Library in the News: December 2014 Edition

Every year, the Library of Congress announces the addition of 25 films to the National Film Registry, and we are always excited about the enthusiasm for the selected films and the opportunity to spread the word about our preservation efforts.

The Washington Post reached out to some of the filmmakers for their thoughts on their work being added to the registry.

Mark Jonathan (“Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport” [2001]): “The Academy Awards, as everyone knows, are a snapshot of one year. This film’s selection by the National Film Registry means that the movie has had a long life and will continue to going forward.”

In its “Reading the Times With” column, the New York Times featured actress Laura Dern, who said she was “ecstatic” about this year’s list of films.

National outlets running stories included Variety, Los Angeles Times, CBS News, Rolling Stone, The Guardian, CNN, Reuters and PBS Newshour, which featured clips of the films.

Regional outlets in Ohio, Oregon, Michigan, Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, Florida, Canada, Italy and Germany, among others also highlighted the registry.

Speaking of film preservation, the Library’s Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation continues to make headlines.

Martha Teichner of CBS Sunday Morning visited the campus.

“The vaults look like they’re straight out of some sinister, surreal movie,” she said. “Monsters lurk behind these locked doors — like the original camera negative of ‘Frankenstein,’ from 1931, starring Boris Karloff — and treasures.”

During her visit, she was shown a copy of a “CBS Evening News With Walter Cronkite” broadcast from Nov. 8, 1977, which featured her very first story for the network.

“It was, like, nine days after my first day of work,” she said.

In addition to the moving image collections, a large photographic archive – more than 13.7 million – also resides at the Library.

James Estrin of the New York Times Lens Blog spoke with the Library’s Beverly Brannan about photographer Dorothea Lange, whose photographs are part of the Library’s collections.

“She was a humanist,” Brannan said. “She could look at a person’s face and know a lot about that person, and her photos capture something very accurate and meaningful of that person.”

Brannan said that after 40 years at the Library, she is still discovering new things about Lange.

ABC News featured a series of photographs of bulldogs dressed in human attire, taken by an unknown photographer.

The Library welcomes more than 1.5 million visitors each year. Brandon Wetherbee and Jonny Grave of BrightestYoungThings took a whirlwind tour of the institution and wrote a photo essay about their experience.

“We’re inside a building re-built from the shreds of what survived the Burning of Washington two centuries ago,” Grave wrote. “Along with the card catalog cabinets, this building holds the Magna Carta, a Gutenberg bible, George Gershwin’s piano, the only portrait Beethoven ever sat for, and a copy of almost every book ever printed. And I’m shooting as fast as I possibly can.

“What I find most striking about the Library of Congress is not how much they have behind their doors, but how it is all available to the public,” he added. “The Library of Congress is not just an archive, or a compendium of knowledge. All of the knowledge within the very brick and mortar of the building (or archived away in Culpepper, one of the Library’s satellite locations) is meant to be disseminated to the public, for free.”

Also paying us a visit was who wrote about the Library’s baseball collections.

“The nation’s greatest storehouse of knowledge has developed a healthy baseball habit,” wrote Spencer Fordin. “The Library of Congress has traced the history and maturation of America for more than 200 years, and baseball has weaved its way into the national consciousness in surprising ways.”

Leading the way for the Library’s initiatives and innovations is Librarian of Congress James H. Billington.

“The 85-year-old scholar has been one of the country’s most aggressive advocates, moving the resources of the library online and expanding its educational outreach through 21st century technology,” wrote Maria Recio for McClatchy News Service. “Billington is, quite simply, a keeper of American culture, not just the keeper of books. He is charged with preserving the past while also expanding the library’s reach by keeping it tune with the moment – in music, in film, in various forms of human literary and artistic expression.”

Sensationalism! Yellow Journalism! More, More, More!

It’s the day after Christmas, ho-ho-ho-hum. The presents are already open, your elbows are getting rubbed a little raw with all these relatives around, and you’re sick of holiday cookies and candy and fruitcake. It’s all too tempting to jump on the old cellphone and see what snarky things are being said on social media, […]

Library in the News: November 2014 Edition

The Library of Congress featured prominently in November news with the opening of a special exhibition and the celebration of a special individual. On Nov. 6, “Magna Carta: Muse and Mentor” opened with much fanfare, featuring the 1215 Magna Carta, on loan from Lincoln Cathedral in England and one of only four surviving copies issued […]

A Prize for the Piano Man

Last Wednesday, the Library of Congress celebrated the music and career of singer-songwriter Billy Joel, awarding him the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. A star-studded cast walked a packed house at the DAR Constitution Hall through Joel’s own songbook during a tribute concert. I myself had the honor and privilege to also take the stage as a […]

David Seymour (CHIM), Photographer of the Spanish Civil War

The following is a guest post by Beverly Brannan, Curator of Photography, Prints and Photographs Division, and first appeared on the Library’s “Picture This” blog. Photographer David Seymour (CHIM), with three Leica cameras around his neck. Photographer unknown, ca. 1950. When I read For Whom the Bell Tolls in my junior year of high […]

Veterans History Project in the News

As has been the case every year since its inception, the Veterans History Project receives an increased amount of media coverage during the Veterans Day season, both prior to and after the holiday. This year’s coverage included a segment on Washington’s NBC affiliate, NBC4, which aired on Nov. 8. The segment featured VHP Director Bob […]

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 […]

Library in the News: September 2014 Edition

On Sept. 10, the Library opened the exhibition “The Civil Rights Act of 1964: A Long Struggle for Freedom.” Covering the opening were outlets including the National Newspapers Publishing Association, the Examiner and regional outlets from New York to Alabama. “A few things set this exhibition apart from the multitude of this year’s commemorations,” wrote […]

Library in the News: August 2014 Edition

In August, the Library of Congress was busy with exhibitions and expositions, opening “American Ballet Theatre: Touring the Globe for 75 Years” on Aug. 14 and hosting the 14th annual National Book Festival on Aug. 30. “At the company’s heart was ballet theater, a physical way of creating a new world onstage,” wrote Sarah Kaufman […]

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 News, The Washington Post, The New York Times and The Today Show. Joel was also featured as […]