US National Archives visitors know they'll find the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights in the main building's magnificent rotunda in Washington. But they won't find the patent file for the Wright Brothers' Flying Machine or the maps for the first atomic bomb missions anywhere in the Archives inventory.

Many historical items the Archives once possessed are missing, including:

- Civil War telegrams from Abraham Lincoln.
- Original signatures of Andrew Jackson.
- Presidential portraits of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
- NASA photographs from space and on the moon.
- Presidential pardons.

Some were stolen by researchers or Archives employees. Others simply disappeared without a trace.

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