In the late 1960s, Barry Commoner and the Center for the Biology of Natural Systems became involved in an ambitious, federally funded effort to understand the ecology of the sewer rat, and then kill it. That project’s failure at a moment of heightened political radicalism reveals how the rat-human relationship can highlight histories of economic injustice. With a major reprocessing of the Barry Commoner Papers now complete, those stories, and more, emerge with far greater clarity.
When juxtaposed with her memoir, one discovers discordant, countervailing emotions regarding her adopted city in the correspondence of Washington Post editor Meg Greenfield that parallel the famous, sometimes dissident sound of the avant-garde New York band, The Velvet Underground.
Join us for a conversation between Kluge Staff Fellow and historian Julie Miller and historian Bruce Ragsdale, whose recent book on George Washington explores the first president's relationship with farming and slavery and draws on the George Washington Papers held by the Manuscript Division.
Ainsworth Rand Spofford (1825-1908) was one of the longest-serving Librarians of Congress. But in 1861 he was uncertain about living in Washington, and busily covering the Civil War as a journalist. His letters home tell the tale.
This is the first in an occasional series in which we share items that have caught our eye. This unusual item from the papers of stage and film director Rouben Mamoulian (1897-1987) is a memento from the first movie he ever directed, Applause (1929). Mamoulian saved the back of his director’s chair that had been …