Caught Our Eyes: Celebrating Cars–and Car Parts!

The grounds of the U.S. Capitol have played host to millions of visitors, not to mention every flavor of celebrations and demonstrations. But it’s not often that you see a car parts strewn across the Capitol’s well-groomed grounds. Reference librarian Jon Eaker spotted this photo among photographs recently digitized from the U.S. News & World Report Magazine Photograph Collection and noted “When I first saw this photo I had no idea why it was taken or who the men were. I just liked the rather surreal view of a car in pieces in front of the Capitol on a nice spring day while two men sit on the car seat discussing something.”

The New Ford Maverick, on Capitol grounds. Photo by Warren K. Leffler, 1969. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.56710

The New Ford Maverick, on Capitol grounds. Photo by Warren K. Leffler, 1969. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.56710

With a little digging, Jon found a New York Times article from May 1, 1969 that filled in the story. During  “an informal meeting of the Senate Antitrust and Monopoly Subcommittee” Edward P. Williams, Ford division service manager (left) and Michigan Senator Philip A. Hart (right) illustrated how easy it was to dismantle the new Ford Maverick, making it cheaper for mechanics or do-it-yourselfers to make repairs. So the point was progress, not destruction!

A snippet of the Free to Use and Reuse: Cars set of more than forty images of automobiles.

A snippet of the Free to Use and Reuse: Cars set of more than forty images of automobiles.

Cars are on our minds this week, because down the hill from the U.S. Capitol building, historic cars are going on display (wonderfully intact–not in pieces!) on the National Mall. The Historic Vehicle Association is staging its 5th annual Cars at the Capital automotive heritage exhibit, featuring the newest cars to be added to the National Historic Vehicle Register.

To add to the celebration, the Library’s current “free to use and reuse” offering invites viewers to hit the road with images of classic cars, race cars, and steam-powered cars from the Library’s collections. It’s a care-free, fuel-free way to enjoy a trip down automotive memory lane.

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Behind the Scenes: Building Layers of Expertise

Below is an interview with Aliza Leventhal, Assistant Section Head for Technical Services in the Prints & Photographs Division at the Library of Congress. Melissa: You have now been at the Library of Congress for about 6 months – a relatively short period of time but hopefully enough to reflect on your experiences so far! […]