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The Panama Canal: Riots, Treaties, Elections, and a Little Military Madness
Photograph of Student with a Banner saying Fleming Go Home
Photograph of Students holding a Panamanian Flag
Photograph of American soldiers in a Tank
Photograph of Students on the balcony of Balboa High School

Our colleagues in the National Declassification Center recently released new records concerning U.S. - Panama foreign relations: The Panama Canal: Riots, Treaties, Elections, and a Little Military Madness, 1959 – 1973.

This special release inspired us to develop a transcription mission based on records found in the National Archives Catalog relating to the Panama Canal.

The Archivist of the United States shared details of this release on the AOTUS Blog:

2015 marked the 100th anniversary of the official celebration of the completed construction of the Panama Canal by the United States. Although the Canal was officially opened to shipping on August 15, 1914, few realize that the official celebration had to be postponed due to the start of World War I a few weeks later. The official recognition of its completed construction was not celebrated until March 1915 at the San Francisco Exposition.

To celebrate this official recognition, the National Declassification Center (NDC) focused on recently declassified records in our custody that celebrate what the American Society of Civil Engineers has named the Seventh Civil Engineering Wonder of the World, the Panama Canal. The majority of Americans may have heard of the Panama Canal but few may know the United States’ role in its construction and maintenance, let alone the part that it played in our foreign relations with Panama. Debate continues to swirl around issues of why the U.S. turned the Canal over to Panama, Panamanian distrust of the U.S. Government in general, and the imperialistic image associated with U.S. employees that administered and lived in the Canal Zone.

We invite you to check out our newest transcription mission, featuring records from this special release. The records give insight and perspective into treaty negotiations, interactions between the American Embassy and U.S. government agencies in the Canal Zone, the impact of Panamanian politics and elections on treaty negotiations, and the general unrest caused by the U.S. presence in the Canal Zone. 

Learn more and view images from this project on our website: The Panama Canal: Riots, Treaties, Elections, and a little Military Madness, 1959­-1973

New In the Catalog

It’s American Archives Month! As we raise awareness of the value of archives and archivists, take a look at these photographs that illustrate why we need archivists.

Photograph of White House Garage, U.S. Shipping Board Bureau Records, 8/21/1935

Photographic Prints of Storage Conditions of U.S. Government Records Before Accession to the National Archives, 1935 - 1944  The photographs in this series were produced by the Archives' Division of Photographic Archives and Research and were used by the Archives' Division of Accessions to determine the existing condition of stored Government records. The majority of these photographs were taken by Harry J. Baudu of the Photographic Archives staff. These photographs show the often inadequate storage conditions for inactive records produced by Federal Government agencies: crude wooden shelving collapsed under the weight of records; placement of records on damp basement floors; poorly ventilated storage rooms for nitrate film; and piles of documents rendered inaccessible for retrieval. Some of the storage locations photographed include the White House garage, the Interstate Commerce Commission, and the Naval Torpedo Station in Alexandria, VA. Also in this series are several photographs of archives in foreign countries, including New Delhi, India; the Hague, Netherlands; Cuba; the Philippines; and Germany.

Citizen Archivist Leaderboard

Our virtual volunteers have been busy! In September, 334 Citizen Archivists contributed tags (a whopping 29,170!),  transcriptions and comments to records in the Catalog. Were you one of them?

Here are the top 20 contributors for September. Thank you for your work!

1. Smithal
2. Jstark8076
3. PhillipEverettBacon
4. gypsi
5. LooLoo
6. Annemason
7. Daniel
8. Deka43
9. Tjkrem41
10. Trumanvol

11. Lcahalan
12. Bibliophile
13. clairek
14. DonnaDP
15. Garywysocki
16. JKChung
17. VHByrne
18. Kb1213
19. Msrosebud
20. DMAC262

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