Hill Talk: Library of Congress Interns Show Work

Posted August 5, 2009 at 3:57pm

Wednesday’s Junior Fellows Exhibition at the Library of Congress featured an array of artifacts and presentations related to American and international history.

The program, in its fifth year, drew 47 students from the United States and the United Kingdom to participate in a 10-week internship.

The Junior Fellows worked with curators from each of the 18 divisions — from the African and Middle Eastern division to the Veterans History Project of the American Folklife Center — to develop and research projects focusing on increasing the Library’s access to scholars and researchers.

In the Geography and Map division, Pang Xiong and Andrew Walker carried out two different projects. While Walker worked on a geospatial aid for scholars needing maps related to the Civil War, Xiong processed and cataloged many of the Library’s maps.

At her presentation, Xiong displayed several maps that she said focused on the way maps tell stories. She showed four maps, including one from the Civil War and one in Arabic showing the importance of the Middle East to the fighting of the World War II.

A French map from the Franco-Prussian War depicts the countries of Europe as people.

“It’s obviously from a French perspective,— Xiong said, pointing out that the countries of the map were all focusing their aggression on France.

Another project, from the Prints and Photographs division, catalogued and researched 13,000 editorial cartoons of the legendary Washington Post cartoonist Herbert Block.

The students working on this project — Carol Acevedo, René Maes, Alexandra Newman and Mary Tucker — showed a number of Block’s original drawings. The Library of Congress has Block’s complete collection.

One point of the presentation was to show how Block stayed modern over the course of his 71-year career. This was demonstrated by two cartoons showing Congressmen attempting to get out of town, one from 1950 showing them climbing on trains and another from just a few years later featuring an airplane.