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July 29, 1997

Library of Congress Manuscript Division Releases 1994-1995 Acquisitions Report

From the typesetter's copy of Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man to a letter Martha Washington wrote to the Marquis de Lafayette concerning the death of her husband, the new publication Library of Congress Acquisitions: Manuscript Division, 1994-1995 highlights the diversity and breadth of the Library's manuscript collections.

This combined issue reports the acquisitions of the Manuscript Division for 1994 and 1995 and covers a wide scope of issues, including literature, politics, business, culture, science and diplomacy.

Statesman and soldier Marquis de Lafayette was thought to be a hero of two worlds due to his work in both France and the United States during the 18th century. The previously inaccessible papers of Lafayette were made available to the Library for microfilming in 1995 by Lafayette's descendant, Count Ren de Chambrun. Finished in 1996, the 66-reel microfilm edition contains as many as 25,000 items for examination.

In 1995, the Library acquired the collection of author Ralph W. Ellison, best known for his award-winning book Invisible Man. The collection includes Ellison's speeches, published and unpublished works, letters, notebooks, photographs, recordings and the writer's entire working library, with autographed first editions of books by authors such as Langston Hughes and Saul Bellow. The Ellison book library is one of only three personal libraries on permanent display in the special meeting rooms of the Thomas Jefferson Building, along with the personal libraries of Woodrow Wilson and Oliver Wendell Holmes.

Upon the death in 1995 of Edward L. Bernays, who is generally regarded as the "father of public relations," the Manuscript Division received the final addition to his already large collection started at the Library 30 years earlier. Including some 200,000 items such as client files, scrapbooks, correspondence and memoranda, the processed portions of the Bernays Collection offer an unprecedented, firsthand look at the inception and evolution of public relations from 1897 to 1979. In a 1965 letter to the Library, Bernays described his papers as giving the story of the origins and development of public relations as a profession in the United States."

Other new Manuscript Division acquisitions include the papers of Donald T. Regan, Secretary of the Treasury during the Reagan administration, which illuminate the former president's economic policies; the Janet Flanner-Natalia Danesi Murray Papers that record Flanner's influential career as a writer for The New Yorker and include correspondence between the two lovers, some of which were published as the "Darlinghissima Letters"; the papers of Thomas H. Hubbard, a Republican representative during James Monroe's presidency; the diary of William Speiden, a young pursers clerk who sailed with Commodore Matthew Calbraith Perry to Japan in 1853; and the W. Edwards Deming Papers that shed light on the career of the statistician and management consultant who helped Japan develop into a major world economic power after World War II.

Among the many additions to existing collections are a deed for land held by the Lincoln family; a diary kept by Noble Brandon Judah, U.S. ambassador to Cuba from 1927 to 1929; diaries of noncombatants Richard Parker and George H. Hall describing events of the Civil War; and the papers of various notable journalists, including Henry Brandon, Henry Shapiro, and Irvine R. Levine.

Illustrated with photographs and sketches, the 148-page report describes many of the collections with separate essays and explains their overall significance. In addition, Library of Congress Acquisitions: Manuscript Division, 1994-1995 contains a general essay discussing all other personal papers received, and another describing new microfilm acquisitions. The report also lists all the collections acquired in 1994 and 1995 in tabular form.

Researchers interested in consulting any Manuscript Division collection are advised to write or telephone the Manuscript Reading Room at (202) 707-5387 before visiting. Many processed and nearly all unprocessed collections are stored off-site, and advance notice is required to retrieve these items for research use.

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PR 97-120
7/29/97
ISSN 0731-3527

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