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.
The Library recently acquired a rare surviving copy of the complete run of a Civil War regimental newspaper, the Soldier's Letter of the 2nd Colorado Cavalry of the American military. More than a hundred regiments on both sides of the conflict printed at least one edition of a camp newspaper, but few survive and a complete run of one paper is even harder fo find today. The four-page Soldier's Letter, staunchly against slavery and the Confederacy, ran for 50 editions between 1864 until after the war ended in 1865. Though mostly concerned with the regiment's history and daily details of camp life, the paper shows that soldiers were more concerned about warring Native American tribes than they were Confederate units, and they would eventually form a military bridge between the Civil War and the Indian Wars that followed.
The papers of Leonard Downie Jr., who started as an intern at The Washington Post in the 1960s concluded his career with a 17-year run as executive editor, are now available for researchers in the Library's Manuscript Division. They offer insight on the Post's inner workings on such stories as Watergate, the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars, the Bill Clinton and George W. Bush administrations, the Valerie Plame affair, 9/11, the Unabomber and much more.
The Allen Neuharth Papers in the Library's Manuscript Division provide an inside look at a changing industry, the rise of the only national newspaper established after World War II and the thoughts, practices and endeavors of a media mogul who helped defined the age.
The Library of Congress celebrates its 220th birthday on April 24, 2020. It was begun with a $5,000 appropriation to buy 740 books and three maps on this date in 1800. It is now the largest library in world history.