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Tag: Authors on the Record

The Venus Fixers: The Remarkable Story of the Allied Soldiers Who Saved Italy’s Art During World War II

Ilaria Dagnini Brey is the author of The Venus Fixers, an account of the Monuments Officers, who were assigned by the Allies to preserve and protect the artwork and monuments of Europe from looting and destruction. She is the featured Author on the Record for the Fall 2010 issue of Prologue. We invited her to do a guest post on a document from the National Archives that inspired her. Enjoy!

The Venus Fixers

Iliaria Dagnini Brey


Soldiers at work in the Temple of Neptune at Paestrum. National Archives, Record Group 239.

Soldiers at work in the Temple of Neptune at Paestrum. National Archives, Record Group 239.

I found this photograph one afternoon at the National Archives at College Park after hours of searching through folders, albums and boxes of images. It made my day.

What struck me most about the photograph was the combination of the military and the religious element in it—soldiers in a shrine, albeit an ancient one—and the resulting peaceful atmosphere of the image. The soldiers are intently at work and look almost like school students during study hall. The massive Dorian columns of the Greek temple seem almost protective of their quiet activity.

At first I thought, how clever to set up an office, as it were, in the cool shade of those ancient stones; and I thought how beautiful, that soldiers from overseas could feel so at home among some of the most ancient ruins of … [ Read all ]

What should I read next?

Boy reading a magazine at the Manzanar Relocation Center (538076)
Boy reading a magazine at the Manzanar Relocation Center (538076)

Four times a year in Prologue magazine, we feature an interview with an author who has written a book that draws on the holdings of the National Archives.

So, far I have learned about the naval aspect of the Civil War and the unexpected connection that Fort Wool has with several Presidents. Our summer issue will feature this book about the Civil War–era correspondence between Walt Whitman, his soldier brother, and their family.

Now I need to read something for the fall issue. Has anyone read something good recently that features our documents?

I confess—I’d like to read something that doesn’t focus on the Civil War or the military. I’m also interested in learning about the rest of the country—please help me find something that isn’t based in the East Coast.

Of course—I’m happy to take all suggestions if it was a good book! Please leave the title—and maybe why you liked it—in the comments. [ Read all ]