June 10, 2003 Author and Illustrator Tracy Sugarman Discusses His Book at the Library of Congress on June 18
World War II Memoir Titled "My War: A Love Story in Letters and Drawings"
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Tracy Sugarman, acclaimed author and illustrator, will speak about his World War II memoir, My War: A Love Story in Letters and Drawings, at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, June 18, in the Mumford Room, sixth floor of the Library of Congress James Madison Memorial Building, 101 Independence Avenue S.E., Washington, D.C.
The program celebrates Sugarman's gift of original letters and drawings to the Library of Congress and is sponsored by the American Folklife Center's Veterans History Project and the Prints and Photographs Division, the recipients of the donated materials.
"I give to you my youth," said Sugarman, in announcing his gift to the Veterans History Project of the letters and drawings based on his experience in World War II.
Sugarman, a well-known illustrator whose work has appeared in major magazines and books and on television, has received numerous awards from the Society of Illustrators in New York City and the Art Directors Club in Washington, D.C. His paintings and illustrations have been exhibited widely, including a 1994 exhibition at the Naval Memorial in Washington, D.C., marking the 50th anniversary of D-Day. He lives and works in Westport, Conn.
We are grateful to receive Mr. Sugarman's treasured documents to add to our growing collection," said Ellen McCulloch-Lovell, director of the Veterans History Project. "This is one amazing example of the thousands of stories and memoirs that are being collected and preserved at the American Folklife Center."
On Dec. 7, 1941, when the Japanese were bombing Pearl Harbor, Sugarman was a young man studying to be an illustrator. Two years later, Sugarman was on a troopship bound for England, part of the massive Allied buildup for the liberation of Europe. On D-Day, June 6, 1944, he landed on Utah Beach.
Sugarman was not only a sailor; he was also an artist who chronicled every aspect of his war in watercolors and sketches. He also recorded his experiences in more than 400 letters to his wife, June, who carefully saved everything her new husband sent her. Fifty years later, June Sugarman astonished her husband by showing him his long-forgotten pictures and words: watercolors and pen-and-ink drawings set down with breathtaking immediacy in the midst of war, and letters in which the young man poured out his feelings about the terror and tedium of battle, his own ideals and hopes, and his love for his wife. After his wife died in 1998, Sugarman decided to publish the drawings and excerpts from his letters as a memorial to her; the book was published in 2000 by Random House.
The Veterans History Project is a project of the Library of Congress through its American Folklife Center to collect and preserve oral histories and documentary materials from veterans of World War I, World War II, and the Korean, Vietnam and Persian Gulf War. The project was created by a unanimous vote of Congress in October 2000. Individuals, family members, veterans, civic groups and organizations that are willing to interview veterans and civilians who served in support of the war effort are invited to contact the project for guidance and information. The resulting audio or videotapes and related documentary material collected from veterans will be preserved at the Library of Congress as a permanent record of the nation's history. Those who are interested in participating are encouraged to contact the office at 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, DC, 20540-4615 to request a project kit. The kit is also available on the Veterans History Project Web site at http://www.loc.gov/vets.
The collections of the Library's Prints and Photographs Division today number more than 13.6 million images. These include photographs, fine and popular prints and drawings, posters, and architectural and engineering drawings. While international in scope, the collections are particularly rich in materials produced in, or documenting the history of, the United States and the lives, interests and achievements of the American people. For more information, visit the division's Web site at http://www.loc.gov/rr/print/.