The stunningly complete, intellectually voracious files of J. Robert Oppenheimer, father of the atomic bomb, are preserved at the Library. The files fill more than 300 boxes that occupy a line of files that would stretch, if stacked end to end, more than 120 feet. That’s not including more than 70 boxes of research files compiled over 20 years by Martin J. Sherwin for his part of the Pulitzer Prize-winning biography, “American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer.” (Kai Bird shared the Pulitzer as a co-writer.) Those stretch another 27 feet. The files tell his epic life story in granular detail.
Madeleine Albright, the first female U.S. Secretary of State, died today in Washington at the age of 84. The cause was cancer, her family said.. Albright, who donated her papers to the Library in 2014, was a key figure in the administration of Bill Clinton, serving both as ambassador to the United Nations and then as Secretary of State during his second term. Outspoken to the end, she wrote an essay for the New York Times in late February warning about the effects of a Russian invasion of Ukraine. She included her notes from her first meeting with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, more than two decades ago: "Putin is small and pale...so cold as to be almost reptilian."
David Breger, a successful freelance cartoonist, drafted into the Army in 1941, created the "Private Breger" cartoon during his off-duty hours at Camp Livingston. Once it caught on, the name (but little else) was changed to "G.I. Joe." From there, it became a cultural icon.
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.
Medgar Evers, the famed civil rights activist, was born 96 years ago this month in a small town in Mississippi. He was assassinated by a white supremacist in 1963, but his legacy has only grown in the decades since his death.
The photographs of Bernard Gotfryd, now free for anyone to use from the Library's collections, are a remarkable resource of late 20th-century American pop-culture and political life, as he was a Newsweek staff photographer based in New York for three decades. He was also a Holocaust survivor who wrote about the experience with grace and courage.
Roman Totenberg's papers at the Library tell the story of his amazing 101-year life. Born in Poland in 1911, he was a child prodigy on the violin, playing street corners in Russia to help his family survive famine. He returned to Poland, became a star while a teenager, eventually fled the Holocaust and became one of the 20th century's greatest violinists, living the rest of his life in the United States. He was as renowned as a teacher as he was a performer, and his three children -- Nina, Amy, Jill -- each went on to prominent careers.