After two productive weeks in D.C. at the Library of Congress, I’m heading back home. I’m tired of Senator Henry L. Dawes, for the moment, and really tired of 19th century hand-writing. It’s horrible. I have no nostalgia for fountain pens, ink wells, or pencils, and especially no nostalgia for cursive. But my co-author, Carol Higham, and I got more done that we expected.
But I loved working in the Library of Congress. The staff were helpful. The facilities are amazing. (I did not have time to tour the glitzy parts of the LOC in the older Jefferson Building. I was stuck at work in the manuscript reading room in the newer, functional Madison Building the whole time.)
At lunch one day someone described the Madison Building as Stalinist brutalism. I like the facade of the building. A beautiful mix of classical and modern. The inside is relentlessly functional, however, with corridors that are almost literally featureless, except for the color coding, so you know which section you’re in. I like the facade of the Madison much better than that of the celebrated Jefferson Building. The less that is said about the Adams Building, the better. It’s the ugly duckling.
The pictures below are in honor of the LOC and the Madison Building. Four taken with my iPhone. First, two in B&W.
And, second, two in color.
And two taken with my Ricoh GR. It got a lot of use the past two weeks, copying documents. Here are two of the front entrance to the Madison Building. Same image, in B&W and color. Brutalism? You decide.