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1870s songsters covers for "Brigham Young" and "Love among the roses"
Covers for the "Brigham Young songster" and the "Love among the roses songster" from the Library's recently released Robert Winslow Gordon Songsters collection.*

What’s New Online at the Library of Congress: February 2024

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Interested in learning more about what’s new in the Library of Congress’ digital collections? The Signal shares updates on new additions to our 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 all previous updates.


What’s new on loc.gov?

Robert Winslow Gordon Songsters

The Robert Winslow Gordon songster collection contains approximately 700 American songsters dating from 1844-1886, collected by Gordon. The word “songster” has been used for a wide variety of songbooks, but these are primarily pocket-sized pamphlets (approximately 3″ x 5″) collecting the texts of vaudeville, minstrel-stage, patriotic, humorous, religious, and traditional songs presented without music.

Pink, yellow, and orange decorative songster cover. Mustachioed man at center.
Billy Snow’s songster. New York : A. J. Fisher, 1882.

Gordon was the first head of the Archive of American Folk-Song at the Library of Congress from 1928 until 1933. He convinced Carl Engel, the chief of the Library of Congress’s Music Division, that grassroots traditions should be represented at the national library. Through his efforts, the Archive of American Folk-Song was established with private funding, and Gordon was appointed its director. He stayed at the Library of Congress for only a few years, but many of his collections remain with us in the form of recordings, manuscripts, and cheap print publications like these songsters. The Archive he founded is now the Archive of Folk Culture, part of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.

Songster cover, featuring a barefoot woman in a yellow dress carrying a fan and matching parasol
All Among the Hay Songster. New York: Robert M. De Witt, 1872.

A few collections updates

Woodblock print featuring an inlet landscape in Japan.
Matsuura, Takeshirō, and Japanese Rare Book Collection. Image 7 of Kita Ezo yoshi, ichimei, Taraika Orokko kikō. [Edo?: Takeshirō zōhan, kōshin shinshi, 1860].
Yellow, red, and white watercolor of a drawing room, featuring a bay window and piano.
Montgomery C. Meigs Papers: Oversize, -1885; Addition I: Miscellany; Design for houses, 1867.
  • The Occupational Folklife Project now includes Rural Free Delivery: Mail Carriers in Central Appalachia. The collection consists of interviews with 24 contemporary and recently-retired rural mail carriers and clerks (formerly known as postmasters) in the upper mountain South (VA, WV, KY, OH). Interviewees discuss their work-related activities and responsibilities, the function they serve as lifelines in their community, and how their place of work— rural post offices—are invaluable community hubs in remote rural areas.
Images shows participants in the Rural Free Delivery: Mail Carriers in Central Appalachia.
In 2021, folklorist Emily Hilliard received an Archie Green Fellowship to document U.S. mail carriers in Central Appalachia: Rural Free Delivery: Mail Carriers in Central Appalachia collection. Learn more about her work in this interview on the AFC blog.
  • And the final update to the Dun & Bradstreet Reference Book Collection is now available in loc.gov, which consists of 87 additional volumes of ratings on business enterprises’ financial strength and ability to pay back debts. Together with the previously released content, the collection contains volumes of the Reference Book from 1859 to 1924.

New datasets are available

Four new dataset items were added to the Selected Datasets collection on loc.gov since our last edition, including several geospatial datasets! Other highlights include the transcription dataset from the Legal Reports campaign from the By the People program and the National Land Cover Database.

To learn about about what you can do with these full-text transcription datasets, check out these two blog posts from Peter DeCraene, a 2021-22 Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow at the Library of Congress: Datasets as Primary Sources: An Archaeological Dig into Our Collective Brains, Part 1 and Datasets as Primary Sources, Part II.

Chronicling America now extends back to 1756 and features Yiddish newspapers for the first time

We are excited to announce that we have uploaded new batches of New Hampshire newspapers from our partner, Dartmouth College, to Chronicling America! With these contributions, Chronicling America now extends back to 1756. We will continue to add more content in the coming months. You can explore the newspapers in the old interface here or explore the newspapers in the new interface here.

Front page of THE FREEMAN'S JOURNAL or New-Hampshire Gazette
A page from the July 6, 1776 issue of the New-Hampshire Gazette. This edition features a declaration made by “his Excellency GEORGE WASHINGTON, Esq; General and Commander in Chief of the Armies of the Thirteen Colonies in North America.”

