September 8, 2014 1950s as Seen in Look Magazine Is Subject of Book Discussion

Author James Conaway to Present “The Forgotten Fifties”

Press Contact: Guy Lamolinara (202) 707-9217
Public Contact: Center for the Book (202) 707-5221
Contact: Request ADA accommodations five business days in advance at (202) 707-6362 or [email protected]

The more than 4 million images in the Look Magazine Photograph Collection (1937-1971) comprise the largest single collection in the holdings of the Library of Congress’ Prints and Photographs Division. For many Americans, the pages of Look defined the 1950s.

Author James Conaway has written about many of the most fascinating of these images from that decade in his new book, “The Forgotten Fifties: America’s Decade from the Archives of Look Magazine” (Skira/Rizzoli and the Library of Congress, 2014). Conaway will discuss and sign his work at noon on Tuesday, Sept. 23, in the Montpelier Room, located on the sixth floor of the James Madison Memorial Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C. This Books & Beyond event, co-sponsored by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress and the Library’s Publishing Office, is free and open to the public; no tickets are required.

The 1950s was a transformative decade that included the Red Scare of Joseph McCarthy, the Korean War, “I Love Lucy,” Brown v. Board of Education, the polio vaccine and Elvis Presley.

Conaway is a former Wallace Stegner fellow at Stanford University and the author of three novels, including, most recently, “Nose,” set in northern California’s wine country. He is also the author of nine books of nonfiction, the most recent being “Vanishing America: In Pursuit of Our Elusive Landscapes.” Conaway’s first novel, “The Big Easy,” is based on his experiences as a police reporter in New Orleans; his second novel, “World's End,” is a Louisiana coastal saga of politics and crime. He is the author of the Library’s bicentennial history, “America’s Library: The Story of the Library of Congress, 1800-2000,” published by Yale University Press in 2000, and he was a presenter at this year’s National Book Festival on Aug. 30.

The 224-page hardcover book, with 200 color and black-and-white photographs, is available for $45 in bookstores nationwide and in the Library of Congress Shop, 10 First St. S.E., Washington, D.C., 20540-4985. Credit-card orders are taken at (888) 682-3557 or

The Library of Congress, the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution and the largest library in the world, holds more than 158 million items in various languages, disciplines, and formats. The Library serves the U.S. Congress and the nation both on-site in its reading rooms on Capitol Hill and through its website at

The Library’s Center for the Book, established by Congress in 1977 to “stimulate public interest in books and reading,” is a national force for reading and literacy promotion. A public-private partnership, it sponsors educational programs that reach readers of all ages through its affiliated state centers, collaborations with nonprofit reading-promotion partners and through the Young Readers Center and the Poetry and Literature Center at the Library of Congress. For more information, visit


PR 14-159
ISSN 0731-3527