Strictly Business

With all the various reading rooms available at the Library, did you know there is one with a reference alcove dedicated to business? The 5th floor of the John Adams Building on Capitol Hill, home to the Science & Business Reading Room, has a staff of business reference specialists to assist with your business-related questions […]

But Wait … There's More!

This year’s Library of Congress National Book Festival already promises the biggest lineup of literary stars this side of the Crab Nebula. Book-lovers can look forward, on Saturday, Sept. 26, to hearing from David Baldacci, John Grisham, John Irving, Julia Alvarez, Judy Blume, Ken Burns, Gwen Ifill and Jodi Picoult–not to mention celebrity chef Paula […]

Merce Cunningham, Dance Great, Dies at 90

What is dance? Is it storytelling, using human forms to advance the storyline? Is it movement with music? Is it movement alone? Merce Cunningham, a giant of modern dance, asked these questions and answered them–affirmatively in each case–over seven decades.  He died, at age 90, on Sunday in Manhattan.  From his introduction to the avant-garde composer […]

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 […]

Herblog

From time to time, we ask ourselves: Where is the outrage? Well, for an amazing 72 years, it was on editorial pages, especially that of the Washington Post–in political commentary by the influential cartoonist Herblock (Herb Block), who made presidents and other public figures, from Herbert Hoover to George W. Bush, ink-stained and wretched. The Library […]

'Authorama' on the National Mall

The authors’ lineup for the National Book Festival on Saturday, Sept. 26 went public today–what star-power! Bestselling authors David Baldacci, John Grisham, John Irving, Julia Alvarez, Judy Blume, Ken Burns, Gwen Ifill, and Jodi Picoult–as well as celebrity chef Paula Deen–will be among scores of authors and illustrators presenting at the festival, organized and sponsored […]

Library Helped Finger Another 'Would-Be Assassin' Named Booth

Letter from Junius Brutus Booth to Andrew JacksonYou know how some of the best jobs are the ones where you learn something new every day? I definitely have one of those.

I was watching a new episode of History Detectives last night on PBS (one of the few shows to which I am hopelessly addicted). Tukufu Zuberi did a segment about a letter purportedly written by the father of John Wilkes Booth to President Andrew Jackson threatening to assassinate Old Hickory.

The piece turned up some interesting tidbits supporting the notion that at least thoughts of assassination ran in the Booth family, such as what appears to be a contemporaneous apology for the letter from Booth the elder to Jackson in a Philadelphia newspaper.

The Library of Congress in the past had done some pretty exhaustive work of which I was unaware that signals our letter’s authenticity. Quoting Barbara Bair of the Library’s Manuscript Division:

[A]ccording to research by an LC conservator who specializes in manuscripts [Mary Elizabeth (Betsy) Haude], and who has examined the letter, the paper used in the Junius Booth to Andrew Jackson letter of July 4, 1835, as evidenced by the watermarks (dove, and A KELTY), was that of the paper maker Anthony Kelty. He operated a paper mill from 1830-1840 on Buck Run, near Coatesville in East Fallowfield Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania. [The letter was dated July 4, 1835, and addressed from Philadelphia.]

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