Cover image for American originals
American originals
Bredhoff, Stacey, 1955-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Washington, DC : National Archives and Records Administration ; Seattle : In association with the University of Washington Press, [2001]

Physical Description:
124 pages : illustrations (some color), facsimiles, portraits ; 28 cm

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E173 .B835 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize

On Order



Original documents are the raw stuff of history. They are physical links to the past. The original documents of the U.S. Government - those that have been identified as having permanent value - are preserved and made available to the public by the National Archives and Records Administration. American Originals presents a selection of the United States' most significant and compelling documents, pieces of history-the glorious and the inglorious-in its most unprocessed form.George Washington's account of expenses, kept throughout the Revolutionary War. Harriet Tubman's pension claim for her service during the Civil War. Richard Nixon's letter resigning the Presidency. These and other rarely seen documents from the National Archives offer fascinating insights into the towering figures and events in American history.Combining the familiar with the obscure, American Originals presents glimpses of Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Edison, Abraham Lincoln, Helen Keller, Elvis Presley, John Muir, Rosa Parks, Benedict Arnold, John Brown, Susan B. Anthony, and many others, through a selection of America's greatest documentary treasures.Stacey Bredhoff is a senior exhibits curator at the National Archives. She is the author of Powers of Persuasion: Poster Art from World War II and Draw! Political Cartoons from Left to Right.

Author Notes


Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

The catalog of a recent exhibition at the National Archives in Washington, DC, that will travel in modified form to several cities, this work reveals the depth of the archives' holdings. It reproduces over 80 fascinating documents, along with a photograph of the person or event described therein and a short, well-written commentary. Included are reproductions of, for example, the Declaration of Independence, a letter from Eleanor Roosevelt to the DAR, a statement for the president to read in case the astronauts were stranded on the moon, Benjamin Franklin's ledger as postmaster general, and other records that document events, both great and small, in U.S. history. Useful as both an exhibition catalog and an introduction to this impressive treasury, this work is recommended as a teaching tool for school and public libraries and for collections in civics or American history. Martin Chasin, Adult Inst., Bridgeport, CT (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Forewordp. 3
Historian's Perspectivep. 4
Introductionp. 6
First Written Boundary of New Mexico, 1683p. 12
Case of Slave Smuggling, 1685p. 14
American Independence, Adopted and Declared, 1776p. 16
Benjamin Franklin's Post Office Ledger, 1753-76p. 18
George Washington's Account of Expenses, 1775-83p. 20
Treason of Benedict Arnold, 1780p. 22
Articles of Confederation, 1781p. 24
Voting Record of the Constitutional Convention, 1787p. 25
Louisiana Purchase Treaty, 1803p. 26
Lewis and Clark Expedition, 1803-06p. 28
Battle of Fort McHenry, 1814p. 30
United States v. The Amistad, 1841p. 32
Mormon Migration, 1845p. 36
Discovery of Gold in California, 1848-49p. 38
John Brown's Raid on Harper's Ferry, 1859p. 40
Southern States Secede, 1861p. 42
The Emancipation Proclamation, 1863p. 46
Siege at Petersburg, Virginia, 1864p. 48
Capture of Savannah, 1864p. 49
Assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, 1865p. 50
Harriet Tubman's Pension Application, ca. 1890p. 54
Treaty with the Sioux, 1868p. 56
Purchase of Alaska, 1868p. 58
Arrest of Susan B. Anthony for Illegal Voting, 1872p. 60
Thomas Edison's Patent No. 223,898, 1879p. 62
Deed of Gift of the Statue of Liberty, 1884p. 64
Preservation of Yosemite National Park, 1893p. 66
Annexation of Hawaii, 1898p. 68
Upton Sinclair's Advice on Inspecting Meat-packing Plants, 1906p. 70
Sinking of the Titanic, 1912p. 72
Mexican Punitive Expedition, 1916p. 74
Zimmermann Telegram, 1917p. 76
First Official Contact from the Soviet Government to the U.S., 1917p. 78
President Woodrow Wilson Names World War I, 1919p. 80
Helen Keller Promotes "Talking Books," 1933p. 82
Order to Arrest John Dillinger, 1934p. 84
Eleanor Roosevelt Resigns from the DAR, 1939p. 86
United States Enters World War II, 1941p. 88
Bataan Death March, 1942p. 92
Manhattan Project Experiment, 1942p. 94
Hollywood's Immigrants, 1940sp. 96
D-day, 1944p. 98
The Holocaust, 1933-45p. 100
President Harry S. Truman's Personal Diary, 1949p. 104
Arrest of Rosa Parks, 1955p. 106
President John F. Kennedy's Inaugural Address, 1961p. 108
President Lyndon B. Johnson's Address to the Nation, 1968p. 110
Moon Landing, 1969p. 112
Letter from Elvis Presley to President Richard Nixon, 1970p. 116
Watergate Burglary, 1972p. 118
Berlin Wall, 1987p. 120
Quotation Sourcesp. 122
Acknowledgmentsp. 124