Library in the News: July 2014 Edition

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.

Stories ran in Rolling Stone, the Dallas Morning NewsThe Washington PostThe New York Times and The Today Show.

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“Every so often, we get a poignant reminder of what has been lost now that letter-writing has been replaced by texting, emoticons or nothing at all, if you’re a politician afraid to commit anything to paper for fear it will show up on page one or be read aloud by a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.

Also running stories were Slate, the New York Times Magazine and the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

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.

President Harding’s Letters Open to the Public

(The following is an article written by Mark Hartsell for The Gazette, the Library of Congress staff newsletter.) For most of two decades, a future president carried on an affair with a family friend. For 50 years, the love letters they wrote each other – discovered in a closet, sealed by a court order and, […]

Slammin’ those Books OPEN!

This year’s Library of Congress National Book Festival is going to segue from a big day of authors for all ages to an evening of excitement – starting with a poetry slam titled “Page [Hearts] Stage” at 6 p.m. in the Poetry & Prose Pavilion. The festival will be held from 10 a.m.–10 p.m. on […]

See It Now: Our Fourth President

On June 28, 1836, President James Madison passed away at age 85 – the last of the nation’s Founding Fathers. His public service had a symmetry to it. He had served in several positions, each for eight years: first as a member of Congress, followed by the same span as Secretary of State, then finally […]

Let’s Get Pinning!

Today the Library of Congress launched its own Pinterest account, continuing efforts to make educational, historical and cultural resources available to web users across many platforms. With Pinterest, the Library can share visual content with a wide audience, allowing them to also curate their own collections featuring the same content by creating and managing “boards” […]

Rare Map on Display at Library Scored Some “Firsts”

(The following is a guest post by Wendi A. Maloney, writer-editor in the U.S. Copyright Office.) Engraver Abel Buell “came out of nowhere,” at least in terms of cartography, when he printed a United States map in 1784. “He’d never done a map before,” says Edward Redmond of the Library’s Geography and Map Division. Nonetheless, […]

InRetrospect: May 2014 Blogging Edition

Inside Adams: Science, Technology and Business Oh, Oology! Caliology and oology are the study of bird nests and eggs, respectively. In the Muse: Performing Arts Blog Best Buddies, or Just Goethe Friends? Tchaikovsky and Brahms share a birthday, among other things. In Custodia Legis: Law Librarians of Congress I Could Not Accept Your Challenge to […]

Stay Up With a Good Book, Too –

The author lineup for the 2014 Library of Congress National Book Festival is growing all the time, building excitement for the free event being held Saturday, August 30 from 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. Yes, that’s right, a 12-hour day in a new venue, with all the features […]