Letters Straight to Your Heart: The Library’s Centuries of Correspondence

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.

Historical Documentaries are the Key to Understanding Our Common History as Americans

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.

Researcher Story: Elizabeth D. Leonard

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 Gorgeous Jazz Age Photography of Alfred Cheney Johnston

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,”