Library in the News: July 2015 Edition

The Library’s announcement of Willie Nelson as the next recipient of the Gershwin Prize for Popular Music dominated the headlines in July, with more than 1,000 news stories running nationally and internationally.

“His voice, seemingly worn by time and burdened by experience even in his earliest recordings, attracted new audiences to country,” reported David Morgan for CBS News. “But Nelson also served as a major innovator – expanding the genre of country itself by exploring the language of blues, jazz, folk, rock and Latin, while also sparking a new sound: ‘outlaw country.”

Blog austin360 called Nelson the “patron saint of Austin” and offered up some interested stats on his career that paved the way for many distinctions, including the Gershwin Prize.

Outlets including Rolling Stone, USA Today, Hollywood Reporter, New York Times, PBS Newshour and the Los Angeles Times, among many others, ran news of Nelson’s recognition.

A regular headline in the news has been the work being done out at the Library’s Packard Campus for Audio-Visual Conservation. In July, Wired Magazine highlighted the facility’s work in preserving nitrate film, among other things.

“Arriving at the Library through a combination of private donations and official purchases, these nitrate films represent a small fraction of its 1.4 million movie, television, and video recordings,” wrote Bryan Gardiner. “Still, they’re without a doubt some of the oldest and most important.

Speaking of headlines, a story in touted “Never-Before-Seen Pictures and Anecdotes from the Creation of ‘Little Shop of Horrors!'” – and the images were from the Library. The story by Logan Culwell featured a variety of images from the Library’s Howard Ashman Collection. Ashman was the musical’s lyricist, playwright and Broadway director.

According to the Culwell, this story was one of many to come offering “an unprecedented look behind the scenes at landmark musicals through writers’ handwritten drafts and other rarities archived within the Music Division of the Library of Congress.” also highlighted a musical story from the Library’s collections, featuring a Library blog post written about “The Sound of Music.” Through letters in the Oscar Hammerstein collection, the story (and the Library’s blog) reveal the story of Sister Gregory of Rosary College, who was instrumental in helping to create one of the most well-known and well-loved musicals of a generation.

In June, the Library opened a new exhibition on the Bay Psalm Book, which was featured in the July issue of Fine Books & Collections Magazine.

“The first thing visitors behold upon entering the exhibit space is a case containing two copies of the Bay Psalm Book (1640), the first book printed in colonial America, of which only eleven survive,” wrote Rebecca Rego Barry. “On the left sits the Library of Congress copy–worn and incomplete, but in its original binding. It is a remarkable pairing, and any bibliophile might be pleased to make the trip for it alone.”

Continuing to make news were educators participating in its Teaching With Primary Sources Summer Teacher Institutes. Regional outlets from Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Illinois, California and Washington, among others, announced local teachers who would be attending.

Library in the News: June 2015 Edition

  In June, the Library of Congress issued two major announcements that made headlines nationwide: the appointment of a new Poet Laureate and the retirement of the current Librarian of Congress. After nearly three decades of service, Librarian of Congress James H. Billington announced his retirement effective January 2016. Speaker of the House John Boehner, Democrat […]

Inquiring Minds: How a New Walt Whitman Poem was Found at the Library of Congress

(The following is a post written by Peter Armenti from the Poetry and Literature Center’s blog, From the Catbird Seat. Armenti spoke with a researcher who discovered a new Walt Whitman poem in the Library’s collections.) Walt Whitman enthusiasts were treated to a surprise last December when news broke that Wendy Katz, an associate professor […]

Library in the News: April 2015 Edition

April headlines covered a wide range of stories about the Library of Congress. The Library recently acquired a collection of rare Civil War stereographs from Robin Stanford, and 87-year-old Texas grandmother and avid collector. “The images are rich and incredibly detailed,” wrote reporter Michael Scotto for New York 1. Michael E. Ruane of The Washington Post […]

The Sinking of the Lusitania

“The hour of two had struck and most of the first cabin passengers were just finishing luncheon. Suddenly at an estimated distance of about 1,000 yards from the ship there shone against the bright sea the conning tower of a submarine torpedo boat. Almost immediately there appeared a churning streak in the water and the […]

A Day of Mourning

This month marks the 150th anniversary of the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. The 16th president was shot by John Wilkes Booth the evening of April 14 and died nine hours later on April 15. Several days later, Lincoln’s body would begin its long train-trek home to Springfield, Ill., where he would be buried on […]

Young Gun

In 1882, Sheriff Pat Garrett published his account of the apprehension and death of Billy the Kid, whom he shot and killed on July 14, 1881. “‘The Kid’ had a lurking devil in him; it was a good-humored, jovial imp, or a cruel and blood-thirsty fiend, as circumstances prompted. Circumstances favored the worser angel, and […]