"Maestro," the high-profile film biography of legendary composer Leonard Bernstein, hits theaters this week, starring Bradley Cooper. The Library holds a vast trove of Bernstein's papers, some 400,000 items that document every stage of his life and career. In a brief video, Mark Horowitz, a senior music specialist at the Library and the archivist for the Bernstein Collection, gives a tour of the material and its cultural significance.
Christopher Oakley, a prominent film animator turned university historian, used his knowledge of computer modeling -- and his research at the LIbrary of Congress -- to help solve a small but important mystery: Where exactly did Lincoln stand while delivering his famed Gettysburg Address?
Nathan Dorn is the curator of the rare books collection at the Law Library of Congress. He builds the Library's holdings of centuries of legal texts from many nations, including early methods of legal procedures to unusual subjects such as witchcraft and miracles.
Some of the U.S. military's best intelligence assets during both World Wars were Native American troops who used their own, unwritten languages as the basis for coded radio messages. These Code Talkers, particularly Navajo Marines, were invaluable in the Pacific theater of World War II. Twenty-nine Navajo Code Talkers were later awarded the Congressional Gold Medal. Many of these soldiers' personal stories are preserved in the LIbrary's Veterans History Project.
Ernest Hemingway recorded more than four hours of personal stories, dictation and friends playing music at his home in Cuba during 1949-50 for his friend and future biographer A.E. Hotchner. Those recordings, part of the Library's Hotchner collection, show Hemingway at home with friends, but also how uncomfortable he was with the technology. The tapes have been used by multiple Hemingway biographers.
The Wright Brothers collection in the Library is a marvel, a rare combination of significance and candor that details how Orville and Wilbur became the first to achieve powered flight and usher the world into a new age. The collection includes more than 31,000 items -- personal letters from family members, diaries, scrapbooks, engineering sketches -- and more than 300 historic glass-print negatives. You can chart the family’s entire odyssey here, from small-town Midwestern simplicity to worldwide fame, from youthful newspaper publishers to bicycle shop owners to builders of the world’s first airplanes.
One of the first picture books for children was "Orbis Sensualium Pictus" ("Visible World in Pictures"), published by Johann Amos Comenius in 1658. Born in the present-day Czech republic, Comenius was a theologian and education reformer who believed in teaching children from a Christian perspective. His book, with 150 woodcut images, was popular across Europe for centuries. The Library has a 1664 edition published in London.