New Blog Series: New Online

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

This is the first post in a new monthly series highlighting new collections, items and presentations on the Library’s website. After checking out the items mentioned here, be sure to visit some of our other blogs that highlight our collections in more depth, such as Picture This, Now See Hear and Worlds Revealed.

New Collections and Items:

The Library’s American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB) – a collaboration with the WGBH Educational Foundation – announced this week the acquisition of the New Hampshire Public Radio’s digital collection of interviews and speeches by presidential candidates from 1995-2007. The entire collection – nearly 100 hours of content – is now online, along with other presidential campaign content from the AAPB collection, in a new curated, free presentation, “Voices of Democracy: Public Media and Presidential Elections.”

The Library’s Manuscripts Division has been hard at work digitizing collections of historic American documents, with dozens of primary source collections online (you can see the full list here).

The Salmon P. Chase Papers consist of 12,500 items from the papers of this former Ohio governor, Lincoln cabinet official and Supreme Court justice. The papers focus chiefly on Chase’s legal career, activities as an abolitionist, involvement in Ohio and national politics, tenure as secretary of the treasury (1861-1864), influence on national finance and service as chief justice of the United States Supreme Court (1864-1873).

The William Tecumseh Sherman Papers include approximately 18,000 items of correspondence, a volume of recollections during and after the Mexican War, military documents, printed matter, memorabilia and manuscripts of Sherman’s “Memoirs.” The manuscript of the “Memoirs” and a long narrative of wartime experiences supplement the correspondence for the Civil War period. The correspondence in the collection is particularly strong for the years when Sherman served as commanding general of the army (1869-1883).

defaultSherman’s papers also include thousands of pages of letters and personal recollections, along with historical documents like this certificate (left) of thanks signed by President Abraham Lincoln, awarded to Sherman after his capture of Atlanta in 1864. Like many of our digitized items, users can freely download a high resolution image of this document.

The Library’s extensive digitization efforts include a stream of individual items, in addition to the types of full collections mentioned above. We frequently add new digitized items to loc.gov via “one off” scanning – for example, this 1876 map (below) – “Colton’s new topographical map of the states of Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland & Delaware” default

You can use the deep zoom feature on the item’s resource view to see roads, rivers, railroads, and more. Check out more digitized maps.

Five new digitized items are added to the Poetry and Literature Center’s Archive of Hispanic Literature on Tape and Archive of Recorded Poetry and Literature each month, along with biographies of the poets and authors. Check out this recording of Robert Creeley reading his poems (with commentary), recorded in the Library’s Recording Laboratory in 1961.

Upgrades and Updates:

American Memory was, for many years, the Library’s flagship online presence, a ground-breaking collection of digitized primary sources and scholarly materials. It is gradually being migrated to new presentations that allow for a modern web experience, as well as updated searching and browsing. Recent migrations include the American Folklife Center’s Captain Pearl R. Nye: Life on the Ohio and Erie Canal Collection, featuring 75 recordings from 1937-38 (by John, Ruby, and Alan Lomax) of songs documenting life on the canal. From the Law Library and the Rare Books Divisions comes The Slaves and the Courts, 1740-1860 Collection, featuring materials drawn from 105 manuscripts and books associated with the Dred Scott case and the abolitionist activities of John Brown, John Quincy Adams, and William Lloyd Garrison.

Also in a new presentation is An American Ballroom Companion: Dance Instruction Manuals, ca. 1490 to 1920, bringing you social dance guides dating back to 1490. Library experts have helpfully grouped the materials topically, in case you want to find for example, Anti-dance materials.

The Library holds hundreds of lectures, concerts, poetry readings, author talks and more each year, most of which are filmed and made available online via our video portal. We’ve recently been re-digitizing thousands of videos that have previously only been available in low resolution legacy formats, including updating more than 1,700 webcasts to new, high quality MP4 video.

In this video, Library Music Specialist Larry Applebaum conducts a fascinating interview with the late music legend Allen Toussaint on the New Orleans piano tradition, Professor Longhair, the challenges of songwriting and producing, and the impact of Hurricane Katrina.

The Veterans History Project has recently upgraded thousands of video interviews from legacy formats to a high quality presentation accessible on any device. Search and browse the collection at loc.gov/vets, or see highlighted presentations like Experiencing War.

February is African American History Month – we’ve recently updated our collaborative portal with links to featured content from collaborators at the Smithsonian, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Park Service and the National Archives.

Next month we’ll be back with a new collection of digitized items from the Rosa Parks Papers, new archived Web Site content, improvements to our user interface, and more.

Pic of the Week: Willie Nelson on PBS Tonight!

Make sure to tune in to PBS tonight for the star-studded concert tribute to Willie Nelson, the 2015 recipient of the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. The concert airs on PBS stations nationwide at 9 p.m. ET on (check local listings). The program also will be broadcast at a later date via the American […]

Lewis Helps Library Celebrate Acquisition of Personal Papers

(The following was written by Mark Hartsell, editor of the Library’s staff newsletter, The Gazette.) Jerry Lewis sat alone in the spotlight, reflecting on his career and on the passage of the years – for both him and the fans who filled the historic State Theatre. “At the time that I began, which was some […]

The Battle of Waterloo

(The following is a guest post from Taru Spiegel, reference specialist in the Library’s European Division.) Today marks the 200th anniversary of the history-changing Battle of Waterloo in 1815. This engagement ended in the conclusive defeat of Napoleon and his French generals and was a costly victory for the Anglo-Dutch, Belgian and German forces. The […]

Trending: Superheroes on Screen

Superheroes continue to captivate audiences nearly a century after their film debut. America loves its superheroes (and villains). These beloved and delightfully despised characters continue to take center stage at the movies and on television. “The Mark of Zorro” (United Artists, 1920), a silent film starring Douglas Fairbanks, was among the 10 motion pictures featuring […]

Collecting Comedy

(The following is an article from the May/June 2015 issue of the Library of Congress Magazine, LCM. Daniel Blazek, a recorded sound technician at the Library’s Packard Campus for Audio-Visual Preservation, wrote the story. You can read the issue in its entirety here.) Laughter, with its links to the development of the human brain, no doubt […]

That All May Read

(The following is a guest post by Karen Keninger, director of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped.) There are times when a “best-kept secret” is exactly what you want. But not when it comes to one of the most highly valued services provided through the Library of Congress – namely the […]

Celebrating Women’s History: America’s First Female P.I.

Walking into the Chicago office of Allan Pinkerton’s detective agency one afternoon in 1856 was a woman of medium height, “slender, graceful in her movements, and perfectly self-possessed in her manner.” Claiming to be a widow, aged 23, Kate Warne was looking for a job, and not as a secretary. One could imagine Pinkerton’s surprise […]