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 […]
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 […]
Interactivity with one’s television or computer is normal, today. But there was a time–in a day when talking back to the tube would mark you as a bit odd–when families in the United States gathered to interact with their television receivers in a big way: They sang along with Mitch. Between 1961 and 1965, many […]
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 […]
To paraphrase the old Elvis Presley album, 200 million Facebook fans can’t be wrong. If you’re reading this, chances are that you might be among them. So now you can show your de facto national library a little love the easy way—by becoming a fan of our new official Facebook page! We’ve started with a […]
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 […]
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.]
It’s sometimes said that if you want a really steady income, become an undertaker. There’s no doubt right now that times are tough all over. The news media is among the industries that have been hit especially hard–in this case, by factors including changing technology and news-consumption habits, but also by lower ad revenues from […]
The Library of Congress acquires some 10,000 items a day for its collections. But many of our finest acquisitions are not bound between leather covers or captured on a reel of celluloid: They are the people who make our collections come alive, who unearth meaning and inspiration among our 653 miles of stacks. One such […]
This week’s Newsweek has a lengthy profile of our Poet Laureate, Kay Ryan. It’s a fascinating read, and I’d commend it to your attention. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Kay a few times and talking with her several more times, and I think the article does a wonderful job of capturing her personality, her […]