Since 2006, the Library’s Teaching with Primary Sources program has been empowering educators to make use of the Library’s digitized collections in a vast array of subjects. Lee Ann Potter, the Library's director of educational outreach, writes about several schools that use historical documents, photographs, maps and other resources to help students gain an understanding of the past.
It’s Hispanic Heritage Month, which makes it an excellent time to check in on the Library's collection of Free to Use and Reuse images, this time from a set devoted to Hispanic life and culture. We look at two photos of two young Mexican women who came to work in the U.S. One is of a mural devoted to the legendary actress Delores del Río, the first Latina to become a Hollywood icon. The second is Dorothea Lange's unforgettable Depression-era image of the daughter of a Mexican field laborer in rural Arizona.
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.
The Library houses the legendary jazz photography of William P. Gottlieb, who photographed the biggest names in the business -- Billie Holiday, Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, Duke Ellington, Sarah Vaughan -- at the height of the music's popularity.
The Library's Free to Use and Reuse sets of curated prints and photographs include subjects such as travel, autumn and Halloween, weddings, movie palaces and dozens more. This set of athletes in action include baseball icon Jackie Robinson, early race car driver Joan Newton Cuneo and women hurdlers.
The Library's Veterans History Project houses thousands of photographs taken by U.S. soldiers. Joseph Beimfohr's photos let viewers peek into his war experiences in Iraq -- a time that included losing both legs in an explosion. The Library's latest research guide to military photos includes thousands taken in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The court photographer for the Ziegfeld Follies, Alfred Cheney Johnston -- who later donated more than 200 of his photographs to the Library -- captured the era and helped create the modern celebrity glamour shot. He was one of the first celebrity photographers. Stars such as Mary Pickford, Clara Bow, Helen Hayes, John Barrymore, Barbara Stanwyck, Dorothy and Lillian Gish and Marilyn Miller all flocked to him. His star faded over time, but is remembered in an elegant photobook, "Jazz Age Beauties,"
"Not an Ostrich: And Other Images from America's Library," an exhibit featuring more than 400 photographs from the Library's collections, is now open in the Jefferson Building and can be viewed online. It debuted in 2018 at the Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles. The show is a visual journey through American culture and history.