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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.

Hutson, Emrich, and interns

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.

To learn more about the program, including how to apply to participate as a fellow, see the Library of Congress Junior Fellows Summer Intern Program

Manuscript Collections in Theater and Film

An Extra Session typescript

William D. Hall. An Extra Session: A Chimerical Satire on the Feasible Possibilities Which Woman May Attain a Hundred Years Hence, 1902. Carbon copy typescript. Page 1. Copyright Deposit Drama Collection, Manuscript Division. Registration number: D2038.

William D. Hall boldly set his 1902 musical play in the 2002 White House with its woman president and her all-female cabinet. The women play poker, harass their male subordinates and welcome male foreign ambassadors to America. This satire was registered 14 years before a woman was ever elected to Congress and 18 years before women received the right to vote. The script was discovered by the 2007 Junior Fellow drama interns while looking through aged Copyright Deposit Drama Collection cartons from an off-site storage area.

In each of the years from 2004 to 2008 Junior Fellow Summer Interns worked in the Manuscript Division on drama and film related projects. Under the supervision of American Literature and Culture specialist Alice Birney, interns examined copyright deposit dramas. They aided in selection for retention and preparation for microfilming, and created Excel records for the Division’s electronic finding aid of unpublished scripts, which in early 2008 reflected holdings dating from 1901 to 1949.

In 2006 alone two interns prepared new lists identifying 2,254 scripts for the years 1936 through 1939. These included works such as The Lone Ranger radio series, a stage version of Charlie Chaplin’s film The Great Dictator, unpublished plays by Arthur Miller and Clifford Odets, and dramas by novelist Ayn Rand.

The interns reviewed recently microfilmed dramas and annotated inventories for approximately three hundred selected plays registered in 1933. They also designed and presented a display of a dozen of the most outstanding newly examined scripts at the one-day exhibit for staff, press and members of Congress.

A project in the summer of 2007 involved rescuing scripts from the first decade of the twentieth century, years which had been poorly represented in former searches. The interns combed through twenty four remotely stored cartons of drama copyright applications from 1901 through 1904, and found nearly one hundred deposited typescripts and handwritten plays.

Interns Curren and Palevitz

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.

Junior Fellow Theroux and archivist Kells

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.


Applause director's chair (front)Applause director's chair (back)

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.

Volunteer Internships in Archival Processing and Reference Services

On a limited and selective basis, archival and library science graduate students, senior undergraduates, and recent college graduates in the humanities or liberal arts may engage in the work of the Manuscript Division’s Preparation Section or the Manuscript Reading Room's reference and reader services on a volunteer or work-study basis. In the Preparation Section, students will learn or perfect archival skills under the supervision of a professional archivist. They may become involved in the processing or description of collections large or small. For one example of such a project, see Processing the Records of Professional Organizations. In the Manuscript Reading Room, students will interact and assist researchers in accessing the division's collection of nearly sixty million items relating to American history and culture.

Read more about it:"Joy of Discovery: Junior Fellows Open Access to Hiden Treasures," Library of Congress Information Bulletin, September/October 2009. The online version of this publication can be viewed at the URL


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  October 14, 2010
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