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Category: LCM

Color portrait of Tim Gunn, from waist up. He's half turned to the camera, wearing a dark suit and purple tie; a window is in the background.

Tim Gunn on Fashion

Posted by: Neely Tucker

Tim Gunn is an academic, bestselling author and pop culture icon. He won an Emmy Award for his role as host of “Project Runway.” He wrote this short essay on the difference between fashion and clothes for the Library of Congress Magazine's fashion issue.

Cover of Harper's Bazar, featuring a romantic image of a woman by the beach, in hues of green, selling for 10 cents a copy

It’s Sew Complicated

Posted by: Mark Hartsell

Harper’s Bazar magazine opened up a wide world for the modern woman of 1902, including a large foldout sheet of sewing patterns for the thrifty homemaker. When unfolded, the sheet revealed a bewildering tangle of dots, dashes, lines, X’s and ovals that crisscrossed a total of 1,134 square inches of paper in an unholy mess covering both front and back. The marks delineated patterns for 60 articles of clothing. When unfolded, the sheet reveals a bewildering tangle of dots, dashes, lines, X’s and ovals that crisscross a total of 1,134 square inches of paper in an unholy mess covering both front and back. The marks delineate patterns for a whopping 60 different component parts of articles of clothing.

Liz Claiborne poses at a desk in front of an array of colorful sweaters.

Life and Fashion in the American 20th Century

Posted by: Neely Tucker

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.

Photo of sheet of notebook paper in a three-ring binder with song lyrics and musical notation written in blue pen

“Feeling Good” About the Leslie Bricusse Collection

Posted by: Neely Tucker

On May 15, 1962, the British songwriting team of Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley were up-by-the-bootstraps types, just hitting their 30s, and would become big stars. On that day, they scratched out what would become perhaps their most influential hit, a deceptively simple song called "Feeling Good." Nina Simone would make it her anthem in 1965, and Michael Bublé would have a worldwide hit with it nearly three decades later. The Library's Bricusse collection preserves that moment of creation in one of his meticulously kept notebooks.

Family portrait on steps of a house with huge columns rising on both sides. All are well dressed; Orville Wright is the lone person standing, posed in the middle and behind the rest.

Historic Photos: The Wright Brothers, at Home and in the Air

Posted by: Neely Tucker

After Orville Wright's death in 1948, his estate donated a vast collection of his papers to the Library, including more than 300 glass plate and nitrate negatives of photographs taken (mostly) by the brothers between 1897 and 1928; images that provide an important and fascinating record of their home lives and of their attempts to fly. His "success house," Hawthorn Hill, is in many of these photos and is today a museum.

Program cover shows two hands holding a small globe, which is filled by a red atomic mushroom cloud

“Dr. Atomic,” The Oppenheimer Opera

Posted by: Neely Tucker

When the San Francisco Opera debuted “Doctor Atomic,” an opera by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer John Adams based on physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer and the test of the first atomic bomb, its first lines contained a scientific error. Marvin L. Cohen, president of the American Physical Society, was in the audience and caught it immediately. Here's how he and Adams changed it.

Football Forever!

Posted by: Neely Tucker

We're down to the college football national championship game next week and the NFL playoff are just around the corner. It's a perfect time to check in with "Football Nation" author Susan Reyburn as she chooses favorite items from the Library's collections. This article is slightly adapted from the January-February issue of the Library of Congress Magazine.

John and Jacqueline Kennedy pose on a grassy lawn on their wedding day, her white gown flowing behind her

Black Dressmakers for First Ladies

Posted by: Neely Tucker

Two Black seamstresses have left their mark on White House fashion history, as Elizabeth Keckley and Ann Lowe designed dresses for two of the nation’s most famous first ladies, Mary Todd Lincoln and Jacqueline Kennedy, respectively. Both designers developed their craft despite the brutal influences of slavery and Jim Crow segregation. This piece tells their stories.

Carl Sagan: Childhood Dreams of Space Flight

Posted by: Neely Tucker

Carl Sagan's dreams of space flight took root as a child as some of his enthusiastic artwork shows, particularly a drawing he called “The Evolution of Interstellar Flight.” It's in the Library's Seth MacFarlane Collection of the Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan Archive, composed of more than 595,000 items from throughout the astrophysicist's life.