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Spending a Summer in D.C.

 Today’s post is by 2012 Junior Fellow Brian Horowitz of  the University of Maryland, College Park. This is Brian’s third year with us (He is continuing his work on the Library’s large collection of Army Technical and Field Manuals). You can read about his work in  Art of War…and of Sandwich Making and Stumbled upon in the Stacks– a brief biography of Brevet Major Alfred Mordecai.

Listening to the U.S. Army band play at a free concert in front of the U.S. Capitol. Photograph by Esther Bubley, June 1943, FSA/OWI collection.

Each year, the Library of Congress hosts approximately forty Junior Fellows for a ten-week summer internship. The Fellows work on projects that are aimed at helping to preserve and make materials more accessible to Congress and the American people. During the welcome ceremony, Associate Librarian Roberta Schaffer told the Junior Fellows to take advantage of the various cultural and historical activities that are offered in D.C. Taking her advice, a few of the Junior Fellows and I attended the United States Army Band concert on the U.S. Capitol west steps. Listening to John Philip Sousa’s Stars and Stripes Forever” and looking at the Washington Monument reminded me of the pride that I have as an American. It also reminded me of how honored I am to be working at the Library of Congress, an institution that is preserving America’s creativity and imagination.

In addition to our main projects, the Junior Fellows will host an exhibition to highlight our research and unique findings. My project is to create an inventory for United States’ Army Field Manuals from World War II. I have chosen for my exhibition to feature a few of the manuals that relate to Army bands. While searching for posters related to my topic in the Library’s Print and Photographs Reading Room collection, I found photographs of people attending the Army summer concerts on the Capitol’s steps from sixty-nine years ago!

Listening to the U.S. Army band play at a free concert in front of the U.S. Capitol. Photograph by Esther Bubley, 1943, FSA/OWI collection.

These Capitol concerts are a great Washington D.C. tradition, dating back to at least 1863. Not only was this event a way for me to honor the armed forces, but it was also a way for me to connect with my cultural heritage. I believe that the previous generation of Americans who attended this concert did it for the same reasons I did. Today, we are continuing this rich tradition and, who knows, maybe seventy years from now a Library of Congress Junior Fellow will find photographs of the Capitol Steps summer concert series from 2012.

If you cannot make it to D.C., you can watch the U.S. Army Band perform on the  U.S. Army Band Youtube page.

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