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How Many Ninas Can You Find?

When Al Hirschfeld (1903-2003) died this year, a piece of entertainment history died with him. He wasn't an entertainer in the way we usually think of entertainers -- as performers -- but he entertained millions of fans nonetheless with his caricatures of the most famous people in show business. From Liza Minelli to Bogey and Bacall, he drew them all with his characteristic elegant lines, and anybody who was anybody wanted to be drawn by him. Hirschfeld would have been 100 on June 21 this year.

Philip Bosco in Copenhagen Meets Claudia Shear in Dirty Blonde Billy Graham: A Visionaries Vision

In 2000, in honor of the bicentennial of the Library of Congress, Hirschfeld donated many of his works, augmenting the Hirschfelds already in the collections. An exhibition was mounted called Al Hirschfeld: Beyond Broadway. It featured many of the lesser-known works of this American master. It also offered new opportunities for lovers of his work to find the "Ninas."

Beginning in 1945, he began hiding the name of his daughter in his drawings. The number following his signature indicates how many times her name appears in a drawing. There is one "Nina" in Hirschfeld's representation of Billy Graham, above. Can you find it? There are five "Ninas" in the other drawing.

If you are interested in entertainers and the history of entertainment, you may want to explore the following: "Emile Berliner and the Birth of the Recording Industry." Berliner was a largely self-educated man who was responsible for the development of the microphone and the flat recording disc and gramophone player.

In "Inventing Entertainment: The Early Motion Pictures and Sound Recordings of the Edison Companies," you can read about, as well as see and listen to, the work of the "Wizard of Menlo Park."

The Federal Theatre Project was one of five arts-related projects established during the first term of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt under the Works Progress Administration. In "The New Deal Stage: Selections from the Federal Theatre Project, 1935-1939," you can learn about an important part of the career of Orson Welles, the mastermind behind "Citizen Kane." In this collection are stage and costume designs, still photographs, posters and scripts for Welles' productions of Macbeth, The Tragical History of Dr. Faustus and Power, a topical drama of the period.

Around the same time, William P. Gottlieb began photographing the greatest names in jazz. More than 1,600 of these extraordinary images can be seen in "Photographs from the Golden Age of Jazz." Other entertainers are documented in "Creative Americans: Portraits by Carl Van Vechten, 1932-1964."

And that is just a small portion of the entertainment-related images, sound recordings and films available in American Memory. If you go to the American Memory Collection Finder Search page and scroll down the list of more than 100 collections, entertainers of all sorts, from many periods in American history, can be found.

A. Al Hirschfeld, artist, Philip Bosco in Copenhagen Meets Claudia Shear in Dirty Blonde, 2000. Prints and Photographs Division. Reproduction No.: LC-USZ62-127468.

B. Al Hirschfeld, artist, "Billy Graham: A Visionaries Vision," 1970. Prints and Photographs Division. Reproduction No.: LC-USZ62-127465.

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