African-American History Month: A Forgotten Tribute to President Abraham Lincoln

This is a guest post by Lavonda Kay Broadnax, digital reference specialist in the Library’s Researcher and Reference Services Division. Abraham Lincoln was fond of poetry: He wrote poems, read them, received them and was the subject of many. So states “Abraham Lincoln and Poetry,” a unique example of the numerous guides the Library makes […]

Inquiring Minds: Celebrating Black Musical Theater

For going on a decade now, theater historian Ben West has been making regular trips from his home in New York City to the Library of Congress. His mission? To cull through unpublished manuscripts, personal papers of Broadway authors, copyright drama submissions and more to tell the story of the American musical. Last September, West’s […]

African-American History Month: The Struggle for Civil Rights Past, Present and Future

This is a guest post by Lavonda Kay Broadnax, digital reference specialist in the Library’s Researcher and Reference Services Division. A few weeks ago, we celebrated Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his work as an activist. Some 100 years before King’s powerful entry into the civil rights movement, however, the fight for civil rights […]

Omar Ibn Said: Conserving a One-of-a-Kind Manuscript

This is a guest post by Sylvia Albro, a senior paper conservator in the Conservation Division. Earlier this month, the Library released online the Omar Ibn Said Collection, including Ibn Said’s autobiography, the only known extant autobiography written in Arabic by an enslaved person in the United States. A wealthy and educated man, Ibn Said […]

Omar Ibn Said: Transcribing Documents from the Unique Collection

This is a guest post by Adam Rothman, a professor of history at Georgetown University and an expert on the history of slavery and abolition in the Atlantic world. Last fall, he was a distinguished visiting scholar at the Library’s John W. Kluge Center. Here Rothman writes about the Omar Ibn Said Collection, which the […]

New Online: Rare Autobiography by Enslaved West African Scholar

This is a guest post by Mary-Jane Deeb, chief of the African and Middle Eastern Division. In the summer of 2017, the African and Middle Eastern Division of the Library of Congress acquired a collection of unique documents, some dating back to the 1830s. Although the documents are not very old by Library standards — […]

An 1848 Christmas Story: The Gift of Freedom

This is a guest post by Lavonda Kay Broadnax, digital reference specialist in the Library’s Research and Reference Services Division. December is a month of holidays and festivities that bring families and friends together to celebrate their good fortune and look forward to the year ahead. For the enslaved couple William and Ellen Craft, the […]

New Acquisition: Billy Strayhorn Archive

This is a guest post by Larry Appelbaum, senior reference librarian and jazz specialist in the Music Division. It was first published on “In the Muse,” the division’s blog. Appelbaum interviewed Gregory Morris, nephew of Billy Strayhorn, to mark the Library’s acquisition of the Billy Strayhorn Music Manuscripts and Estate Papers. In January 2017, I […]

Sample a Taste of History This Thanksgiving!

This is a guest post by Lavonda Kay Broadnax, digital reference specialist in the Library’s Research and Reference Services Division. Thanksgiving is a holiday that evokes thoughts of food and history. Many items in the Library of Congress’ collections capture the intersection between food and history, but the most notable may be an 1881 cookbook […]