Profile: Erin Allen
Writer & Editor, Library of Congress
Erin Allen has been a writer-editor in the Library's Public Affairs Office since June 2006. In that capacity, she is the content manager for the Library of Congress blog, writes feature stories for The Gazette -- the Library's staff newsletter -- and the Library of Congress Magazine, and handles outreach for several Library divisions including Music; Hispanic; and Rare Book and Special Collections. She also served as acting editor of The Gazette. Prior to coming to the Library, she was assistant editor at InRegister Magazine in Baton Rouge, La. There she covered women's lifestyle, fashion and beauty; travel; gardens and interiors; and Baton Rouge nightlife and society. When not at work, she sings with The Washington Chorus and plays women's flat track roller derby. She holds a bachelor's degree in Mass Communications/Print Journalism with a minor in vocal performance from Louisiana State University.
NoteStreams By Erin Allen
Did you know The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling was actually written during a snowy winter in Vermont?
(The following is a guest blog post written by Elizabeth Gettins, Library of Congress digital library specialist.)
Library Of Congress Blog
(The following is a guest post by Levon Avdoyan, Armenian and Georgian area specialist in the African and Middle Eastern Division.)
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland has been beloved for nearly 150 years - indeed, it's never been out of print since it's original publication. It did not, however, get off to a good start.
(The following is a story featured in the May/June 2016 issue of the Library of Congress Magazine, LCM. You can read the issue in its entirety here. The story was written by August and Clare Imholtz, who have been collecting“Alice” books for more than 30 years. Clare is also a volunteer in the Library’s Rare Book and Collections Division.)
Changes in technology have facilitated global access to the Library’s folklife collections.
(The following is an article by Stephen Winick from the March/April 2016 issue of the Library of Congress Magazine, LCM. You can read the issue in its entirety here.)
Every age has its own image of the “woman of valor,” and in the crumbling Jewish world of post-exilic Spain, that image was embodied in the persons of two unique women: Doña Gracia Nasi and Signora Benvenida Abravanel.
Poghos Garabedian started his personal memoirs with a flourish. Within the next 41 pages, this merchant in the Ottoman Empire – originally from Arapkir in the region of Malatya, Turkey – would detail his extensive mercantile travels to Constantinople, the Crimea, Arapkir and Eastern Europe.
Basketball, unique among major sports, has a clear creation story: We know when, where, why and how the game was invented, and by whom.
Now, some 125 years after the first game was played in a Massachusetts school gymnasium, we know something new: the sound of the creator’s voice.
(March Madness is here, and the Library of Congress has an interesting connection to basketball’s invention. The following is a story written by Mark Hartsell for the Gazette, the Library’s staff newsletter.)
Today’s popular food blogs are an outgrowth of recipe-sharing in America that began with community cookbooks. It seems as if everyone is focused on food. We tune in to cooking shows on television and radio, read magazines and books devoted to food, even plan vacations to include food tourism.
(The following is an article written by Alison Kelly, science librarian and culinary specialist in the Library’s Science, Technology and Business Division, for the November/December 2015 issue of the Library of Congress Magazine, LCM.
Jumping gigawatts! Today, the future has arrived! If you were around in 1989, Oct. 21, 2015, may have seemed light-years away, and you might have thought we would all be riding around in flying cars or something. Well, your imagination isn’t as far-fetched as you think.
The Library of Congress promotes the pleasure and power of reading.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, monthly job gains averaged 235,000 over the last three months. Many of these jobs and industries didn’t even exist 10, 20, even 30 years ago – coder, software engineer, social media strategist, Zumba instructor, to name a few. But, just as new jobs are created, others become completely obsolete. Out with the old, as it were.
The following was written by Matthew Camarda, one of 26 college students participating in the Knowledge Navigators program at the Library of Congress.
Category: Military History
The following post has been written by Kevin McBrien, one of 36 college students participating in the Library of Congress 2015 Junior Fellows Summer Intern Program.
April Rodriguez, one of 36 Library of Congress Junior Fellow Summer Interns, wrote the following post while working in the Library’s American Folklife Center.
What is culture? What elements of expression make each culture unique?
As part of the Junior Fellows program, I have had the opportunity to catalog and research different sheet music collections. I encountered quite an interesting item while working on the Early American Sheet Music collection: a manuscript of a song “The Shipwrecked Seaman’s Ghost” from “The Pirates” (an opera), credited to English composer Stephen Storace.
Follow the journey taken by each of the 300,000 books added to the Library’s collections annually.
Between the time a book is published and a library user reads it, as many as a dozen Library staff members will have handled the volume. They will have made a series of crucial decisions about its acquisition for the collection, analyzed and described it in the Library of Congress Online Catalog and preserved and shelved it so it can be made accessible to readers.
The Library of Congress works daily to build a universal collection.
Blame Thomas Jefferson.
He’s the founding father (and ravenous reader) who convinced the U.S. Congress it needed not just his books on law and history to replace its more than 3,000-volume library–torched with the U.S. Capitol by the Redcoats in 1814–but all 6,487 of his volumes, in many languages and on many topics.
(This is a feature story in the July/August 2015 issue of the Library of Congress Magazine, LCM. The story was written by Jennifer Gavin, a senior public affairs specialist in the Office of Communications. Joseph Puccio, the Library’s collection development officer, contributed to this story. You can read the issue in its entirety here.)
