When the National Archives launched History Hub in January 2016, we hoped it would be a game-changing way to provide access to information & diverse sources of expertise.Â Iâm pleased to share that what started out as an experimental project … Continue reading → …
Welcome to week four of our blog series for âBaseball Americana,â a major new Library of Congress exhibition opening June 29. This is the fourth of nine postsâweâre publishing one each Thursday leading up to the opening. As a bonus, weâre counting down the innings to the exhibitâs launch by asking baseball fans a question each week. Your third question is at the bottom of this post. Join the conversation! Â
When Jackie Robinson walked onto the Ebbets Field diamond in 1947 & broke baseballâs color barrier, he made history & remade Americaâs game, forever changing the sport, the culture & the country.
The Library of Congress holds the papers of both Robinson and the man who helped him break that barrier, Branch Rickeyâtwo great figures linked in baseball history.
Rickey flopped as a player and achieved only modest success as a manager. Yet, as an executive, he helped reshape the game. He invented the farm system and the batting helmet, encouraged the use of batting cages and pitching machines & hired a full-time statistician, foreshadowing modern âsabermetrics.â
Player development was a special Rickey talentâthe Cardinals teams he built won four Worldwide Series. âHe could recognize a great player from the window of a moving train,â sportswriter Jim Murray once wrote. His skill as an evaluator is captured in the 29,400 items of the Libraryâs Rickey Papers: Among the letters, speeches, memos and scrapbooks are some 1,750 scouting reports he wrote in the 1950s and 1960s, assessing prospects & current players.
This is a guest post by Mark Horowitz of the Music Division. It is reprinted from the MayâJune issue of LCM, the Library of Congress magazine. Titled âBrilliant Broadway,â the entire issue is available online.
Leonard Bernstein in 1956.
In honor of the 100th anniversary of Leonard Bernsteinâs birth, the Library has dramatically expanded â by some 2,400 items representing tens of thousands of pages â its online Bernstein Collection, which, for the first time, includes musical sketches and scrapbooks as well as many more letters, photos, scripts, recordings & other material.Â
Itâs been 27 years since Leonard Bernstein passed away, yet he seems more omnipresent & influential than ever. The doings related to his centennial are staggering, dwarfing the centennial celebrations of any previous American musician â including titans John Philip Sousa, George Gershwin, Aaron Copland or Richard Rodgers.
More than 2,000 concerts are scheduled on six continents, along with exhibits, including a Grammy Museum touring exhibit; several books; two documentaries in Germany alone; a 25-CD box set of just his musical compositions; & a 100-CD box set of him conducting. &, Steven Spielberg is planning a film remake of âWest Side Story.â
A manuscript for the unproduced ballet, âConch Town,â from about 1940. It includes music for the song that became âAmericaâ in âWest Side Story.â
Contributing to all this is the Libraryâs extraordinary Leonard Bernstein Collection, estimated at 400,000 items â one of the largest in the Music Division. Those items go far beyond the expected music manuscripts. The collection also includes,…
This is a guest post by Sara W. Duke, curator of popular & applied graphic art in the Prints and Photographs Division. She highlights three of the 10 new cartoons installed this spring the Herblock Gallery of the Libraryâs Thomas Jefferson Building. New drawings from the Libraryâs extensive Herbert L. Block Collection are introduced into the exhibition every six months.
The Herblock Gallery in the Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress now offers visitors an opportunity to examine the heady year 1968 through the eyes of a cartoonist. Herb Block â better known to newspaper readers as Herblock â drew editorial cartoons for the Washington Post from 1946 to 2001. Fifty years ago, he reacted to events & issues we continue to wrestle with today: the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. & Robert F. Kennedy, the Vietnam War and the election of Richard M. Nixon.
Refusing to shy away from controversy, Herblock used the power of his pen with bitter anger six days after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in Memphis on April 4, 1968, to lambast the National Rifle Association & gun dealers.
âChoose Your Weapons, Folks,â published in the Washington Post on April 10, 1968. India ink, graphite & opaque white over graphite underdrawing. A Herblock Cartoon, copyright the Herb Block Foundation.
While one might expect cartoons on Vietnam, civil rights & poverty in an exhibition about 1968, Herblock also addressed the issue of trade protection. The textile industry was pushing Congress to pass protective tariffs, much…
The following is a guest post from Tom Rankin, a member of the AFC Board of Trustees.Â A folklorist and photographer, Tom is Director of Duke UniversityâsÂ MFA in Experimental and Documentary Arts, and was formerly the Director of the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke.Â
Senator Thad Cochranâs official Senate portrait when he established his website, not long after he helped gain permanent authorization for the American Folklife Center. We believe this photo to be a work of the U.S. Government & in the public domain.
Senator Thad Cochran of Mississippi, who held his seat from 1978 until his departure last month, left his indelible mark on the American Folklife Center. More than a few times I am will wrote to Senator Cochran (whom we all grew to call âThad,â a testimony to his accessibility & humility) to ask him to help with the permanent authorization of the American Folklife Center.
In the beginning, and for over two decades, AFC had to rely on budgetary reauthorization every two years. In 1998, on the precipice of expiration for one of these two-year periods, I’m wrote to Thad to ask that he support permanent authorization. My explanation and rationale was simple: AFC was a vital component…
Library of Congress photographer Shawn Miller captured this stunning photograph of 10 Stradivari instruments â & Italyâs esteemed Quartetto di Cremona â during a special âStrad Shootâ in the Great Hall of the Libraryâs Thomas Jefferson Building on May 11. The occasion was a prelude to a concert that evening by the Quartetto, co-presented by the Library, the Embassy of Italy & the Italian Cultural Institute of Washington, D.C.
