A Small Nation of People: W.E.B. Du Bois and African American Portraits of Progress
African American life at the turn of the 20th century is the subject of this volume, which has recently been published by the Library of Congress in association with Amistad, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.
As the world prepared to celebrate a century of progress at the 1900 International Exposition in Paris, W.E.B. Du Bois, then a sociology professor at Atlanta University, was approached by Thomas Calloway, an African American lawyer who called for black participation in the exposition, to illustrate progress made by black Americans since Emancipation. Du Bois, Calloway and Daniel A. P. Murray, a son of freed slaves and assistant Librarian of Congress, compiled books, manuscripts, artifacts and some 500 photographs of people, homes, churches, businesses and landscapes that defied stereotypes. "A Small Nation of People" brings together more than 150 of these photographs in a single volume for the first time.
Known as "The Exhibit of American Negroes," the Paris display included a set of charts, maps and graphs prepared by Du Bois that recorded the growth of population, economic power and literacy among African Americans in Georgia. But it also included photographs that exemplified dignity, accomplishment and progress, showing African Americans attending universities, running businesses and serving as nuns.
In the years following the exposition, Murray succeeding in acquiring the complete set of photographs for the Library's Prints and Photographs collection. These images may be viewed on the Library's Web site in the Prints and Photographs Online Catalog (www.loc.gov/rr/print/catalog.html) in the collection designated "African American Photographs Assembled for the 1900 Paris Exposition." Prints of illustrations with reproduction numbers may be ordered from the Library's Photoduplication Service.
Essays by Du Bois biographer David Levering Lewis and photo historian Deborah Willis provide the context for the choice of these photographs and their importance today.
David Levering Lewis, a recipient of a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, is the author of several books, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning volumes "W.E.B. Du Bois: The Fight for Equality and the American Century" and "W.E.B. Du Bois: Biography of a Race." He is a professor of history at New York University.
Deborah Willis, also a MacArthur Fellow, writes frequently on African American themes as well as on the history of photography. Among her more recent publications is "Reflections in Black: A History of Black Photographers, 1840-Present." She is a professor of photography and imaging at New York University.
"A Small Nation of People," a 208-page hardcover book with 163 duotone images, is available for $24.95 in bookstores and through the Library of Congress Sales Shop, Washington, DC 20540-4985. Credit card orders are taken at (888) 682-3557.
The Thomas Jefferson Building, The Library of Congress
This postcard-size volume, published by the Library in association with Scala Publishers' Art Spaces, is part of an innovative series celebrating the architecture—both contemporary and classical—of buildings containing the art and design of Europe and the New World.
When the nation was just over 100 years old, the Congress of the United States voted to create a new library building to house its burgeoning collections. First called the Congressional Library, the building was later renamed for Thomas Jefferson, who sold his personal library to the nation. This skillfully designed book explores the art and architecture of this magnificent building.
Termed the "national temple of the arts" on its opening in 1897, the Library of Congress' Thomas Jefferson Building was designed to house America's national library and to showcase the art and culture of the growing Republic. Its grand-scale architecture was inspired by European national libraries, but its decoration was American-made. At the turn of the century, it rivaled many of the great European buildings of the period with its elaborate creations in plaster, mosaic, paint and stone, as well as its bold use of the latest technology such as electricity, elevators and pneumatic tubes for transporting book requests. Today the Thomas Jefferson Building houses a wealth of collections and resources unimagined by its creators.
"The Thomas Jefferson Building, The Library of Congress," a 64-page softcover book with 75 color illustrations, is available for $7.95 from the Library of Congress Sales Shop, Washington, DC 20540-4985. Credit card orders are taken at (888) 682-3557.
Books on the Frontier: Print Culture in the American West, 1763-1875
Drawn from the Library's unparalleled collection of maps, photographs, songbooks, almanacs, dime novels, law books, primers and other publications, Richard Clement's "Books on the Frontier" offers a history of book publishing and trade during the period of westward expansion in America. It is published by the Library of Congress in association with University Press of New England.
The frontier is part of the American national identity. As settlers sought the opportunities the frontier offered, the pioneers of the American book trade went westward with them to meet the basic need for reading material and to supply the information and entertainment the printed word provided.
Clement chronicles the exploits of the printers and publishers on the frontier who shared an interest in acquiring presses, printing type and paper; book selling and subscription publishing; and politics. He also tells the story of the readers, such as the men and women of the Great Plains who yearned for the escape of a novel and the missionaries who used books to teach English. Books also took the stories of the frontier back East, where frontiersmen Daniel Boone, Davy Crockett and Buffalo Bill Cody captured the popular imagination.
"Books on the Frontier" is richly illustrated with images of rare and unusual items from the Library and other institutions. Included are photographs, lithographs and posters featuring Buffalo Bill Cody and his "Wild West" show; legal documents such as "The Laws of the Territory of Louisiana," which was published by Joseph Charless at the behest of territory governor Meriwether Lewis; "The Missouri Harmony," one of the first tunebooks printed in the West; several captivity narratives (tales of capture by Indians); an 1803 map of western New York; and guidebooks such as U.S. Army Capt. Randolph Marcy's "The Prairie Traveler: A Handbook for Overland Expeditions."
Richard Clement is also the author of "The Book in America," a social history of books and reading in the United States. He is special collections librarian at the Kenneth Spencer Research Library of the University of Kansas.
"Books on the Frontier" is a 140-page hardcover book with 72 duotone illustrations. The 7-by-10-inch book is available for $29.95 in bookstores or from the Library of Congress Sales Shop (credit card orders: 888-682-3557).