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European Mission and Cooperative Acquisitions Project at the Library of Congress

Freedom's Fortress, 1939-1953

Library of Congress. Army Truck carrying remains of V-1 robot bomb parked between Library of Congress Jefferson and Adams buildings on 2nd Street, SE for sixth War Loan Drive. November 13, 1944. Item #159, PIO series, LC Archives. Library of Congress Manuscript Division.

The online exhibition "Freedom's Fortress: The Library of Congress, 1939-1953", contains a selection of 209 documents and 1,176 images from a momentous period in the history of the Library of Congress when the institution underwent many changes that established it as one of America foremost citadels of intellectual freedom. During and shortly after World War II, Librarians of Congress Archibald MacLeish (1939-1944) and Luther Harris Evans (1945-1958) adopted new administrative procedures that improved the Library ability to acquire collections and to become a more vital resource both for Congress and the public. The Library of Congress European Mission and Cooperative Acquisitions Project, 1942-1947, grew out of collaborative relationships MacLeish built with government and scholarly entities; Evans shepherded the Mission to purchase wartime publications in Germany, beginning 1946, and the Cooperative Acquisitions Project to distribute these materials to 122 U.S. libraries.