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November 1, 2006

Press Contact: Anneliesa Clump (202) 707-9822, [email protected]
Public Contact: Veterans History Project (202) 707-4916, [email protected]

“Art of War” First-person Accounts Go Online Nov. 9

A selection of 13 fully digitized collections of materials submitted by war veterans will be highlighted on the Veterans History Project web site beginning Nov. 9, 2006. The collection of fully-digitized stories is titled “Art of War,” and will be added to “Experiencing War” stories from the Veterans History Project at www.loc.gov/warstories.

“Art of War” documents the individual experience with paint brushes, pencil sketches, and camera lenses. From the Vietnam photographs of Aldo Panzieri to the World War II GI portrait sketches of Mimi Korach Lesser, these collections tell tales that mere words cannot describe. Many of the collections contain interviews and other documents, but it is their artwork that is the truly eloquent testimony to all facets of war.

“Oral histories form the heart of the Veterans History Project collections, but there are many other ways to tell the story of service during wartime,” states Bob Patrick, director of the Project. “If one picture is worth 10,000 words, then the collections featured in this Web presentation provide an expansive story of America during wartime.”
In 1944, New York commercial artist Mimi Korach decided to volunteer to work in a Merchant Seamen’s Club, sketching portraits of lonely servicemen. A USO official suggested she go to local veterans hospitals to create sketches of patients that could be mailed to their distant families. During a two-year tour of duty in Europe, Korach sketched portraits of GIs recuperating in evacuation hospitals. She sketched hundreds of servicemen as well as street scenes in occupied Germany and other devastated countries.

This is the eleventh set of individual stories—comprising interviews, letters, photographs and written memoirs—to be featured on the site. Past themes have included D-Day, prisoners of war, military medicine and spies. Companion sites to the project’s two books, “Forever a Soldier” and “Voices of War,” can also be viewed on the “Experiencing War” site.

To date, more than 45,000 individuals have submitted stories to the Veterans History Project. The Project’s Web site now has 3,616 stories online, many of which include audio and video interviews, photographs, diaries, letters and other materials, consisting of more than 150,000 online items. These materials are part of the continuing effort by the Library to make its collections accessible online.

Veterans from World War I through the current conflict, and the civilians who supported them, are coming forward to record their personal stories and contribute personal documents for a growing archives in the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. The goal is to collect, preserve and share with future generations the stories of all American war veterans.

Those interested in becoming involved in the Veterans History Project are encouraged to send e-mail to [email protected] to request a project kit. The kit is also available on the Veterans History Project Web site at www.loc.gov/vets or call the toll-free message line at (888) 371-5848.

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