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Category: LCM

Image of an ornate clock showing 2:05 with sculpted male figures sitting on each side of the clock face

An Evening with Hazel Scott, Sept. 28!

Posted by: Neely Tucker

This is a guest post by Anne McLean, a music specialist in the Music Division. On Sept. 28  — that’s Wednesday — the Music Division partners with Dance Theatre of Harlem and Washington Performing Arts to present a special event saluting a pathbreaking Black artist: “Celebrating Hazel Scott: Pianist, Singer, Actress and Activist.” The evening …

Image of an ornate clock showing 2:05 with sculpted male figures sitting on each side of the clock face

My Job: Ashley Jones

Posted by: Wendi Maloney

Ashley Jones is a visual information specialist in the Office of Communications. She designs the Library of Congress Magazine, the Gazette and other publications. Tell us about your background. I grew up in Baltimore County, Maryland. Art has always been a part of my life. I credit my elementary school art teacher with igniting my …

Image of an ornate clock showing 2:05 with sculpted male figures sitting on each side of the clock face

Tom Thumb’s Wedding Cake…Still at the Library, 159 Years Later

Posted by: Mark Hartsell

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.

Image of an ornate clock showing 2:05 with sculpted male figures sitting on each side of the clock face

Hair! At the Library? Yes, and Lots of It

Posted by: Neely Tucker

One of the Library's most unusual holdings is hair -- lots of it. The Library has locks and tresses and strands from people in the arts such as Ludwig van Beethoven, Walt Whitman and Edna St. Vincent Millay; presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Quincy Adams, James Madison and Ulysses S. Grant; and any number of famous women, including Lucy Webb Hayes (first lady and spouse of President Rutherford B. Hayes); Confederate spy Antonia Ford Willard; Clare Boothe Luce and unidentified hair from Clara Barton’s diary. Nearly all of the hair stems from the 18th and 19th centuries, in the era before photographs were common and lockets of hair were seen as tokens that could be anything from romantic to momentous.

Image of an ornate clock showing 2:05 with sculpted male figures sitting on each side of the clock face

W.E.B. DuBois and The Brownies’ Book

Posted by: Neely Tucker

Writer, scholar and activist W.E.B. Du Bois recognized the need for young African Americans to see themselves and their concerns reflected in print. The Brownies' Book, a monthly magazine for the "Children of the Sun ... designed for all children, but especially for ours," was his response. Du Bois aimed to instill and reinforce pride in Black youth and to help Black families as they raised children in a segregated and prejudiced world. The Library has digitical copies of each magazine online.

Image of an ornate clock showing 2:05 with sculpted male figures sitting on each side of the clock face

Robert Cornelius and the First Selfie

Posted by: Wendi Maloney

Robert Cornelius, a Philadelphia photographer, is believed to have taken the world's first self-portrait -- the first selfie -- in 1839. The Library, which already had the world's large collection of his work, in December acquired a donation from Cornelius’ great-great-grand-daughter, Sarah Bodine, of more of his photographic materials. Preservationists are now at work on the new donation.

Image of an ornate clock showing 2:05 with sculpted male figures sitting on each side of the clock face

Library of the Unexpected: Cocaine, Hair and…Wedding Cake?

Posted by: Neely Tucker

The Library of Congress has unexpected items in its vast collections -- the contents of Lincoln's pockets when he was assassinated; cocaine used in a groundbreaking 19th-century surgery; a lock of Beethoven's hair; 3,000 year old cuneiform tablets from modern-day Iraq; Mesoamerican incense burners that are more than 2,000 years old; and a piece of Tom Thumb's wedding cake, now nearly 160 years old.

Image of an ornate clock showing 2:05 with sculpted male figures sitting on each side of the clock face

World War II: The Debut of G.I. Joe

Posted by: Neely Tucker

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.