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Category: Manuscripts

A sepia-toned sheet of paper, with the title and opening lines of the Declaration of Independence

Proclaiming a New Nation: The Library’s Copies of the Declaration of Independence

Posted by: Mark Hartsell

After the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, the delegates spread the word as quickly as possible by publishing it on a broadside sheet and delivering it throughout the Colonies. Copies of the Dunlap Broadside (named after the printer) are now extremely rare, with only about two dozen copies known to surive. The Library has two, one of which belonged to George Washington.

Image of an ornate clock showing 2:05 with sculpted male figures sitting on each side of the clock face

Lakota “Winter Count” Artistry

Posted by: Mark Hartsell

The winter counts created by some Native American peoples chronicle centuries of their history in pictures: battles fought, treaties struck, buffalo hunts, meteor showers, droughts, famines, epidemics. The counts — painted mostly on buffalo hides until the species was hunted to nearextinction in the late 19th century — served as a way for tribes of …

Image of an ornate clock showing 2:05 with sculpted male figures sitting on each side of the clock face

Amelia Earhart, in History’s Hands

Posted by: Mark Hartsell

A shorter version of this story appeared in the July/August edition of the Library of Congress Magazine.  The best clues to a person’s character lie right in the palms of their hands. That, at least, is what Nellie Simmons Meier believed. Meier, you see, was one of the world’s foremost practitioners of the “science” of …

Image of an ornate clock showing 2:05 with sculpted male figures sitting on each side of the clock face

New Online: William Oland Bourne Papers

Posted by: Mark Hartsell

As a hospital chaplain during the Civil War, William Oland Bourne collected the names of the wounded soldiers he tended and, in doing so, noticed a terrible trend: Many soldiers used their left hands to sign his autograph book because their right arms were missing. How, Bourne wondered, could these grievously wounded men adapt – …