The “America Reads” exhibition opened on June 16. Photo by Shawn Miller.
“America Reads,” which opened yesterday in the Southwest Gallery of the Jefferson Building, is possibly the first sequel exhibition at the Library of Congress. It follows the institution’s popular 2012 exhibition “Books That Shaped America,” which displayed 88 books by American authors “that had a profound effect on American life.”
For this exhibition, the books were chosen differently — the 65 volumes were selected by the public, as a result of a survey on the Library’s website while the 2012 exhibition was on display. Of the 65 books in “America Reads,” 40 are the public’s top choices. An additional 25 titles were chosen by the public from the “Books That Shaped America” list.
At the top of the top 40 is Ayn Rand’s “The Fountainhead,” a book that has as many fans as it does detractors. “Roots,” Alex Haley’s novel that sparked legions to become part-time genealogists, was the sixth choice. John Steinbeck, Arthur Miller, Ernest Hemingway, Milton Friedman and Rand occupy 10 of the 40 titles, with each having two books on the list.
The exhibition features some of the rarest and most interesting editions in the Library’s collections, including an 1855 edition of “Leaves of Grass” by Walt Whitman, an 1899 edition of “The Awakening” by Kate Chopin, an 1851 edition of “Moby-Dick” by Herman Melville, and an 1830 edition of “The Book of Mormon: An Account Written by the Hand of Mormon, Upon Plates Taken form the Plates of Nephi” by Joseph Smith Jr.
“The fact that the vast majority of the books are works of fiction speaks to the power of the imagination—both of the authors who create these stories and to the members of the public who open their minds to these new stories,” said Guy Lamolinara, co-director of the Library’s National Book Festival.
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 […]
(The following is a guest post by William Kellum, manager in the Library’s Web Services Division.) Educational Outreach This month, we’re very happy to have a new release in the excellent series of Student Discovery Sets produced by the Library’s Education Outreach team. Designed for classroom use on Apple’s iPad platform, Student Discovery sets “bring […]
On Saturday, the Library of Congress opened the new exhibition, “World War I: American Artists View the Great War,” highlighting how American artists galvanized public interest in World War I. Drawn from the Library’s Prints and Photographs Collections, the works on display reflect the focus of wartime art on patriotic and propaganda messages—by government-supported as well as independent […]
(The following is an article from the March/April 2016 issue of the Library of Congress Magazine, LCM. You can read the issue in its entirety here.) Music Division Curator Larry Appelbaum highlights items from the Library’s exhibition “Jazz Singers.” BILLIE HOLIDAY No matter how many times I’ve seen this iconic portrait of Ms. Holiday by […]
An exhibition showing how American artists galvanized public interest in World War I will open Saturday, May 7 at the Library of Congress. “World War I: American Artists View the Great War” opens in the Graphic Arts Galleries featuring 25 fine prints, drawings, cartoons, posters and photographs drawn from the Library’s Prints and Photographs Division. An additional 70 photographs will […]
(The following story, written by Mark Hartsell, is featured in the Library of Congress staff newsletter, The Gazette.) Half the world, journalist Jacob Riis once said, doesn’t know how the other half lives, and it doesn’t know because it doesn’t care. Riis, a social reformer, author and newspaper reporter, used his work to make society […]
This week marks the beginning of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, an annual event held in Washington, D.C. to commemorate the gift of some 3,000 Yoshino cherry trees given to the city in 1912 as a symbol of friendship between Japan and the United States. The grounds of the Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building are home […]
In February, the Library added a host of resources to its offerings, both onsite and online. Early February, the Library debuted a new exhibition on “Jazz Singers,” which offers perspectives on the art of vocal jazz, featuring singers and song stylists from the 1920s to the present. The ArtsBeat blog of the New York Times called […]
(The following is a guest post by William Kellum, manager in the Library’s Web Services Division.) In February, the Library of Congress added the Rosa Parks Papers to its digitized collections. The collection contains approximately 7,500 manuscripts and 2,500 photographs and is on loan to the Library for 10 years from the Howard G. Buffett […]