The following is a guest post by Helena Zinkham, Chief, Prints and Photographs Division.
The Historic Vehicle Association (HVA) displays amazing cars on the National Mall each spring. Their Cars at the Capital event tells the stories that make these rare automobiles, motorcycles, and trucks come to life. Once added to the National Historic Vehicle Register, each car is documented with professionally created photographs and measured drawings. Four of the twenty-four registry vehicles are already part of the Historic American Engineering Record for which the Library of Congress provides enduring and online public access.
1918 Cadillac Type 57 on display at the National Mall. Photo by Historic Vehicle Association, 2018.
There might not seem to be much in common between “old cars” and the oldest federal cultural institution—the Library of Congress. But the connections are plentiful.
The Library of Congress has an especially strong connection to the 1918 Cadillac Type 57, also known as U.S. 1257X. The Historic American Engineering Record statement of significance notes: “The vehicle is … associated with Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt, the daughter-in-law of former President of the United States Theodore Roosevelt, who was charged with leading women’s official involvement in WWI.”
Overall view of the interior viewed from above, facing the front of the car. – 1918 Cadillac Type 57, Gardiner, Jefferson County, WA, Photo by Casey T. Maxon, 2014. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/hhh.wa0922/photos.581704p
E[leanor] wearing Y.M.C.A. uniform that she designed. Photo, 1936. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3c35061
The Prints & Photographs Division received all 25 volumes of Mrs. Roosevelt’s family photo albums as a gift in 1986. During a recent visit, the current owner of the 1918 Cadillac was fascinated to see the images that she saved. Devotion to accuracy based on research is another common characteristic for the HVA and libraries!
The Library of Congress and the HVA also share a strong commitment to preserving and documenting the past. We both strive to bring the past alive by telling the stories that make history matter today and for future generations.
Whether it’s appreciation for the technology or a connection to a family story, images of motor vehicles spark imagination and memory. Prints & Photographs Division staff enjoyed sharing items from the collections relating to motor vehicles at a recent display in the reading room.
P&P staff and visitors survey motor vehicle related items on display. Photo by P&P staff, 2018 April.
The following is a guest post by Beverly Brannan, Curator of Photography; Adam Silvia, Associate Curator of Photography; and Helena Zinkham, Chief, Prints and Photographs Division. The Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles, California, has created a lively exhibition called “Not an Ostrich: And Other Images from America’s Library.” In support of the show, […]
Spring in Washington, D.C., is marked by changing weather, gardens coming back to life and of course, cherry blossoms. The famous cherry blossom trees surrounding the Tidal Basin and Jefferson Memorial, a gift from Japan more than a century ago, are nearing peak bloom which also means peak volume of visitors to view them! To […]
Last week, Prints and Photographs Division staff had an opportunity to participate in Washington, D.C.’s first annual celebration of Harriet Tubman Day, which represented several very satisfying convergences. The official Harriet Tubman Day is March 10th, the date of Tubman’s death (the date of her birth is not known). The celebration was held March 8th […]
The following is a guest post by Helena Zinkham, Chief, Prints & Photographs Division. It’s a remarkable achievement for any social media program to still be going strong after ten years. But the most important part of the Flickr Commons is the opportunity to talk about pictures without the barriers of time and place. A […]
Settle in for a good strong cuppa because December 15 is International Tea Day! Tea drinking began thousands of years ago in China and made its way west to Europe through Dutch trade in the sixteenth century. By the nineteenth century, the East India Company had a monopoly on the tea trade between China and […]
The following is a guest post by Helena Zinkham, Chief, Prints & Photographs Division. You can find libraries at the heart of many different communities, from the center of a town or a college campus to a shared toolbox at a construction site. The new book American Libraries, written by architectural historian Kenneth Breisch, takes […]
September 22 is World Car Free Day, an annual event when participants around the world set aside their car keys and find alternative methods for getting to work. This annual observance goes back to the 1970s, and gained more ground in the 1990s to coincide with the European Union’s “In Town Without My Car” campaign. […]
“Thousands of residents stood with necks craned and peered wide-eyed through smudged glass as the moon sped between the sun and earth, gradually shutting off the bright morning light. From President Coolidge to the urchins with bundles of papers under their arms, the city marvelled at the awesome but magnificent sight.” - The Washington Post, […]
The following is a guest post by Katherine Blood, Curator of Fine Prints, Prints & Photographs Division and Linda Stiber Morenus, Special Assistant to the Director of Scholarly & Educational Programs and longtime paper conservator. Known for his credo “Art for Art’s Sake,” American artist James McNeill Whistler (1834 – 1903) was a virtuoso etcher whose […]