Library Receives Donation of Popular Art Valued in the Millions


Largest Donation of Comic Books in Library History Includes the Original Storyboards for the Creation of Mickey Mouse

Steve Geppi, owner and CEO of Diamond Comic Distributors in Baltimore, Maryland, shows off his collection, May 22, 2018. Photo by Shawn Miller.

The Library of Congress announced today that collector and entrepreneur Stephen A. Geppi has donated to the nation’s library more than 3,000 items from his phenomenal and vast personal collection of comic books and popular art, including the original storyboards that document the creation of Mickey Mouse.  This multimillion-dollar gift includes comic books, original art, photos, posters, newspapers, buttons, pins, badges and related materials, and select items will be on display beginning this summer.

The Stephen A. Geppi Collection of Comics and Graphic Arts has been on public display in Baltimore, Maryland, for the past decade and is a remarkable and comprehensive assemblage of popular art.  It includes a wide range of rare comics and represents the best of the Golden (1938-1956), Silver (1956-1970) and Bronze (1970-1985) ages of comic books. The mint-condition collection is also noted for its racially and socially diverse content as well as the distinctive creative styles of each era.

The collection also includes motion picture posters and objects showcasing how music, comic book characters, cultural icons and politicians were popularized in the consumer marketplace.  Among these are Beatles memorabilia, a collection of flicker rings popularizing comic book characters and political figures such as Martin Luther King Jr., Richard Outcault’s The Yellow Kid printing blocks and the No. 2 Brownie camera model F from Eastman Kodak Company.

One signature item in the collection represents the birth of one of animation’s most iconic characters. Six rare storyboards detail the story layout and action for Walt Disney’s 1928 animated film, “Plane Crazy.”  It was the first Mickey Mouse cartoon produced, but the third to be released, after sound was added, in 1929. “Steamboat Willie” was the first Mickey Mouse cartoon to be theatrically released, on Nov. 18, 1928, which marks its 90th anniversary this year.

“The Library of Congress is home to the nation’s largest collection of comic books, cartoon art and related ephemera and we celebrate this generous donation to the American people that greatly enhances our existing holdings,” said Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden. “The appeal of comic books is universal, and we are thrilled that this new addition to the collections will make them even more accessible to people worldwide.”

“When I began collecting comic books as a young boy and then in earnest in 1972, I would have never dreamed that a major portion of my collection would find a home at the Library of Congress, alongside the papers of 23 presidents, the Gutenberg Bible and Thomas Jefferson’s library,” said Geppi. “This gift will help celebrate the history of comics and pop culture and their role in promoting literacy.”

Geppi’s Entertainment Museum, Baltimore, Maryland, May 22, 2018. Photo by Shawn Miller.

Geppi is the owner and CEO of Diamond Comic Distributors, based in Baltimore.  A fan of comic books as a child, he later began seriously collecting them and turned his passion into a series of pop culture businesses.  Over the years, Geppi amassed one of the largest individual collections of vintage comic books and pop culture artifacts in the world.

Geppi will continue to be an active collector and will be considering other donations to the Library of Congress in the future.  “I view this newly established connection to the Library of Congress as the beginning of a long-term relationship,” said Geppi.

The Library holds more than 140,000 issues of about 13,000 comic book titles, dating back to the 1930s.  The collection includes many firsts and some of the most important comics in history, including the first comic book sold on newsstands; the first series featuring Batman and other iconic characters; and All Star Comics #8, which introduced fans to Wonder Woman.  The Library also holds a copy of Amazing Fantasy #15, which tells the origin story of Spider-Man, and the original artwork that Steve Ditko created for that issue. The Geppi Collection expands and enriches this strong foundation and fills gaps in specific issues.

The Serial and Government Publications Division maintains one of the most extensive newspaper collections in the world.  It is exceptionally strong in United States newspapers, with 9,000 titles covering the past three centuries. With more than 25,000 non-U.S. titles, it is the largest collection of international newspapers in the world. Beyond its newspaper holdings, the division also has extensive collections of current periodicals (40,000 titles), comic books (13,000 titles) and government publications (1 million items). The collection of comic books is available for research use by scholars, collectors and other researchers in the Newspaper and Current Periodical Reading Room.  More information can be found at

The Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division holds more than 15 million photographs, drawings and prints from the 15th century to the present day.  International in scope, these visual collections represent a rich array of human experience, knowledge, creativity and achievement, touching on almost every realm of endeavor—science, art, invention, government and political struggle, and the recording of history.  More information can be found at

The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States—and extensive materials from around the world—both on-site and online. It is the main research arm oft he U.S.Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office.  Explore collections, reference services and other programs and plan a visit at, access the official site for U.S.federal legislative information at and register creative works of authorship at


Sculpture in the Hills will feature 22 local and regional artists working in bronze, stone, wood, infused metal, blown-glass, hand-beading, mixed media, and hand-forged metals. Artist demonstrations will be offered throughout the show, and the sculptors will be on hand to discuss their work.

