Freedom's Fortress


  • Timeline
  • Essay
    • Biographical Sketches

Browse Collection by:

View more collections from the Manuscript Division

Collection Connection
Classroom resources for teachers

Biographical Sketches

Verner W. Clapp (1901-1972)

Verner W. Clapp began his Library of Congress career in 1921 in the Manuscript Division. Over the years he held a number of administrative positions, including Chief Assistant Librarian of Congress (1947) and Acting Librarian of Congress (1953-54). During his years at the Library Clapp contributed to the development of the Library’s reference services to the Congress and the public. As director of the Administrative Department, he modernized the Library’s fiscal plans. As head of the newly established Acquisitions Department, Clapp found ways to build the Library’s collections as well as to develop cooperative acquisition programs with other libraries. Clapp resigned from the Library of Congress in 1956 to become president of the Council on Library Resources.

Frederick Goff (1916-1982)

Frederick Goff began his career at the Library of Congress in 1940 as curator of the Rare Book Collection and in 1945 he became the chief. He developed a specialty in 15th-century books and, during his years at the Library, acquired more than 5,600 of them. He published Incunabula in American Libraries: A Third Census in 1964 and a supplement to the Census in 1972. In later years Goff worked on the compilation The Lessing J. Rosenwald Collection: A Catalog of the Gifts of Lessing J. Rosenwald to the Library of Congress, 1943 to 1975.

Lewis Hanke (1905-1993)

Lewis Hanke became the first director of the Library’s newly established Hispanic Foundation in 1939 and held the Chair of Latin American Studies from 1944 until 1951. In the 1940 Annual Report of the Librarian of Congress he wrote that the purpose of the Hispanic Foundation was “to build up a comprehensive collection of materials on all aspects of Hispanic culture, carefully organized for reference purposes and made available to investigators of all nations for consultation under the freest possible conditions.”

Arthur A. Houghton, Jr. (1906-1990)

Wishing to increase the number of accomplished and creative administrators on the staff, Librarian MacLeish appointed Arthur A. Houghton, Jr. as curator of the Rare Book Collection on March 31, 1940. Houghton, a collector of rare books and an executive with Steuben Glass and Corning Glass Works, quickly took up the challenge of managing the Library’s rare book collection. In his first annual report he noted the successful acquisition of two very generous gifts: the Rudyard Kipling Collection, formed by the late William M. Carpenter, and 86 early American children’s books by Frank Joseph Hogan. Arthur Houghton was curator for two years.


Verner W. Clapp
descriptive record icon enlarge image icon  Portrait of Verner W. Clapp, undated.
Library of Congress Archives (Series: Photographs, Illustrations, Objects), Manuscript Division, Library of Congress. Photo Credit: Leet Brothers Photography

Frederick Goff and Gladys Harris
descriptive record icon enlarge image icon  [Detail] Photograph of Frederick Goff and Gladys Harris, undated.
Library of Congress Archives (Series: Photographs, Illustrations, Objects), Manuscript Division, Library of Congress

Lewis Hanke memorandum
descriptive record icon enlarge image icon   Memorandum from Lewis Hanke to David C. Mearns, July 13, 1944.
Library of Congress Archives, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress

Houghton letter
descriptive record icon enlarge image icon  Letter from Arthur A. Houghton, Jr., to Archibald MacLeish, May 10, 1940.
Library of Congress Archives, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress