval base at Majuro Atoll, Marshall Islands. Standing behind the illuminated Christmas tree is EM3/c Werner Braun (USNR), while kneeling is Rdm2/c Robert Farrell (USNR).”

See this image in our online Catalog:


Wondering about the status of our facilities? We regularly update our website with any changes to the operating status of our research rooms, Presidential Libraries and Museums, and other buildings.

US National Archives

US National Archives

The Certificates of Vote from the 2020 Electoral College are being posted to the 2020 results page after the Office of the Federal Register receives them from the States and can process them.

We post the Certificates on a rolling basis and update the page only on Federal business days.

See them here:

Image: Certificate of Vote from 2020 election from the District of Columbia, which has three votes in the Electoral College.

US National Archives

US National Archives

Today is Bill of Rights Day, marking the 229th anniversary of the document’s ratification.

A parchment document with 12 proposed constitutional amendments was created in September of 1789, and copies were sent to the states for ratification. By December 15, 1791, enough states had ratified the document, and it became what we now call the Bill of Rights.

This founding document has only been on permanent display at the National Archives Museum since 1952. Before the National Archives was established in 1934, the Department of State kept the federal government’s official records, but unlike the Declaration, which had been on display, the Bill of Rights remained in storage.

When the Department of State moved from New York to Philadelphia, the Bill of Rights went too. In 1800. it came to the new capital of Washington, DC, and stayed there--only briefly being removed to Leesburg, VA, in 1814 when the British burned the capitol city.

Throughout the 19th century, the document was stored in various offices and eventually made its way to the Old Executive Office Building. There, it was sewn into a large binder with other ratified amendments.

The National Archives was established in 1934, and on March 16, 1938, it acquired historic federal documents from the Department of State. Conservators removed the Bill of Rights from its binder and put it on display in the Rotunda—you can still see the holes from where it was originally sewn in.

After the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, the document was crated and stored in a safe area in case of an emergency evacuation, and in 1947, the Bill of Rights left Washington, DC, for the first time in 133 years as part of the Freedom Train exhibit that traveled across the country.

On November 22, 1952, the document was sealed in a helium-filled glass case and a few weeks later, on December 15, it was put on permanent display with the Declaration and the Constitution, which had been transferred to the National Archives from the Library of Congress just two days before.

Except for the renovation of the National Archives Building from 2001 to 2003, when the document was placed in a new state-of-the-art case, the Bill of Rights has remained on exhibit in the Rotunda.

You can read a full transcript of the full document and all 27 amendments here:

Image: Photo from the National Archives. The Bill of Rights on display on the Freedom Train, October 20, 1948.

US National Archives

US National Archives

Brig. Gen. Charles E. Yeager, the first man to fly faster than the speed of sound, died yesterday at the age of 97. In this 1948 photo, the US Air Force pilot sits in the cockpit of the Bell X-1 supersonic research aircraft, which he named the Glamourous Glennis in honor of his wife.

Yeager wrote detailed notes after his record-breaking flight in an experimental aircraft in the California desert. You can see this declassified document in our online Catalog:


National Archives at Chicago

National Archives at Chicago

Hi Senator! In 1945 Barney's Market Club (at 741 West Randolph Street in Chicago) - famous for its steaks, drinks, and the proprietor's charming habit of referring to all who came through as "Senator" - found itself in some trouble with the Office of Price Administration. OPA, which oversaw rationing during WWII, suspended Barney's from serving rationed meats, fats, and oils as punishment for illegally acquiring extra ration points. "There's not a chance of a steak or other rationed foods at Barney's Market Club" declared OPA Administrator Rae E. Walters, adding that "Of course Barney can continue to keep the bar open." Barney's survived the suspension, and long outlived OPA which ceased operations in 1947. Barney himself died in 1951 but the restaurant stayed open for another 45 years before closing in 1996. It is the current site of Haymarket Pub & Brewery.

From Records of the Information Department, Office of Price Administration Region VI Box 4, NAID 140133743

#Chicago #rationing #OPA #steakhouse #Steak

US National Archives

US National Archives

In 1910, Franklin D. Roosevelt was serving Assistant Secretary to the US Navy. During this visit to the Brooklyn Navy Yard, he saw USS Battleship Number 39, which would be christened as the USS Arizona.

FDR, wearing a bowler hat, can be seen walking at the front of the group. (Roosevelt contracted polio in 1921, and would use a wheelchair during his presidency.)

Thirty-one years later, Roosevelt was serving as President of the United States, and the USS Arizona was bombed during the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

See the photograph in our online Catalog:

US National Archives
US National Archives

US National Archives

The National Archives is the nation’s recordkeeper, and every four years during Presidential transitions, this job includes special responsibilities relating to Presidential and Federal records.

Over the next two months, we will transfer hundreds of millions of textual, electronic, and audiovisual records as well as thousands of Presidential gifts from the White House to the National Archives. On January 20, 2021, the National Archives will take legal custody of this material.

As political appointees come into or leave their jobs, the National Archives also makes sure they are informed of their records management responsibilities and are preserving their records appropriately.

