Letters in the Library’s stunning collection of correspondence that has helped shape the world as we know it, stretching back more than a thousand years. Written by the famous and the forgotten in any number of languages and dialects from all over the world the letters are on everything from ancient vellum to dime store postcards. It includes letters from Wolfgang Mozart, Rosa Parks, Abraham Lincoln, Walt Whitman, George Washington and thousands of others. One of the most significant is a papal bull from Pope Alexander VI, giving Spain title to any “new lands” they might discover in the “new world,” setting the stage for hundreds of years of colonialism.
The Better Angels Society, the Library of Congress and the Crimson Lion/Lavine Family Foundation established the Library of Congress Lavine/Ken Burns Prize for Film in 2019 in order to help promote historical documentaries that might not otherwise have a path to sharing their work more widely. The winner receives a $200,000 finishing grant to help with the final production and distribution of the film. In addition, one runner-up receives a grant of $50,000 and three to four finalists each receive $25,000. These funds are used for finishing, marketing, distribution and outreach. Submissions for this year’s prize are now open.
Cinco de Mayo celebrations marks the Mexican victory over French invaders in 1862 at the Battle of Puebla. The victory did not stop the French from establishing a short-lived client state in Mexico, but it did become of rallying cry of Mexico’s determination to be free of European powers.
The Library recently acquired Spanish surrealist Joan Miro’s “Makemono,” a 32-foot scroll artwork created in collaboration with French lithographer Aime Maeght in Paris in 1956.
Civil War historian Elizabeth Leonard has written a number of books about the role of women on the battlefield and the social and political reverberations of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination. She’s researched those books, including her soon-to-be-published title, “Benjamin Franklin Butler: A Noisy, Fearless Life,” in the Library’s Manuscript Division.
The Library holds the papers of Frederick Law Olmsted, one of the nation’s most influential landscape architects, who also was an influential writer and civic planner. The Library is marking the 200th anniversary of his birth with an exhibit and an online transcription campaign.
Ulysses S. Grant was born 200 years ago today, April 27, 2022. The Library has a huge collection of the former president’s personal, military and political papers, including letters to his wife, Julia, and the manuscript of his bestselling memoir.
The court photographer for the Ziegfeld Follies, Alfred Cheney Johnston — who later donated more than 200 of his photographs to the Library — captured the era and helped create the modern celebrity glamour shot. He was one of the first celebrity photographers. Stars such as Mary Pickford, Clara Bow, Helen Hayes, John Barrymore, Barbara Stanwyck, Dorothy and Lillian Gish and Marilyn Miller all flocked to him. His star faded over time, but is remembered in an elegant photobook, “Jazz Age Beauties,”
Songwriting brothers Robert and Richard Sherman penned dozens of Disney hits, including the songs and lyrics for “Mary Poppins,” “The Jungle Book” and “Winnie the Pooh,” but their simple song for a theme park ride, “It’s a Small World,” became the most played song of all time.
Lamont Dozier, part of Motown’s fabled Holland-Dozier-Holland songwriting team, talks about writing “Reach Out I’ll Be There,” a hit for the Four Tops and part of the 2022 class of the National Recording Registry class.