National Archives Catalog
National Archives Catalog
Digitization Discoveries

In our last newsletter, we commemorated the 100th anniversary of the United States’ entry into World War I by introducing our new research portal. This anniversary also marked the culmination of a massive digitization project at the National Archives. Through a generous donation made by an anonymous donor, the National Archives was able to digitize over 110,000 photographs (available in our Catalog here and here) and nearly 300 reels of film related to the Great War. 

There are so many amazing images and stories found within these records - we find something new and interesting every day! But there is no way we can look at all of them. So we’re asking your help to unlock the stories within these photos. Did you find something interesting or unexpected? Did you learn something new? Let us know what you find in these fascinating records!

Here are some of the most compelling images we’ve found so far.
We found silly records:
Bath deluxe. American soldier bathing in a barrel of cold water, somewhere in France.
National Archives Identifier 45498837
"Gobs" and Guns. A scene aboard the U.S.S. Texas, just back from foreign waters, showing the "gobs" enjoying a little fun on the big guns. National Archives Identifier 533699
We found captions that tell amazing stories:
Boston to New York Air Mail Inaugurated
Lt. Terrey H, Webb, U.S. Army aviator, made first trip with 272 pounds of mail.  He was compelled to land once, in a small town in Connecticut, to adjust compass.  From there to Boston, flight was uneventful but when making landing at Saugus, Mass., a few miles outside of Boston, the big plane dipped its nose into the soft earth and Webb and his mechanician (sic) were thrown from their seats but were uninjured. Trip consumed three hours and twenty two minutes.
National Archives Identifier 45559842
We learned something new:
This photo depicts a bicycle that was converted into a stretcher conveyance for carrying the wounded:
National Archives Identifier 45496424
As part of their training, U.S. soldiers were taught how to remove heavy poisonous gases from trenches:
Original Caption: Getting the gas out of the trenches. After the gas attack, this soldier protected by his mask and respirator goes into the trench and with a shovel-like contrivance beats the heavy gases out of the trenches. The poisonous gases are heavy and cling to the ground for a considerable time before they are sufficiently diluted with air to make the removal of gas masks safe. This is part of the training U.S. soldiers get in combating gas at Camp Upton.
National Archives Identifier 26424052
In this operating room, women physicians of the American Women’s Hospitals care for sick soldiers:
The American Women's Hospital. The American Women's Hospital which comprises more than 2,000 women physicians and surgeons and is the official "Clearing house" through which all women doctors are sent abroad for Red Cross service launched a National campaign for funds to establish a chain of hospitals, dressing stations, clinics and dispensaries in France, Italy and Serbia, manned entirely by women. This picture made at a hospital "Somewhere in New York" shows the activities of the women doctors who are taking care of sick soldiers. National Archives Identifier 20803370
We found profoundly striking images:
Spruce Production Division, Bureau Aircraft Production, Portland, Oregon
Over 4,000,000 feet of spruce logs awaiting the completion of the Division mill at Toldeo, Oregon. Practically all straight grain, but one twisted log floats just in front of the man. This pondful would have lasted the mill about a week, if the armistice had not come quite so soon.
National Archives Identifier 55249698

What have you found in this amazing trove of WWI records? What is the most interesting or unexpected record you’ve found? Share them with us at

Interested in reading more about these photographs? Check out the post in The Unwritten Record blog from Still Pictures Archivist Richard Green.

1,524,930 and  28,928,636
Can you guess what these numbers represent?
We’re always working hard to make more of the National Archives’ holdings available to you online. Since our last Newsletter, we added 1,524,930 new digital objects (digitized textual records, photographs, sound recordings, motion pictures and electronic records) to the National Archives Catalog! This means we now have a total of 28,928,636 digital objects ready for you to research anytime, anywhere.
Titanic 105th Anniversary
Last week marked the 105th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. One of our latest citizen archivist missions gathers a selection of records relating to the sinking of the Titanic to commemorate this tragic event. Join us to transcribe court papers, evidence, and claims of survivors and representative of the deceased.
Questions or comments? Email us at
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