The Library's collection of historical newspapers uniquely illuminate the spectrum of LGBTQ+ history, including stories about little-known lives and incidents of resistance to persecution. This article includes coverage of Ralph Kerwineo in 1914 Milwaukee and the Pepper Hill Raid in 1955 Baltimore.
It's Bloomsday, the annual celebration of James Joyce's landmark modernist masterpiece, "Ulysses." Published 101 years ago, Joyce's book famously examines one day — June 16, 1904 — in the life of Leopold Bloom of Dublin, Ireland. The Library has some of the most extraordinary copies of the book ever printed, inducing a custom-made copy with a cover made of calfskin; an explanation of the book's convoluted symbolism by Joyce himself; and a full-color anatomical chart of the human body, annotated to show how body parts correspond to specific chapters in the book.
The papers of Ralph Ellison, one of the nation's greatest novelists of the 20th Century, are preserved at the LIbrary, including the sprawling mass of a manuscript that was edited into his posthumous novel, "Juneteenth."
No Jewish marriage is complete without a ketubah, a traditional legal document introduced during the wedding ceremony. The ketubah not only legitimizes the marriage but, following Jewish law, also spells out the groom’s financial and conjugal obligations to his bride during their life journey. The Library holds 11 of these ornate, beautiful traditional documents, spanning centuries and many nations.
Megan Metcalf is the Library's collection specialist and recommending officer for LGBTQ+ studies and women's and gender studies for the general and international collections. She's also a reference librarian in the Newspaper and Current Periodical Reading Room. Here, she talks about her unique job and research.
George Chauncey is the DeWitt Clinton professor of history at Columbia University and the 2022 recipient of the Library’s John W. Kluge Prize for Achievement in the Study of Humanity. He wrote this piece about how he used libraries to research his landmark book, “Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay Male World, 1890-1940."
Rebecca Pomeroy, a Civil War nurse, was assigned to the White House in 1862 to help the grieving Lincoln family deal with the loss of their 11-year-old son, Willie, to typhoid fever. The story of her relationship with the Lincoln family is revealed in a collection of her papers, photographs are artifacts that are now preserved at the Library as part of the Liljenquist Family Collection of Civil War Photographs.
The Lee Strasberg papers, held in the Manuscript Division, provide a unique glimpse into his Actors Studio, which created the influential style of Method Acting. In 1955, attendees signed in by hand, giving a snapshot of a galaxy of stars at work and producing a collector's dream of celebrity autographs: Paul Newman, Marilyn Monroe, Harry Belafonte, Eva Marie Saint, Patricia Neal, Rod Steiger, Geraldine Page and Eli Wallach, among many others.
Ada Limón, named the U.S. Poet Laureate last year, will serve two more years, Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden has announced, making the California native the third laureate to serve for as long as three years. Limón is composing a poem that will be engraved on NASA's Europa Clipper mission. The spacecraft will travel 1.8 billion miles to explore Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons.