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Down the Rabbit Gap in Search of a Few Frames of Irish American Historical past


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However the Library of Congress is the keeper of American reminiscence. Its immense assortment accommodates greater than 178 million books, manuscripts, recordings, maps, images and shifting photos — together with a two-minute hint of “The Callahans and the Murphys.”

Would I wish to see it?

So deeper I fell, till lastly bottoming out within the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, on the outskirts of Culpeper, Va.

Right here, within the late Nineteen Sixties, the federal authorities constructed an underground facility into the aspect of Mount Pony, about 75 miles southwest of Washington, as a safe storehouse for billions of {dollars} in money within the occasion of nuclear conflict. Duty for the construction was ultimately transferred to the Library of Congress, expanded and repurposed because the Nationwide Audio-Visible Conservation Center, with practically 90 miles of shelving.

Saved within the aspect of this mountain are 4 million scripts, posters, images and different ephemera; 4 million sound recordings; and two million moving-image objects, together with about 140,000 cans of nitrate movies saved in specifically designed vaults the place the temperature is saved at exactly 39 levels. The vaults are divided by studio and nonstudio movies: in a single part, Columbia Photos (say, “It Occurred One Evening”); in one other, Common Photos (“Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein”).

“It isn’t meant to be a complete illustration of American cinema,” stated Pierce, the middle’s assistant chief and strolling movie encyclopedia. “It isn’t our purpose, and we don’t have the house or the employees, to gather completely all the pieces on movie.”

Wherever I regarded, staffers have been dealing with, preserving and curating movie. A younger lady delivery a print of the 1950 musical “Annie Get Your Gun” to a movie pageant. A laboratory specialist repairing the tears in a fragile unfavorable of “Seed,” a 1931 melodrama that featured a really younger Bette Davis.

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