Free August 29 Webinar: “Books Go to War: Armed Services Editions in World War II”

Armed Service Edition of The Great Gatsby. Rare Book and Special Collections Division

Armed Services Edition of The Great Gatsby. Rare Book and Special Collections Division

When the United States entered World War II in 1941, it opposed nations that had banned and burned books. In 1943, the Council on Books in Wartime, working with the War Department, began distributing pocket-size paperback volumes to soldiers in every theater of war. By 1947, approximately 123 million copies of some 1,300 titles in every genre had been printed and distributed as Armed Services Editions. The program rescued from obscurity such now-classic books as F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby (1925), while Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1943) became a national favorite.

These books laid the groundwork for broad popularity of mass market paperbacks in post-WWII America. Today, they are loved by collectors, and the Library of Congress’s Rare Book and Special Collections Division holds the only complete set. Join Abby Yochelson, English and American Literature reference specialist in the Library’s Humanities and Social Sciences Division, to learn more about this fascinating collection.

Victory Book Campaign. Soldiers of Fort Myer, Virginia, in Statuary Hall of the Capitol, receiving books donated by members of Congress for 1943 Victory Book Campaign

Victory Book Campaign. Soldiers of Fort Myer, Virginia, in Statuary Hall of the Capitol, receiving books donated by members of Congress for 1943 Victory Book Campaign

Date: Tuesday, August 29
Time: 12:00 noon – 1:00 pm EDT
Registration: Please use the registration form.

Web discussions are held in real time via webinar software, which allows participants from around the country and the world to join us. Confirmation and log on instructions will be sent via email. Please read the Library of Congress Comment and Posting Policy.

Technical Requirements: Participants must have access to an Internet-connected computer or device with speakers or headphones. There is also a telephone option for listening to audio.

ADA: Request ADA accommodations five days in advance at (202) 707-6362 or [email protected]. Registration for the program is also required.

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