Summer 2023 Fellow: Kimberly Shirai ’25

Office Description

Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States and the largest library in the world, with more than 170 million items in diverse languages, disciplines, and formats. As the world’s largest repository of knowledge and creativity, the Library is a symbol of democracy and the principles on which this nation was founded. The Library seeks to spark the public’s imagination and celebrate human achievement through its programs and exhibits. In doing so, the Library helps foster the informed and involved citizenry upon which American democracy depends. The Library serves the U.S. Congress and the nation both on site, in its research centers on Capitol Hill, and through its award-winning website.

The Prints and Photographs Division is the cultural heritage steward for more than 17 million photographs, drawings, and prints from the 15th century to the present day. International in scope, these visual collections represent a unique corpus of human experience, knowledge, creativity, and achievement. One of the strongest research areas is the history of the American Civil War. For more information, please visit the Prints and Photographs Division’s official website.

Description of the Work

Experience the digitization and description of Civil War photograph collections, including inventory, scanning, cataloging, and possibly conservation. The work is done in collaboration with a Library of Congress team that includes a cataloger, curator, digital library specialist, and others. Conduct original research on photographs in the Liljenquist Collection of Civil War Photographs and increase awareness of the Civil War photo collection through contributions to the Library’s social media channels, which may include lnstagram, Flickr, or the Picture This blog.

Desired Skills

  • Curiosity about people in the past; an interest in the complexities of cultural heritage; enjoyment of analysis and writing.
  • Knowledge of research methods and ability to analyze primary and secondary sources, including photographs and associated records, historic newspapers, manuscripts (cursive script), and online databases is preferable.
  • Interest in 19th century photography or the U.S. Civil War; ability to read and analyze photographs to write clear descriptions for catalog records.
  • Ability to write engagingly on historical topics for a general audience on current social-media platforms.

Main Fellowship Disciplines: History, Art History

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