214 Years Young

The Library of Congress celebrates its 214th birthday today. Founded on April 24, 1800, thanks to an appropriation approved by Pres. John Adams of $5,000 for the purchase of “such books as may be necessary for the use of Congress.” What started with a whopping 740 books and three maps has evolved to more than […]

WDL Marks 5 Years of Sharing Cultural Treasures with Globe

The idea was as big as the planet itself: Gather and digitize the globe’s  cultural treasures, assemble them  on one website and make them available to the world for free and in multiple languages. Such a project, Librarian of Congress James H. Billington said in proposing it, would bring people together by “celebrating the uniqueness […]

The Sound of Freedom: Marian Anderson at the Lincoln Memorial

(The following is a guest post by Audrey Fischer, editor of the Library of Congress Magazine.) As the Library of Congress prepares to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 with a new exhibition (opening June 19), it’s worth remembering a moment in history when the specter of […]

Celebrating Women: On Your Mark! Get Set! Mush!

On this day in 1985, at 9 a.m., Libby Riddles became the first woman to win the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. She finished in 18 days, 20 minutes and 17 seconds. March is Women’s History Month, and this year’s theme is “Celebrating Women of Character, Courage and Commitment.” Riddles certainly fits that bill. Often […]

You’re Supposed to Steep Tea in Boiling Water

On Dec. 16, 1773, a group of Bostonians dressed as Mohawk Indians boarded ships docked in Boston Harbor and dumped some 340 chests of tea into the water. Today marks the 240th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party. “A number of brave & resolute men, determined to do all in their power to save their […]

A Temperate Nation

Today marks the 80th anniversary of the end of Prohibition. On Dec. 5, 1933, the United States repealed the nationwide prohibition on alcoholic beverages, by ratifying the 21st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. And, while the masses may have raised their glasses, there were certainly those among them not happy with the decision. Temperance activists […]

The Sound of Drums

On Friday, November 22, 1963, the students in Mrs. Maxwell’s third-grade class at Sabin Elementary School in southwest Denver got a singular history lesson: the news came in that President John F. Kennedy had been murdered. Janet Maxwell, a popular young instructor who taught 25 kids reading, math, science and history by turns, was trying […]

Inquiring Minds: Commemorating the Gettysburg Address with Author Jonathan Hennessey

A 10-year veteran of the film and television production industry, Jonathan Hennessey is a Los Angeles-based writer. Hennessey is the author of “The United States Constitution: A Graphic Adaptation,” on which he collaborated with illustrator Aaron McConnell. In their newest work, “The Gettysburg Address: A Graphic Adaptation,” the duo commemorate the 150th anniversary of this […]

Recite the Gettysburg Address

On Nov. 19, 1862 1863, Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address at the dedication of the cemetery at the Civil War battlefield. One of the most famous speeches in American history, the speech is recognized as a literary masterpiece. In three short paragraphs—some 270 words—Lincoln proclaimed the principles upon which the nation was founded, honored […]

A Pirate’s Life For Me

Today, you best get out your peg leg, eye patch and practice your “arrrr’s” … it’s International Talk Like a Pirate Day! What started as a joke among a handful of friends in 1995 has become a widely recognized fun-for-the-sake-of-fun celebration, thanks in large part to a column written by Dave Barry in 2002. A […]