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New Online: Presidents, Newspapers and Mobile Apps

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Crowds fill the Walter E. Washington Convention Center during the 2014 National Book Festival. Photo by Colena Turner.
Crowds fill the Walter E. Washington Convention Center during the 2014 National Book Festival. Photo by Colena Turner.

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

National Book Festival

The Library’s 16th Annual National Book Festival takes place on Saturday, Sept. 24, at the Washington Convention Center in Washington D.C., and we’ve updated our Mobile App and website with all the details. The app, available at no charge for iOS and Android users, contains the complete schedule of the dozens of author presentations, book-signings, special programs and activities. Users can plan and build their full day’s personalized schedule in advance, find their way around the center to their chosen activities, rate each presentation and more. The app also includes detailed information on updated security and safety procedures now for entry into the Washington Convention Center.

We’ve also launched a new podcast that features interviews with some of the award-winning authors from the 2016 National Book Festival. Episodes featuring Kristin Hannah, Carlos Ruiz Zafón, Joyce Carol Oates and Kwame Alexander are already available. You can also hear these interviews on iTunes.

Chronicling America

New on Chronicling America are 18th-century newspapers from the three early capitals of the United States: New York City, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. Nearly 15,000 pages have been added from The Gazette of the United States and related titles (New York, N.Y. and Philadelphia, Pa., 1789-1801); the National Gazette (Philadelphia, Pa., 1791-1793); and the National Intelligencer (Washington, D.C. 1800-1809). They have been added to the site in an expansion of the chronological scope of materials covered by the National Digital Newspaper Program. Check out the post from the Library of Congress blog for the full details.

Library Exhibitions

Eva Turner as Turandot. Photo by Fernand de Gueldre, 1936. Music Division.
Eva Turner as Turandot. Photo by Fernand de Gueldre, 1936. Music Division.

On display in the Library’s Performing Arts Reading Room until Jan. 21, 2017, is “#Opera Before Instagram: Portraits, 1890-1955.” The photographs on exhibit in and in the companion online presentation represent a cross section of important singers who performed in the United States. Some artists are presented in formal attire, which would have been used for general publicity and concert appearances, and others are costumed as characters from their operatic repertoire. The photos are drawn from the Charles Jahant Collection in the Library’s Music Division, which contains nearly 2,000 photographs of opera singers from the 19th and 20th centuries, many of which are inscribed to him. Jahant began donating his collection to the Library in 1980, and it remains the largest iconographical collection held by the Music Division.

Presidential Papers

The Library continues to add to its online collection of presidential papers. Also new this month are presentations on John Tyler and Zachary Taylor.

Engraved portrait of President John Tyler, 1863. Manuscript Division.
Engraved portrait of President John Tyler, 1863. Manuscript Division.

John Tyler, the 10th president of the U.S. (1841-1845), was acutely conscious of the legacy he would leave upon his death, carefully collecting papers documenting his life and work. Following his 1862 death, the Tyler home – Sherwood Forest in Charles City County, Virginia – was entered by Union soldiers and others. Papers that were reported to be present in the house were subjected to ransacking, looting and destruction. Tyler’s son Lyon Gardiner Tyler (1853-1935) sought out materials that might still be extant, contacting family friends and known recipients of Tyler correspondence. He recovered part of an autograph collection and letters, or copies of letters, written by his father to friends and political contemporaries, and sold the original documents and copies he had collected to the Library of Congress in 1919. The online collection is made up primarily of correspondence, including letters and copies of letters to or from Tyler (1790-1862), a governor and U.S. representative and senator from Virginia, who served as vice president under William Henry Harrison before becoming the 10th president of the United States upon Harrison’s death in 1841.  Also included are letters to and from Julia Gardiner Tyler, Tyler’s second wife, and members of the Gardiner family, and “autograph” letters by others, which were collected by Tyler. Also included in the presentation is an illustrated chronology of key events in Tyler’s life.

The Zachary Taylor Papers Collection contains approximately 650 items dating from 1814 to 1931, with the bulk from 1840 to 1861.  The collection is made up primarily of general correspondence and family papers of Taylor (1784-1850), with some autobiographical material, business and military records, printed documents, engraved printed portraits and other miscellany relating chiefly to his presidency (1849-1850); his service as a U.S. Army officer, especially in the 2nd Seminole Indian War; management of his plantations; and settlement of his estate. The online presentation also includes an illustrated timeline of Taylor’s life.

Pershing and Patton Papers

The John J. Pershing Papers Collection features the diaries, notebooks, and address books of John Joseph Pershing (1860-1948), U.S. army officer and commander-in-chief of the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I. Part of a larger collection of Pershing papers available for research use onsite in the Library’s Manuscript Reading Division, the entire collection spans the years 1882-1971, with the bulk of the material concentrated in the period 1904-1948. It consists of correspondence, diaries, notebooks, speeches, statements, writings, orders, maps, scrapbooks, newspaper clippings, picture albums, posters, photographs, printed matter and memorabilia.

This page from Patton’s diary of June 22, 1917 describes his first bi-plane flight, piloted by William Mitchell. Manuscript Division.
This page from Patton’s diary of June 22, 1917 describes his first bi-plane flight, piloted by William Mitchell. Manuscript Division.

The George S. Patton Papers: Diaries, 1910-1945 online collection features the diaries of U.S. army officer George S. Patton (1885-1945). Like Pershing, the Patton diaries are part of a larger collection of Patton papers available for research use onsite in the Manuscript Division. The entire collection spans the years 1807-1979, with the bulk of the papers concentrated from 1904 to 1945. The collection documents Patton’s military career, including his attendance at West Point, 1904-1909; his service on the Mexican border as a member of John J. Pershing’s Mexican Punitive Expedition, 1916-1917; his service as an aide-de-camp to Pershing and later as a tank commander in World War I, 1917-1919; and his military career from 1938 to 1945. The majority of the papers chronicle Patton’s World War II service and his success as one of America’s most skillful combat commanders of armored troops.

Collection Upgrades

Finally, we continue to gradually upgrade and migrate older collections to new presentations – the latest upgrade from our legacy American Memory project is Pioneering the Upper Midwest: Books from Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, ca. 1820 to 1910. The collection portrays the states of Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin from the 17th to the early 20th century through first-person accounts, biographies, promotional literature, local histories, ethnographic and antiquarian texts, colonial archival documents and other works drawn from the Library’s general collections and Rare Books and Special Collections Division. The collection’s 138 volumes depict the land and its resources; the conflicts between settlers and Native peoples; the experience of pioneers and missionaries, soldiers and immigrants and reformers; the growth of local communities and local cultural traditions; and the development of regional and national leadership in agriculture, business, medicine, politics, religion, law, journalism, education and the role of women.


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