By ERIN ALLEN
The Library’s Nov. 15 announcement that historians John Hope Franklin and Yu Ying-shih were to receive the 2006 John W. Kluge prize for lifetime achievement in the study of humanity topped recent coverage of the Library in the news. The honor, which includes a $1 million prize, recognizes lifetime achievement in fields such as history, philosophy, politics, religion and linguistics that are not covered by the Nobel prizes. The recipients have each played a pioneering role in bringing to light aspects of American and Chinese history that have been overlooked.
New York Times reporter Dinitia Smith interviewed Franklin and Yu at their homes in Durham, N.C., and Princeton, N.J., respectively. Franklin said he plans to use some of the money to endow a fellowship at Fisk University in Nashville in memory of his wife, Aurelia. Yu said his plans for the prize money were uncertain but, he quipped, “part of it will go to taxes.” The Washington Post ran a news item on the announcement, citing another award Franklin received in November, the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award for nonfiction.
Several media outlets covered the Dec. 5 ceremony held at the Library to honor the Kluge Prize recipients. Washington Times reporter Ann Geracimos commented that both recipients “spoke with vigor” on receiving the honor. She went on to highlight their efforts in promoting civil rights, including Franklin’s participation in Martin Luther King’s historic march from Selma, Ala., to Montgomery, Ala., and Yu’s role as an outspoken critic of Chinese Communist policy.
In her article for Newhouse News Service, Judy Peet spoke with Yu, who called himself a “very unlikely scholar,” having taught himself classical Chinese, English, biology and algebra before receiving his first formal education as a Harvard visiting scholar at age 25. “For me, I hope fame is brief, but Westerners should never forget about China,” he said.
Jane Stancill of the Raleigh, N.C., News & Observer spoke with Franklin, who said, “I’ve done everything I could do to revise history so we could revise our lives. As long as I have breath I will work on that problem because I think that’s the salvation of this country and of the world.”
Franklin was quoted in The Herald-Sun in Durham as saying, “That they [Kluge Selection Committee] would look at my whole career and conclude I was worthy of this prize that they put on the level with the Nobel Prize … I was speechless, deeply moved, grateful.”
Brief mentions on the Kluge Prize and the recipients were also included in the Associated Press, Xinhua General News Service, Agence France Presse, Hampton Roads News, the Star-Ledger in New Jersey and Jet Magazine.
Garnering a cover story in the November issue of Where Magazine was the Library’s exhibition “Cartoon America.” (See Information Bulletin, November 2006). Accessible online at www.loc.gov/exhibits/cartoonamerica/, the exhibition features selections from the Art Wood Collection of Cartoon and Caricature.
“Wood had a fantastic eye,” said curator Sara Duke to Where reporter Julie Wakefield. “He was enthusiastic about cartoon art when other people were throwing it away.”
In Michael O’Sullivan’s Nov. 10 article for the Washington Post, he called the exhibition a “tightly yet smartly organized cream-of-the-crop-style survey” and one that is “not without bite,” but at its heart is humor.
“Spanning three centuries, the collection is distinctive and unparalleled because of the depth of its holdings in political cartoons and comic strips and the specific landmark pieces in all major genres,” said Jeff Shultz of the Pauls Valley Daily Democrat in Oklahoma. In his Nov. 16 article, he likened the Library’s temporary exhibition to the permanent Oklahoma Cartoonists Collection at the Toy and Action Figure Museum, which features some of the same artists showcased in “Cartoon America.”
In her Dec. 9 article on the exhibition, The Examiner reporter Robin Tierney said “the unfussy installation lets the artistry shine, from precise cross-hatching to lush monotonal shading to astonishing figure drawing.”
ABC News reporter Laura Marquez did a feature on political cartoons of “Cartoon America” for both abcnews.com and World News Now in early November. For both stories, she spotlighted several cartoons, including a 1965 cartoon with President Lyndon Johnson holding on to the tail of a tiger named “Vietnam” with the tagline “but how to let go gracefully.”
“Political cartoons are supposed to reflect the hot button issues of the day. As this exhibit shows, history does indeed repeat itself,” she observed.
Held at the Library Dec. 7-8, the first public viewing outside of Italy of Leonardo da Vinci’s preparatory drawing for the Adoration of the Magi was covered by Yahoo News, ABC News Now, CBS Morning News, The Hill, The Washington Times, Roll Call, The Washington Post, UPI and the Associated Press. The viewing of this work, which was commissioned for the main altar of the monastery of San Donato a Scopeto near Florence, was sponsored by Finmeccanica, Italy’s largest aerospace and defense company.
On Dec. 27, Librarian of Congress James H. Billington announced his selection of 25 films to be added to the National Film Registry. Among the 25 films slated for preservation were such obscure titles as “St. Louis Blues,” the only known film footage of jazz great Bessie Smith; “Think of Me First as a Person,” a home movie about a child with Down syndrome; and “Early Abstractions #1-5, 7, 10,” Harry Smith’s compilation of seven of his films from 1939-1956.
Most outlets cited the more contemporary films added to the list, such as Mel Brooks’ “Blazing Saddles,” “Groundhog Day,” John Carpenter’s slasher classic “Halloween” and “Rocky.” Coverage included articles by The Hollywood Reporter, DailyIndia.com, weblogs Defamer and Screenhead, Broadcast News, Newsday, UPI, Daily Variety, New York Times, filmthreat.com, abcnews.com, Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News, Daily Press in Newport News, Va., The Fresno Bee in California, World News with Charles Gibson, The Houston Chronicle, Detroit Free Press, Charleston Gazette in West Virginia, NPR, Hindustan Times, Video Business, Roll Call and several Canadian media outlets.