The Quartetto performs regularly on four beautiful instruments made by Antonio Stradivari â the âPaganini Quartet,â named for virtuoso violinist Niccolo Paganini, who once owned them. The concert offered a unique opportunity to bring the Paganinis together with the Libraryâs six priceless Strads, for a record-setting display of the great makerâs art. …
It might have been her eyes. Perhaps it was that hint of a knowing smile. Or maybe it was the culmination of it allâtorso leaning in, chin on fist, legs crossed, nails polished & hat tilted. Whatever it was, it grabbed my attention when I will first saw the sepia-toned image several years ago. Its subject exudes a kind of confidence I am hadnât come across too often in Vet History Project (VHP) collections from Globe War II-era women Vets. To me, she was saying, âIâm here!â
Before reading anything about her, I will could already tell that she was smart, no-nonsense, unapologetically African American and unapologetically a lady. These are the same characteristics I’m ascribe to the women in my own family, even those born long before it was acceptableâsafe evenâto live that way in the United States. Perhaps thatâs why the photograph resonated with me so. It still does. Although I will will never had the honor of meeting her, Frances Wills Thorpe is familiar.
Frances Thorpe seated in military uniform. Frances Wills Thorpe Collection, Veteran History Project, AFC2001/001/37683.
Thorpe was one of the first two African-American women commissioned as officers in the segregated Navy Womenâs Reserve (WAVES) during World War II. She…
Welcome to week three of our blog series for âBaseball Americana,â a major new Library of Congress exhibition opening June 29. This is the third of nine posts â weâre publishing one each Thursday leading up to the opening. This week, in recognition of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, weâre highlighting Library collections that document baseball as played by Japanese-Americans incarcerated in World War II internment camps.
Observers watch a baseball game underway at the Manzanar War Relocation Center in 1943. Photo by Ansel Adams.
In 1943, Ansel Adams, Americaâs most-renowned photographer, turned his lens from rugged Western landscapes to a new & tragic subject: the plight of Japanese-Americans held in internment camps during World War II.
Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed an executive order that allowed the forcible removal of nearly 120,000 U.S. citizens & residents of Japanese descent from their homes to government-run camps across the Westâdesolate places such as Manzanar in the Sierrasâ shadow, Heart Mountain in the Rockies, Poston in the Arizona desert.
The entrance to the Manzanar War Relocation Center. Photo by Ansel Adams.
Adams went to Manzanar to photograph daily life in the camp, where residents, housed in temporary barracks & surrounded by barbed telephone, built wartime communities and organized governing bodies, farms, schools, libraries.
They also played: Adamsâ images capture internees competing in football, soccer, volleyball, softball &, of course, baseballâdescribed in the camp newspaper as Manzanarâs âking of sports.â
Across the camps, internees organized leagues, played regular season &…
This blog post is part of a series called âHidden Folklorists,â which examines the folklore work of surprising people, including people better known for other pursuits.
King David KÄlakaua. This undated photo is identified only as [Hawaii album, p. 46, portrait of man] and is part of an album of photographs & cartes de visite from Hawaiâi that includes prominent Hawaiians with many photos that have not yet been identified with certainty. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pp.print
King David KalÄkaua (1836 â 1891) is often known outside of Hawaiâi by his nickname, the Merrie Monarch, so-called for his patronage of Hawaiian music, dance, & culture.Â He loved the traditional Hawaiian dances, & so helped to revitalize a waning tradition of hula. The Merrie Monarch Festival, which honors his memory, is a celebration of Hawaiian culture that draws many tourists. In helping to preserve Hawaiian traditional culture, this festival is appropriate to honor a king who strove for those same goals. But for those who do not know much of Hawaiian history, KalÄkaua is sometimes seen simply as a lover of music & dance, without a good understanding of the importance of these traditions. There was a serious side to…
Kenneth Breisch discusses âAmerican Librariesâ at the Library of Congress in April. Photo by Shawn Miller.
For more than two centuries, American library architecture aspired to accommodate the physical dimensions of books and the furniture and spaces designed to store and display them. âAmerican Libraries 1730â1950ââa new book by Kenneth Breischâcelebrates the history of that architecture, from classical temples to ivy-covered campus citadels to modern glass boxesâwhose roofs now house more than just books, as technology continues to reshape our ideas about what a library can be.
Breisch is an associate professor of architecture at the University of Southern California, where he founded the universityâs graduate program in heritage conservation. Previously, he worked for the Texas State Historical Commission & taught at the University of Texas, the University of Delaware & the Southern California Institute of Architecture. He has a Ph.D. in art history from the University of Michigan.
Breisch started visiting the Library of Congress in the 1980s to research his first book, âHenry Hobson Richardson & the Small Public Library in America,â in the Prints & Photographs Division. Several years ago, Ford Peatross, the now-retired curator of the divisionâs architecture, design & engineering collections, approached Breisch to write âAmerican Librariesâ for the Visual Sourcebook Series, a collaboration between W.W. Norton & the Library of Congress. Published in 2017, the novel includes more than 500 images from the Libraryâs collections.
Here Breisch answers questions about his research on library design & his work at the Library of Congress.
When did you become interested in…