The Library of Congress had two major announcements in July, featuring well-known public figures, that garnered several headlines.
Billy Joel was named the next recipient of the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song.
Joel was also featured as ABC World News Tonight “Person of the Week.”
In addition, on July 29, the Library opened to the public a collection of letters between President Warren G. Harding and his mistress, Carrie Fulton Phillips.
“Every so often, we get a poignant reminder of what has been lost now that letter-writing has been replaced by texting, emoticons or nothing at all, if you’re a politician afraid to commit anything to paper for fear it will show up on page one or be read aloud by a committee chairman on a tear,” wrote Margaret Carlson for Bloomberg. “This makes the trove of love letters written by Warren Harding, to be unsealed at the Library of Congress and published online this month, all the more appealing.”
“The roughly 900 pages illuminate an extraordinary and intimate chapter in the life of a seemingly drab president who was dogged by political scandal, died in office and had campaigned on a platform of ‘a return to normalcy,’” wrote Washington Post reporter Michael E. Ruane.
ABC News covered a panel discussion a week before the public opening that featured historians and Harding’s grandnephew discussing the letters.
Several news outlets turned their headlines to the Library itself, taking a look at its buildings and services.
“I can’t leave Capitol Hill without fulfilling a dream to get a library card at the Library of Congress,” wrote Robert Reid for National Geographic. “After a look at the Jefferson Building’s exhibits (an early U.S. map shows Connecticut as a long rectangle extending toward the Mississippi), I make a tunnel walk or two between neighboring wings and find myself with a new Library of Congress Reader Card.”
PBS Newshour ran a piece on the Library’s efforts to restore Thomas Jefferson’s library.
“Sixteen years ago, Mark Dimunation and his team set out to restore Jefferson’s collection, replacing the lost books with copies from the same publisher, date, and edition,” reported Jeffrey Brown. “Green ribbons denote books from the original library. Gold are copies that serve as replacements. The white or ghost boxes are placeholders for the 250 books still being sought.”
And, finally, local ABC affiliate WJLA captured a remarkable photograph of what appeared to be a lightning bolt striking the Library’s Jefferson Building dome. There were no reports of damage or injury from the alleged strike.