Along with my picture-loving colleagues, I’d like to nominate one of our favorite depictions of Minerva, Roman goddess of wisdom, as an appropriate symbol with which to mark the arrival of the new Librarian of Congress, Dr. Carla Hayden.
Mosaic of Minerva by Elihu Vedder within central arched panel leading to the Visitor’s Gallery. Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building, Washington, D.C. Photo by Carol M. Highsmith, 2007. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/highsm.02125
This mosaic of a studious Minerva greets visitors, researchers and staff in an area overlooking the Great Hall of the Thomas Jefferson Building, where Dr. Hayden was sworn in yesterday. Appropriately for a library that encompasses information in a wide variety of subjects and formats, Minerva not only represents universal knowledge, but has music, poetry, medicine, commerce and crafts within her purview.
In the mosaic, bright sunlight shines down on Minerva, aiding her perusal of a scroll, which lists the various fields of knowledge. That, too, offers an appropriate symbol–a bright future ahead for the Library of Congress as it continues to preserve and share information in all its forms.
After two years, the U.S. Capitol, or more specifically, its dome, is finally emerging from a scaffolding cocoon. The photo at right, taken in March 2016, captures the partially revealed dome of the Library of Congress’ neighbor across the street. The restoration work started in spring 2014 included new paint, and repairing and replacing damaged, […]
The Great Hall in the Library of Congress Jefferson Building echoes with the hubbub of enthusiastic visitors absorbing the ornate details of its salute to knowledge and creativity. Much as I relish those sights and sounds, on a recent afternoon, I enjoyed dipping into a room just off the Great Hall to contemplate a small, […]
Among the hardest questions we receive is “Where in the world are the architectural drawings for [fill in the site]?” or “Where are the drawings by architect [fill in the name]?” Although we can establish whether we hold the needed drawings in our collections, discerning the location of drawings not in our holdings has always […]
The sight of a single car on the road in traffic-heavy Washington, D.C. was enough to catch my eye, but this photo was intriguing for other reasons as well. The car is front and center, but clearly the U.S. Capitol rising prominently behind it is key to the composition. And the photographer seems to be […]
While reading Erik Larson’s The Devil in the White City about events in 1890s Chicago during the World’s Columbian Exposition, I became intrigued by the glimpses Larson provided of architect Richard Morris Hunt, one of the contributors to the exposition’s monumental design. Richard Morris Hunt has become something of a household name around the Prints […]
The following is a guest post by Gay Colyer, Digital Library Specialist, Prints & Photographs Division. We need your help to identify 68 photos of historic structures. They’re posted in a Flickr album called “Mystery Houses,” so that it’s easy to add your notes.* The photographer, Frances Benjamin Johnston, did leave a basic clue for […]
Reference specialist Marilyn Ibach caught sight of this photo in the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) documentation for the Cape Saint George Lighthouse, Cape St. George, Apalachicola, Franklin County, Florida. Marilyn remarked: This 1852 lighthouse caught my eye because it’s at such an angle! (275 degrees off north). This November 1998 photo shows the lighthouse […]
Reference specialist Jan Grenci pointed out this photo, which Farm Security Administration photographer Carl Mydans took in February 1936. Although February is not a month when people in the mid-Atlantic region generally get to enjoy their porches (as we can testify), Jan noted Carl Mydans’ keen eye for a photographic opportunity: I like the way […]
You may recall that last President’s Day, members of the public enjoyed a rare treat—and recorded it with their cameras. Twice each year, the Library of Congress offers a public open house in the Main Reading Room of the Thomas Jefferson Building in Washington, D.C. The space is not normally open to photographers, but cameras […]