New Online: Walt Whitman, Heritage Months & Blogs

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


New online this month are two manuscript collections featuring the poet Walt Whitman. The Thomas Biggs Harned Collection of Walt Whitman papers consists of approximately 3,000 items spanning the period 1842-1937. Most of the items date from 1855, when Whitman first published the poem “Leaves of Grass,” to his death at age 73 in 1892. The online presentation includes correspondence, poetry and prose manuscripts, notes and notebooks, proofs and offprints, printed matter and miscellaneous items. The collection is accompanied by articles related to Whitman’s notebooks, describing how the poet used them to capture his thoughts and words; the repair and conservation work done at the Library; and the story of how four of the notebooks were returned to the Library 50 years after they mysteriously disappeared from the institution’s manuscript collections.

1888 printed copy of Whitman’s “O Captain! My Captain!” with Whitman’s handwritten corrections. Manuscript Division.

1888 printed copy of Whitman’s “O Captain! My Captain!” with Whitman’s handwritten corrections. Manuscript Division.

The Walt Whitman Papers (Miscellaneous Manuscript Collection) has some 150 items, including some of Whitman’s earliest known correspondence, and a printed copy of Whitman’s poem “O Captain! My Captain!” containing the poet’s handwritten corrections.


We’re always looking for ways to make the digital collections easier to use. This month, we’ve added new features to the digital collections portal, including the ability to use facets to filter by format, subject and the Library division that manages the content. For example, this link shows you American history-related digital collections from the Prints and Photographs Division. In the coming months, we’ll be adding additional features for working with collections.


The Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month and Jewish American Heritage Month sites provide new content, as well as a new mobile-friendly visual design, a new video player and more. The Library provides the heritage month sites in collaboration with the 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.


Finally, we add a new blog to our growing family – 4 Corners of the World Blog: International Collections and Studies. A joint project of the Library’s four area studies divisions — African and Middle Eastern, Asian, European and Hispanic – the blog will focus on the Library’s international collections, which comprise millions of items from ancient cuneiform tablets right up to materials from the present day.

Paying the Doctor in 18th-Century Philadelphia

(The following blog post is by Julie Miller, early American historian in the Manuscript Division.)  How did 18th-century Americans pay for their medical care? A leather-bound volume of patient payments kept by Philadelphia physician William Shippen Jr. between 1775 and 1793 helps answer this question. The volume is in the Shippen Family Papers in the Manuscript […]

Curator’s Picks: All That Jazz

(The following is an article from the March/April 2016 issue of the Library of Congress Magazine, LCM. You can read the issue in its entirety here.) Music Division Curator Larry Appelbaum highlights items from the Library’s exhibition “Jazz Singers.” BILLIE HOLIDAY No matter how many times I’ve seen this iconic portrait of Ms. Holiday by […]

Gathered Around the Seder Table: Images from the Passover Haggadah

(The following is a guest post by Sharon Horowitz, reference librarian in the Hebraic Section of the African and Middle Eastern Division.) Exodus 23:15 tells us that Passover should be celebrated in the spring. The rabbis understood this to mean it was their job to maintain the holiday in the spring, which required some manipulation […]

Here’s to a Couple of Ruff Characters

Four hundred years ago this weekend, two of the greatest geniuses in wordcraft this world has ever seen both died: William Shakespeare and Miguel de Cervantes. Shakespeare’s plays still dazzle, written though they are in Elizabethan English and iambic pentameter; their story lines are still fresh enough to inspire endless straight-play performance worldwide, Broadway musicals […]

New Online: Civil War and Persian Gulf Stories, National Recording Registry

(The following is a guest post by William Kellum, manager in the Library’s Web Services Division.) The Manuscript Division has added two collections to its growing list of Civil War materials now available online. The papers of army officer Philip Henry Sheridan (1831-1888) span the years 1853-1896, although the majority of the material dates from […]

Pic of the Week: Ask Us Anything on Rosa Parks

Library experts involved in making the papers of Rosa Parks available online answered questions in a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) session on Tuesday. During the Reddit AMA, experts from the Library of Congress Manuscripts Division, the Prints and Photographs Division and Educational Outreach took questions about Rosa Parks and about how the Library cataloged, preserved, digitized, and […]

Easter Week Illuminations

(The following is a guest post by Levon Avdoyan, Armenian and Georgian area specialist in the African and Middle Eastern Division.) The feast of Easter is arguably the holiest of holidays for the various Christian denominations but especially for the Eastern Churches – among those, the Armenian Church. For it, Easter Week (Avag Shabat, the […]

Ask Us Anything: Reddit AMA on Rosa Parks Papers 3/29

The following is a guest post by Library of Congress Information Technology Specialist Michelle Rago: Library experts involved in making the papers of Rosa Parks available online will answer your questions in a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) session beginning at 9 a.m. (ET) on March 29, 2016. Join us on the AskHistorians subreddit. The collection contains […]