New Online: Today in History, Hispanic Heritage & Folklife Collections

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

Website Updates

Each Today in History story is accompanied by illustrative items from the Library’s collection.

Each Today in History story is accompanied by illustrative items from the Library’s collection.

Today in History is an online presentation of historic events illustrated by items from the Library’s digital collections. First established in 1997, the site was migrated this month from the American Memory site to a new home on The revised site features larger images, responsive design and, most importantly, hundreds of updates, corrections and enhancements. The site’s content is written by reference experts from across many of the Library’s divisions and is a great resource for teachers, history enthusiasts and more. Each illustrated story ends with suggestions for further inquiry and investigation within the Library’s rich online resources.

September brought another release of, featuring several enhancements and improvements – read all about them on the Law Library’s excellent blog post.

Heritage Months

National Hispanic Heritage Month is September 15 to October 15. The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum join in paying tribute to the generations of Hispanic Americans who have influenced and enriched our nation and society. The Hispanic Heritage website has been redesigned and upgraded, featuring new content for 2016, a new adaptive visual design, new and improved video player and more.

Folklife Collections

The Montana Folklife Survey Collection was established in the summer of 1979 by the American Folklife Center of the Library of Congress, in cooperation with the Montana Arts Council. The survey was a field research project to document traditional folklife in Montana and joins the Chicago Ethnic Arts collection, which was released earlier this year. The collection features sound recordings, photographs and manuscripts that document interviews with Montanans in various occupations including ranching, sheep herding, blacksmithing, stone cutting, saddle making and mining. The sound recordings also feature various folk and traditional music occasions, including fiddle and mandolin music in Forsyth; fiddle and accordion music performed in Broadus; the Montana Old-Time Fiddlers Association in Polson; Irish music, songs and dance music on concertina and accordion in Butte; a Serbian wedding and reception in Butte; hymn singing of the Turner Colony of Hutterites; the annual Crow Fair in Crow Agency; storytelling on the Milk River Wagon Train; and other documentation of rodeos, trade crafts, vernacular architecture, quilting and reminiscences and stories about life in Montana in 1979. A finding aid to the entire collection is also available online.

The Montana Folklife Collection includes field recordings like this 1979 recording of Evening Dances from the Native American Crow Fair.

Online Exhibits

Finally, in conjunction with new items on display in the Library’s Jefferson Building, the online “Mapping a Growing Nation: From Independence to Statehood” exhibit features early American maps, which will eventually include maps from all 50 states. A highlight is Abel Buell’s New and Correct Map of the United States of North America, the first map of the newly independent U.S. compiled, printed and published in America by an American.

World War I: Conscription Laws

(The following is a guest post by Margaret Wood, a legal reference librarian at the Law Library of Congress.) Six weeks after the declaration of war against Germany on April 6, 1917, ch. 1, 40 Stat.1, Congress passed the Selective Service Act. Initially, President Woodrow Wilson and Congress had hoped the needed 1 million men […]

New Online: Website Updates, Presidential Papers, Federal Resources

(The following is a guest post by William Kellum, manager in the Library’s Web Services Division.)  Website Resources New in July is a new, responsive design for the Library’s Online Catalog, one of the most heavily used features of our website. Like other websites, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in the number of users accessing […]

A Hamilton Mixtape, Library of Congress Style

Nominated for a record-setting 16 Tony Awards, “Hamilton” the musical swept the ceremony winning 11, including Best Musical, Best Book, Best Original Score and a handful of best actor/actresses. The show is based on the Ron Chernow biography on founding father Alexander Hamilton, which Lin-Manuel Miranda, who wrote the musical, had picked up on a whim […]

Have Exhibit, Will Travel

True or false? Visiting Washington, D.C. is the only way to enjoy the collections of the Library of Congress. False. The Library offers a rich treasure trove of its collections. Not only that, it loans items to other institutions and agencies for their exhibitions, as well as offers other institutions and cultural organizations the opportunity to […]

Celebrating Women: Women’s History on Pinterest

(The following blog post is by Jennifer Harbster, a science research specialist and blogger for the Library’s Science, Technology, and Busines blog, “Inside Adams.” Harbster also helped create the Library of Congress Women’s History Month board on Pinterest.) March is designated as Women’s History Month and this year the National Women’s History Project has selected […]

Pinteresting African American History

February is African American History Month, an annual celebration that has existed since 1926. This year’s theme, according to the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) is “A Century of Black Life, History and Culture.” This year also marks the centennial of ASALH, which was established in 1915 by Carter G. […]

A Jefferson Book, Rediscovered in Law Library

(The following is a story written by Mark Hartsell, editor of the Library of Congress staff newsletter, The Gazette.) A tiny, handwritten “T” at the bottom of page 113 offered a clue that this book – long part of the Law Library collections – needed a new home: the permanent exhibition of Thomas Jefferson’s library. […]

Inquiring Minds: The Document Man

Armed guards? Check. Secret rendezvous points? Check. Mysterious steel briefcase? Check. Sounds like a James Bond movie. But it’s just a day in the life of Christopher Woods, director of the National Conservation Service in Britain. By day, he’s a leading conservator in the field with more than 29 years experience working in the heritage […]

Curator’s Picks: Magna Carta’s Legal Legacy

(The following is an article in the November/December 2014 issue of LCM, the Library of Congress Magazine. The issue can be read in its entirety here.) Nathan Dorn, the Law Library’s curator of rare books, highlights five favorite pieces from the Library’s Magna Carta exhibition. Statutes of England “Intricate colored-pen work graces this 14th-century miniature […]