Press contact: Audrey Fischer (202) 707-0022

October 8, 2004

Author Robert Kapsch to Discuss His Book "Canals" on Oct. 19

Robert Kapsch will discuss his book "Canals" at the Library of Congress at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 19, in Madison Hall, located on the first floor of the James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C. The event is free and open to the public. No tickets are required.

"Canals" is the second volume in the Norton/Library of Congress Visual Sourcebooks in Architectural, Design and Engineering series. It joins "Barns," by George Washington University professor John Michael Vlach, which features more than 800 illustrations from the Library's collections of these unique cultural landmarks.

Drawing on the Library's unparalleled collection of photographs, illustrations and architectural drawings, "Canals" provides the largest single source of material for those interested in the fascinating history of America's first transportation network. The book offers a tour of the more than three dozen structures that by 1835 constituted the 2,500-mile system of canals from New England to the South and from the East Coast to the Midwest. It provides a visual journey along two of the most famous canals: the Chesapeake and Ohio in Maryland (now a national park) and the Morris Canal in New Jersey (largely lost to development).

The program is sponsored by the Library's Center for American Architecture, Design and Engineering, Publishing Office, Center for the Book and American Folklife Center; the American Society of Civil Engineers; the Latrobe Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians and the Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Records of the National Park Service.

With captions that furnish relevant information about each image as well as the Library of Congress call number, the book is an essential reference for all enthusiasts of canal landscape and lore. The accompanying CD-ROM contains high-quality, downloadable versions of all the illustrations. The CD also offers a direct link to the library's online, searchable catalogs and images files, including the hundred of thousands of high-resolution photographs, measured drawings and data files in the Historic American Buildings Survey, Historic American Engineering Record and other collections.

Kapsch is currently National Park Service senior scholar in historic architecture and engineering. As special assistant to the deputy director of the National Park Service, he served as project engineer for the effort to restore the Chesapeake and Ohio canal and its structures. He served for 15 years as chief of the Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Records. He is the author of several definitive histories of early American canal engineering, including "The Potomac Canal: A Construction History" and "The Conewago Canal: Pennsylvania's First Canal."

"Canals" and "Barns" are each available for $75 in bookstores nationwide and through the Library's Sales Shop, Washington, DC 20540-4985. Credit card orders are taken at (888) 682-3557. Online orders can be placed at www.loc.gov/shop/.

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PR 04-179
10/08/04
ISSN 0731-3527

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