National Geographic : 1949 Oct
529 National Geographic Photographer John E.Fletcher The Pride of the Marines Guarded Freedom Train's Treasures onIts37,160-mile Journey To show Americans many priceless documents marking milestones intheir country's history, aspecial stream liner, the Freedom Train, began acountry-wide tour oftheUnited States onSeptember 17,1947. Attheconclusion of its run last January it had welcomed 3,521,841 visitors in326cities. Anaverage of641persons anhour poured through its three exhibitioncars toinspect therare cargo. Here T/Sgt. F. J. Schauf (right), who rode thetrain during most ofitstrip, checks theday's schedule with one of the specially selected27-man guard ofUnited States Marines. Historic papers exhibited ranged from aletter written byChristopher Columbus in1493, announcing hisdis covery of the New World,tothe Charter oftheUnited Nations, signed in1945. Other highlights ofthedisplay included the Mayflower Compact, Thomas Jefferson's original draft oftheDeclaration ofIndependence, George Washington's copy of the Constitution, andAbraham Lincoln's handwritten script ofhisGettysburg Address. Of the 127 documents,30 were war papers-25 ofthem about World War II.Twelve others dealt with "revolt and protest." Thesebegan with theMagna Carta (1215) and ended with theAmerican Revolution and the Treaty of Paris 568 years later. Additional millions may soon have anopportunity toseetheFreedom Train. Under terms ofabillrecently passed by Congress and signed bythePresident, theFederal Government will acquire andoperate theexhibit.