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!

Pic of the Week: Princess Anne Opens Magna Carta Exhibition

Last Thursday, the Library of Congress opened a new exhibition, “Magna Carta: Muse and Mentor,” which marks two special occasions: Magna Carta’s 800th anniversary and the return of the Lincoln Magna Carta to the Library after 75 years, where it was sent for safekeeping during World War II. Guest of honor for the festivities, which also included […]

Pic of the Week: Dr. Funkenstein

                          In 1994, I had the pleasure of meeting funk singer-songwriter George Clinton while attending the Lollapalooza music festival in New Orleans. Clinton and his P-Funk All Stars were main-stage performers that year. A friend of mine and myself were able to get […]

Pic of the Week: A Tree for CRS

The Congressional Research Service celebrates its centennial this year. To mark the occasion, a commemorative tree was planted on the grounds of the Thomas Jefferson Building. The 10-foot Japanese maple serves as a living memorial to the men and women who have served in the  legislative branch agency within the Library of Congress. A plaque at […]

Pics of the Week: 2014 National Book Festival

Now in its 14th year, the Library of Congress National Book Festival welcomed book lovers to the Walter E. Washington Convention Center — a new venue for this year — on Saturday. More than 100 authors, poets and illustrators were featured throughout the day and evening, packing crowds into pavilions such as History & Biography, […]

Pic of the Week: En Pointe

Last week, the Library of Congress opened the exhibition “American Ballet Theatre: Touring the Globe for 75 Years,” which highlights the dance company’s distinguished history and its collection here at the Library. Shortly after the opening, ABT alum Sue Knapp-Steen (1969-1974) stopped by to view the exhibition and reminisce on her time as a professional dancer […]

Pics of the Week: Behind the Music

Last week, the Library hosted the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) Foundation for its annual “We Write the Songs” concert, featuring the songwriters performing and telling the stories behind their own music. Carly Simon, Randy Newman and Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart joined others in performing some of their most popular tunes. “We used […]

Pics of the Week: Celebrating Women’s History

The Library of Congress is an incomparable resource for research into women’s history and studies, which is especially appropriate in March, Women’s History Month. This year’s theme is “Celebrating Women of Character, Courage and Commitment.” Spanning all time periods, classes, races and occupations, the Library’s women’s history resources are among the finest and most comprehensive […]