Rachel Wetzel works in the Library's conservation lab, where she treats, assesses and preserves photos from across the Library, many of which are more than a century old. Many of these are torn, degraded, broken or otherwise damaged. They're printed on a varity of surfaces with different chemical compositions. It's a delicate job, as she often works on prints from the earliest days of photography.
Robert Cornelius, a Philadelphia photographer, is believed to have taken the world's first self-portrait -- the first selfie -- in 1839. The Library, which already had the world's large collection of his work, in December acquired a donation from Cornelius’ great-great-grand-daughter, Sarah Bodine, of more of his photographic materials. Preservationists are now at work on the new donation.
The Library of Congress has unexpected items in its vast collections -- the contents of Lincoln's pockets when he was assassinated; cocaine used in a groundbreaking 19th-century surgery; a lock of Beethoven's hair; 3,000 year old cuneiform tablets from modern-day Iraq; Mesoamerican incense burners that are more than 2,000 years old; and a piece of Tom Thumb's wedding cake, now nearly 160 years old.
Plans for a new renovation to the Library's Thomas Jefferson Building, designed to offer more members of the public access to the Library's inspiring architecture and comprehensive collections, include an oculus; a circular glass window that will allow visitors to look up to the dome from the orientation center below the Main Reading Room, where visitors will begin their Library journey.
The 2022 National Book Festival returns to a live audience this year in Washington, featuring popular authors and entertainers such as Jesmyn Ward, Janelle Monae, Nick Offerman, Sabaa Tahir, Louis Bayard and Xochitl Gonzalez.
Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden today announced that Ada Limon will serve as the nation's 24th Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry for 2022-2023. She is the author of six poetry collections and is the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center and the Kentucky Foundation for Women.
The Library now has the papers and collected works of Neil Simon, the most commercially successful playwright in American history and one of the most honored. "Barefoot in the Park," "The Odd Couple," "The Sunshine Boys," "Biloxi Blues," "Plaza Suite," "Lost in Yonkers." By the time he died at age 91 in 2018, he his career included 28 Broadway plays, five musicals, 11 original screenplays and 14 film adaptations of his own work. The Library's collection includes more than 180 titled works that Simon began, many of them completed but never published or produced.
The latest Library of Congress Crime Classic, “Average Jones,” is by Samuel Hopkins Adams, a popular and prolific journalist and novelist in the early 20th century whose works were often turned into popular films. These included "It Happened One Night."