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.

Ben E. King of “Stand By Me” fame (which was one of the selections this year) told CBS News that having his song included in the registry “is one of the greatest moments of my life.”

Voice of America spoke with Christopher Cerf, co-producer and composer of some of the songs on “Sesame Street: Platinum All-Time Favorites,” which made the registry this year.

He said it was an honor and that he felt “incredibly lucky” to be a included in the registry.

Other outlets running the story included USA Today, Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, Variety, NPR, BBC, LA Times, Associated Press (print and broadcast), The Washington Post, PBS NewsHour, ABC News, BET and a variety of local news outlets across the country.

Also receiving praise for her work was author Louise Erdich, who was awarded the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction.

Erdrich told Alexandra Alter of the New York Times Artsbeat blog that receiving such awards feels like “an out of body experience.”

“It seems that these awards are given to a writer entirely different from the person I am — ordinary and firmly fixed,” she said. “Given the life I lead, it is surprising these books got written. Maybe I owe it all to my first job — hoeing sugar beets. I stare at lines of words all day and chop out the ones that suck life from the rest of the sentence. Eventually all those rows add up.”

“In addition to the Library of Congress, I have my parents Rita and Ralph, in whom my grandparents’ spirits are still vital, to thank for this recognition,” Erdrich told Fine Books & Collections Magazine.

In other news, the Library opened a new exhibitions in March: “Pointing Their Pens: Herblock and Fellow Cartoonists Confront the Issues.”

Running an announcement was The New York Times.

Also garnering attention was the Library’s exhibit on theatrical design, which opened in February.

“In the performing arts, stage design often goes overlooked while the audience is captivated by the completely immersive experience of actors, scene, music, and costumes. The current Library of Congress exhibition ‘Grand Illusion: The Art of Theatrical Design’ showcases this essential craft,” wrote Allison Meier for hyperallergic.com.

Speaking of Library exhibits, President Barack Obama and his daughters stopped by the Library in March for a special viewing of Lincoln’s second inaugural address, which was on view for four days early in the month. The Washington Post covered the visit.

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 […]

Library in the News: February 2015 Edition

The Library’s big headline for February was the opening of the Rosa Park Collection to researchers on Feb. 4, which was also the birthday of the civil-rights icon. “A cache of Parks’s papers set to be unveiled Tuesday at the Library of Congress portrays a battle-tested activist who had been steeped in the struggle against […]

Here Comes the Sun: Seeing Omens in the Weather at Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inauguration

(The following is a guest post by Michelle Krowl, Civil War and Reconstruction Specialist in the Manuscript Division. To commemorate the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address, for a limited time [March 4-7, 2015] the Library of Congress will display both the four-page manuscript copy and the reading copy of the address in the Great Hall […]

Out of the Ashes

(The following is an article written by Guy Lamolinara, communications officer for the Center for the Book, featured in the September-October 2012 issue of the Library of Congress Magazine. Aug. 24 was the 200th anniversary of the burning of the Capitol building and the Library.) The story of the phoenix that rises triumphantly from its […]

Abraham Lincoln’s “Blind Memorandum”

(The following is a guest post by Michelle Krowl, a historian in the Library of Congress Manuscript Division.) Could George B. McClellan have become the seventeenth President of the United States? It certainly appeared to be a possibility as Abraham Lincoln assessed the military and political landscape of the United States in the summer of […]

Pic of the Week: Put a Stamp On It

Distinguished architectural photographer Carol M. Highsmith began donating her work to the Prints and Photographs Division at the Library of Congress in 1992. She has photographed landmark buildings and architecture in Washington, D.C. — including the Library of Congress and many monuments — and throughout the United States. Starting in 2002, Highsmith provided scans or photographs she shot […]

Highlighting the Holidays: A Special Telegram

On Dec. 22, 1864, William T. Sherman sent President Abraham Lincoln a telegram that included a pretty monumental “gift,” according to the Civil War general. “I beg to present you as a Christmas gift the City of Savannah with 150 heavy guns & plenty of ammunition & also about 25.000 bales of cotton. W. T. […]

Inquiring Minds: Commemorating the Gettysburg Address with Author Jonathan Hennessey

A 10-year veteran of the film and television production industry, Jonathan Hennessey is a Los Angeles-based writer. Hennessey is the author of “The United States Constitution: A Graphic Adaptation,” on which he collaborated with illustrator Aaron McConnell. In their newest work, “The Gettysburg Address: A Graphic Adaptation,” the duo commemorate the 150th anniversary of this […]

Recite the Gettysburg Address

On Nov. 19, 1862 1863, Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address at the dedication of the cemetery at the Civil War battlefield. One of the most famous speeches in American history, the speech is recognized as a literary masterpiece. In three short paragraphs—some 270 words—Lincoln proclaimed the principles upon which the nation was founded, honored […]