September 16, 2002 New Library Publication Features Photographs of Childhood

Contact: Audrey Fischer (202) 707-0022

“When They Were Young: A Photographic Retrospective of Childhood From the Library of Congress” has been published by the Library of Congress in association with Kales Press.

“We are pleased to present this collection of touching and timeless images of children from the Library’s unparalleled collection of more than 125 million items,” said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. “Each image reveals a component of the experience of childhood and invites us to see the surrounding world through the eyes of a child.”

For readers of all ages, “When They Were Young” is a beautifully illustrated portrayal of early life throughout the past 150 years. Accompanied by a poignant narrative written by Pulitizer Prize-winning author and child psychologist Robert Coles, this diverse photographic retrospective is a tribute to the hope and despair, grace and indignity, and playfulness and burden of childhood. Spanning the history of photography from the daguerreotype to documentary, the book features works by internationally renowned photographers such as Lewis Hine, who documented working and living conditions of children in the United States between 1908 and 1921; Edward Curtis, celebrated photographer of native peoples; and Toni Frissell, whose distinguished career spanned 40 years.

Also included are photographs from the Library’s Farm Security Administration-Office of War Information Collection (FSA-OWI) featuring works by well-known photographers Dorothea Lange, Jack Delano and Marion Post Wolcott. 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.

A companion exhibition, “When They Were Young: A Photographic Retrospective of Childhood,” will be on display Sept. 26 through March 22, 2003, in the South Gallery of the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building. Exhibition hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday.

Robert Coles is a world renowned child psychiatrist and best-selling author. He has published more than 1,400 articles and 60 books, including the five-volume “Children of Crisis,” “The Spiritual Life of Children,” and “The Moral Intelligence of Children.” He was the recipient of the Pulitzer Prize (1973), the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1998) and the American Psychiatric Association Distinguished Service Award (2000). He is currently a research psychiatrist for the Harvard University Health Services and professor of psychiatry and medical humanities at the Harvard Medical School.

“When They Were Young” – a 160-page hardcover book with 78 full-page, tritone photographs, is available for $39.95 in bookstores nationwide and the Library’s Sales Shop (credit card orders: 888-682-3557).


PR 02-125
ISSN 0731-3527