Fellows and Interns
The Junior Fellows Program
in the Manuscript Division
The Library of Congress Junior Fellows Summer Intern Program attracts talented college juniors, seniors, and graduate students from all parts of the country and abroad to work with the Library’s copyright and gift collections in fourteen different divisions of the Library, including the Manuscript Division.
Manuscript Division chief James H. Hutson and archivist Ernie Emrich examine documents from a manuscript collection with interns Zachary Mills and Andrew Boyd. Photograph by Karen Lloyd.
Through the Junior Fellows program, the Library of Congress furthers its mission to provide access to a universal record of human knowledge and creativity as exemplified by its collections, while supporting current and future generations of students and scholars.
The interns inventory, catalog, arrange, preserve and research a variety of copyright or gift backlogs in many different formats in their respective divisions. Near the end of their time at the Library, the interns join together to present a one-day exhibit of the rarest, most historically significant, and compelling gems they found in the course of their work. This group celebration of their efforts and of the important finds they have brought to light from the Library’s collections has been open to Library staff, the press, and members of Congress and is always an eagerly anticipated event.
In preparation for the group show-and-tell exhibit, Library conservators provide guidance in how to handle and stabilize the often-fragile materials for display. Dating primarily from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the primary collections with which the interns work represent the many facets of our creative and intellectual heritage, as preserved at the Library of Congress.
The ten week program is a joint project of the U.S. Copyright Office, Library Services, the Office of Workforce Diversity, Human Resources Services and the Office of the Chief Financial Officer. The program is made possible through the generosity of the late Mrs. Jefferson Patterson and the Madison Council.
Allison Curran and Alena Palevitz, 2007 Junior Fellows in the Manuscript Division, displayed for members of Congress, August 1, 2007, the original director’s scrapbook from the original production of Porgy and Bess. From the unprocessed Rouben Mamoulian Papers, it includes correspondence and reviews as well as handwritten notes by George Gershwin. Photograph by Karen Lloyd.
2008 Junior Fellow Maribeth Theroux and supervising senior archivist Laura Kells admire one of the many intriguing items found during the processing of the Rouben Mamoulian collection. Photograph by Karen Lloyd
Additionally, the green light to work on gift collections in 2007 enabled fellows to make an inventory of rare books from the personal library of acclaimed stage and film director Rouben Mamoulian. Received by the Manuscript Division along with Mamoulian’s papers, the rich collection of books on theater, film, and many other topics that the interns listed have been transferred to the custody of the Library’s Rare Book and Special Collections Division.
The interns’ work has been invaluable in documenting and preserving highlights of the Copyright Deposit Drama collection, 1901-1977, and making important discoveries in performing arts primary source materials.
In the summer of 2008, Junior Fellows were engaged in searches of unprocessed and processed collections for items documenting the founding of the United States and the activism of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), in furtherance of Library of Congress exhibition planning then in progress.
Intern Maribeth Theroux, meanwhile, assisted with the processing of the papers of Rouben Mamoulian, a treasure trove of approximately 50,000 items that came to the Library in a very disorderly state. Theroux sorted and created files for approximately 5,000 diaries and diary notes, speeches and writings, photographs, and press clippings dating from the 1920s to the 1980s. She focused primarily on Mamoulian’s film work. As an additional project, Ms. Theroux added over 500 entries for the years 1960-1964 to the copyright deposit drama database that lists and locates significant plays and radio scripts selected for retention in the permanent collection after microfilming.
The Mamoulian collection proves that manuscripts can come in all sizes, shapes, mediums, and formats. Among the items discovered in the processing of the collection was the canvas back of Mamoulian’s director’s chair from his early musical, Applause (1929). It is autographed by members of the crew. Applause, based on the novel by Beth Brown, was a mother-daughter story starring stage legend Helen Morgan, set in the back-stage world of burlesque and vaudeville.
Autographed director’s chair back, 1929. From the Rouben Mamoulian Papers.
The Copyright Drama and film collections work by Junior Fellows are examples from among various projects to engage interns and fellows in the Manuscript Division.
Mary Wolfskill Trust Fund Internship
Named after a longtime Manuscript Division staff member who retired as the head of the division's Reference & Reader Services Section in 2005, the Mary Wolfskill Trust Fund is used to support internships in the Manuscript Division that will foster interest in archival work among graduate and undergraduate students, particularly minorities or students from smaller and lesser-known schools. The Fund was established in Wolfskill's memory with a generous gift from her sister, Edie Hedlin of Arlington, Virginia.
Wolfskill interns are employed, usually during the summer months, in the Manuscript Reading Room, where they assist researchers in accessing the division's collection of nearly sixty million items relating to American history and culture. Under the direction of the head of the Reference & Reader Services Section, interns respond to reference inquiries received via telephone, electronic means, or in-person; analyze reference requests; investigate sources of information; draft, revise, and deliver responses; retrieve and reshelve manuscript materials; and compile reader usage statistics. The intern may also work on special finding aids projects that improve researcher access to the materials. Through an exposure to various aspects of archival reference and description, the intern will gain an introductory knowledge of the principles, concepts, and techniques of archival management.
The Mary Wolfskill Trust Fund Internship is administered as part of the Library of Congress Junior Fellows Summer Intern Program, and the Wolfskill intern is eligible to participate in all training programs and tours offered to the Junior Fellows. Applicants should demonstrate an ability to communicate effectively in writing, knowledge of integrated library systems, basic library applications, and other information technologies. Knowledge of American history is beneficial.