Book Talk on Capitol Hill’s Legendary Ruth Rappaport – Northeast Library, Thursday, Oct 10
by Larry Janezich
Capitol Hill resident Ruth Rappaport had a remarkable life and career. Author Kate Stewart – a third-generation librarian – will discuss her book, A Well-Read Woman: The Life, Loves, and Legacy of Ruth Rappaport at 7:30pm on Thursday, October 10, at Northeast Library.
Rapport’s story spans from her childhood in Germany where she was a witness to the devastation of Kristallnacht and a Leipzig book burning to her death in 2010 after retiring from the Library of Congress in the early 1990s. She worked as an editor of Seattle’s Jewish Transcript, a press photographer for Acme News, and as photo archivist for the Foreign Press Office for the fledgling state of Israel. She managed libraries for the U.S. Air Force in Okinawa and for the U.S. Army in Saigon. In 1970 she quit working for the military and went to work for the Library of Congress.
Her first job at the LOC was cataloging the FBI’s collection of confiscated books deemed pornographic or erotic. Rapport spent a life time fighting censorship and supporting human rights. She was one of the organizers behind the Library of Congress Professional Guild, a task undertaken when workers felt unfairly burdened by management quotas for cataloging books. The “loves” in the sub-title refer to details from Rappaport’s journal – which also tells a larger story of gender inequality in a world where the double standard was the standard.
Rappaport continued to be active in the community after retirement, becoming a founding member of Capitol Hill Village and of Hill Havurah on Capitol Hill. She died in 2010 and her memorial bench is located in Congressional Cemetery.
Everyone Home DC (formerly Capitol Hill Group Ministry) awards the Ruth Rappaport Wisdom Award annually to recognize an individual who “has displayed remarkable warmth, wisdom, and commitment to the Capitol Hill Community.”
Copies of the book will be available for sale and signing.