The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom was 60 years ago today -- August 28, 1963. We look back at that historic day, both at how it developed and its aftermath, in an era when terrorism, violence and assassinations targeted civil rights volunteers, workers and organizers.
"A Library for You" is the Library's multi-year initiative to connect readers and patrons to our collections in new ways. These new galleries, exhibits and showcases will present some of the Library's most stunning items, whether they are recent or thousands of years old. These include Lincoln's handwritten first draft of the Gettysburg Address, fragments of the ancient Greek epic the "Iliad," cuneiform tablets that are among the oldest examples of writing, pre-Columbian artifacts, Rosa Parks' papers and watercolors by Diego Rivera. They'll begin to open in 2024.
Novelist, short-story writer and essayist George Saunders was awarded the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction Saturday evening in one of the final sessions of the 2023 National Book Festival, conferring a lifetime honor on a versatile writer whose most famous book cast one of Washington's most famous residents in a surreal light. Saunders' 2017 novel "Lincoln in the Bardo" took a fantastical look at the visit President Abraham Lincoln paid to his young son's tomb in a Georgetown cemetery one night in 1862.
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.
This winter, President Lincoln's Cottage in Washington, D.C., exhibited "Create to Free Yourselves: Abraham Lincoln and the History of Freeing Slaves in America," an installation by Georges Adéagbo. In creating it, Adéagbo visited the Library's Manuscript Division to research Lincoln's words and handwriting. Born in Benin, educated in Cote I and France, Adéagbo works internationally. Here, he talks about how he created the Lincoln project.
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.
Civil War historian Elizabeth Leonard has written a number of books about the role of women on the battlefield and the social and political reverberations of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination. She's researched those books, including her soon-to-be-published title, “Benjamin Franklin Butler: A Noisy, Fearless Life,” in the Library’s Manuscript Division.
In this segment of a regular feature on authors who use the Library's collections, we interview Walter Stahr, a lawyer turned historian. His latest biography, published in 2022, is "Salmon P. Chase: Lincoln's Vital Rival," a look at the influential treasury secretary and later chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court during the mid 19th century.
Abraham Lincoln, with little formal education, studied a popular textbook, "English Grammar in Familiar Lectures" on his own while in his 20s. Through it, he gained a mastery of the language that would give the nation some of its most enduring speeches.