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Category: LCM

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.

Three Marines, all Navajo Code Talkers, pose with weapons in a World War II photo

World War II’s Navajo Code Talkers, In Their Own Words

Posted by: Neely Tucker

Some of the U.S. military's best intelligence assets during both World Wars were Native American troops who used their own, unwritten languages as the basis for coded radio messages. These Code Talkers, particularly Navajo Marines, were invaluable in the Pacific theater of World War II. Twenty-nine Navajo Code Talkers were later awarded the Congressional Gold Medal. Many of these soldiers' personal stories are preserved in the LIbrary's Veterans History Project.

Color photo of Hemingway on his boat, reading a magazine. He is wearing a baseball cap and is reclining on a seat back, the ocean and sunshine visible behind him

Eavesdropping on Ernest Hemingway at Finca Vigía

Posted by: Neely Tucker

Ernest Hemingway recorded more than four hours of personal stories, dictation and friends playing music at his home in Cuba during 1949-50 for his friend and future biographer A.E. Hotchner. Those recordings, part of the Library's Hotchner collection, show Hemingway at home with friends, but also how uncomfortable he was with the technology. The tapes have been used by multiple Hemingway biographers.

Black and white image of the first airplane leaving the sand at Kitty Hawk.

The Wright Brothers History Takes Wing at the Library

Posted by: Neely Tucker

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.

Full page color illustration of a large snake in between a man and woman in 19th century dress.

Hans Christian Andersen’s Wild Scrapbooks

Posted by: Mark Hartsell

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.