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.
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.
Carol Lynn Ward Bamford curates the Library's collections of more than 2,000 musical instruments, including the James Madison crystal flute that Lizzo played at a concert last fall, setting social media afire.
Lizzo set the social media world afire last fall by playing, in concert, a short solo on a rare crystal flute that once belonged to President James Madison. The flute is one of the Library's most prized musical instruments and a showpiece of the collection of Dayton C. Miller, the famed physicist, astronomer and major flute aficionado. The collection, preserved in a vault at the Library, is not just the world’s largest of flute-related material, it is perhaps the largest collection on a single music subject ever assembled — and it’s what drew Lizzo to the Library in the first place.
Most folks know the ridiculously catchy instrumental theme song for the 1960s classic TV comedy “I Dream of Jeannie.” But how many can recite its lyrics — “Jeannie, fresh as a daisy!/Just love how she obeys me” — or even knew it had any? The theme for “Bewitched,” another ’60s favorite, briefly had its day: …
A shorter version of this story appeared in the July/August edition of the Library of Congress Magazine. The best clues to a person’s character lie right in the palms of their hands. That, at least, is what Nellie Simmons Meier believed. Meier, you see, was one of the world’s foremost practitioners of the “science” of …
Among the oddest items in the Llibrary of Congress is a slice of cake from the glamorous wedding of General Tom Thumb (Charles Stratton) and Lavinia Warren, at New York's Metropolitan Hotel in 1863. The wedding was the social event of the season, with thousands in attendance. Stratton was, at the time, a major star for promotor P.T. Barnum, drawing on his dimunitive height of 35 inches as an attraction. The Library still has the the slice of cake, now nearly 160 years old.