Library in the News: March 2015 Edition

Headlining Library of Congress news for March was the announcement of new selections to the National Recording Registry. Time called this year’s selections the “most American playlist ever.” “If the Smithsonian is America’s attic, the National Recording Registry is the dusty box of records that America’s parents left up there,” wrote reporter Ryan Teague Beckwith. […]

That All May Read

(The following is a guest post by Karen Keninger, director of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped.) There are times when a “best-kept secret” is exactly what you want. But not when it comes to one of the most highly valued services provided through the Library of Congress – namely the […]

National Poets

(The following is a story written by Peter Armenti, literature specialist for the Digital Reference Section, found in the March/April 2015 issue of the Library of Congress Magazine, LCM. You can read the issue in its entirety here.) The nation’s most acclaimed poets have helped the Library of Congress promote poetry for nearly 80 years. The […]

Celebrating Women’s History: America’s First Female P.I.

Walking into the Chicago office of Allan Pinkerton’s detective agency one afternoon in 1856 was a woman of medium height, “slender, graceful in her movements, and perfectly self-possessed in her manner.” Claiming to be a widow, aged 23, Kate Warne was looking for a job, and not as a secretary. One could imagine Pinkerton’s surprise […]

Wipe That Scowl Off Your Face

Photography was well-established by the dawn of the 20th Century–it had graduated from the tintype and daguerreotype to innovations allowing for smaller cameras and more portable exposure media. But as the 1800s became the 1900s, portrait photography carried forward a tradition of depicting people sitting stiffly, staring sternly into the camera. A handsome young immigrant […]

Library in the News: February 2015 Edition

The Library’s big headline for February was the opening of the Rosa Park Collection to researchers on Feb. 4, which was also the birthday of the civil-rights icon. “A cache of Parks’s papers set to be unveiled Tuesday at the Library of Congress portrays a battle-tested activist who had been steeped in the struggle against […]

About That Cannon in My Basement —

A few years ago – around 2001, 2002 – I had a cannon in my basement in Rockville, Maryland. You could see it through the front windows, where it was aimed. I wondered if the mailman would report us to Homeland Security. It wasn’t a real one, but it was incredibly realistic and man-o’war-size (about […]

A Jefferson Book, Rediscovered in Law Library

A tiny, handwritten “T” at the bottom of page 113 offered a clue that this book – long part of the Law Library collections – needed a new home: the permanent exhibition of Thomas Jefferson’s library. Every four months, Anna Bryan and other catalogers in the U.S./Anglo Division’s Rare Materials Section work on an ongoing […]

Buying a Library

Two hundred years ago today, President James Madison approved an act of Congress appropriating $23,590 for the purchase of a large collection of books belonging to Thomas Jefferson in order to reestablish the Library of Congress. Under Madison’s leadership, the United States went to war with Great Britain in 1812. After capturing Washington, D.C. in […]

American Ballet Theatre Exhibit Closes Saturday

The Library of Congress exhibition, “American Ballet Theatre: Touring the Globe for 75 Years,” closes this Saturday, so if you’re in town, make sure to visit. American Ballet Theatre (ABT), which celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2014, donated its archives of more than 50,000 items of visual and written documentation to the Library. The exhibition features […]