Fashion has always been an avenue for reference and reinvention, expressing societal viewpoints and political movements through fabric and adornment. As the Library’s collections demonstrate, this was especially true for 20th-century fashion in the U.S. The story of American style is depicted in the Library’s century-old newspapers and magazines; in department store catalogs and home-sewing pattern books; in vintage lithographs and high-gloss photography.
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.
Hans Christian Andersen created wrote timeless fairy tales ("The Little Mermaid," "The Ugly Duckling") but also created handmade picture books as gifts for children of a few acquaintances.The Library holds one of them, assembled by Andersen and his friend Adolph Drewsen in 1862 for Drewsen’s 8-year-old grandson, Jonas. The picture book is part of a collection of first editions, manuscripts, letters and presentation copies gathered over a 30-year span by Danish actor Jean Hersholt — probably the most comprehensive collection of Andersen material in America.
"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.
Barbara Millicent Roberts debuted in 1959, when Elvis reigned supreme and Berry Gordy had just founded what would become Motown. "The Twilight Zone" dazzled television viewers. Suffice it to say it was a long, long time ago, but Barbie is bigger than ever, thanks to a new film. We take a quick look at the Barbie dolls in our Geppi Collection.
The Library recently added 45,000 baseball cards to its archives thanks to the donated collection of Peter G. Strawbridge, who preserved complete sets of every major league team from 1973 through 2019 along with some Boston Red Sox cards from earlier years. This builds on the 2,100-card collection of Benjamin K. Edwards, which includes legendary figures from the sport's first half-century: Ty Cobb, Christy Mathewson, Walter Johnson and Cy Young. The new cards include greats such as Ted Williams, Roberto Clemente and Derek Jeter.
To celebrate the start of the 2023 season, the Library is pleased to announce a new digital collection: Early Baseball Publications. The collection, which will grow over time, provides online access to more than 120 early baseball publications.
The Library of Congress is now home to a huge collection of nearly 100 pocket globes -- miniature globes that were fashionable art objects from the 17th to 19th centuries, during the age of exploration. The globes, perhaps three inches in diameter, were made of everything from ivory to papier mache, some housed in expensive sharkskin boxes. The family and foundation of the late Jay I. Kislak donated 74 pocket globes to the Library recently, adding to the collector's prodigious donations to the Library's Geography and Map Division.