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"A Photographic Retrospective of Childhood" Book and Exhibition From the Library of Congress in Fall 2002

The Library of Congress in association with Kales Press presents a collection of touching and timeless photographs of children from its extraordinary photographic archive, When They Were Young: A Photographic Retrospective of Childhood from the Library of Congress to be published on October 1, 2002. The photos are married with heartfelt prose by Pulitzer Prize winner, world-renowned child psychiatrist and best-selling author, Dr. Robert Coles. The preface is by James H. Billington, the Librarian of Congress.

The book spans the history of photography from the daguerreotype to documentary and includes works by internationally renowned photographers such as Edward Curtis and Dorothea Lange. It spans the globe as well with images of children from around the world. The hardcover book will feature 78 full page lavishly produced tritone images. It will retail for $39.95 and be available in bookstores nationwide.

The book is a companion to the exhibition, "When They Were Young," to open at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. on September 26, 2002 through March 22, 2003 (Public info: 202-707-4604, It will also be featured at the 2002 National Book Festival, celebrating books and the joy of reading, sponsored by the Library of Congress and Laura Bush in Washington, D.C., on October 12.

The book and exhibition draw from the unparalleled collection of the Library’s Prints and Photographs division and will include photographs by Edward Steichen, one of the most influential and prominent figures in 20th century photography; celebrated photographer of native peoples, Edward Curtis; Toni Frissell, whose distinguished career spanned forty years and included formal and informal portraits of the famous and powerful in the United States and Europe; Lewis Hine, who documented working and living conditions of children in the United States between 1908 and 1921; noted folklorist Alan Lomax; and photographs taken in Europe during WWII.  (Shown at the left is My Shadow, by Toni Frissell, circa 1950-60, gelatin silver print).

Also included in the book and exhibition will be photographs from the Library’s Farm Security Administration-Office of War Information Collection (FSA-OWI) in which works by well-known photographers Jack Delano, Mary Post Wollcott, Russell Lee, Carl Mydans, John Vanchon, Gordon Parks, and Dorothea Lange appear. Comprising more than 165,000 photographs, the collection is an extensive pictorial record of American life between 1935 and 1944 and is considered a landmark in the history of documentary photography.

"Our hearts as well as our minds are engaged when we view these images of children through the ages," says James H. Billington, the Librarian of Congress, in his preface, and "the beautifully textured reflection that Robert Coles has provided for the pictures . . . is a model of how we can all be enlightened and touched by the photographic record of the Library of Congress and the renewing magic that children bring to the adult world."