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February2009
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What's a Water Baby?

In addition to the obvious impact of 9/11 on the Library of Congress and its staff, the tragedy also had an almost immediate effect on the institution's collections.

Soon after the attacks, the Library began to think about how it would collect materials that would document the events for the future. In the Prints and Photographs Division, curators began to assemble photographs made within minutes of the attacks. Also gathered for the collections were illustrations and other pictorial accounts.

Jessie Willcox Smith, "He Looked Up at the Broad Yellow Moon and Thought That She Looked at Him," 1916 First Smith-Illustrated edition of "The Water-Babies," 1916

"The Water Babies" were on view in a Library exhibition that has since closed. You can view the exhibition online and delight in these watercolors. More than 40 other exhibitions are also available from this Web site. If you enjoyed "The Water Babies," you may especially take pleasure in seeing another exhibition, "When They Were Young: A Photographic Retrospective of Childhood." These pictures, selected from among thousands of images in the Prints and Photographs collections of the Library of Congress, capture the experience of childhood as it is connected across time, different cultures and diverse socioeconomic backgrounds.

For hundreds more images of children, go to the Prints & Photographs Online Catalog and type "children" in the search. Be prepared to gain access to hundreds of images dating from the birth of photography to the present.


A. Jessie Willcox Smith, "He Looked Up at the Broad Yellow Moon and Thought That She Looked at Him," 1916. Prints and Photographs Division. Reproduction No.: LC-USZC4-1381; LC-USZ62-53873

B. First Smith-Illustrated edition of "The Water-Babies," 1916, by Charles Kingsley. Rare Book & Special Collections Division