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What’s new online at the Library of Congress – May 2023

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Interested in learning more about what’s new in the Library of Congress’ digital collections? The Signal shares bi-monthly updates of new additions to publicly available digital collections and we love showing off all the hard work of our colleagues from across the Library. Read on for a sample of what’s been added recently and some of our favorite highlights. Click here for previous updates.

What’s new on

Charles William Le Gendre Papers

This selection of the first five boxes of the papers of army officer and diplomat Charles William Le Gendre (1830-1899) spans the years 1866-1893, and is concentrated in two periods, 1866-1875 and 1891-1892. The materials consist of correspondence, memoranda, dispatches, reports, Chinese and Japanese documents, and other papers relating chiefly to Le Gendre’s diplomatic career in the American foreign service and in the Japanese and Korean governments. The collection documents his service as American consul at Amoy (Xiamen), China (1866-1872); advisor in the Japanese foreign service and in a diplomatic post representing Japan in Taiwan (1872-1875, then known as Formosa); and advisor in the Korean government (1890-1899). Subjects include American interests in Asia, Asian civilizations, establishment of peaceful relations with Taiwan, and Korean trade relations. Collection materials are in English, French, Japanese, Chinese, and other Asian languages.

Charles William Le Gendre Papers: Asian language documents, undated; 3 of 7. 1892, 1866.
Charles William Le Gendre Papers: Asian language documents, undated; 3 of 7. 1892, 1866.

Early Baseball Publications

The Library of Congress houses the world’s largest baseball collection, documenting the history of our National Pastime and providing a unique look at the game of baseball in America since the late 1700s. This collection includes a large selection of annual baseball guides, including numerous volumes of Spalding’s Official Base Ball Guide. Also included are rule books, record books, scorekeeping guides, books on how to hit and play different positions, and more. Additional baseball materials available at the Library, as well as links to baseball-related digitized publications offered by other institutions, can be found through the research guide Baseball Resources at the Library of Congress.

Spalding's Base Ball Guide, and Official League Book: A Complete Hand Book of the National Game of Base Ball. Chicago ; New York: A.G. Spalding & Bros, 1877.
Spalding’s Base Ball Guide, and Official League Book: A Complete Hand Book of the National Game of Base Ball. Chicago ; New York: A.G. Spalding & Bros, 1877.

Selections of Prayer Materials from Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia

The African and Middle Eastern Division (AMED) at the Library of Congress holds a sizable collection of prayer materials from Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia. Prayer traditions are passed down through generations in various formats – such as oral, written, etc. – capturing the rich culture of belief systems. The Selections of Prayer Materials in Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia contain items in many formats, including manuscripts, rare books, lithographs, and historical postcards, written in African languages, Hebrew, Arabic, Armenian, Ge’ez, Georgian, Ladino, Persian, Turkish, or Turkic languages. Based on this selection of materials, the division developed and published in July 2022 an online exhibition/Story Map, “Prayer Traditions in Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia.” This story map is part of the “Exploring Challenging Conversations” initiative generously funded by the Lilly Endowment, Inc. The purpose of the initiative is to enhance public awareness of cross-regional and intercultural religious understanding in Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia, and their global diasporas.

Tamera Maryam = the miracles of Mary. [Ethiopia?] Undated.

Collection updates and migrations

Copyright Historical Record Books

The U.S. Copyright Office’s online presentation of Historical Record Books now includes approximately 6,200 digitized record books, covering the years 1946-1977 (they are being added in reverse-chronological order.) Note: this collection is a digital preview of the physical collection and should not be relied on for legal matters. To access the official public records in the copyright historical record books, visit the Copyright Office Public Records Reading Room.

Lewis Carroll Scrapbook

Originally released in a “Global Gateway” web presentation, a scrapbook compiled by Rev. Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, better known by his pen name Lewis Carroll, has now been migrated to the digital collections platform (below). The online collection includes the scrapbook itself, an essay about the scrapbook, timelines of Dodgson’s life and times, and a portrait gallery of key people mentioned in the scrapbook clippings.

Dodgson, Charles Lutwidge, and Frederic Louis Huidekoper. Scrap-book belonging to the Rev. Charles Ludwig [sic] Dodgson, M.A., Christ Church, Oxford, better known as “Lewis Carroll,” the author of “Alice’s adventures in wonderland,” […] ca.1834.
Tax assessment list, Canterbury, Connecticut, 1787

Formerly known as the “Massachusetts Sheep Census,” this document reflects the economy of the town with an emphasis on sheep ownership. Learn more about this piece of history through this Resource for Teachers.

Foreign Legal Gazettes

Occupational Folklife Project

New datasets

11 new dataset items were added to the Selected Datasets collection since our last edition. Some highlights include Women in the Copyright System – An Analysis of Women Authors in Copyright Registrations from 1978 to 2020 and two new transcription datasets from the By the People crowdsourced transcription program: the Georgia O’Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz correspondence and The crystal : a record of visions and conferences with the in-dwellers of the spirit world.

New Open Access eBooks

Almost 1,000 new open access titles added into! Some highlights include books about Japanese folklore and cultural history such as Japanese Demon Lore: Oni, From Ancient Times to the Present (below), Japanese Americans at Heart Mountain: Networks, Power, and Everyday Life, and Ghosts and the Japanese: Cultural Experience in Japanese Death Legends.

Book cover for "Japanese Demon Lore: Oni, from Ancient Times to the Present"
Reider, Noriko T. Japanese Demon Lore: Oni, from Ancient Times to the Present. Logan, Utah: Utah State University Press, 2010.

New materials in Chronicling America

We are excited to announce that we have uploaded the first batches of Massachusetts newspapers from our partner, Boston Public Library, to Chronicling America! With these contributions, Chronicling America now extends back to 1770. We will continue to add more content in the coming months.

Titles and date ranges currently available:

The Massachusetts spy. Newspaper.
The Massachusetts spy, Boston, MA, 23 Aug. 1770. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.

New crowdsourced transcriptions

Volunteer-created transcriptions for the 54-ft long South Carolina voting rights petition signed in 1865 (below) are now available on for search and discovery! To learn more about last month’s transcription campaign for the roughly 3,740 petition signatures from By the People, check out A Petition for Justice Nearly 20 Yards Long and Library of Congress crowd-sourcing info about 1865 SC petition for voting rights.

Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden and Civil War historian Michelle Krowl from the Manuscript Division discuss the 1865 petition.
Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden and Civil War historian Michelle Krowl from the Manuscript Division discuss the 1865 petition. Photo by Shawn Miller, Library of Congress.

Leave us any questions or comments below and keep an eye out for our next edition at the end of July 2023!

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