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Category: Researcher Stories

Full portrait of a clean-cut young man, standing very erect and with a serious expression, in a photo studio.

John Phelan and the Sinking of the USS Oneida

Posted by: Neely Tucker

One of the LIbrary's genealogy specialists was struck by reading the elaborate inscription on a 19th-century cemetery marker in her hometown. It spurred deep research and an extensive Library research guide into the 1870 sinking of the USS Oneida, costing the lives of 115 sailors, including the young man whose memorial caused her to pause: John Phelan. This is his story.

Kluge Scholar George Chauncey on Libraries and LGBTQ+ History

Posted by: Neely Tucker

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."

Head and shoulders sepia-toned photo of Rebecca Pomroy, facing front. She is middle aged, smiling, with white hair coiled into a bun on either side of her head

A Civil War Story: Rebecca Pomroy, Lincoln’s Nurse

Posted by: Neely Tucker

Rebecca Pomeroy, a Civil War nurse, was assigned to the White House in 1862 to help the grieving Lincoln family deal with the loss of their 11-year-old son, Willie, to typhoid fever. The story of her relationship with the Lincoln family is revealed in a collection of her papers, photographs are artifacts that are now preserved at the Library as part of the Liljenquist Family Collection of Civil War Photographs.

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

Researcher Story: Julie Centofanti

Posted by: Neely Tucker

Julie Centofanti, a biology student at Youngstown State University, started a club at her university in 2020 to transcribe historical documents included in the Library’s By the People  project. A longer version of this interview appears on the Signal blog.  How did you find out about By the People? I’m a member of the Youngstown …

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

Researcher Stories: Melissa Koch

Posted by: Neely Tucker

This researcher Q&A, part of an occasional series, catches up with Melissa Koch, who uses the Library's collection to write nonfiction books for children and young adults. As of late, she's been focused on suffragist leader Lucy Stone.

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

Researching Nannie Helen Burroughs: Danielle Phillips-Cunningham

Posted by: Neely Tucker

Danielle Phillips-Cunningham teaches multicultural women’s and gender studies at Texas Woman’s University and writes about race and women’s labor history. She is writing a book about Nannie Helen Burroughs -- who founded the National Association of Wage Earners, a little-known but important Black women’s labor organization -- in the Library’s collection of Burrough's papers.