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Staff Favorites: Lost in the Visuals

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Amusement park, Old Orchard Beach, Maine, Carol Highsmith
Amusement park, Old Orchard Beach, Maine, Carol Highsmith

We are often asked which Library of Congress primary source is our favorite. We could never choose just one, but this week Kathy McGuigan of the Library of Congress highlights an especially intriguing or engaging primary source from the Library’s online collections.

When I search through the Library’s collections, sometimes I’m lucky enough to come across an image from the Highsmith (Carol M.) Archive. I always find myself taking time to freely explore her work. The reason I get lost in her images is because I can almost always imagine myself being there in the moment, taking in the vista, and I feel my other senses wanting to kick into high gear to join my sense of sight. This image called “Amusement park, Old Orchard Beach, Maine” is the perfect example of how that happens.  I love amusement parks and the state of Maine, and I find my nose twitching to take in the smell of salty air and French fries (which then triggers a desire to taste the fries).  I can almost hear the squeals of children going through the turn from the water ride above the one pictured.  My hand wants to reach out and feel the cool touch of the handrail as a small chip of paint flakes off.

Highsmith’s work is expansive and amazing and the users of the Library’s site are the beneficiaries of her generous donations of her copyright-free images. She’ll be the keynote speaker for the Library’s first online conference for teachers next month — watch this space for details about the event, coming soon!

Meanwhile, explore the collection and tell us about your favorite discovery.




  1. That fantastic, except now you’ve made me hungry for french fries! But seriously, folks, what a marvelous resource. Thank you for pointing the way.

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