George Chauncey is the DeWitt Clinton professor of history at Columbia University and the 2022 recipient of the Library’s John W. Kluge Prize for Achievement in the Study of Humanity. He wrote this piece about how he used libraries to research his landmark book, “Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay Male World, 1890-1940."
Rebecca Pomeroy, a Civil War nurse, was assigned to the White House in 1862 to help the grieving Lincoln family deal with the loss of their 11-year-old son, Willie, to typhoid fever. The story of her relationship with the Lincoln family is revealed in a collection of her papers, photographs are artifacts that are now preserved at the Library as part of the Liljenquist Family Collection of Civil War Photographs.
The Lee Strasberg papers, held in the Manuscript Division, provide a unique glimpse into his Actors Studio, which created the influential style of Method Acting. In 1955, attendees signed in by hand, giving a snapshot of a galaxy of stars at work and producing a collector's dream of celebrity autographs: Paul Newman, Marilyn Monroe, Harry Belafonte, Eva Marie Saint, Patricia Neal, Rod Steiger, Geraldine Page and Eli Wallach, among many others.
Danny Elfman has composed or produced scores for more than 100 films, including blockbusters such as “Batman” and “Men in Black.” He’s composed themes for TV hits, as classic as “The Simpsons” and as recent as “Wednesday.” He was at the Library this week to present something more subtle: the world premiere of his latest classical work. “Suite for Chamber Orchestra,” commissioned by the LIbrary, debuted Thursday night at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in D.C. In this interview, he talks about his cinema and classical works, as well as original rock band, Oingo Boingo.
The Library's collections encompassing LGBTQ+ material spans centuries, inlucding unique holdings on world famous figures as well as the lives of every day people. Oscar WIlde, Frances Benjamin Johnston, Alvin Ailey, Leonard Bernstein and silent screen star Alla Nazimova are just some of the major names and collections represented here. Laws that either target or protect gay people are also preserved. This essay explores the range and the depth of the stories these collections reveal.