Ernest Shackleton, the famed polar explorer, was the first to print a book on the Antarctic continent. His "Aurora Australis," an anthology of writings by the crew and scientists during a 1907-1909 expedition, was printed in such dire conditions that the book covers were made from packing crates from the ship's pantry. Only 25 or so were made. The Library's copy has covers marked for "turtle soup" and "honey."
“Double Indemnity” is one of Hollywood’s classic films, the standard-bearer for noir cinema and a career highlight for stars Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray. The Library has a fascinating exchange of letters between the “Double” stars and novelist James M. Cain, whose book was the basis for the film. The letters give us a glimpse into Hollywood history, how scandalous the movie was at the time and at the manners of a bygone era. It’s almost impossible to imagine this exchange taking place today.
Madeleine Albright, the first female U.S. Secretary of State, died today in Washington at the age of 84. The cause was cancer, her family said.. Albright, who donated her papers to the Library in 2014, was a key figure in the administration of Bill Clinton, serving both as ambassador to the United Nations and then as Secretary of State during his second term. Outspoken to the end, she wrote an essay for the New York Times in late February warning about the effects of a Russian invasion of Ukraine. She included her notes from her first meeting with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, more than two decades ago: "Putin is small and pale...so cold as to be almost reptilian."
Black men were among the first cowboys in the U.S. They roped, branded and saddled up for cattle drives. Some gained fame, such as Bill Pickett and Nat Love. But mostly, as time passed, pop culture erased Black cowboys from the Western milieu, creating a misleading image of the Old West as peopled by white men on horseback, riding the lonely grasslands. The Library’s collections help document a more accurate picture of what cowboy culture actually looked like in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, during the cowboy heyday.
This researcher Q&A, part of an occasional series, catches up with Melissa Koch, who uses the Library's collection to write nonfiction books for children and young adults. As of late, she's been focused on suffragist leader Lucy Stone.
Lionel Richie smiled, the cameras flashed, the bass thumped, the music soared and the concert celebrating the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song popped back into life two years after COVID-19 shut down much of public life in the nation’s capital.
During Women's History Month, it's good to remember that specialists in the Library's Local History and Genealogy Section collaborate with researchers to help find female ancestors, who are often obscured in historical records. A video presentation offers help in tracking down female ancestors whose last name changed due to marriage, or whose names did not appear on home ownership and other records.
The Library collections on Ukraine stretches back for centuries, including current news and analysis from the Congressional Research Service and one of the first maps that used Ukraine in its name in 1648.