By AUDREY FISCHER
Rare comic books, wax cylinder recordings, novelty postcards, sheet music, maps, hand-colored films and a tale told on a hooked rug were among the 200 items recently displayed by the 2008 class of Junior Fellows Summer Interns, who located them among the copyright deposits and gifts that have come into the nation’s library.
“This is a wonderful program,” said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. He referred to the annual “treasure hunt,” participated in this year by 50 students from across the country and as far away as Scotland. When the fruits of their labor go on display, he said, “It’s one of the happiest events in the summer in Washington.”
“These are the type of young professionals we want at the Library of Congress,” said Linda Stiber Morenus of the Preservation Research and Testing Division, who served as exhibit director for the interns’ display.
Morenus, along with Karen Lloyd of the Strategic Planning Office and staff in 15 Library divisions, worked closely with the students as they located and itemized uncataloged, non-book materials submitted to the Library through the copyright registration process or received as gifts.
During the 10-week paid internship program, the students were exposed to a broad spectrum of library work: preservation, reference, access standards, information management and the U.S. copyright system.
In the past, summer interns have identified hundreds of literary, artistic, film and musical gems as prime examples of past American creativity. This year, “finds” included copies of the Virginia and New Jersey Plans (1787) upon which the current bicameral U.S. political system is based; a map of the proposed U.S. Capitol grounds by F.C. De Krafft (1822); selected items from the Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. Collection (1841–1935); the April 21, 1865, issue of the Weekly National Republican, which details Abraham Lincoln’s assassination and its aftermath; a rare first-edition piece of instrumental sheet music for the “Maple Leaf Rag” by Scott Joplin (1899); a rare print of “The Rajah’s Casket” (1906) by Pathé Frères, one of the first companies to experiment with the use of hand-coloring in motion pictures; items pertaining to the 1929 film “Applause,” directed by Rouben Mamoulian; and the first edition of “G-Men” (1935), a comic book that favorably portrayed the Federal Bureau of Investigation and its former director, J. Edgar Hoover.
Billington reminded the students and other attendees that the summer internship program is made possible through the generosity of the late Mrs. Jefferson Patterson and the James Madison Council, a private-sector advisory group.
“Mrs. Jefferson Patterson was an amazing woman,” said Billington. “She was a frontier nurse and a war photographer, who lived to be nearly 100. Her presence is felt here today, as is that of the Madison Council.”