America's literary heritage from the past fifty years is displayed in a unique Library of Congress collection called the Archive of Recorded Poetry and Literature. Begun in 1943, the archive features literary readings by hundreds of poets, authors, dramatists, and actors, including countless
American women. The nation's first female consultant in poetry, Louise Bogan (1897-1970) [picture], was recorded for the archive, as were Rita Dove (b. 1952), the first woman named poet laureate, Audre Lorde (1934-1992)
[picture], Marianne Moore (1887-1972), Sylvia Plath (1932-1963), and Adrienne Rich (b. 1929) [picture], to name but a few.
The archive also includes dramatizations, such as a one-woman drama re-creating the life of pro-women's suffrage lecturer
Anna Dickinson (1842-1932) [picture], an American folktale called Heritage about the women in Abraham Lincoln's life, and a portrait of playwright Lorraine Hansberry (1930-1965) [picture] in her own words. Such programs, which the Library is still producing today, offer invaluable opportunities to hear the
literary world's best women writers. The collection is searchable through the Library's online catalog by name, program title,
title of literary work, and Library of Congress subject headings, such as “American drama,” “American poetry,” “monologues,”
and the like.