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Use the Digital Archive to find your post’s history

Since its release in January 2012, The American Legion Digital Archive – a research tool allowing access to a host of Legion materials and publications from National Headquarters – has been adding full-text access to everything from resolutions to brochures, congressional testimony to speeches, and all the different historical versions of the national magazine, stretching back to the organization’s founding in 1919. It was recently optimized for use on smartphones and tablets.

Those looking for their post’s history for their Centennial Celebration page or other historical endeavors can use the archive to possibly find past mentions of their post by National Headquarters. Here are some tips.

1) Start at the Digital Archive’s home page, archive.legion.org. There is a Search field on the upper-left-hand side of the home page; a search from there will go through all the different digital collections.

2) It may be most helpful to do several different searches. Start with your post number in quotes – for instance, “Post 23.” This will bring up all the results that have the complete phrase “Post 23” in them. Encasing the phrase in quotation marks is vital, and the difference between getting 136 and 1,719 results.

3) Obviously, there are many posts with the number 23 throughout the Legion. Try inserting the name of your post – the town it’s located in, a namesake, etc. – alongside “Post 23” both ways: as Muddsville “Post 23” and “Muddsville Post 23.” This will catch both mentions that put the name with the posts and ones that don’t.

4) Once you’ve learned how to decipher results, try other phrases. Does your post have a signature event that may have attracted National’s attention at some point? A past national commander or celebrity who was a member of your post? Remember that quotation marks are vital to narrow the field of results.

Try these tips, and you might be surprised to find out where your post has turned up.