Press Contact: Guy Lamolinara (202) 707-9217

August 24, 1998

Leonard Bernstein Items On-Line from LC
Materials of American Composer, Conductor, Writer and Teacher Available Aug. 25

A portion of the Leonard Bernstein Collection, one of the largest and most varied collections in the Library of Congress, will be available on Aug. 25 from the American Memory Web site ( Aug. 25 is Bernstein's 80th birthday.

This "preview" site offers a hint of the materials that will later become available.

The 85 photographs that document Bernstein's professional as well as personal life from the 1920s to the 1980s are one of the highlights of this release. The collection includes the first known photograph of Bernstein conducting for the Camp Onata Rhythm Band in 1937; an image of Bernstein rehearsing contralto Marian Anderson in 1947; photos of the musician with family and friends and even photographic holiday cards.

Researchers will appreciate the Finding Aid, which includes descriptions of materials processed as of August 1997. These include correspondence, writings, photographs, datebooks, schedules, address books and programs. The music in the collection (both printed and manuscript) will be the final series of materials to be processed.

A bibliography lists books by and about Bernstein, and a chronology provides highlights of his life.

In a "Message from Jamie Bernstein Thomas," one of the musician's daughters, she says, "Leonard Bernstein' s life, besides being richly creative, was also extensively documented. In addition to his manuscripts and voluminous correspondence, there are also his recordings, videos, film footage and thousands of photographs. This is truly a multimedia archive, which makes it particularly appropriate for the Library of Congress's ambitious on-line initiative, the National Digital Library Program.

"The estate of Leonard Bernstein chose the Library of Congress in 1993 as the repository for the Leonard Bernstein Collection because of the Library's strong commitment, spearheaded by the Librarian, James H. Billington, to make portions of its collections available through the new digital media," she continues. "Moreover, Bernstein's career coincided with the rise of television, and it was his unique genius to understand the power of this new medium to communicate the joy of music to millions of people through it. So it seems entirely in keeping with Bernstein's generosity of spirit to make materials from his archives available to the greatest number of people -- which is the essential purpose of the National Digital Library Program."

American Memory is a project of the National Digital Library Program, which, in collaboration with other major repositories, is making available on-line materials relating to American history by the year 2000, the bicentennial of the Library of Congress.

Thirty-nine collections are now available in media ranging from photographs, manuscripts and maps to motion pictures, sound recordings and presidential papers. The most recent collection to be added is "America from the Great Depression to World War II: Photos from the Farm Security Administration-Office of War Information, 1935- 1945," which contains some of the best known photographs ever published as well as never-before-seen images that were made as part of this New Deal effort.

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PR 98-128
ISSN 0731-3527

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