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.
As summer gets into full swing, I’m recalling how much I enjoyed my public library’s summer reading club challenges when my children were younger (shout-out to all the public libraries that run summer reading clubs for children and adults!). One thing I loved about the challenge was the “randomizer” techniques library staff designed to inspire […]
The following is a guest post by Katherine Blood, Curator of Fine Prints, who co-curated the exhibition with Sara Duke, Curator of Popular and Applied Graphic Arts: When exhorted by Charles Dana Gibson to “draw ‘til it hurts!” hundreds of his fellow artists contributed over 1,400 designs, including some 700 posters, to promote the country’s […]
The following is a guest post by Martha H. Kennedy, Curator of Popular & Applied Graphic Arts, Prints and Photographs Division. Travel by train, or what some called the “Iron horse,” dominated other forms of transport in America for nearly fifty years. During this “golden age” of railroads that began in 1865, public fascination with […]
The January 1848 chance discovery of gold in northern California rapidly altered the course of America. On this day, August 19, in 1848, word finally reached the East Coast, when the New York Herald published a report of the discovery. By 1849, the rush was on in earnest, leading to the well-known term for gold […]
Coffin that passes through lanes and streets, Through day and night with the great cloud darkening the land, With the pomp of the inloop’d flags with the cities draped in black, . . . . With all the mournful voices of the dirges pour’d around the coffin, The dim-lit churches and the shuddering organs–where amid […]
In the U.S., editorial cartoonists come in all stripes of the multi-hued American political spectrum. So, it’s not surprising that the points of view expressed in their visual commentary are as varied as their cartooning styles. A recently-opened Library of Congress exhibition, Pointing Their Pens: Herblock and Fellow Cartoonists Confront the Issues, as described in its Overview “offers viewers an […]
The following is a guest post by art historian Diane De Grazia, retired chief curator at the Cleveland Museum of Art and author of such publications as Master Drawings from the Cleveland Museum of Art (2000). An accomplished scholar, Dr. De Grazia served previously as deputy director for the Indianapolis Museum of Art and a […]
The following is a guest post by Martha Kennedy, Curator of Popular and Applied Graphic Arts, Prints and Photographs Division. One of the great innovators in the world of comic art, Will Eisner forged a legendary, multi-faceted career that spanned the birth of the comic book through the rise of the graphic novel. The Library […]
I beg to present you a Christmas Gift, the City of Savannah . . . — General Sherman to President Lincoln, telegram, December 22, 1864 One hundred fifty years ago in December 1864, General William T. Sherman and his troops completed their “March to […]