The show is free to the public, family friendly, and accessible to people with disabilities. Free art program on Saturday at 1- 2PM for kids ages 6 – 12.

Visit us in the big, white tent on Hill City’s Main Street.

Sculpture in the Hills is brought to you by the Hill City Arts Council with the help of our generous sponsors. Thank you!


Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction to be Awarded to E. Annie Proulx

Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden announced today that E. Annie Proulx, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel “The Shipping News” and the short story “Brokeback Mountain,” will receive the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction during the 2018 Library of Congress National Book Festival on Sept. 1.

Hayden selected Proulx as this year’s winner based on the recommendation of a jury of previous winners, distinguished authors and prominent literary critics from around the world. The prize ceremony will take place during the National Book Festival at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.

“E. Annie Proulx has given us monumental sagas and keen-eyed, skillfully wrought stories,” Hayden said. “Throughout her writing, she succeeds in capturing the wild, woolly heart of America, from its screwball wit to its every last detail. She is an American original.”

One of the Library of Congress’ most prestigious awards, the annual Prize for American Fiction honors an American literary writer whose body of work is distinguished not only for its mastery of the art but also for its originality of thought and imagination. The award seeks to commend strong, unique, enduring voices that—throughout long, consistently accomplished careers—have told us something new about the American experience.

“This high honor came as a shock to me,” Proulx said. “My writing has examined the lives of unimportant people—poor people plagued with bad luck, financial and personal troubles. They were hill farmers, small town country music groups, hunters and fishermen, immigrants and accordion repairmen, failed newspapermen and fishermen, war veterans and cowhands, closeted rural gays in denial, ranchers, lumbermen, wood-choppers, widows. They were strung across the continent from Newfoundland to Vermont to Louisiana to Wyoming to Michigan to Oregon. Not the kind of characters to be graced with notice by the Library of Congress. And yet somehow it has happened. I want to believe the people in my writing will step up with me to receive this award, for they are as real as history.”

Author of ‘The Shipping News’ and ‘Brokeback Mountain’ to Appear at National Book Festival. (Photo: Gus Powell)

Proulx was born in Connecticut in 1935 and attended Colby College and the University of Vermont. She lives in Port Townsend, Washington. Proulx is the author of eight books, including “The Shipping News,” which received the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award and the Irish Times International Fiction Prize; and “Postcards,” winner of the PEN/Faulkner award—Proulx was the first woman to win the award.

Proulx’s other honors include the F. Scott Fitzgerald Award for Outstanding Achievement in American Literature, the National Book Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Her O. Henry Prize-winning story “Brokeback Mountain,” which originally appeared in The New Yorker, was made into an Academy Award-winning film. Her most recent novel is “Barkskins.”

For more information on the prize, including previous winners, visit

The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States—and extensive materials from around the world—both on-site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office. Explore collections, reference services and other programs and plan a visit at, access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at, and register creative works of authorship at


THE MATTHEWS returns to the Golden Era of Radio with “KMOH Variety Review: Live Radio Play”


SPEARFISH, SD – It’s radio you can see. The Matthews’ community theater presents  “KMOH Variety Review: A Live Radio Play,” directed by Max G. Merchen. The performance runs May 3-6. The Thursday through Saturday shows start at 7:30 p.m. and the Sunday show starts at 2 p.m. Tickets are on sale for $15 adults, $10 subscribers, and $5 for youth (18 and under) and BHSU students. Tickets are available at The Matthews’ art gallery during business hours, Tuesday-Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., or by phone at 605-642-7973. Buy tickets online at

During the Golden Days of Radio, movie stars, radio actors, musicians, and sound effects men broadcast live in front of audiences on radio stations heard throughout America. “KMOH Variety: A Live Radio Play” turns The Matthews stage into the famous radio station — KMOH.

“Although each generation has its own pressures and exigencies. We tend to look back longingly at the generations that came before us and long for the good old days,” comments Max G. Merchen, director. “There will be no digital remastering, no computer-generated images, no tweets, no gigabytes, no smartphones, or Ipads. Get ready to enjoy some cornball humor and a lot of wholesome entertainment the entire family can enjoy.”

The cast will be playing several characters from different radio skits. The KMOH cast is comprised of Sandy Nauman, Roger O’Dea, Bart Willuweit, Mikayla Wetz, Dwight Myers, Lynn Pederson, Deb Brunette, John Eisenbraun, David Nickel, Grant Binkleman, Pam Wegner, Kathy Johnston, Max G. Merchen, and Pat Yanzik.

