History Quirks

Fun facts, interesting stories, unique relics of the past. You’ll find all that and more in this section devoted to the stranger items that have ended up in the Archives holdings over the years. Bookmark us to find all the content you may have missed from past weeks – or the content you want to see again!

Want to stay up to date with all things American Experience? Join our newsletter today!

High School Sweethearts

Who doesn’t love a good presidential love story? President Harry Truman and First Lady Bess Wallace Truman went to high school together, and we have the class of 1901 graduation program book to prove it!

President Truman recalled falling in love with Bess when they were children in Sunday school, remembering years later, “She was all that a girl could be possibly and impossibly.” But it would take young Bess many more years to come around to the idea. In fact, Bess didn’t exactly show President Truman the love in high school, where he recalls her letting him walk home from school with her on rare occasions, remembering, “I was lucky if I got to carry her books home for her sometimes.” But after a courtship lasting nearly nine years, President Truman and Bess Wallace were married on June 28, 1919.


Uncle Sam Says Write to Mom

During World War I, the Secretary of War issued a command for all officers and soldiers. It was a history-making telegram ordering not battle plans for the war, but rather, that each soldier write a letter home to his mom for Mother’s Day.

By the date of this communication, May 6, 1919, those moms had been waiting almost six months for their children to come home. Although the Armistice was announced in November 1918, it took over a year to transport the millions of American troops stationed overseas back to the United States.

No Crying in Baseball

We’ve all dipped our toes into the beloved world of Dottie Hinson, Kit Keller and the Rockford Peaches. The 1992 classic “A League of Their Own” captivated Americans with the adventures of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League.

While the drama between the two sisters is fictional, the women of the AAGPBL who trailblazed their way to the big leagues during World War II were very real.

Check out this 1951 Universal News story that closely resembles a scene in the movie that shows the fictionalized players performing for a newsreel camera.

Craving more history-inspired films featuring the father of America? For today and today only, we mean Tom Hanks, not George Washington. The true American classics, Saving Private Ryan and Apollo 13 were inspired by history within the National Archives.

Choose your Quarantine House: White House Edition

If you were quarantined in any of these White Houses, which furry, feathery or scaly friends would you choose? We let you vote and will announce the winning house soon!

Prez Pet Baseball Cards

The members of George W. Bush’s administration had a lot of fun with their presidential pets––even making each one their very own baseball card. India or “Willie” Bush the cat loves tuna-flavored treats and the book, If You Take a Mouse to the Movies. Are your pets positively presidential? Send us their baseball cards on social media tagging @archivesfdn and using the hashtag #ArchivesAtHome.

Check out these presidential baseball cards below!

India “Willie” Bush Miss Beazley Bush

Jokes On Us

To celebrate April Fools’ Day, we dug up some classics from our nation’s most powerful leaders. These pranks are guaranteed to go down in history as the most presidential. If you like what you see, stay tuned for more of our SLICE video series, as we serve you a slice of the Archives.

Go Back