November 1, 2010 Library Acquires Marilyn Church Collection of Courtroom Trial Drawings

Press Contact: Donna Urschel (202) 707-1639
Public Contact: Sara Duke (202) 707-3630

Artist Marilyn Church, using colored pencil and crayon, has captured some of the most dramatic moments in high-profile courtroom trials during the past 36 years. The Library of Congress is acquiring, through a gift/purchase agreement, an exceptional collection of Church’s drawings.

Church created more than 3,000 drawings at landmark trials involving such well-known people as Martha Stewart, J.K. Rowling, Bernard L. Madoff, Jacqueline Onassis, the men responsible for the 1993 explosion in the World Trade Center, Woody Allen and Mia Farrow, John Gotti, Bernhard Goetz, Rudolph Giuliani (as a prosecuting attorney), General William Westmoreland, Ariel Sharon, the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, Norman Mailer (as a witness) and John Lennon’s assassin Mark David Chapman.

The Library is purchasing a selection of Church’s most sought-after drawings, but the bulk of her archive is being generously donated to the Library by Church’s family.

Church’s drawings are an important part of American history, because she portrayed events unfolding in courtrooms where cameras were not allowed. She provided insight into the people who influenced the major issues of the late 20th century, including race and race relations, gender, women’s reproduction, political and corporate corruption, religion, international relations and celebrities. Her collection offers researchers an opportunity to learn from poignant illustrations about some of the most famous people in America during their most vulnerable moments.

The acquisition will significantly extend the Library’s representation of famous trials, beginning with the work of Howard Brodie in the 1950s and 1960s, and will give the American people visual access to some of the most important judicial trials in the 20th century.

Church studied fine art at the Pratt Institute and Indiana University and began her career as a freelance artist for WABC-TV in 1974 and, soon afterwards, for the New York Times. Key drawings also appear in her book “The Art of Justice: An Eyewitness View of Thirty Famous Trials” (2006).

The Church drawings will be added to the Library’s Prints & Photographs Online Catalog at during the coming year.

The Prints and Photographs Division preserves and provides access to 14.25 million images, including photographic prints and negatives, fine and popular prints and drawings, posters, cartoons, and architectural and engineering drawings. While international in scope, the collections are particularly rich in materials documenting the history, interests and creative achievements of the American people.

Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution. It seeks to spark imagination and creativity and to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections, programs and exhibitions. Many of the Library’s rich resources can be accessed through its website at and via interactive exhibitions on a personalized website at

Images are available for media: contact [email protected].


PR 10-248
ISSN 0731-3527