Share Your Photos of Halloween

The American Folklife Center (AFC) at the Library of Congress is inviting Americans participating in holidays at the end of October and early November – Halloween, All Souls Day, All Saints Day, Dia de los Muertos – to photograph hayrides, haunted houses, parades, trick-or-treating and other celebratory and commemorative activities to contribute to a new collection documenting contemporary folklife.

Between Oct. 22 and Nov. 5, AFC invites people to document in photographs how holiday celebrations are experienced by friends, family and community, then post photos to the photo-sharing site Flickr under a creative commons license with the tag #FolklifeHalloween2014.

AFC will explore the stream of photographs shared on Flickr and pick a selection of images to be archived. Of particular interest are images that capture the diversity of practices, people and places that are distinctive in their association with these holidays.

Selected images accessioned by the Library will be shared via the blog Folklife Today in a series of blog posts beginning in November 2014. Depending on the response to this project, AFC may continue using this method to collect documentation of other holidays and other topics.

The Library’s collections are full of documentarians and folklorists including Alan Lomax, Sidney Robertson Cowell and Dorothea Lange, whose work and contributions have inspired this project.

You can read more about this project in a recent blog post from the folklife center, which includes submission guidelines and some example photographs.

Library’s Flickr Site Celebrates the Taggable Twos

(Guest post by Michelle Springer, Library of Congress Office of Strategic Initiatives) Jan. 16 is the two-year anniversary of the launch of the Library’s account on Flickr, the photosharing website. We started with approximately 3,100 photos in our account; today 30 additional archives, libraries, and museums from the U.S., Australia, Canada, France, Great Britain, the […]

Flickr Continues its European Tour

The Library of Congress’ popular site on Flickr now features a set of lovely, century-old photochrom images of buildings and scenery from Belgium.  Even if you don’t know your Flemings from your Walloons, these 108 pictures of places like Antwerp and Blankenberghe, Liege, Ghent and Louvain will transport you to times of yore.

How Green These Valleys Were, As Well …

Take a moment out of this busy day to relax at the side of a waterfall at Fairy Glen in Bettws-y-Coed Wales or go explore the castle ruins at Aberystwith, Wales. We’ve loaded 167 new color Photocrom travel views of Wales from 1890-1900 on our Flickr photostream at www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/. The set is full of castles […]

Library of Congress Acquires Spider-Man's 'Birth Certificate'

  Comic Book Guy of “The Simpsons” has been known to have a cardiac episode or two. But an acquisition the Library of Congress just made might give his heart its “worst episode ever.” (Apologies for borrowing the pun from that particular “episode.”) “Spider-senses” all around the Library were set tingling when we learned that […]

Images of 'Hitler's Private Gallery' Now Online

There are probably few people about whom more words have been written than Adolf Hitler. But today the Library of Congress has helped add to the visual dimension surrounding one of the most reviled figures in history. You might have seen news a couple of weeks ago about a painting in Britain’s National Gallery. The […]

To Thomas: Happy Birthday. From: Your Library.

Tomorrow we’re having a party. Maybe you’ve heard.

The Library of Congress is throwing open its bronze doors to the public for the first time since 1990 to celebrate the new Library of Congress Experience, a project for which I have run out of superlatives, so I will leave the descriptions to sources of less bias. (Those doors, entering directly into the spectacular Great Hall, will now be the main entrance to the Thomas Jefferson Building from the outside.)

We are celebrating Congress’s Library—everything that Congress has done to sustain this institution for 208 years, including not just financial support, but also the decision by the Congress to make the Library of Congress the nation’s copyright repository.

But there was also a singular act of Congress dating back nearly 200 years, a matter of some controversy at the time, that would forever change the course of the Library of Congress and our collecting philosophy. That is to say, after the British used the contents of the original Library to burn the Capitol in 1814, Congress the following year purchased the 6,487-volume personal library of Thomas Jefferson, which “recommenced” the Library and helped establish the “universal” nature of our collections.

This Sunday is Jefferson’s 265th birthday, but tomorrow his original Library goes back on display in stunning fashion in the building that bears his name, one important aspect of an Experience our visitors will never forget.

The Washington Post today ran a great story (front page!) about Thomas Jefferson’s library, and our own staff newsletter, The Library of Congress Gazette, examined the story behind Thomas Jefferson’s library in even greater detail, which I have reproduced in full after the jump, led by our crackerjack editor, Gail Fineberg.

One aspect of the story I’d like to underscore because of the viral nature of the Web: The Library, in a project funded by Jerry and Gene Jones, has spent several years reconstructing Jefferson’s library, roughly two-thirds of which perished in 1851 in yet another fire. We need to replace only about 300 of the 6,487 original titles, so insofar as this can be considered a plea to the rare-book blogosphere, well, that’s on the table.

Read more »

Students, Media Get Look at Library of Congress Experience

We held a media event today to show off the new Library of Congress Experience (opening April 12!), and we were fortunate to be joined by teacher Amy Trenkle, who spoke about the power of the Library’s educational materials, and many of her students from Stuart-Hobson Middle School here in DC (thanks, Amy!), along with […]