The following is a guest post from Senior Music Cataloger Sharon McKinley.
Yesterday marked the 34th anniversary of Elvis Presley’s death (1935-1977). If he were still alive today, he would be 76 years old – it’s hard to imagine how he’d look in rhinestones at that age, but no matter; he’s forever young in our hearts and on the Music Division shelves.
Over the years, I’ve cataloged a lot of Elvis items. For a while, I had the reputation of being the resident “Elvis maven,” and I am the proud owner of an Elvis Presley Blvd. street sign someone gave me for fun. A lot of books have been written about the pioneering rock star, some serious, some fun, and some just plain hokey! The existence of the subject headings Presley, Elvis, 1935-1977—Sightings, as well as Elvis Presley impersonators, suggests that there’s a good market out there for Elvis material. My all-time favorite, The Presley report : Elvis A. Presley / [Presley Commission], proved conclusively, in grainy photos, that Elvis signed his own death certificate, and therefore, must still be alive!
Books on The King continue to appear regularly, right up to a forthcoming scholarly tome on Elvis and his cultural legacy. Kids’ books, cookbooks, poetry, fiction, how-to books for impersonators…we have it all! Here’s a tiny sampling:
Images of Elvis Presley in American culture, 1977-1997 : the mystery terrain, by George Plasketes.
Elvis A. Presley : muziek, mens, mythe, by Marc Hendrickx
Elvis for dummies, by Susan Doll
Be Elvis! : a guide to impersonating the King, by Rick Marino with Adam Woog (subject headings: Elvis Presley impersonators–Vocational guidance and – Handbooks, manuals, etc.)
Ten little Elvi, by Laura J. Henson and Duffy Grooms; illustrations by Dean Gorissen
And of course we have his music: he’s listed as a performer on over 300 sound recordings. It may come a surprise (it did to me) to learn that he wrote some of his own songs: Elvis is credited, along with Vera Matson, on the music for the 20th-Century Fox motion picture Love Me Tender.
Sound recordings held by the Motion Picture, Broadcasting, and Recorded Sound Division include Ghost of Elvis LCCN 94745808; and “I have gone away“: (message from Elvis #6), LCCN 93851328, both of which feature my favorite Elvis subject heading: Presley, Elvis, 1935-1977 (Spirit) — Songs and music. Spirit, indeed.
And of course, Elvis appears all over the Library’s web site. The Prints & Photographs catalog displays many photographs of the legend, from close-ups that capture his emotion, to live performance shots, to the King decked out in his Jailhouse Rock threads!
You may not think that we’d have any maps related to Elvis, but you’d be wrong! The Library holds a photograph of a map of the Elvis A. Presley Estate and vicinity.
And there’s even an entry in the Library’s Thomas page, which offers “In the spirit of Thomas Jefferson, legislative information from the Library of Congress”: 102nd Congress, House Resolution 461, which designated January 8, 1993, as “Elvis Presley Day“.
As always, the Library of Congress has much to offer. So, check it out for yourself and you too can amaze and amuse by becoming an Elvis maven!