By AMEE POWELL
The 2011 Junior Fellows Summer Interns display, which was held at the Library on July 28, is a highly anticipated annual event.
“It’s the highlight of the year,” said Associate Librarian for Library Services Deanna Marcum, in her opening remarks. “At a time when we, the Library of Congress staff, go into the dog days of summer, the Junior Fellows bring with them a fresh energy that is truly needed here,” Marcum added.
“The quality of work seen here is the tip of the iceberg,” said Jeremy Adamson, the Library’s director for Collections and Services. “You won’t see the meat, but you will see the dessert,” he said, referring to the more than 100 items on display, selected from 33 collections processed by the interns during the 10-week program.
The late Mrs. Jefferson Patterson and the James Madison Council generously support the annual Junior Fellows Summer Internship Program. Under the direction of a cadre of curators and Library specialists, undergraduate- and graduate-level students learn first-hand how the world’s largest library acquires, preserves and promotes knowledge and creativity. The Library also benefits from their discoveries in its vast, global collections.
Marcum reminded the attendees that the eclectic nature of the items found in the Library’s collections reflect Thomas Jefferson’s belief that, “There is no subject to which a Member of Congress may not have occasion to refer.” From the nucleus of Jefferson’s personal collection—sold to the Congress in 1815—a trove of more than 147 million items has burgeoned.
Jefferson would have appreciated information on feeding an army, which Junior Fellow Brian Horowitz found while processing U.S. Army/War Department manuals housed in the Library’s Science, Technology and Business Division. [A passionate gourmet, Jefferson’s recipe for vanilla ice cream and his drawing of a macaroni making machine are housed in the Library of Congress]. Horowitz, a student at Montgomery College, produced a detailed inventory of approximately 4,000 technical manuals dating from the 1940s to the early 1970s.
Members of Congress and a host of federal agencies are interested in reports produced by the Library’s Federal Research Division. To facilitate access to these items, intern Zoe Zebe from Grinnell College created an Excel-based interactive finding aid to the division’s products with active links to electronic versions. On display were two such reports with futuristic outlooks: “Domestic Trends to the Year 2015: Forecasts for the United States,” and “International Security Environment to the Year 2020: Global Trends Analysis.”
The Federal Research Division, along with the World Digital Library and the Poetry and Literature Center, hosted Junior Fellows for the first time this summer.
Caitlin Rizzo of Marymount University worked on a project to digitize the Poetry and Literature Center’s audio archives, which include readings by notable poets. On display was correspondence from poets Allen Ginsburg, Peter Orlovsky and Gwendolyn Brooks regarding the production of the original audio recordings.
Theodore Waddelow of Rutgers University investigated potential partners for the World Digital Library, a collaborative initiative to make the world’s cultural and historical resources accessible online.
The opening of three new preservation laboratories last year allowed the Preservation Research and Testing Division to host five Junior Fellows. With academic backgrounds ranging from art history to chemistry, the interns explored the chemical, physical and optical properties of items dating back to the 16th century such as Ptolemy’s “Geographia” (1513). A facsimile copy was on display.
For the second year, the Young Readers Center hosted a Junior Fellow. The center, which opened in the Thomas Jefferson Building in October 2010, recently received a donation of juvenile books from Diane Roback, children’s book editor at Publisher’s Weekly. Inventorying the collection was a labor of love for intern Joni Hill, a teacher, who is attending Texas Women’s University to retrain as a school librarian.
Items processed by the interns came to the Library not only as gifts but through the Copyright deposit system. The centralization of U.S. copyright functions in the Library of Congress in 1870, and the requirement to deposit two copies with each registration, continues to provide a rich source of the Library’s acquisitions.
The Copyright Deposit Collection (1870–1897), which predates the opening of the Library’s own headquarters in the Jefferson Building in 1897, was transferred to the Rare Book and Special Collections Division in the 1980s. Interns Amanda Zimmerman, Sarah Gunther and Jennifer Maggi were tasked with inventorying and re-housing more than 12,000 of those copyright registrations received by the Library between 1871 and 1875. Brightly colored product labels for labor-saving devices, posters for P.T. Barnum’s circus acts and toys and games developed by the Milton Bradley Company tell a story of the rise of America’s leisure class at the close of the 19th century.
While processing copyright registration in the U.S. Copyright Office (1898–1909), intern Patrick Madden came across an array of items pertaining to the Dreyfus Affair. The political scandal over the wrongful charge of treason again French artillery officer Alfred Dreyfus was the focus of newspaper stories, political cartoons, books and pamphlets that came through the Copyright Office. Madden, a history major at Mount St. Mary’s University, learned firsthand that “Copyright collections give us a cross-section of social and cultural history at any given time.”
Amee Powell was a summer intern in the Office of Communications.