(The following is an article written by Rosemary Girard, intern in the Library of Congress Office of Communications, for the Library staff newsletter, The Gazette.)
After weeks of researching, curating and unearthing some of the Library of Congress’s millions of artifacts, members of the Junior Fellows Program had a chance to present their most interesting finds.
During an open-house display in the Jefferson Building last week junior fellows shared the culmination of their 10-week internship at the Library. The displays were organized by division, flowing from copyright materials to African and Middle Eastern artifacts, from sheet music to legal documents. In many ways, moving through the junior fellows showcase mirrored a tour of all the Library’s divisions, missions, and offerings.
Among the artifacts on display were examples of pulp fiction from the 1930s; a check from Marilyn Monroe to actor, director and acting teacher Lee Strasberg for $90 (1955); an audition sheet showing Al Pacino’s first audition for the Actors Studio (1961); hard copies of the Batman and Green Lantern comic book editions; and a letter written by Winston Churchill’s daughter-in-law describing the events of D-Day.
Julie Rogers, who worked in the Serials and Government Publications Division, described the importance of the pulp fiction collection she displayed.
“Many people do not realize the Library of Congress collects popular-culture items such as the pulp magazines or comic books,” she said. “These collections are essential if the Library is to preserve the true complexity of American creativity and knowledge.”
In addition to the physical artifacts on display, many junior fellows presented their work on monitors or iPads, demonstrating Library digital initiatives in action.
The event provided the opportunity to learn from the junior fellows about some of the connections and stories behind these treasured items.
Walton Chaney, for example, conducted outreach for the Veterans History Project (VHP). In his time as a junior fellow, he helped create a system through which Congressional offices can partner with the Library to make veterans visiting Capitol Hill offices aware of VHP and encourage them to share their stories.
“I have seen how liberating the experience of telling one’s story can be on a personal level, as well as enlightening to others,” Chaney said. “This idea of encapsulating the human experience of war ensures that our nation’s veterans and their efforts will never be forgotten.” At the showcase, Chaney displayed a video interview of the last remaining World War I veteran, Frank Buckles, who died in 2011.
Each year, the Junior Fellows Program allows undergraduate and graduate students to explore and increase access to the Library’s collections and resources. The 2014 program specifically focused on increasing access to the Library’s special, legal and copyright collections, making them better known and available to researchers through digital service and preservation projects.
The program is made possible through the generosity of the late Mrs. Jefferson Patterson and the Knowledge Navigators Trust Fund with additional support provided by The Pew Charitable Trusts.