Pic of the Week: A Tree Grows … in the Great Hall

The Library of Congress Christmas tree adorns the Great Hall in the Thomas Jefferson Building. Photo by Shawn Miller.

The Library of Congress Christmas tree adorns the Great Hall in the Thomas Jefferson Building. Photo by Shawn Miller.

Every year, the Library of Congress decorates the Great Hall with a tall tree for the holidays, replete with lights and ornaments for the enjoyment of visitors.

Zelma Cook of Tryon, N.C., recalls her first Christmas tree and holidays spent with her family and the mill workers of the village in this excerpt from American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writers’ Project, 1936-1940.

“Christmas we always had a big tree. The Company did that for us. My, but it was always a grand affair. We didn’t just gather and sing songs and then maybe get a bag of candy and an orange. We had toys and everything else. There were plays and songs as well, and after that, when we’d all been given our presents, we had hot chocolate and fancy cakes before we went home.”

“I’ll never forget how scared I was when Pa took me to the first Christmas tree there in our little church. That tree just jumped at me as I went in, it was so bright and wonderful; the most beautiful thing I had ever seen in my life.”

How do you celebrate the season? More holiday history from the Library of Congress can be found here. Merry Christmas!

Highlighting the Holidays: Home for the Holidays

(The following is a guest post by Monica Mohindra of the Veterans History Project.) “Home for the holidays”- it’s a sentiment that can cut across lines we might otherwise let divide us. For my dad, it means a longing to be with his family in India for Diwali, a multi-day festival of light that falls […]

LC in the News: October 2014 Edition

Just as the Washington Nationals were closing out a winning baseball season, the Library of Congress discovered rare footage of the Washington Senators’ 1924 World Series victory over the New York Giants. “Finding footage that has probably not been seen since its last theatrical run 90 years ago is usually a moment for celebration for […]

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Library Launches Portal For Civil Rights History Project

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Inquiring Minds: Commemorating the Federal Writers’ Project

David A. Taylor is the author of “Soul of a People: The WPA Writers’ Project Uncovers Depression America” and writer and co-producer of the Smithsonian documentary, “Soul of a People: Writing America’s Story.” On Thursday, he joins others at the Library for an event marking the 75th anniversary of “These Are Our Lives,” a collection […]

InRetrospect: March 2014 Blogging Edition

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InRetrospect: February 2014 Blogging Edition

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Remembering Pete Seeger

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Welcome to Folklife Today

Today we welcome the  newest member of the Library of Congress blogosphere: Folklife Today, a new blog produced by the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. AFC has one of the largest archives in the world relating to traditional folk culture.  The center’s team of bloggers will be posting regularly with interesting information about its […]