"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.
When the Library acquired choreographer Garth Fagan’s papers earlier this year, it wasn't just about his work on "The Lion King." Fagan's papers built on Music Division collections of an array of dance luminaries: Martha Graham, Alvin Ailey, Bronislava Nijinska, Katherine Dunham and the American Ballet Theatre. The Library’s dance-related materials cover the American art form from Colonial times to the present. Together, they present a dazzling history of American dance.
Susan B. Anthony annotated her copy of a Harriet Tubman biography with a brief note about the day the two larger-than-life women met at a social gathering at the dawn of a new century. Anthony was clearly delighted, underlining Tubman's name each time she wrote it.
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.
The Library's collection of historical newspapers uniquely illuminate the spectrum of LGBTQ+ history, including stories about little-known lives and incidents of resistance to persecution. This article includes coverage of Ralph Kerwineo in 1914 Milwaukee and the Pepper Hill Raid in 1955 Baltimore.
It's Bloomsday, the annual celebration of James Joyce's landmark modernist masterpiece, "Ulysses." Published 101 years ago, Joyce's book famously examines one day — June 16, 1904 — in the life of Leopold Bloom of Dublin, Ireland. The Library has some of the most extraordinary copies of the book ever printed, inducing a custom-made copy with a cover made of calfskin; an explanation of the book's convoluted symbolism by Joyce himself; and a full-color anatomical chart of the human body, annotated to show how body parts correspond to specific chapters in the book.
The papers of Ralph Ellison, one of the nation's greatest novelists of the 20th Century, are preserved at the LIbrary, including the sprawling mass of a manuscript that was edited into his posthumous novel, "Juneteenth."
No Jewish marriage is complete without a ketubah, a traditional legal document introduced during the wedding ceremony. The ketubah not only legitimizes the marriage but, following Jewish law, also spells out the groom’s financial and conjugal obligations to his bride during their life journey. The Library holds 11 of these ornate, beautiful traditional documents, spanning centuries and many nations.
George Chauncey is the DeWitt Clinton professor of history at Columbia University and the 2022 recipient of the Library’s John W. Kluge Prize for Achievement in the Study of Humanity. He wrote this piece about how he used libraries to research his landmark book, “Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay Male World, 1890-1940."