David Breger, a successful freelance cartoonist, drafted into the Army in 1941, created the "Private Breger" cartoon during his off-duty hours at Camp Livingston. Once it caught on, the name (but little else) was changed to "G.I. Joe." From there, it became a cultural icon.
As college football bowl games give way to the NFL playoffs this time of year, the specter of Red Grange — the Galloping Ghost — who starred for the University of Illinois in the mid-1920s and brought respectability to the sketchy professional sport, lives on in photographs from the Library’s collections.
China's colossal Yongle encyclopedia, published in the 15th century, comprised 22,937 hand-copied sections bound into 11,095 volumes. It was intended to comprise all knowledge available to Chinese civilizations.
In 1154, Arab Muslim geographer al-Idrisi, working at the behest of King Roger of Sicily, created a huge map of the known world. The map was more than 9 feet long and composed of 70 separate section maps. The Library preserves a 1928 recreation of this map.
The remarkable career of Marie Tharp, the cartographer and scientist who helped map the ocean's floor for the first time in history, is preserved in her papers at the Library. A pioneering female scientist of 20th century, her work help lay the groundwork for the modern understanding of continental drift and plate tectonics.