“Double Indemnity” is one of Hollywood’s classic films, the standard-bearer for noir cinema and a career highlight for stars Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray. The Library has a fascinating exchange of letters between the “Double” stars and novelist James M. Cain, whose book was the basis for the film. The letters give us a glimpse into Hollywood history, how scandalous the movie was at the time and at the manners of a bygone era. It’s almost impossible to imagine this exchange taking place today.
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.”
We chat with Elizabeth Novara, historian of women and gender in the Manuscript Division, about her work. It’s part of an ongoing series of librarians, their work and how they came to do it.
“We at the Library of Congress, in our role as the national library of the United States, are inspired and deeply moved by the role libraries and librarians are playing in Ukraine. We wholeheartedly support and admire their work.” Read more for Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden’s full statement on Ukraine.
Black men were among the first cowboys in the U.S. They roped, branded and saddled up for cattle drives. Some gained fame, such as Bill Pickett and Nat Love. But mostly, as time passed, pop culture erased Black cowboys from the Western milieu, creating a misleading image of the Old West as peopled by white men on horseback, riding the lonely grasslands. The Library’s collections help document a more accurate picture of what cowboy culture actually looked like in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, during the cowboy heyday.
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.
Lionel Richie smiled, the cameras flashed, the bass thumped, the music soared and the concert celebrating the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song popped back into life two years after COVID-19 shut down much of public life in the nation’s capital.
During Women’s History Month, it’s good to remember that specialists in the Library’s Local History and Genealogy Section collaborate with researchers to help find female ancestors, who are often obscured in historical records. A video presentation offers help in tracking down female ancestors whose last name changed due to marriage, or whose names did not appear on home ownership and other records.
The Library collections on Ukraine stretches back for centuries, including current news and analysis from the Congressional Research Service and one of the first maps that used Ukraine in its name in 1648.
In this segment of a regular feature on authors who use the Library’s collections, we interview Walter Stahr, a lawyer turned historian. His latest biography, published in 2022, is “Salmon P. Chase: Lincoln’s Vital Rival,” a look at the influential treasury secretary and later chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court during the mid 19th century.