Press contact: Audrey Fischer (202) 707-0022

October 22, 2007

New Guide to Library's Air and Space Collections Is Published

The possibility of flight captured human imagination long before the Montgolfier brothers’ unmanned hot air balloon succeeded in carrying a duck, a rooster and a sheep above the city of Versailles in 1783. Before and after that date, people sketched, painted, photographed, sang about and described in words the ways a human being might fly like a bird. Each time someone achieved an advance in flight, the world took note. The record of these advances is described in "Aeronautical and Astronautical Resources of the Library of Congress: A Comprehensive Guide" by Ronald S. Wilkinson, John F. Buydos and others.

Funded in part by a gift from Abe and Julienne Krasnoff and by the Daniel Guggenheim Fund for the Promotion of Aeronautics (administered by the Library’s Science, Technology and Business Division), the guide surveys both the general and special collections.

"This comprehensive, annotated guide to the Library’s collections in the history of aeronautics and astronautics is the first of its kind since it deals not only with its special collections in those fields—such as its manuscripts, photographs, rare books and maps—but also with the deep and broad holdings in what might be described as the Library’s hidden giant, its general collections," wrote Leonard C. Bruno, the Library’s science manuscript specialist, in the book’s preface.

Joining the papers of the Wright brothers (given to the Library of Congress in 1949 by the Orville Wright estate) are papers documenting the activities of those engaged in military aeronautics, aircraft manufacture and flight to outer space. Pictorial materials relating to aeronautics and astronautics abound in the Library’s collections, which also include a surprising amount of related motion picture and music material. Aeronautical charts and maps present another aspect of the subject, as do oral histories and memorabilia donated to the Library’s Veterans History Project.

Anyone who has dreamed of browsing through the Library’s book stacks will enjoy John Buydos’ journey through its general collections. Here are many of the copyrighted books, pamphlets and periodicals that pertain to aeronautics and astronautics as well as materials gotten as gifts, through exchange or by purchase. Buydos considers each group as it is arranged by the Library of Congress classification system, beginning with bibliographies, encyclopedias and chronologies and continuing through U.S. and international periodicals, biographies and works on aeronautical engineering, military uses of aeronautics, space travel and more.

"Aeronautical and Astronautical Resources of the Library of Congress: A Comprehensive Guide," a 464-page paperback with 290 illustrations, is available for $29.95 from the Library’s Sales Shop, Washington, D.C. 20540-4985. Credit card orders can be taken at (888) 682-3557. Online orders can be place at www.loc.gov/shop/. The publication is also available from the Superintendent of Documents, P.O. Box 371954, Pittsburgh, Pa. 15250-7954. Fax orders to (202) 512-2250.

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PR 07-204
10/22/07
ISSN 0731-3527

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