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hand colored wood-block print from the Urdu narrative poem (masnavi) written about a legendary folk romance
An image from Mas̲navī siḥr al-bayān, by the poet Mīr Ḥasan, now available online at loc.gov.*

What’s New Online at the Library of Congress: April 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?

 

Pacific Encounters in 19th Century Japan

The initial release of this digital collection features rare materials at the Library of Congress that document early Japanese interactions with the United States and countries in Europe, namely Britain, France, Netherlands, and Russia. The Perry Expedition of 1853-54 figures prominently in many of these materials. Led by Commodore Matthew C. Perry (1794-1858), this expedition set out to establish diplomatic ties between the United States and Japan, a goal achieved with the signing of the US-Japan Treaty of Peace and Amity on March 31, 1854. Contemporary Japanese observers documented the expedition’s visit through a variety of media, including books, scrolls, and woodblock prints. They were particularly fascinated by the imposing presence of the “black ships” they spotted off the coast, some of which were powered by coal-burning steam engines. Within the collection are multiple examples of richly illustrated “Black Ship scrolls,” a genre that emerged from this period.

Image 26 of Meriken kōkai nikki ryakuzu
Meriken kōkai nikki ryakuzu (米利堅航海日記略圖), from the Japanese Rare Book Collection.

South Asian Digital Collection

This online collection brings together both newly-scanned and previously-released digital content, and features approximately 900 books, serials, and manuscripts related to the present-day countries of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. It includes items in South Asian languages (e.g., Bengali, Hindi, Sanskrit, Tamil, Urdu), as well as items relevant to South Asia in English, French, German, and other languages. You will find materials about colonialism in South Asia, vernacular literature, religion and philosophy, grammar and linguistics, the rebellion of 1857, American and European accounts of travel in colonial India, and many other subjects in the broad field of South Asian studies.

Almanac for Hindu year 1871-1872
Selection from the Almanac for Hindu year 1871-1872 from the South Asian Digital Collection.

South Asian Ephemera Collection Indexes

This is a set of PDF indexes compiled by the Library of Congress Office, New Delhi, and scanned from microfiche to complement the South Asian Women’s Serials LibGuide. It contains about 2,000 indexes arranged by publisher and title, or content lists arranged alphabetically by theme or form of publication. The ephemeral materials documented include pamphlets, booklets, and issues of newspapers, newsletters, and magazines on a wide variety of subjects, such as government and politics, arts and society, forest conservation, and library science.

A few collections updates

In celebration of National Poetry Month, the Archive of Recorded Poetry and Literature was updated with 27 new items. These newly released recordings span five decades, from the 1950s-2000s, and feature writers reading, giving talks, and participating in panels at the Library’s Capitol Hill campus. Highlights from this collection include Maya Angelou reading from her work in the Coolidge Auditorium (1984) and Lucille Clifton reading her poems in the Montpelier Room (2002).

The Confederate States of America Records online collection has been updated to include oversize materials and other additions to the collection. These include autographs, blank forms, bonds, and an 1862 list of items purchased from quartermaster general’s requisition book on reverse of a wallpaper fragment (see below).

yellow and periwinkle wallpaper fragment
Image 2 of Confederate States of America Records: Additions. Aug.1, 1862 wallpaper fragment.

The National Screening Room has been updated with new captures for approximately 600 films. Previously digitized in the late 1990s, these include early motion pictures from the Edison Companies, documentation of the Spanish-American War and other diplomatic events, and a glimpse into life in New York and San Francisco at the turn of the last century.

Carmencita the Spanish dancer, sways her graceful figure and pirouttes with a whirl of flying skirts"--Edison motion pictures,1890-1900
Carmencita, filmed March 10-16, 1894, in Edison’s Black Maria studio, West Orange, New Jersey. Available in the National Screening Room collection on loc.gov.

New Foreign Legal Gazettes are now available for Argentina (3,295 issues of Boletín oficial de la República Argentina, from 1952-1979) and Chile (3,115 issues of Diario oficial de la República de Chile, from 1976-2011.)

The Military Legal Resources collection now includes 2021-2023 issues of Military Law ReviewThe Army LawyerOperational Law Handbook, and other recent deskbooks, handbooks, and training manuals from the William Winthrop Memorial Library at the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School in Charlottesville, Virginia.

