August 7, 2002 "A Photographic Retrospective of Childhood" to Open at the Library of Congress

Press Contact: Craig D'Ooge (202) 707-9189
Public Contact: (202) 707-4604

On Thursday, Sept. 26, the Library of Congress will open an exhibition of photographs of childhood titled, "When They Were Young: A Photographic Retrospective of Childhood." The exhibition will feature compelling images of children, spanning the history of photography from daguerreotype to documentary. "When They Were Young" will examine the experience of childhood across time, different cultures, and diverse socioeconomic backgrounds. The exhibition will be on display in the South Gallery of the Library's Thomas Jefferson Building, First and Independence Ave., S.E., Washington, D.C., through March 22, 2003.

The exhibition will mark the publication of a book, "When They Were Young: A Photographic Retrospective of Childhood From the Library of Congress," published by the Library of Congress, in association with Kales Press. The 160-page hardcover book will contain 78 full-page, tri-tone photographs, with commentary by noted author and child psychologist Robert Coles. It will be available for $39.95 in bookstores nationwide and the Library of Congress Sales Shop.

The exhibition of 68 photographs, drawn from the unparalleled collection of the Library's Prints and Photographs Division, will include photographs by Edward Steichen, one of the most influential and prominent figures in 20th-century photography; celebrated photographer of native peoples, Edward Curtis; Toni Frissell, whose distinguished career spanned forty years and included formal and informal portraits of the famous and powerful in the United States and Europe; Lewis Hine, who documented working and living conditions of children in the United States between 1908 and 1921; noted folklorist Alan Lomax; and photographs taken in Europe during WWII.

Also included in the exhibition will be photographs from the Library's Farm Security Administration-Office of War Information Collection (FSA-OWI) in which works by well-known photographers Jack Delano, Mary Post Wollcott, Russell Lee, Carl Mydans, John Vanchon, Gordon Parks, and Dorothea Lange appear. Comprising more than 165,000 photographs, the collection is an extensive pictorial record of American life between 1935 and 1944 and is considered a landmark in the history of documentary photography.

Both the exhibition and the book reveal telling moments in the lives of children, giving the subjects the dignity and respect deserved for the challenges presented during their short, but important - and sometimes momentous - time spent among adults.


PR 02-104
ISSN 0731-3527