The music collections at NLS represent the world’s largest source of material for visually impaired musicians and music lovers – more than 30,000 braille transcriptions of musical scores and instructional texts; large-print scores, librettos, reference works and biographies; instructional recordings in music theory, appreciation and performance; and talking books and magazines. Each year, the Music Section fills between 2,500 and 3,000 requests from a wide range of people who suffer from blindness or low vision – professional players seeking scores to perform, blind students or teachers in need of instructional material, or aficionados who just want a good book about a favorite musician. Very few sources exist around the world for braille musical scores and instructional texts, says John Hanson, head of the Music Section.
In 1780, the ship the Hermione (pronounced Hair-me-OWN) brought Lafayette to America with news that the French would be supporting the revolutionary cause with money and troops. This trip was actually Lafayette’s second voyage to America. He first arrived on these shores in 1777, at only 19, to join the Continental Army. He purchased his own ship to make the trip because King Louis XVI forbade him to come.
Recently my dad gave me an interesting little tidbit concerning further research he has done on our family tree that is particularly auspicious for the occasion of the Fourth of July celebrations. As it turns out, his research has led him to believe I’m related to George Washington – specifically as a cousin on Dad’s side of the family.
This revelation started me wondering how Washington commemorated our country’s independence, considering he was a distinguished general and commander in chief of the colonial armies during the American Revolution and later the nation’s first president.
Laughter, with its links to the development of the human brain, no doubt dates back to mankind’s earliest ancestors. But it was not until the 4th century B.C. that ancient Greece first formalized comedy in dramatic-arts competitions. From Aristophanes–the chief comedic playwright of ancient Greece–to 21st-century “rom-com” films, plays and musical comedies, the Library of Congress maintains an impressive archive of published and unpublished materials, much of which is downright rib-tickling. From their writings, we know that the founding fathers managed to find humor during the tumultuous process of creating a new nation. No less a force in the shaping of our country than Benjamin Franklin described the importance of comedy in our lives. “Trouble knocked at the door, but, hearing laughter, hurried away,” he said. The personal papers of many founding fathers, housed in the Library, contain their wit as well as their wisdom.
On the afternoon of May 7, 1915, the German submarine U-20 torpedoed and sank the British cruise liner Lusitania traveling from New York to Liverpool, England. In a scant 18 minutes, the luxury liner with nearly 2,000 passengers sunk to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Ireland. Nearly 1,200 passengers perished; more than 100 were Americans, including millionaire Alfred Vanderbilt, writer Elbert Hubbard and theater producer Charles Frohman.
Category: Military History
What stories can a little record book that George Washington assembled to track the productivity of his weaving workshop at Mount Vernon tell? The book, which is part of the extensive collection of financial records that are part of Washington’s papers at the Library of Congress, doesn’t look like much. Nine inches high and seven-and-a-half pages wide, it was rebound by Library conservators very simply in paper, having at some point lost its original binding, if it ever had one. Its 26 pages contain a series of tables, neatly drawn by Washington himself, each with the heading “An Account of Weaving Done by Thomas Davis &c in the Year . . . ” These describe the output of the weaving workshop from January 1767 to January 1771, show how much of what the weavers made Washington used himself and how much he sold to his neighbors, and tell less than we would like to know about the free and enslaved weavers who worked there.
(The following is a guest post by Julie Miller, early American history specialist in the Manuscript Division.)
Founded by the National Society of Professional Engineers, Engineers Week aims to raise public awareness of the contributions to society of the profession. The celebration is typically held in conjunction with George Washington’s actual birthday (February 22). Washington could be considering one of the nation’s earliest engineers, particularly for his work in surveying.
The Washington Monument is probably one of the most recognizable structures in all of D.C. At 555 feet, the Egyptian obelisk can be seen from miles away. A particularly picturesque vantage point is looking at the monument through the cherry blossom trees along the tidal basin. Built to honor President George Washington, the Washington National Monument Society laid the monument’s cornerstone on Independence Day, 1848. However, it would take almost 40 years before the structure would be completed. The monument underwent two phases of construction, one private (1848-1854) and one public (1876-1884).
Armed guards? Check. Secret rendezvous points? Check. Mysterious steel briefcase? Check. Sounds like a James Bond movie. But it’s just a day in the life of Christopher Woods, director of the National Conservation Service in Britain. By day, he’s a leading conservator in the field with more than 29 years experience working in the heritage sector, including serving as head of Conservation and Collection Care at the Bodleian Library at Oxford University and director of Collection and Programme Services at the Tate Gallery in London. By night – well, more like special assignment – he is the man tasked with transporting Lincoln Cathedral’s original copy of Magna Carta when it’s on travel.
I’m a big fan of “Downton Abbey,” so naturally I have been anticipating this season’s series premiere for several months. Following the episode, there was a special on how the show accurately represents the customs and manners of 1900s Britain. If you’re not familiar with “Downton,” the show centers around the wealthy Crawley family, headed by the Earl of Grantham and his multi-millionaire American heiress wife Cora. As it turns out, the idea of an American woman becoming a titled aristocrat isn’t as sensationalized for television as you might think.