preservation week April 27-May 3, 2014

For Military Families

Antonio Ruiz de la Torre and familyAntonio Ruiz De La Torre Collection (AFC/2001/001/31834), Photographs, Veterans History Project, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress

This section of Preservation @YourLibrary focuses on issues military personnel, their families, and their friends encounter when they want to save, document or record their family's military experience.

In order to get a better idea of the challenges faced, we asked librarians who serve this community for information and suggestions based on their interaction with these patrons. We find that we just touched the tip of the iceberg and we hope that this effort is just the beginning of a much longer conversation.

Finally, if you have personal stories to share that illustrate the importance of keeping and preserving meaningful keepsakes for future family members, please let us know. Please share your experiences in the Preservation Week Face Book page. We would like to use examples from your stories to encourage military families to take the time to preserve these memories.

We want to thank the Veterans History Project, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress and the Society of American Archivists, Oral History Section for their generous contribution to this project.


 1918 diary from WWI

In 1969, when Shirley Carpenter returned to her house after hurricane Camille passed through, she “came back to a slab”. Everything was destroyed. So when Katrina threatened in 2005, Carpenter was prepared with a plan that would save her most treasured family heirlooms. She had already made photocopies of her father-in-law’s 1918 diary (pictured at left) from his service in France during WWI. She kept one copy and gave a copy to her children. She had recently donated the...

Military family (Lawrence C. Raftery ) from Veteran's History Project

A shoe box full of letters, a stack of photographs of men or women in uniform, a diary written in a pocketbook calendar, a yellowed paper memoir, disorganized pages of military documents, a scrapbook of military service mementos, or a hard drive full of photos and emails – these are common items that contain the memories of those who have served or continue to serve in America’s military. They represent the personal accounts of the human experience of war and contribute to...

Veteran's History Project

Every year the Veterans History Project gets thousands of submissions from veterans across the United States. The majority consist of audio or video recordings of veterans talking about their experiences in the service. However, many collections include additional material, such as war time correspondence, photographs, a diary, or a scrapbook. Donating these materials to the Library of Congress ensures that they will be available for future generations...

Society of American Archivists

Preservation activities involving tangible memories such as photographs or handwritten letters are so important to preserve one’s experience whether it’s a family photo, a hike through the Grand Canyon, or a Crossing the Line initiation in the United States Navy.

When it comes to preserving someone’s intangible personal memories, one of the most effective preservation strategies is to conduct an oral history interview. But, what is that? According to the Society of...

Diane Henderson family photo

The Preservation Week website lists useful resources that provide tips for preserving many of the types of keepsakes important to military families. 

Get started with the Quick Preservation Tips (PDF) and Quick Preservation Tips for Military Families (PDF).

Please use the navigation bar to the left to explore...