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.
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.
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.
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.
The Library marks Abraham Lincoln's birthday (Feb. 12) with a short video covering his first inauguration as president, including his handwritten copy of his inaugural address and the pearl necklace and bracelets that Mary Todd Lincoln wore to their inaugural ball.
Abraham Lincoln's second inaugural address, delivered as the Civil War was in its final weeks, was one of most important in American history, featuring the immortal line, "With malice toward none, with charity for all." Michelle Krowl, the Library's Civil War and Reconstruction historian, explains how the day unfolded in this short video.
After the Union victory at Gettysburg in the Civil War in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln asked the nation set aside the fourth Thursday of November as a national holiday of thanksgiving. Congress made it official in 1870.