Some of the U.S. military's best intelligence assets during both World Wars were Native American troops who used their own, unwritten languages as the basis for coded radio messages. These Code Talkers, particularly Navajo Marines, were invaluable in the Pacific theater of World War II. Twenty-nine Navajo Code Talkers were later awarded the Congressional Gold Medal. Many of these soldiers' personal stories are preserved in the LIbrary's Veterans History Project.
The Library's collections encompassing LGBTQ+ material spans centuries, inlucding unique holdings on world famous figures as well as the lives of every day people. Oscar WIlde, Frances Benjamin Johnston, Alvin Ailey, Leonard Bernstein and silent screen star Alla Nazimova are just some of the major names and collections represented here. Laws that either target or protect gay people are also preserved. This essay explores the range and the depth of the stories these collections reveal.
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.
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.
William Dillard, a former U.S. Army soldier who fought in World War II, won the gold medal in 100 meters in the1948 Olympic Games in London, on his way to becoming of the armed services' greatest Olympic athletes.
Rick Atkinson, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author whose books include "An Army at Dawn," The Day of Battle," "The Guns at Last Light," and "Battle of the Bulge," writes about the lasting impact of World War II on American society.