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Category: American History

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.

Title page of Doctrines of the Middle State with inscription.

The Middle State: Famous Owners of a Controversial Text

Posted by: Marianna Stell

Clementina Rind (d. 1774) was the first female newspaper printer in Virginia and associated with Thomas Jefferson, Peyton Randolph, and other American founding fathers. The Rare Book and Special Collections Division at the Library of Congress holds a controversial religious text given to her by her father, which was later owned by Thomas Jefferson.

Image of the title page from the Book of Mormon, copy 2.

The Book of Mormon in the Library of Congress

Posted by: Marianna Stell

The Library of Congress has two copies of the first edition of the Book of Mormon in addition to other foundational texts from the Church of the Latter-day Saints. This post discusses the institutional history of these copies and provides information about their material condition and how to gain digital access to the Book of Mormon, the Pearl of Great Price, and Book of Commandments.