Freedom's Fortress


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Library of Congress staff gathered around a table
Meeting of the minds: the Librarian’s Conference, July 1, 1950.
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Freedom’s Fortress: The Library of Congress, 1939-1953 tells the history of the Library of Congress during a particularly important period. From 1939 to 1953 the Library underwent a myriad of changes that established the institution as one of America’s foremost citadels of intellectual freedom. Archibald MacLeish and Luther Harris Evans, Librarians of Congress during this time, adopted new administrative procedures that improved the Library’s ability to acquire collections and made it a more vital resource both for Congress and the public during and after the war. The theme of this online presentation refers to the title of Lucy Salamanca’s book, Fortress of Freedom: The Story of the Library of Congress (1942). Salamanca, a Library of Congress employee, wrote with a strong sense of the importance of the institution as a beacon of knowledge and haven for the written word during a significant time in American history. The 209 letters, memoranda, photographs, and Library of Congress publications presented here (1,176 images in all) are from the Library of Congress Archives as well as other relevant manuscript collections found in the Manuscript Division.


The Library transformed.


Who was who?