Hi, my name is Barbara Rappaport, and I have always wanted to be an actor. I was born and raised in Philadelphia, PA, went to Temple University, and majored in Dramatic Arts. While at Temple, I met and married my husband, Sheldon. After graduation, I commuted to New York to study acting with the famed Stella Adler while my husband finished his studies at the University of Pennsylvania Law School.
A twist of fate brought us to Washington, DC, where my husband took a job with the federal government and we started a family. Once my children were school-aged, I resumed my acting career in the Washington area. In the late 1980s, I also began narrating books for the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped at the Library of Congress (NLS).
There are so many books I’ve enjoyed narrating that it’s impossible to choose my favorite ones, but I did especially enjoy reading the Anne of Green Gables series by L.M. Montgomery, as well as many fascinating biographies of famous people—some well-known, such as Barbra Streisand and Madeleine Albright; others less so, like Shana Alexander, Mariette Hartley, and Kitty Dukakis. Other books taught me things I never would have learned on my own. For example, Jewish Pirates of the Caribbean, by Edward Kritzler, really existed! From Hedy Lamarr, by Stephen Shearer, I discovered the gorgeous movie star was also an amazing inventor. A Square Meal: A Culinary History of the Great Depression, by Andrew Coe and Jane Ziegelman, is so much more than what its title implies.
It’s difficult to know which I have enjoyed more: acting in theater or narrating for NLS. My acting has included both the highs and lows of comedy and drama. My performances, when they are over, live on only in my or the audience’s memory. One thing is for certain: the books at NLS stand ready for generations to enjoy.