Inquiring Minds: Researching Women’s History at the Library

For years now, Saundra Rose Maley has encouraged her English composition students at Montgomery College in Montgomery County, Maryland, to think of themselves as detectives. The setting for their investigations: the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress. Their task: to scout out primary sources for novel or surprising details about historical figures and write […]

New Online: Occupational Culture of Home Health-Care Workers

This post by Stephanie Hall of the American Folklife Center was first published on the center’s blog, “Folklife Today.” An important new oral history collection documenting the lives and careers of home health-care workers in Oregon is now available on the Library of Congress’ website. The American Folklife Center recently announced the release of “Taking […]

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 To cull through unpublished manuscripts, personal papers of Broadway authors, copyright drama submissions and more to tell the story of the American musical.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 […]

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 […]

Inquiring Minds: Opening a Treasure Chest of Unfinished Stories

In fall 2005, Joe Manning agreed to help his friend, author Elizabeth Winthrop, with a task that had become something of an obsession for her: discovering the story of a little girl staring intently out of a 1910 picture taken at a Vermont cotton mill. Winthrop had encountered the image in an exhibition of child-labor […]

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 […]

Crowdsourcing Helps to Unlock the Mystery of Cursive

This is a guest post by Julie Miller, a historian in the Manuscript Division, and Victoria Van Hyning, a senior innovation specialist in the division. This post coincides with National Handwriting Day. “That’s so beautiful, but what does it say?” This is what we often hear from visitors to the Library of Congress when they […]

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 — […]

New Online: Circus Workers Folklife Project

This is a guest post by Stephen Winick of the American Folklife Center. It was first published on the center’s blog, Folklife Today. A companion post about circus life in Hugo, Oklahoma, is available here. The American Folklife Center (AFC) is delighted to announce the online presentation of an important new oral history collection documenting […]

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 […]