Caught Our Eyes: More Brünnhilde the Cat

Who could resist this purrfect profile?

Brünnhilde. Photo copyrighted by Adolph E. Weidhaas, 1936. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.51533

This unassuming – and apparently quite tolerant – tabby cat appears in an exhibit now at the Library of Congress: Not an Ostrich: & Other Images from America’s Library. The exhibit spans the history of photography from 1839 to modern times, as found in the Library’s collections.

In this 1936 photo, the cat, complete with winged helmet and breastplate armor, is costumed as the legendary Brünnhilde. Whether her depiction is drawn from Wagner’s opera Der Ring des Nibelungen or from earlier Norse mythology or Germanic legend, we don’t know, but we do know she has become one of the most-loved faces of the exhibit.

Reference Specialist Jan Grenci of the Prints & Photographs Division thought perhaps everyone would enjoy seeing the other photo of Brünnhilde in our collections and recently had it scanned and added to our online catalog. So, enjoy yet another view of the photogenic cat!

Brünnhilde. Photo copyrighted by Adolph E. Weidhaas, 1936. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.83927

Is she perturbed? Patient? Plotting revenge for this costume? We may never know, but the mystery is part of the fun!

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5 Comments

  1. Larry Miller
    January 5, 2023 at 6:21 am

    She’s a wonderful performer, but the real question is:

    can she hit the high notes???

  2. Cheryl Lederle
    January 5, 2023 at 6:43 am

    Well done, Jan! Brunnhilde has long been a favorite in our office and the new scan will surely bring great joy to her many fans

  3. Lauren F
    January 5, 2023 at 7:34 am

    That cat is biding her time until she can get glorious operatic revenge.

  4. Beth
    January 5, 2023 at 8:43 am

    She looks angry! I wonder how many claw swipes were endured.

  5. Tam
    January 6, 2023 at 6:33 pm

    “I got this”

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