New Online: Education, Folklife, Wartime Collections

(The following is a guest post by William Kellum, manager in the Library’s Web Services Division.)

Educational Outreach

The Library’s Student Discovery Sets put primary sources in students’ hands, and include full teacher resources for each set.

The Library’s Student Discovery Sets put primary sources in students’ hands and include full teacher resources for each set.

This month, we’re very happy to have a new release in the excellent series of Student Discovery Sets produced by the Library’s Education Outreach team. Designed for classroom use on Apple’s iPad platform, Student Discovery sets “bring together historical artifacts and one-of-a-kind documents on a wide range of topics, from history to science to literature. Interactive tools let students zoom in, draw to highlight details, and conduct open-ended primary source analysis. Full teaching resources are available for each set.” The new release includes sets on The New Deal, Scientific Data: Observing, Recording, and Communicating Information and Weather Forecasting. These materials are also available via the web as part of the Library’s Primary Source Sets.

You can read more about them on the Teaching with the Library of Congress blog.

American Folklife Center

The American Folklife Center is marking its 40th  anniversary in 2016, celebrating the center’s role in the preservation and promotion of traditional culture with a series of events, programs, and other activities throughout the year. New to the Library’s website is the Chicago Ethnic Arts Project Collection, the first online release of materials from approximately 25 ethnographic field projects and cultural surveys in various parts of the United States between 1977 and 1997. The Chicago collection includes photos, audio and the notes and reports of the AFC fieldworkers. This blog post on Folklife Today has more details and samples from the collection. Also new from AFC are four albums of music originally published on vinyl, now online for streaming and download: Folk music of the United States: Indian songs of today; Cowboy songs, ballads and cattle calls from Texas; American fiddle tunes; and Negro blues and hollers. Scans of the original album covers and liner notes are included on the pages (under the PDF link).

Wartime Collections

American Fiddle Tunes is one of 4 albums now available for streaming and download, released to celebrate American Folklife Center’s 40th Anniversary.

American Fiddle Tunes is one of 4 albums now available for streaming and download, released to celebrate American Folklife Center’s 40th Anniversary.

Expanding our extensive Civil War-related collections, the papers of reformer, poet, editor and clergyman William Oland Bourne span the years 1841-1885, with the bulk of the material concentrated in the period 1856-1867. As editor of the periodical The Soldier’s Friend, Bourne sponsored a contest in 1865-1866 in which Union soldiers and sailors who lost their right arms by disability or amputation during the Civil War were invited to submit samples of their penmanship using their left hands. The online presentation contains correspondence and broadsides concerning the contests, many of the penmanship entries submitted and photographs of some contest participants.

World War I: American Artists View the Great War is an online exhibition of posters, cartoons, fine art prints and drawings chronicling World War I from its onset through its aftermath. You can visit the exhibition in person through May 6, 2017, at the Library’s Jefferson Building Graphic Arts Gallery.

Digital Collection Upgrades

Finally, we’re continuing our migration of old presentations to newer technologies. The latest to receive an upgrade is Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers Project, 1936-1938, which contains more than 2,300 first-person accounts of slavery and 500 black-and-white photographs of former slaves.  These narratives were collected in the 1930s as part of the Federal Writers’ Project (FWP) of the Works Progress Administration, later renamed Work Projects Administration (WPA).


Rare Survivor of Pacific War

(The following story was written by Mark Hartsell, editor of the Library of Congress staff newsletter, The Gazette.) Before he boarded the ship carrying prisoners of war across the ocean to a forced-labor camp, George Washington Pearcy divided his diary and gave the pieces to two comrades staying behind. If he didn’t survive the journey, […]

Pic of the Week: AFC Celebrates 40

The American Folklife Center (AFC) hosted a reception in celebration of its 40th anniversary last Wednesday. Special guests giving remarks were David Mao, acting Librarian of Congress; Kurt Dewhurst, chairman of AFC’s board of trustees; Betsy Peterson, AFC’s current director; and David Isay, founder of StoryCorps. The reception included a special performance by Nakotah LaRance, […]

Library in the News: April 2016 Edition

April headlines covered a wide range of stories about the Library of Congress. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera continues to make the news, especially with the April announcement of his returning for a second term. Herrera told Sara Catania of Reuters that poetry fans provided an “inspiration tsunami” during his first year in which he […]

Pic of the Week: StoryCorps Makes a Stop

In May 2005, two StoryCorps MobileBooths left the Library of Congress to travel across the United States—one taking an Eastern route and the other covering the Western states. This inaugural tour stopped at 34 cities, and visits lasted two and three weeks, with about 100 interviews collected at each location. The MobileBooth returned to the […]

The Changing Field of Folklife

(The following is an article by Stephen Winick from the March/April 2016 issue of the Library of Congress Magazine, LCM. You can read the issue in its entirety here.) Changes in technology have facilitated global access to the Library’s folklife collections. This year, the Library’s American Folklife Center turns 40. During that time, the world […]

Technology at the Library: StoryCorps Goes Global

(The following is an article by Nicole Saylor of the American Folklife Center for the March/April 2016 issue of the Library of Congress Magazine, LCM. You can read the issue in its entirety here.) The StoryCorps oral history collection is growing through a new mobile app and website. In a matter of months last fall, […]

Pic of the Week: #MyTradition

In celebration of its 40th anniversary, the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress (AFC) has launched year-long campaign asking Americans to share photos of their folk traditions. The campaign kicks off a year of events that will commemorate AFC’s four decades as the institution of record for American folk traditions and ensure that it […]

Good Timing for a Sliming

This year’s list of 25 noteworthy films named to the Library of Congress National Film Registry is out, and it includes some well-known favorites: “Ghostbusters,” “The Shawshank Redemption,” “Top Gun,” even the original Douglas Fairbanks vehicle “Zorro.”  Films are annually named to the registry that are culturally, historically or aesthetically important; the object is preservation […]

Library in the News: November 2015 Edition

Willie Nelson was the talk of the town as the Library celebrated his work and career during a concert in November, as he received the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. “When Willie took the stage to accept the Gershwin prize, you could see the pride on his face,” wrote Brendan Kownacki for Hollywood on the […]