L-R Mikayla Wetz, Roger O”Dea, Sandi Nauman

The cast takes on famous skits by Abbott and Costello, The Thin Man, Fibber McGee & Molly, and Burns & Allen. Between acts, the cast performs “on air” commercials promoting local Black Hills businesses that support The Matthews.

The radio play lineup features “Cleaning out the Closet” by Fibber McGee and Molly, “The Case of the Goofy Groom” from The Adventures of the Thin Man, “Gracie takes up Crime Solving” and “The Case of the Punctured Plumber” by Burns and Allen, and one of the most famous radio skits ever to be performed, “Who’s on First, by Abbott and Costello.

An added bonus will be live musical entertainment that changes every evening. The musicians featured are Gerry Bennett on May 3, Kaleb Carlin on May 4, Scott Simpson on May 5, and Lyle Barry on May 6.

The next event for The Matthews is the children’s theater production of “Little Mermaid, Jr.” June 22-24. Tickets on sale now. For additional information or to learn about upcoming events, visit


­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­The Matthews Opera House & Arts Center is a non-profit organization located at 612 N. Main Street in Spearfish, South Dakota. To learn more about The Matthews either contact by phone, at 605.642.7973 or their website at


Andrea Lekberg “The Artist Baker” Special Exhibition

“Red in Nature” Acrylic, paint, and mixed media on canvas © 2018 Andrea Lekberg



RAPID CITY, SOUTH DAKOTA: The Sioux Indian Museum, administered by the U.S. Department of the Interior, Indian Arts and Crafts Board, will feature an exhibit of artwork by Andrea Lekberg. The exhibition will run from April 27 through July 9, 2018. The exhibition is free and open to the public.

Andrea Lekberg, an enrolled member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, is both a visual and culinary artist. She is currently working with large scale textiles, which are painted and adorned with various found materials. Additionally, she is the owner and pastry chef at a boutique bakery and café, The Artist Baker in Morristown, New Jersey. She holds a BFA from the Art Institute of Chicago and is a graduate of the Pastry Program at the Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago.

Although raised in Illinois, Andrea spent her childhood summers near her family home in Martin, South Dakota. Inspiration for her current work comes from the landscapes around Martin, South Dakota. During her summer visits to the Pine Ridge Reservation she felt a deep connection to the land and people. The patterns, colors, and lines found in traditional Sioux artwork deeply influences her contemporary work.

To create the artwork for this exhibition, Andrea used hemmed canvases that were left unstretched so that they would lay flat; they resemble painted hides. A clear gesso is applied to the fabric and then acrylic paints complete the composition. Found natural materials collected near the family home in Martin, South Dakota, are eventually applied to the canvases.

The body of work in this exhibition revolves around Oglala artistic traditions and the local environment. Linen canvases are tied to represent spiritual strength and fringed to imply movement. They also represent Andrea’s cultural identity as a member of the Oglala Sioux, and the relevance of the Tribe in contemporary society.

Prices for the artwork can be obtained by contacting The Journey Museum Store at (605) 394-2201. To purchase artwork after the exhibit closes, please contact Andrea Lekberg via email at

The Sioux Indian Museum, managed by the U.S. Department of the Interior, Indian Arts and Crafts Board, is located in The Journey Museum, 222 New York Street, Rapid City, SD 57701. For admission fees and hours of operation please call (605) 394-6923.


PIERRE, S.D. – The Department of Social Services (DSS) in Rapid City is hosting a special art exhibit in partnership with the Rapid City Arts council at the Dahl Arts Center. For the second year, children in foster care have the opportunity to display their art work during the entire month of April.

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. This month and throughout the year, the Department of Social Services encourages individuals and organizations to play a role in making Rapid City a better place for children and families.

“April is a time to celebrate the important role that our community plays in protecting children and strengthening families,” said Child Protective Services division director Virgena Wieseler. “By ensuring parents have knowledge, skills and resources they need to care for their children, we can help prevent child abuse and neglect by making meaningful connections with children and families in our community.”

When law enforcement removes children from an unsafe home, the ultimate goal is to have children reunited with their family; however, some children may need placement with relatives or foster families. In order for children to stay connected to their family, community, school and culture, it’s important for a community to have foster families available.

“Children who come into foster care may have medical, emotional or behavioral needs,” said Wieseler. “The Rapid City area has a need for families to care for children of all ages, and a significant need for families who are able to care for children with special needs, sibling groups and for American Indian families to care for American Indian children.”

In Pennington County 356 children are currently in foster care. There are 91 licensed foster families in Pennington County. Over 80 percent of the children who come into care return home to their families within the first 12 months of placement.

The Foster One program was established in 2013 with the help of First Lady Linda Daugaard. The goal of Foster One is to raise awareness of the need for foster families in South Dakota. If you are interested in learning more about becoming a foster parent please call 605-343-2598, or visit our website at