Library in the News: May 2016 Edition

The month of May saw the Library of Congress in a variety of headlines.

In April, the Library announced that THOMAS.gov, the online legislative information system, will officially retire July 5, completing the multi-year transition to Congress.gov.

David Gewirtz for ZDNet Government wrote, “You have to wonder what Thomas Jefferson would have made of the Internet, Thomas.gov, and Congress.gov. Considering how much of an innovator, man of curiosity, and scholar old TJ was, I think he’d have been very proud.”

Still making news is the Library’s exhibition on jazz singers. NPR’s Stamberg spoke with exhibit curator Larry Appelbaum. They discussed jazz icons Ella Fitzgerald, Mel Torme and Billie Holiday.

Also in the news was the Library exhibition, “World War I: American Artists View the Great War.” The Guardian spoke with curators Katharine Blood and Sara Duke.

“This was the first time in American history that art was used in war. The result was amazing,” said Duke.

Speaking of wartime, the Library’s Veterans History Project (VHP) has been working with the National Museum of Americans in Wartime Voices of Freedom project in collecting veterans’ oral histories. The Washington Post’s Jonathan Hunley spoke with Bob Patrick, director of VHP.

“So many stories of the past are told from the top down,” Patrick said, “through historians or the words of leaders. But oral histories provide a chance to preserve the tales of those who maybe aren’t so famous.”

Library experts continue to be featured in The Washington Post’s series of “Presidential” podcasts. New presentations are on Ulysses Grant and Abraham Lincoln.

In other news, the Library was featured in Travel & Leisure, which highlighted the Library’s collection of national parks images.

“In many ways, the Library of Congress and the National Park Service are alike. Both are public utilities with noble missions. Both celebrate uniquely American values. Both are really, really big. The Library of Congress is also a National Historic Landmark, which is administered by the National Park Service,” wrote Travel & Leisure staff. “Of course, there’s another, more tangible way the two federal institutions are connected: the Library of Congress is the repository of a wealth of historical photographs that help tell the early story of the parks.”

 And, from a page right out of a crime novel, the Library helped solve a mystery of a stolen letter written by Christopher Columbus. Donated to the Library in 2004, the letter written by the Italian explorer in 1493 detailed his voyage to the New World. Originally held in Florence’s Riccardiana Library, the letter was thought to have been stolen and replaced with a fake in 1950-51. Several outlets ran a story, including the Los Angeles TimesFox News and Atlas Obscura.

Happy 180th Birthday to Col. Nathan W. Daniels

(The following is written by Michelle Krowl, a historian in the Library of Congress Manuscript Division.) On May 10, 1867 Colonel Nathan W. Daniels celebrated his 31st birthday. He noted in his diary, “Learned to day that I had been recommended and nominated by Chief Justice Chase as Register under the Bankrupt Act for the […]

Congas, Sambas and Falling Plaster

I was 15 years old, sitting cross-legged next to my friend Mascha on a cork-tile floor at Mammoth Gardens, a roller-skating rink built in 1910. Plaster, occasionally, was falling from the ceiling – because the band on the stage that night was the drum-heavy Santana, which had just released its 1970 album “Abraxas.” That’s the […]

Found It!

(The following is featured in the January/February 2016 issue of the Library of Congress Magazine, LCM. You can read the issue in its entirety here.) Nearly 1.6 million people came to the Library of Congress in 2015 to conduct research in its 21 reading rooms on Capitol Hill. More than 60 million users visited the […]

Look What I Discovered: Life as a Mary Wolfskill Trust Fund Intern

Today’s post has been written by Logan Tapscott, one of 36 college students participating in the Library of Congress 2015 Junior Fellows Summer Intern Program. Tapscott is completing a modified dual degree through the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education: a master of arts degree in public history from Shippensburg University and a masters in […]

Celebrating Juneteenth

This year marks the 150th anniversary of Juneteenth, the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. On June 19, 1865, Major Gen. Gordon Granger led Union soldiers into Galveston, Texas, with news that the Civil War had ended and slavery was abolished – two years after the Emancipation Proclamation. […]

Have Exhibit, Will Travel

True or false? Visiting Washington, D.C. is the only way to enjoy the collections of the Library of Congress. False. The Library offers a rich treasure trove of its collections. Not only that, it loans items to other institutions and agencies for their exhibitions, as well as offers other institutions and cultural organizations the opportunity to […]

A Day of Mourning

This month marks the 150th anniversary of the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. The 16th president was shot by John Wilkes Booth the evening of April 14 and died nine hours later on April 15. Several days later, Lincoln’s body would begin its long train-trek home to Springfield, Ill., where he would be buried on […]

Library in the News: March 2015 Edition

Headlining Library of Congress news for March was the announcement of new selections to the National Recording Registry. Time called this year’s selections the “most American playlist ever.” “If the Smithsonian is America’s attic, the National Recording Registry is the dusty box of records that America’s parents left up there,” wrote reporter Ryan Teague Beckwith. […]

Celebrating Women’s History: America’s First Female P.I.

Walking into the Chicago office of Allan Pinkerton’s detective agency one afternoon in 1856 was a woman of medium height, “slender, graceful in her movements, and perfectly self-possessed in her manner.” Claiming to be a widow, aged 23, Kate Warne was looking for a job, and not as a secretary. One could imagine Pinkerton’s surprise […]