New African American newspapers available in Chronicling America

We are excited to announce that as of March 1, 2024, all new Chronicling America batches will only be ingested to loc.gov and not to the legacy website (you can read more about that here). All recent batches can be found on a new research guide page, Recent Additions to Chronicling America. Between March and April, we received digitized newspapers from Arizona, Alabama, Maine, Minnesota, and New Hampshire.

The Library of Congress also uploaded new African American newspapers from the following titles:

The Advocate (Leavenworth, KS) The Leavenworth Advocate (Leavenworth, KS)d The Topeka Call (Topeka, KS)
The American Citizen (Topeka, KS) The Leavenworth Herald (Leavenworth, KS) The Topeka Tribune (Topeka, KS)
The Colored Citizen (Topeka, KS) The National Reflector (Wichita, KS) The Weekly Call (Topeka, KS)
Colored Citizen (Fort Scott, KS) The Plaindealer (Detroit, MI) Western Christian Recorder (Kansas City, KS)d
Daily American Citizen (Kansas City, KS)d The State Ledger (Topeka, KS) The Wichita Searchlight (Wichita, KS)
The Gazette (Cleveland, OH) The Times-Observer (Topeka, KS)

 

The Plaindealer. VOLUME VIII. NO. 24. THE SECOND DEMOCRATIC SECESSION! IN THEIR ENDEAVOR TO PREVENT THE SEATING OFTHE AFRO-AMERICAN CONGRESSMEN THE DEMOCRATS AGAIN SECEDE.. The above is a reproduction from an instanta neous photograph taken in the House of Representatives, Washington, Sept. 23, 1890, when the 165 Republicans present were voting to seat Messrs. Langston and Miller, the Afro-American Representatives. Not a Democrat was present.
Front page of The Plaindealer (Detroit, Mich.), October 31, 1890.

New crowdsourced transcriptions

Since our last edition, the By the People crowdsourced transcription program has returned nearly 160,000 transcriptions back to their digital collections on loc.gov. These transcriptions come from the Blackwells: An Extraordinary Family, Rough Rider to Bull Moose: Letters to Theodore Roosevelt, and Anna E. Dickinson Papers campaigns. Click on the following links to go directly to their collections in loc.gov, now powered By the People.

come out and spend a night with Mrs Roosevelt and myself. She liked your letters just as much as I did, and I have an immense confidence in her judgment. Then you ought to go on to Beverly, where the shore is very beautiful. I love the name of your farm, "Thirty Springs Farm". We have not as many flowers as you have, but the bloodroot, arbutus, violets and anemones and shadblow have bloomed already, and the cherry blossoms are all out, and our garden also is gay with narcissus and hyacinth, spirea and forsythya, and there have been daffodils and snowdrops, and Sunday after next we expect to have Blossom Sunday, with all the apple trees out. I was even more interested in your account of how you gradually grow into relation with your neighbors than I was in your account of the flowers. I do not know whether you would care to have me send you a little volume, [?] say one of my hunting books, for that school library or not, but if you would care for it I will send it. In our Cove Schoolhouse we are trying to do just what you are trying to do with the corn club and the tomato club. I am very glad that you have induced one young man to work his way through college, and to learn of the young woman who is going to a better school this year. I have Transcribed and reviewed by contributors participating in the By The People project at crowd.loc.gov.
Image 251 of Theodore Roosevelt Papers: Series 2: Letterpress Copybooks, 1897-1916; Vol. 96, 1913, Apr. 8-June 2.
As you may know, By the People has also published 19 full-text datasets of completed transcription campaigns. We’ve just released a brand-new way to explore and interact with these datasets, and we hope you’ll find it useful! Check out this Signal blog post from our colleague Madeline Goebel, who says the tool is for anyone “simultaneously excited about these datasets, but unsure where to start!”

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!

two people using the Stacks terminal in the science & business reading room at the library of congress
The video, “Access the Digital Stacks On-Site at the Library of Congress,” is one of the latest additions to loc.gov. Click here to watch!

Recent highlights from Stacks include two Korean diaspora films (Jeronimo and Chosen), the addition of new reels of the microfilm newspaper ABC Color, and the Teen guide to the supernatural. And some seasonal additions to Stacks include G.O.A.T. baseball teamsA people’s history of baseballThe big dance: the story of the NCAA basketball tournamentNCAA basketball championshipSolar eclipsesSky gazing: a guide to the moon, sun, planets, stars, eclipses, constellations.

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


*featured image citation: Mīr Ḥasan, Mas̲navī Siḥr Al-Bayān. South Asian Rare Book Collection and John Davis Batchelder Collection. [India: publisher not identified, 1890].

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