August 10, 2005 Library's Copyright Deposits Yield Treasure Trove of American Creativity
Interns’ Treasure Hunt Yields Rare or Unique Items
Press Contact: Audrey Fischer (202-707-0022)
Library of Congress Junior Fellows Summer Interns have identified hundreds of literary, artistic, film and musical “gems” among the Library’s copyright deposits.
“As the home of the Copyright Office of the United States, the Library of Congress has been the repository and mint record of American creativity since 1870,” 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. A selection of these treasures will eventually be accessible on the Library’s Web site at www.loc.gov.
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.
Many of the items demonstrate that American creativity is inspired by historical events. These include a 1945 musical score titled “We’ll Write the Last Page of Mein Kampf”; a series of stereographs that comically depict the 1870s grasshopper plague in Nebraska; artist G.A. Haist’s image for the 1901 Pan-American Exposition held in Buffalo, N.Y., and post-9/11 songs such as “There’s No God in Old Bin Laden” (Eric Free and the Freedom Band, 2002).
Items that capture presidential history include a candid photograph of William McKinley, taken hours before his assassination on Sept. 6, 1901, and a photograph of a blood-stained playbill from Ford’s Theatre on the night of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination.
American ingenuity is captured in a pair photographs taken during the 1901 automobile race between Detroit auto mechanic Henry Ford and manufacturing magnate Alexander Winton, which resulted in seed money for the former to launch the Ford Motor Co. A 1922 flipbook designed to teach piano and organ demonstrates one of the earliest forms of animation.
America’s favorite pastime is featured on some extremely rare baseball cards that were submitted for copyright in the late 19th century. A 1904 photograph depicts Hall of Famers Napoleon Lajoie (Cleveland Blues) and Honus Wagner (Pittsburgh Pirates) shaking hands.
The Junior Fellows Summer Intern Program is a joint project of the Copyright Office, Library Services, Office of Workforce Diversity and Human Resources Services. The program, which is an extension of the Library’s Junior Fellows Program, is made possible through the generosity of the late Mrs. Jefferson Patterson.
The interns’ treasure hunt and the upcoming National Book Festival on Sept. 24 (www.loc.gov/bookfest) are part of the Library’s “Creativity Across America” multiyear celebration. This national initiative will also feature a 12-city concert tour featuring Thomas Hampson. The internationally acclaimed baritone will perform selected American songs drawn from the Library’s incomparable collections. The tour, which begins in the Kansas City greater metropolitan area on Nov. 12, will also include displays of unique materials from the Library, master classes, teacher institutes and events for young people to inform them of the depth and variety of American song and story. For more information about the tour, visit the Web site at www.loc.gov/creativity/hampson.