The Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building. Photo by Shawn Miller.
The Library of Congress celebrates its 216th birthday on Sunday. Founded on April 24, 1800, thanks to an appropriation approved by Pres. John Adams of $5,000 for the purchase of “such books as may be necessary for the use of Congress.” What started with a whopping 740 books and three maps has evolved to more than 162 million items, including more than 38 million books and other print materials, 5.5 million maps, 70 million manuscripts, 14 million photographs, 7.1 million pieces of sheet music and 3.6 million recordings.
The Library adds materials for its collections at a rate of more than 12,000 items per working day — chosen from the roughly 15,000 received daily.
Today, the Library makes freely available online more than 60.9 million primary source files, including manuscripts, newspapers, films, sound recordings and photographs. You can browse by topic the Library’s online collection items.
“I long to hear that you have declared an independency. And, by the way, in the new code of laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make, I desire you would remember the ladies and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power […]
(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 […]
On this day in 1843, the Charles Dickens classic “A Christmas Carol” was published. Or was it? While researching the book’s history, there appeared to be some confusion over the date, with many sources confirming December 19 as the day Ebenezer Scrooge was introduced to readers. As it turns out, the book has a somewhat […]
(The following post is by Jeanne Theoharis, distinguished professor of political science at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York and the author of the award-winning “The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks.” A revised edition of the book has just been published with a new introduction drawn from the recently opened papers […]
This Thanksgiving, I’ll be celebrating “Friendsgiving” – a thankful gathering for those of us unable to spend the holiday with our families. The veritable smorgasbord of dishes everyone is bringing got me thinking about everyone’s food traditions, since Turkey Day usually revolves around sharing a meal. I imagine my friends’ dishes come from old family […]
Until 1897, the Library of Congress was housed in the U.S. Capitol Building itself. Librarian of Congress Ainsworth Rand Spofford (1864–97) was the first to propose that the Library be moved to a dedicated building. He also was instrumental in establishing the copyright law of 1870, which placed the Copyright Office in the Library and […]
America is full of weird and spooky places, and what better time to highlight some of them than Halloween! The Library’s collections have a wealth of materials on all kinds of topics, so it wasn’t hard to find places worthy of a frightful road trip! Zzyzx (pronounced zye-zex), located in San Bernadino County, California, was […]
Jumping gigawatts! Today, the future has arrived! If you were around in 1989, Oct. 21, 2015, may have seemed light-years away, and you might have thought we would all be riding around in flying cars or something. Well, your imagination isn’t as far-fetched as you think. On this day, Marty McFly jumped through time to […]
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, monthly job gains averaged 235,000 over the last three months. Many of these jobs and industries didn’t even exist 10, 20, even 30 years ago – coder, software engineer, social media strategist, Zumba instructor, to name a few. But, just as new jobs are created, others become completely […]