We are often asked which Library of Congress primary source is our favorite. We could never choose just one, but this week I highlight an especially intriguing primary source from the Library’s online collections.
When the blogging team asked for a favorite or weird primary source from the Library’s collections, I didn’t have to think about it very long. I have long admired Leon Plante – and the churn in which he lives. I like the simplicity of the photograph and accompanying text, but both raise so many questions, too. First and foremost, I wonder why anyone would choose to live in a churn. What is the story?
Then, I also wonder what it means to shock twine. I know a bit about shocking corn, so I can make a guess, but I don’t actually know. A quick foray into my usual search engine wasn’t much help; when I entered “shock twine” it inquired, “Did you mean: shook twins, shop twine, shock wine, shoptwine?” If I ever get curious enough to seriously search, I might have to do it the old fashioned way, with reference librarians and books.
Where did I find this gem? It’s in one of my favorite collections, An American Time Capsule: Three Centuries of Broadsides and Other Printed Ephemera. If you’re in a hurry and don’t have time to search or browse the collection, you can also find it in the Library’s primary source set for Minnesota. (Primary source sets are sets of primary sources on popular topics for use by teachers.)
I was a high school English teacher, and I think Leon Plante would have been an engaging writing prompt, but I also think the page generates interesting questions for further research and investigation. Leave a comment, please, and let us know what possibilities you see.