9. Our Favorite Records

Your visit here gives us the opportunity to share our favorite records with you. Although we work with documents every day, we still get excited about the discoveries we make and the stories the records tell.

We selected the documents displayed on this page from millions of individual records in our holdings. Though they may look ordinary, the documents are the unedited record of American history, revealing the lives of the famous, the infamous, and everyone in between.

—National Archives at Atlanta Staff

Music Greats

Many of my earliest and fondest family memories are linked to music. From the time my twin brother and I could turn on the stereo in the living room, my parents educated us on the stylings and signature phrasing of the great musicians of their youth. At the same time, my older brothers and sister introduced me to the hippest musical artists and genres of the 1950s and 1960s. Just as Elvis Presley deserves a place in the McSweeney Hall of Musical Fame so too does he warrant serious study within the realm of social history. The formative professional development of "The King" appeals to both the musicologist and the archivist in me. It is with great delight that I present Mr. Presley for the public "record."

—Jim McSweeney


Copyright Complaint and Elvis Record Jacket Submitted as Evidence.

Click images for larger view.

Civil War Documents

The Civil War era holdings at the National Archives at Atlanta, though modest in volume, shed light both on the depth and intricacies of the war known by so many names. The opportunity to routinely work with these national treasures helps to make my career with the National Archives professionally rewarding.

—Chris Pinkney


Post-Civil War Era Documents

Click images for larger view.

Premeditated Crime

Federal court cases are the cornerstone of the archival holdings at the National Archives at Atlanta. The criminal case, United States v. James Horace Alderman caught my attention because of the severity of the crime and the punishment.

The crime was uncomplicated. It could be summarized in six words: one man shot and killed another. The official description of the crime is a 375-word, two-page indictment, filled with convoluted and repetitious language worthy of a stand-up comedian.

The unintended humor of the indictment is starkly contrasted in the brief, sober language of the U. S. Marshal's death warrant. Alderman is to be "hanged until dead." The record shows that the sentence was carried out and the defendant was pronounced dead by the attending physician—a chilling conclusion to "an unlawful, felonious, willful, deliberate, malicious, and premeditated crime."

—Charlie Reeves


Federal Indictment and Death Warrant

Click images for larger view.

Women’s Work in War Industries

U. S. success in World War II depended, in part, on homefront industrial production. The War Production Board, a federal wartime agency, directed America's homefront effort.

Of particular interest to me are records that relate to women who eagerly accepted uncharacteristic wartime jobs and excelled at them. At the peak of wartime production in 1944, nearly half of all adult women were employed outside the home. They proved that the strength of our country went well beyond the battlefields.

These examples illustrate the unusual nature of women working in male-dominated professions during World War II. The booklet was intended to assist male bosses in supervising their new female employees at RCA plants.

—Arden Williams


Booklets Intended to Assist Male Bosses in Supervising their New Female Employees

Click images for larger view.