David Breger, a successful freelance cartoonist, drafted into the Army in 1941, created the "Private Breger" cartoon during his off-duty hours at Camp Livingston. Once it caught on, the name (but little else) was changed to "G.I. Joe." From there, it became a cultural icon.
The Library's concert producer Michele Glymph helps bring music to the masses, producing concerts by some of the biggest names in popular music: Stevie Wonder, Dolly Parton, Paul McCartney, Garth Brooks, Willie Nelson, Shirley Caesar, Billy Joel and Gloria and Emilio Estefan.
U.S. politician and diplomat Joel R. Poinsett was also an amateur botanist. In 1828, he brought back a bright red plant from a posting in Mexico, grew it in his South Carolina greenhouses and was so identified with its popularity that it was soon named after him -- the poinsettia, the ever-popular holiday decoration.
Judy Garland insisted that the original gloomy lyrics of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" be rewritten to a warm, wistful tone in what is now a holiday standard. Garland debuted the song in the 1944 musical, "Meet Me in St. Louis."
"A Christmas Memory," Truman Capote's bittersweet short story about his small-town Alabama childhood with his eccentric elderly cousin, has been one of the nation's most beloved tales in the holiday canon since it was first published in 1956. The Library has Capote's handwritten draft of the story, which reveals much about the young Capote.
The National Film Registry's 2021 class is the most diverse in the program's 33-year history, including blockbusters such as "Return of the Jedi," "Selena" and "Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring," but also the '70s midnight-movie favorite "Pink Flamingos" and a 1926 film featuring Black pilots in the daring new world of aviation, "The Flying Ace." The Library interviewed a dozen key players about their role in inducted films, including Mark Hamill, Edward James Olmos, John Waters, and documentary filmmakers Cheryl Dunye and Sylvia Morales.
As college football bowl games give way to the NFL playoffs this time of year, the specter of Red Grange — the Galloping Ghost — who starred for the University of Illinois in the mid-1920s and brought respectability to the sketchy professional sport, lives on in photographs from the Library’s collections.