27 December 2010

NARA – Prologue and Prologue: Pieces of History

Prologue is a magazine that has been published four times a year by NARA since 1969. It has been found that this is not enough opportunity for the National Archives to share the billions of “pieces of history” it holds.

Because of that, since April there has been a blog, Prologue: Pieces of History. It caught my eye recently with a post titled “A hot dog for the King” (which I learned about from a Facebook post). This blog entry talks about the visit of King George VI, in June 1939, to Hyde Park NY where he experienced an American-style picnic. This blog entry then links to a more detailed account (and photos) of the visit on the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum site.  It was easy and fun to follow the link from the initial post to a slightly more detailed one and then another link to an even more indepth version.

As described by the National Archives …

“As the National Archives’ flagship publication, Prologue brings you the latest “discoveries” from the vast holdings of the Archives—more than 10 billion pages of records, miles and miles of tape and film, and a growing number of electronic records.

Every day, new material is uncovered by archivists and others on the NARA staff as well as by independent researchers, historians, journalists, lawyers, and other government officials—and Prologue brings you the most important of these new “discoveries.”

Prologue also keeps its readers up to date on the many educational, museum, and outreach programs of the National Archives Experience, the Foundation for the National Archives, the regional archives, affiliated archives, and Presidential libraries in 17 states around the country.”

This is a great publication.  Though it’s focus is not genealogy-specific, every edition contains discussion of a record group which is relevant to genealogy research.  The Fall edition included these articles:

“A Soldier of the Revolution”
“Census Schedule for Americans Living Overseas”
“In Freedoms Shadow” (Civil War)
“Operation Blissful” (World War II)

Select articles from each edition are available on the web-site for you to read.  You will need to subscribe to the print  ($24) or digital (see below) versions to enjoy the full contents. Addtionally, the website has an archive of the table of contents of past issues (1997 to present) and selected articles (1975 to 2010).

Because so many great articles have been published about the various records groups and document types held by NARA, just about anytime I come across a type of Federal document “new to me,” I will find one or more Prologue articles which will provide context for my research.

And, I have learned that not only does Prologue have a website presence, Facebook presence and a blog, it can also be found on Scribd and Zinio.  You will find a bit more of the content available for download on Scribd (though not the entire publication) or you can subscribe to a digitial version via Zinio (1 year for $19.99) or purchase digital copies of older issues (all issues produced in 2010 are available for $5.99).

With all of these ways to access the content of Prologue, there is no longer an excuse to miss out on this great NARA publication.

General reference links:
Prologue (print publication information and select online articles plus article archive and index)
Prologue (Facebook)
Prologue (Scribd – download select articles)
Prologue (Zinio – subscribe to digital version)

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1 comment:

  1. BTW, NARA also has a new broad search engine that searches across several NARA databases -- http://www.archives.gov/research/search/

    As stated by NARA "The Online Public Access prototype is our first step to providing a single search to our records from several of our current systems, including the Archival Research Catalog (ARC), Access to Archival Databases (AAD), Archives.gov, and the Electronic Records Archive (ERA). As part of the National Archives' flagship initiative in our Open Government Plan, our new search is intended to make the permanent records of the federal government easier to find online. We want to get your input as we continue to develop this search portal. Contact us at [email protected], and let us know what you think!"

    Anything that reduces the number of separate databases that we researchers have to search is always welcome!