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Category: American History

newspaper image of Voltairine de Cleyre

Discovering Voltairine de Cleyre, Neglected Poet of American Radicalism

Posted by: Amanda Zimmerman

Published in 1978, Paul Avrich’s "An American Anarchist: The Life of Voltairine de Cleyre" was the first substantial biography of Voltairine de Cleyre (1866-1912), an influential member of the American labor movement at the turn of the 20th century. Donated to the Library of Congress in 1986, the biography refers to de Cleyre as “one of the most interesting if neglected figures in the history of American radicalism.”

Red Library of Congress binding on a book from the Smithsonian Deposit. Rare Book and Special Collections Division.

Binding Two National Libraries: Rare Books from the Smithsonian

Posted by: Marianna Stell

In 1866, the Smithsonian physically transferred its library of over 40,000 works to the Library of Congress. A notable event in the history of both information institutions, the Smithsonian Deposit included a range of materials which today are dispersed throughout the Library’s divisions. Among them are some unexpected and intriguing materials in the Rare Book and Special Collections Division.

Image of text with large letters that read "MUNCEY LANGAGUE" across the top.

“In Our Own Language”: Lenape Hymnals in the Rare Book Collection

Posted by: Marianna Stell

Among the resources on the Lenape language in the holdings at the Library of Congress are two hymnals, published in 1847 and 1874 respectively. Printed at a time when governmental policies in Canada and the United States were actively attempting to destroy tribal languages, these hymnals provided a way for Lenape communities to remain connected to their language even amongst attempted erasure. The Halfmoon hymnal includes new translations into Munsee, a Lenape language that is rarely the focus of such linguistic preservation. Guest post by Meg Nicholas, Folklife Specialist, American Folklife Center.