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09-11   Print  E-mail
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Today in History ordinarily presents events...

 that happened at least twenty-five years in the past. Today is an exception. Within hours of the tragic events of September 11, 2001, Library of Congress staff began to call for and collect a vast array of original materials concerning the attacks on the World Trade Towers and the Pentagon, and the demise of Flight 93 into the earth at Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

Library staff worked in concert with many others to chronicle the events and to collect related material in a wide variety of formats: for example, photographs, comic book illustrations, magazines, posters, and fine art.

This amazing array of materials begins to form a permanent record of the reactions and responses of everyday people, the heroic resolve of firefighters and rescue workers, and the views of the international community, supportive and not, regarding the terrorist attacks. The Library's permanent collections also grew to include information on surrounding events such as the ongoing recovery efforts, the need for blood donors, television coverage, the anthrax scare, calls for peace, the bombing of Afghanistan and the relief effort, issues of security, and memorials to the victims.

In the words of Peggy Bulger, Director of the Library's American Folklife Center, "Nothing replaces the recorded voice." On September 12, 2001, the American Folklife Center called upon folklorists and ethnographers across the nation "to document the immediate reactions of average Americans." Read the letter sent out to ask folklorists to contribute audio-tapes to the Archive of Folk Culture and hear, for example, an October 22 interview with Heather Coffman of Norman, Oklahoma. More interviews are available in AFC's online September 11, 2001 Documentary Project. Witness and Response: September 11 Acquisitions at the Library of Congress exposes visitors to powerful eyewitness accounts and commentaries regarding events surrounding the attacks of September 11, 2001. It also demonstrates the committment of the Library's staff to documenting these events. Represented in the exhibit are the famous photographer Richard Avedon and cartoonist Garry Trudeau. The exhibit also includes work by children, amateur photographers, art students, and architects among others.


 

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