Freedom's Fortress


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Biographical Sketches

Joseph Auslander (1897-1965)

Joseph Auslander, poet and editor, became the Library’s first Consultant in Poetry in 1937. He vigorously carried out his responsibilities — seeking sponsors for the Library’s literary programs, gifts of manuscripts, and organizing public readings by poets of note. Librarian MacLeish disapproved of his methods and style but, recognizing his ability to build the Library’s collections, appointed him to the newly established post of Gift Officer. Auslander resigned his position at the end of March 1944.

Allen Tate (1899-1979)

Wishing to improve the Library’s cultural programs, especially those promoting poetry and literature, Librarian MacLeish invited Allen Tate, poet and critic, to become Consultant in Poetry in 1943. With the assistance of Frances Neel Cheney, Tate surveyed the collections in American and English poetry and produced Sixty American Poets 1896-1944: A Preliminary Check List. He proposed and helped to create the Fellows of the Library of Congress in American Letters, hoping that this group would influence the development of the Library’s collections. Van Wyck Brooks, Katherine Garrison Chapin, Paul Green, Katherine Anne Porter, Carl Sandburg, Willard Thorp, and Mark Van Doren were members of the first group of fellows. Tate also served as the first editor of the newly created Library of Congress Quarterly Journal of Current Acquisitions, a publication that systematically described the Library’s latest acquisitions.


Joseph Auslander
descriptive record icon enlarge image icon  Portrait of Joseph Auslander, undated. Papers of David C. Mearns, 1918-1979, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress. Photo Credit: Bachrach Studio.

Allen Tate
descriptive record icon enlarge image icon  Portrait of Allen Tate, undated.
Library of Congress Archives (Series: Photographs, Illustrations, Objects), Manuscript Division, Library of Congress. Photo Credit: Gonville de Ovies, Greenville, North Carolina.