Learn more about the duties of the National Archives during a Presidential transition in today’s blog post from the Archivist

"Oh bliss! Bliss and heaven! Oh, it was gorgeousness and gorgeousity made flesh"

"Oh bliss! Bliss and heaven! Oh, it was gorgeousness and gorgeousity made flesh"

December marks the 250th anniversary of the birth of renowned German composer and pianist Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827). Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, beginning with its distinctive four-note strain “short-short-short-long,” is one of his most recognizable compositions.

President Harry S. Truman was a pianist and known for his love of music. His copy of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony -- part of the 1888 bound volume “Beethoven Symphonien zu vier Händen” -- is featured in our new online exhibit.

US National Archives
US National Archives

US National Archives

Lloyd Oliver was one of the original 29 Navajo Code Talkers of the US Marine Corps. He served three years overseas, and survived the war and returned home in 1945. Oliver received the Congressional Gold Medal from President Bush in a ceremony in the U.S. Capitol in 2001.


There is a new online resource available within Record Group 75 Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The series, "Ratified Indian Treaties, 1722–1869" (National Archives Identifier 299798 ), made available online through the National Archives Catalog.
The digitized treaties can be explored by date or by tribe. For each treaty, click on the National Archives Identifier (NAID) to view digital images of the treaty and all related documents in the file unit. To view these documents individually, scroll down the page and click the link for “Search within this file unit.”
For example, you can view the Ratified Indian Treaty Number 82: Ottawa, Chippewa, and Potawatomi - St. Louis, August 24, 1816, (National Archives Identifier 170281487 )
For more information on American Indian treaties you can visit Published Government Sources Relating to Native Americans which provides information about treaties, policies, Congressional hearings and debates, and the implementation of federal law.


7358 S Pulaski Rd
Chicago, IL

Accessible via CTA: * Orange Line to Pulaski stop. * Then bus 53 A - South Pulaski to West 75th Street * Walk one block west on 75th Street to our entrance 7358. ~Please note we are open from 8:00 a.m.- 4:15 p.m. the second Saturday of each month. 2012 Holiday Hours: Please note that National Archives research rooms across -the- country will observe the following holiday hours: Thanksgiving Eve (11/21) - Research rooms will close nation-wide at 2:00 PM. Christmas Eve (12/24) - Rooms will be closed nation-wide the entire day. New Year's Eve (12/31) Rooms will close nation-wide at 2:00 PM. If you are planning a research visit on Saturday, you are strongly encouraged to call in advance to request specific historical records for review.~

General information

For a complete directory of all the National Archives Facebook accounts, please visit View our Facebook comment policy on the National Archives website at The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) manages this Facebook fan page as a portal for information from the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. However, information posted here is not official policy of NARA and will in no way grant anyone any rights, privileges, or standing on any matter. All information should be verified through official channels at NARA. For contact information at NARA, please check Facebook Comment Policy: You are encouraged to share your comments, ideas, and concerns. Please be aware of the following policies for the National Archives' Facebook fan page: • NARA will only post comments from users over 13 years of age that relate to topics on the specific fan page subject matter. • NARA will delete comments that contain abusive, vulgar, offensive, threatening or harassing language, personal attacks of any kind, or offensive terms that target specific individuals or groups. • NARA will delete comments that are clearly off-topic, that promote services or products, or that promote or oppose any political party, person campaigning for elected office, or any ballot proposition. • Gratuitous links to sites are viewed as spam and may result in the comment being removed. • Communications made via the Facebook fan page will in no way constitute a legal or official notice or comment to the NARA or any official or employee of NARA for any purpose. • The content of all comments is immediately released into the public domain, so do not submit anything you do not wish to be broadcast to the general public. • Do not post personally identifiable information such as social security numbers, addresses and telephone numbers. Comments containing this information will be removed from the Facebook fan page wall. • NARA does not discriminate against any views, but reserves the right to remove posted comments that do not adhere to these standards. Members of the media are asked to pose your questions to the NARA Public Affairs Office through their normal channels and to refrain from submitting questions here as comments. Media questions or comments will not be posted. NARA Public Affairs can be reached at 202-357-5300 Facebook Privacy Policy: This site is not hosted by the National Archives and Records Administration and thus the privacy policies of NARA do NOT apply. The privacy policy for this web site may be found at NARA retains records of the content on the NARA portion of this site, as is provided for in our records retention schedules and mandated by the Federal Records Act. These records include user comments and any personally identifiable information a commenter shares with NARA. Because these records are collected from a public web site, it may be disclosed to others and used by NARA in the conduct of agency business. Please do not share information such as social security numbers, birth dates, or other private information that you do not want to make available to others. NARA disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from any comments posted on this page. This forum may not be used for the submission of any claim, demand, informal or formal complaint, or any other form of legal and/or administrative notice or process, or for the exhaustion of any legal and/or administrative remedy. Information about NARA activities and other methods to communicate with NARA are also available on NARA's official web page at, along with archival photos, videos and other documents. The privacy policy for may be found there.

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Monday 09:00 - 16:00
Tuesday 09:00 - 16:00
Wednesday 09:00 - 16:00
Thursday 09:00 - 16:00
Friday 09:00 - 16:00


(773) 948-9001


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