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.

New Day for “Today in History”

(The following post was written by Peter Armenti, literature specialist in the Library’s Digital Reference Section and a regular contributor to the poetry and literature blog, “From the Catbird Seat.”) For nearly 20 years, the Today in History feature has been one of the most popular areas of the Library of Congress website. Drawing heavily […]

Trending: Olympic Games

(The following is a feature in the July/August 2016 issue of the Library of Congress Magazine, LCM, that was written by Audrey Fischer, magazine editor. You can read the issue in its entirety here.) Broadcasts of the Olympic Games bring the event to life for millions of viewers and leave a record behind for posterity. […]

How Did America Get Its Name?

Today, America celebrates its independence. Our founding fathers drafted and adopted the Declaration of Independence, declaring America’s freedom from Great Britain and setting in motion universal human rights. While the colonies may have established it, “America” was given a name long before. America is named after Amerigo Vespucci, the Italian explorer who set forth the […]

Pic of the Week: Happy 216th Library of Congress!

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 […]

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 […]

Looking Back on the Bus Boycott

(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 […]

A Friendly Feast

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 […]