Winter Readings and Season’s Greetings

A group of readers sitting at a circular table under an ornately decorated domed ceiling

The Manuscript Division’s reading room as it once appeared in the Jefferson Building, ca. 1930-1940. Prints & Photographs Division, Library of Congress.

Reading is cozy in the wintertime. In 1989, anthropologist Rhoda Métraux, while sitting in a Vermont cabin built from a restored 1840s schoolhouse, looked out from her study window to find “lazy snowflakes drifting down, glinting because just before dusk the afternoon sun has broken through a cloud.” Surrounded by her “three big cats,” she kept the indoors warm with a wood stove burning big logs, some from her own trees.[1]

Books were everywhere. Métraux recommended reading the ones that “hold your interest and will take you away, quite regularly, from the problems you will be facing and struggling to understand.”[2]

We like reading in the wintertime too. Above is an image of our reading room when it was in the northwest pavilion of the Jefferson Building, and just a little more snug than it is today.

Season’s greetings from the Library of Congress Manuscript Division!

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[1] Rhoda Métraux, Christmas newsletter. December 1989, Filename: [WP].6, Digital ID: mss83228_164_005, Rhoda Métraux papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

[2] Rhoda Métraux to Stephen, July 26, 1987. Filename: LETR129, Digital ID: mss83228_164_001. Rhoda Métraux papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.