Freedom's Fortress: The Library of Congress, 1939 to 1953
May 3, 1939 President Franklin D. Roosevelt sends a letter to Felix Frankfurter, newly appointed associate justice of the Supreme Court, asking Frankfurter if he believes that Archibald MacLeish would be a suitable successor to Herbert Putnam as Librarian of Congress (1899-39). Despite the efforts of the American library community to influence his choice, Roosevelt is determined to choose his own candidate.
October 12, 1940 The Hispanic Society Reading Room of the Hispanic Foundation is formally opened.
January 8, 1941 The Library sends notices to members of Congress announcing orientation sessions about its services.
January 12, 1942 The Library of Congress unveils a series of four murals in the anteroom of the Hispanic Foundation. Among the most distinguished gifts in the Library's history, the murals were painted by Cândido Portinari, who was commissioned by the Brazilian Government.
1943 to 1944
February 18, 1943 Librarian Archibald MacLeish appoints a Committee on the Collection of Photographic Materials to formulate a policy governing the acquisition of photographic materials for the Library's collections. Chaired by David C. Mearns, the Committee concludes that the Library should set up a national photographic collection, study the costs of servicing such a collection, define its nature, and develop classification and cataloging procedures...
1945 to 1953
February 13, 1945 Archibald MacLeish sends President Franklin D. Roosevelt a confidential letter in which he offers a list of possible successors as Librarian of Congress. He recommends Vannevar Bush of the Carnegie Institute, Theodore Christian Blegen of the University of Minnesota, Kenneth Murdock of Harvard University, and Wilmarth Lewis, bibliophile and the editor of the Horace Walpole correspondence.