Contact: Audrey Fischer, Library of Congress (202) 707-0022
Contact: Libby Mark for MacDowell Colony, Jeanne Collins & Associates, (646) 486-7050
View the exhibition online.

January 17, 2007

New Library Exhibition Celebrating Centennial of The MacDowell Colony To Open Feb. 22

The Library of Congress will celebrate the centennial of The MacDowell Colony – the first artists’ residency program in America and the model for hundreds of others – with a new exhibition titled "A Century of Creativity: The MacDowell Colony 1907-2007." Among the many featured artists included in the exhibition are composers Aaron Copland and Leonard Bernstein, playwright Thornton Wilder and novelist Willa Cather.

The presentation, which opens on Feb. 22 and remains on view through Aug. 18, will be a featured display in the "American Treasures of the Library of Congress" exhibition in the Southwest Gallery of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First Street S.E., Washington, D.C. Exhibition hours are 10 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Saturday.

"As the repository for the nation’s creativity, the Library of Congress is pleased to mark The MacDowell Colony’s centennial with a display featuring many of the artists who were in residence at the colony," said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington.

The MacDowell Colony was founded in 1907 by composer Edward MacDowell and his wife, Marian, on 450 wooded acres in Peterborough, N.H. Their vision was to provide artists of exceptional talent with uninterrupted time, a private workspace and a dynamic community of peers to inspire creativity and excellence. This simple formula has had a profound impact. The MacDowell Colony has, to date, awarded fellowships to more than 6,000 writers, visual artists, composers, playwrights, filmmakers, architects and interdisciplinary artists. Its history during the 20th century offers a microcosm of the arts in America during a time when many artists were finding a distinct national voice. In 1997, The MacDowell Colony was awarded the National Medal of Arts for nurturing and inspiring many of the past century’s finest artists. It is the only such program to be so honored.

The exhibition draws from the Edward and Marian MacDowell Collection in the Music Division and the records of The MacDowell Colony in the Manuscript Division, as well as from the Library’s unparalleled holdings of fine prints, first editions and autograph music manuscripts.

The Library’s relationship with The MacDowell Colony grew out of Edward MacDowell’s friendship with former Music Division Chief Oscar Sonneck. In 1903, MacDowell gave the Library the manuscript of his "Zweite (indianische) Suite, Op. 48," a gift that inspired the Music Division to begin collecting original music manuscripts and first editions of preeminent American composers.

In conjunction with the exhibition, the Library will offer a series of special programs, including concerts, readings, gallery talks and curator-led tours of the exhibition. The exhibition will be accessible online at

The exhibition is made possible through the generous support of Lehman Brothers.

A new, 240-page hardcover book, "A Place for the Arts: The MacDowell Colony, 1907-2007," will be available in the Library’s Sales Shop. The book features essays by 14 distinguished writers, including Michael Chabon and the late playwright Wendy Wasserstein, and a history of the colony by Robin Rausch, curator of the exhibition. The book, which retails for $39.95, offers 140 historical and newly commissioned photographs. Credit card orders will be taken at (888) 682-3557. Online orders can be placed at

For more information about The MacDowell Colony and its yearlong celebration of creativity, visit its Web site at

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PR 07-005
ISSN 0731-3527

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