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HOME An Unenviable Situation Buried Treasures Saving 'Rocky Horror' ... And Other Classics He Had The Write Stuff 'Straight, No Chaser' One Day Her Prince Did Come He Bought a Dismal Swamp
Granting Copyright

The Library of Congress has many treasures waiting to be discovered. That is why college students working here last summer as Junior Fellows summer interns identified hundreds of literary, artistic, film and musical gems among the Library's copyright deposits.

A rare late-19th century E.E. Strauss & Co. advertising poster, which the Junior Fellows summer interns found in a box of Copyright applications, received preservation treatment in the Library's Conservation Division and was then transferred to the Prints and Photographs Division. One of 56 boxes of early 20th century copyright applications for pictorial works, which were reviewed by the Junior Fellows summer interns.

"The Library of Congress is the home of the U.S. Copyright Office, which registers more than 600,000 creative works each year, " said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. "By surveying items acquired through the copyright deposit system, these students are participating in the Library's multiyear celebration of American creativity."

Working closely with Library staff and curators in the Copyright Office; Manuscript Division; Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division; Music Division; and Prints and Photographs Division, 21 college students from across the nation processed portions of the Library's nonbook collections that came through the copyright registration process and identified a number of rare or unique items.

The quest revealed a 1954 home movie of Marilyn Monroe playing golf; the text of a 1913 lecture by blind educator Anne Sullivan titled "The Education of Helen Keller"; a previously undocumented playscript for Charlie Chaplin's 1925 film, "The Gold Rush"; one of only nine operettas ("Desiree," 1882) written by John Philip Sousa, who was best known for his marches; and a 1929 Kellogg's Corn Flakes advertisement, which exemplifies the Library's collection of some 50,000 popular applied graphic arts.

You can see many of the Library's treasures in the aptly named exhibition "American Treasures from the Library of Congress." This permanent exhibition, on view in the Great Hall of the Thomas Jefferson Building, can also be viewed online. From time to time, new objects enter the exhibition as those on display are sent back to their "homes" for safekeeping. A list of what is currently on display is available.

The so-called "Top Treasures" of the Library offers, among other rarities, the original rough draft of the Declaration of Independence, James Madison's copy of the proposed Bill of Rights, George Washington's commission as commander-in-chief and the earliest of the five drafts -- in Abraham Lincoln's hand -- of the Gettysburg Address.

A. A rare late-19th century E.E. Strauss & Co. advertising poster, which the Junior Fellows summer interns found in a box of Copyright applications, received preservation treatment in the Library's Conservation Division and was then transferred to the Prints and Photographs Division. Reproduction information: Not available for reproduction.

B. One of 56 boxes of early 20th century copyright applications for pictorial works, which were reviewed by the Junior Fellows summer interns. Reproduction information: Not available for reproduction.