On February 26, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee held a hearing to investigate White House compliance with the Presidential Records Act. At issue was the extent of missing e-mails from White House servers from 2003-2005, and whether White House officials violated the Presidential Records Act by using e-mail accounts maintained by the Republican National Committee for official White House communications.
On February 26, at White House ceremony presided over by President George W. Bush, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) launched its new Picturing America program. Picturing America is composed of forty works of art spanning several centuries–all by American painters, sculptors, photographers, and architects. The NEH will distribute large, high-quality reproductions of these images, along with a teachers resource book, lesson plans, and materials, to schools and libraries nationwide. A Picturing America website was also unveiled.
Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD) was named this week as the U.S. Senate’s representative to the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). He will be replacing Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT) on the panel.
This week, the Public Interest Declassification Board (PIDB) announced it will hold a meeting on Monday, March 17, 2008, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the National Archives and Records Administration headquarters at 700 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Jefferson Conference Room, in Washington, DC. The purpose of the meeting is to solicit public reaction to the issues and recommendations covered in the PIDB’s recent report, “Improving Declassification.”
This week, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) announced that it has made available for the first time online more than 5.2 million records of some passengers who arrived during the last half of the 19th century at the ports of Baltimore, Boston, New Orleans, New York, and Philadelphia. The records can be accessed through NARA’s online Access to Archival Databases (AAD).
On February 7, 2008, the Senate Judiciary Committee convened a hearing to discuss the length of time it was taking for the completion of the compilation and annotation of the papers of George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, James Madison, John Adams and two projects encompassing the period prior to and during the presidency of Thomas Jefferson, as well as his post-presidency. Also at issue was the limited public accessibility to the finished products, especially via the internet.
On February 8, 2007, the House Financial Services Committee held a hearing on legislation (H.R. 1746) that would require insurers to file disclosures of policyholder information from Holocaust-Era policies with the Secretary of Commerce. In addition, the bill would require the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to establish and maintain a “Holocaust Insurance Registry” storing the information gleaned by the Secretary of Commerce and to make it publicly accessible via the Internet.
On February 4, 2008, President Bush sent his final budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2009 to Congress. Here is a summary of the proposed funding levels for programs of interest to the historical and archival communities.
On January 29, 2008, President Bush issued Executive Order 13457 “Protecting American Taxpayers From Government Spending on Wasteful Earmarks.” Executive Order 13457 could have a real impact on funding for specific historical sites and programs, research and archival projects, and colleges and universities since they are often times the beneficiaries of congressional earmarks.
The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) published an interim final rule in the Federal Register on February 1, 2008, to restore the weekly evening and Saturday hours for the archival research rooms at the National Archives Building in Washington, DC, and the National Archives at College Park, MD that had been reduced in 2006.