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 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom was 60 years ago today -- August 28, 1963. We look back at that historic day, both at how it developed and its aftermath, in an era when terrorism, violence and assassinations targeted civil rights volunteers, workers and organizers.
This winter, President Lincoln's Cottage in Washington, D.C., exhibited "Create to Free Yourselves: Abraham Lincoln and the History of Freeing Slaves in America," an installation by Georges Adéagbo. In creating it, Adéagbo visited the Library's Manuscript Division to research Lincoln's words and handwriting. Born in Benin, educated in Cote I and France, Adéagbo works internationally. Here, he talks about how he created the Lincoln project.
One of the Library's most unusual holdings is hair -- lots of it. The Library has locks and tresses and strands from people in the arts such as Ludwig van Beethoven, Walt Whitman and Edna St. Vincent Millay; presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Quincy Adams, James Madison and Ulysses S. Grant; and any number of famous women, including Lucy Webb Hayes (first lady and spouse of President Rutherford B. Hayes); Confederate spy Antonia Ford Willard; Clare Boothe Luce and unidentified hair from Clara Barton’s diary. Nearly all of the hair stems from the 18th and 19th centuries, in the era before photographs were common and lockets of hair were seen as tokens that could be anything from romantic to momentous.
David McCullough, one of the nation's most decorated historians and authors, died today at the age of 89. A writer who valued deep research and lively narratives, he was a good friend of American readers and a good friend of the Library and its patrons.
The Library of Congress has unexpected items in its vast collections -- the contents of Lincoln's pockets when he was assassinated; cocaine used in a groundbreaking 19th-century surgery; a lock of Beethoven's hair; 3,000 year old cuneiform tablets from modern-day Iraq; Mesoamerican incense burners that are more than 2,000 years old; and a piece of Tom Thumb's wedding cake, now nearly 160 years old.
Ulysses S. Grant was born 200 years ago today, April 27, 2022. The Library has a huge collection of the former president's personal, military and political papers, including letters to his wife, Julia, and the manuscript of his bestselling memoir.
Thomas Jefferson’s copy of the Quran, one of the treasures of the Library, is making its first-ever appearance in the Middle East this month, debuting at the glittering World Expo in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. It will be featured in the U.S. Pavilion until the end of 2021.
Abraham Lincoln, with little formal education, studied a popular textbook, "English Grammar in Familiar Lectures" on his own while in his 20s. Through it, he gained a mastery of the language that would give the nation some of its most enduring speeches.