We are also excited to announce that we have uploaded new batches of New York newspapers in Yiddish digitized by the Library of Congress. These are the first Yiddish newspapers in Chronicling America. We will continue to add more content in the coming months. You can explore the newspapers in the old interface here or explore the newspapers in the new interface here.

New crowdsourced transcriptions

Since our last edition, the By the People crowdsourced transcription program has returned over 68,000 transcriptions back to their digital collections on loc.gov. These transcriptions come from the “Such Eventful Times”: Women and the American Civil War campaign, a recently published addition to the Civil War Soldiers: “Disabled but not disheartened” campaign, the 2020 LC staff-only transcription project from “My great mass of papers”: Correspondence of Theodore Roosevelt, and the “To Be Preserved”: The Correspondence of James A. Garfield campaign.

Use keywords to search these records with transcriptions and view side-by-side text of individual pages. A huge thanks to our By the People volunteers and LC staff for enabling improved access and discovery of these collections!

put under arrest. I had the army regulations which gave me the authority to — and was also sustained by two of our leading Colonels He was kept under arrest one week for drunkedness, profanity and neglect of duty. And strange to say this was done by two women,— sustained by two of our leading officers. He afterward was a wise & & better man.
The By the People transcription for image 17 of the Mary Ann Bickerdyke Papers: Subject file; Civil War activities; Memoir, incomplete draft. 1905.

What’s new onsite via Stacks?

New items are added every week into stacks.loc.gov – the Library’s primary onsite platform for accessing restricted digital content. To learn more about Stacks, check out this video from our team: Access the Digital Stacks On-Site at the Library of Congress!

Some selected new titles include La serpienteWho’s afraid of the monster?: a storybook for managing big feelings and hidden fearsTime travel terrorEl tiranosaurio rexTowards inclusive societies: psychological and sociological perspectivesTech innovations inspired by nature.

And some seasonal additions to Stacks include Black history: more than just a monthA black women’s history of the United StatesAmerica’s first freedom rider: Elizabeth Jennings, Chester A. Arthur, and the early fight for civil rightsPaper crafts for Presidents’ DayPresidents’ Day, and Birds of presidents.

Please reach out to a librarian at ask.loc.gov with questions about accessing these materials.

Updates from the Web Archives

Since October, more than 240 new web archive records have been added into loc.gov. In addition, two web archive collections have been described and made more discoverable to users:

  1. The Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Web Archive is a collection of websites exhibiting the purpose, planning, construction, and use of the Eisenhower Memorial. Examples of sites chosen reflect the design competition among architectural firms, the concerns and lively debate over the chosen Frank Gehry design, and the management of the physical memorial site. This web archive will serve as a useful tool for researchers in studying the life and career of Dwight D. Eisenhower, the manner and form of his memorialization, and the issues involved in placing this new memorial site within an already crowded urban location.
  2. The Public Broadcasting Web Archive includes websites associated with U.S. public broadcasting entities and complements American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB), a collaboration between the Library of Congress and GBH, a public media station in Boston, Massachusetts. Public media stations form the bulk of the collection, providing information on programming, personnel, station history, community affairs, and relevant education-related resources. This collection includes websites from both public radio and public television. Also included are websites of organizations devoted primarily to funding, producing, distributing, promoting, and providing news about public broadcasting.

Additional captures will be added to these web archives as more content exits the one-year embargo. And as you browse webarchive.loc.gov, you may experience slow loading or errors when trying to access the web archives. Read our Signal blog post “Improvements Ahead for the Web Archives” to learn more about the recent performance issues users have experienced and the work underway to modernize the Library’s web archive access systems.


*featured image citations: 1) Brigham Young songster. New York:Robert M. De Witt, 1871. https://www.loc.gov/item/2023691221/ 2) Love Among the Roses Songster. New York: Robert M. De Witt, 1869. https://www.loc.gov/item/2023691174/.

Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing this update on the latest developments at the Library of Congress for February 2024. It’s fascinating to learn about the diverse range of projects and initiatives underway, from preserving digital heritage to advancing accessibility efforts. The collaboration with partners like the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Mellon Foundation highlights the importance of collective efforts in safeguarding our cultural heritage for future generations. I’m particularly excited about the new collections being digitized and made available online, opening up access to valuable resources for researchers and enthusiasts worldwide. Keep up the great work, and I look forward to future updates on the Library’s endeavors!

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