The following is a guest post by Micah Messenheimer, Curator of Photography, Prints & Photographs Division.
This week’s anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing provides a perfect opportunity to explore our holdings of lunar photography in the Prints & Photographs Division.
From the medium’s beginnings, the moon fascinated photographers as both a subject of scientific inquiry and as poetic muse. Early efforts to photograph the moon were often met with failure due to the low sensitivity of available materials.
Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre attempted photographs in his eponymous process around 1838 that were described as “fuzzy and low in details,” by his advocate, François Arago. Successful photographs of the moon using the daguerreotype process would not be made until over a dozen years later, when the celebrated Boston portrait photographer John Adams Whipple sought the assistance of Harvard astronomer William Cranch Bond and his son, George Phillips Bond.
Using the college observatory’s Great Refractor telescope, they captured the sphere in its waxing gibbous phase on March 14, 1851.
One of the most enduring traditions of Memorial Day is the decoration of the graves of fallen service members with such items as flowers and American flags.
This annual day of commemoration was at one time referred to as Decoration Day because of this practice. My grandmother grew up in the deep South, where tradition held that you took an annual pilgrimage to your family cemetery, which in their case required a road trip to southern Arkansas, to clean and decorate the graves of all of your ancestors.
This tradition may have inspired the post Civil War movement to decorate the graves of those who died in military service. While the holiday was referred to as both Decoration Day and Memorial Day for decades, Memorial Day was declared a federal holiday in 1971 and is now celebrated on the last Monday in May.
Gestures of respect and commemoration on Memorial Day are made in acts both small and large, personal and ceremonial. Gratitude for the sacrifice and service of millions of American men and women takes place in all parts of the world, in countries where service members fell fighting as well as at memorials in the United States. Journey to the graves in Arlington National Cemetery, in small rural cemeteries and in foreign lands, and travel to battlefields and memorials where many are named and remembered through the images below.
The following is a guest post by Jan Grenci, Reference Specialist for Posters, Prints and Photographs Division.
Winter is one of my favorite seasons, what with the snow, and the cookies, and the caroling. There are a number of posters in the collections of the Prints and Photographs Division that illustrate some of the things that make winter the most wonderful time of the year.
Posters of the Winter Season. A blog post at “Picture This: Library of Congress Prints & Photos” on 2017-12-06.
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