Famous Tulsan As A Teen: Daniel Boorstin, 12th Librarian Of Congress

daniel boorstin

Daniel Boorstin, content-liberating 12th Librarian of Congress and Pulitzer Prize-winning author, graduated from Tulsa's Central High School in 1930 at the age of 15. 

Boorstin served as the LIbrarian of Congress from 1975-1987. Soon after his appointment, Mr. Boorstin held a press conference, produced an old, blue cardboard box with a dangling key, and in the presence of the press, unlocked it to reveal the contents of Abraham Lincoln's pockets on the night of his assassination. His point? The Library of Congress was opening its doors (the doors were literally kept open, prompting complaints of a draft), unlocking boxes, and bringing resources and content to as wide an audience as possible. 

Before, during, and after his position at the Library of Congress, Boorstin wrote. His first trilogy (he produced more than 20 books) titled "The Americans" with the subtitles "The Colonial Experience," "The National Experience," and "The Democratic Experience," won several awards, and he won the Pulitzer Prize in history for "The Democratic Experience."

His father, a child of Russian-Jewish immigrants, moved the family from Atlanta to Tulsa in 1916 to escape anti-Semitism and to help develop the city. When his father came to Tulsa, Mr Boorstin said, the skyscrapers did not yet exist; they had to be imagined. 

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