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Category: American History

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.

Image of James Merril in black-and-white.

With Love, Jimmy : The James Merrill Collection

Posted by: Mark Manivong

James Merrill (1926-1995) was a poet and writer who won nearly every major poetry award in the United States. The Rare Book and Special Collections Division acquired a Merrill Collection in 2015 that holds a surprising number of his works bearing inscriptions to his romantic partners. This blog post looks at some of the inscriptions to four of Merrill's lovers.

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.

Portrait of Rose O'Neal Greenhow

From Captivity to Capsized: Wild Rose O’Neal Greenhow

Posted by: Amanda Zimmerman

Among many fascinating books related to the Civil War, the Library of Congress also holds a demurely-bound, water-damaged volume inscribed by its author. This volume, the autobiography of Confederate spy and Maryland native Rose O'Neal Greenhow (1815-1864), documents her exploits as a persistent thorn in the side of President Abraham Lincoln and the Union cause.

cover of the book The Nasby Papers

Lincoln, Locke, and the Disagreeable Rev. Nasby

Posted by: Amanda Zimmerman

In the early 1860s amidst growing unrest between the North and South, American humorist, journalist and political commentator David Ross Locke (1833 - 1888) debuted a character that would be popular with abolitionists for years to come - and with Abraham Lincoln in particular.

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.