Library in the News: May 2016 Edition

The month of May saw the Library of Congress in a variety of headlines.

In April, the Library announced that THOMAS.gov, the online legislative information system, will officially retire July 5, completing the multi-year transition to Congress.gov.

David Gewirtz for ZDNet Government wrote, “You have to wonder what Thomas Jefferson would have made of the Internet, Thomas.gov, and Congress.gov. Considering how much of an innovator, man of curiosity, and scholar old TJ was, I think he’d have been very proud.”

Still making news is the Library’s exhibition on jazz singers. NPR’s Stamberg spoke with exhibit curator Larry Appelbaum. They discussed jazz icons Ella Fitzgerald, Mel Torme and Billie Holiday.

Also in the news was the Library exhibition, “World War I: American Artists View the Great War.” The Guardian spoke with curators Katharine Blood and Sara Duke.

“This was the first time in American history that art was used in war. The result was amazing,” said Duke.

Speaking of wartime, the Library’s Veterans History Project (VHP) has been working with the National Museum of Americans in Wartime Voices of Freedom project in collecting veterans’ oral histories. The Washington Post’s Jonathan Hunley spoke with Bob Patrick, director of VHP.

“So many stories of the past are told from the top down,” Patrick said, “through historians or the words of leaders. But oral histories provide a chance to preserve the tales of those who maybe aren’t so famous.”

Library experts continue to be featured in The Washington Post’s series of “Presidential” podcasts. New presentations are on Ulysses Grant and Abraham Lincoln.

In other news, the Library was featured in Travel & Leisure, which highlighted the Library’s collection of national parks images.

“In many ways, the Library of Congress and the National Park Service are alike. Both are public utilities with noble missions. Both celebrate uniquely American values. Both are really, really big. The Library of Congress is also a National Historic Landmark, which is administered by the National Park Service,” wrote Travel & Leisure staff. “Of course, there’s another, more tangible way the two federal institutions are connected: the Library of Congress is the repository of a wealth of historical photographs that help tell the early story of the parks.”

 And, from a page right out of a crime novel, the Library helped solve a mystery of a stolen letter written by Christopher Columbus. Donated to the Library in 2004, the letter written by the Italian explorer in 1493 detailed his voyage to the New World. Originally held in Florence’s Riccardiana Library, the letter was thought to have been stolen and replaced with a fake in 1950-51. Several outlets ran a story, including the Los Angeles TimesFox News and Atlas Obscura.

Rare Survivor of Pacific War

(The following story was written by Mark Hartsell, editor of the Library of Congress staff newsletter, The Gazette.) Before he boarded the ship carrying prisoners of war across the ocean to a forced-labor camp, George Washington Pearcy divided his diary and gave the pieces to two comrades staying behind. If he didn’t survive the journey, […]

New Online: Civil War and Persian Gulf Stories, National Recording Registry

(The following is a guest post by William Kellum, manager in the Library’s Web Services Division.) The Manuscript Division has added two collections to its growing list of Civil War materials now available online. The papers of army officer Philip Henry Sheridan (1831-1888) span the years 1853-1896, although the majority of the material dates from […]

New Blog Series: New Online

(The following is a guest post by William Kellum, manager in the Library’s Web Services Division.) This is the first post in a new monthly series highlighting new collections, items and presentations on the Library’s website. After checking out the items mentioned here, be sure to visit some of our other blogs that highlight our […]

Reddit AMA on VHP Jan. 4

The following is a guest post by Monica Mohindra, head of program coordination and communication for the Library’s Veterans History Project. Bob Patrick, director of the Library of Congress Veterans History Project (VHP), along with VHP staff, will answer your questions in a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) session beginning at 9 a.m. (ET) on […]

Library in the News: November 2015 Edition

Willie Nelson was the talk of the town as the Library celebrated his work and career during a concert in November, as he received the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. “When Willie took the stage to accept the Gershwin prize, you could see the pride on his face,” wrote Brendan Kownacki for Hollywood on the […]

Serving Up Food Collections

(The following story, written by Library culinary specialist Alison Kelly, is featured in the November/December 2015 issue of the Library of Congress Magazine, LCM. You can read the issue in its entirety here.) The Nation’s Library offers a veritable feat of food-related collections. Whether you’re researching what was served at the Pilgrims’ first Thanksgiving or […]

Inquiring Minds: VHP Marks 15 Years Preserving Veterans’ Stories

(The following is a story written by Mark Hartsell for the Gazette, the Library of Congress staff newsletter.) A missing Air Crew Report, author Dennis Okerstrom says, provides plenty of facts about losses in air combat: type of aircraft, names and ranks of crew members, a flight plan. Those facts can’t, however, reveal war’s human […]

Page from the Past: A Sailor’s Map Journal

(The following story, written by Center for the Book intern Maria Comé, is featured in the September/October 2015 issue of the LCM, which you can read in it’s entirety here.) Sept. 2, 1945, marked the end of World War II, following the surrender of the Japanese to the Allied forces. Seventy years later, researchers can access the […]

Inspired By a Soldier’s Story

The following was written by Matthew Camarda, one of 26 college students participating in the Knowledge Navigators program at the Library of Congress. The 10-week internship program is offered to students at the University of Virginia, Catholic University of America and the College of William & Mary. Camarda is currently a senior at the College […]