Manuscript Division materials in the collections listed below
are available as digital images or as searchable text. Please read
restrictions before making use of these documents. Many are included in the Library's page for collections in manuscript/mixed materials format.
This Special Presentation of the Library of Congress exhibition, The
African-American Odyssey: A Quest for Full Citizenship, showcases
the Library's incomparable African-American collections. The presentation
was not only a highlight of what is on view in this major black
history exhibition, but also a glimpse into the Library's vast
African-American collections. Both include a wide array of important
and rare books, government documents, manuscripts, maps, musical
scores, plays, films, and recordings.
American Colony in Jerusalem
This presentation features letters, scrapbooks, photograph albums, and other documentation from Part I of the American Colony in Jerusalem Collection. The full collection in the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress represents well over 10,000 items stemming from the history of the American Colony, a non-denominational utopian Christian community founded by a small group of American expatriates in Ottoman Palestine in 1881.
Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Folklore Project, WPA
Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1940
These life histories were compiled and transcribed by the staff
of the Folklore Project of the Federal Writers' Project for the
U.S. Works Progress (later Work Projects) Administration (WPA)
from 1936-1940. The Library of Congress collection includes 2,900
documents representing the work of over 300 writers from 24 states.
The histories describe the informant's family education, income,
occupation, political views, religion and mores, medical needs,
diet and miscellaneous observations.
Women: A Gateway to Library of Congress Resources for the Study
of Women's History and Culture in the United States (Manuscript
The Manuscript Division holds collections
of notable women who were involved in the suffrage and abolition
campaigns, as well as the papers of first ladies, of women who
achieved various “firsts”in history, and of women who
were pioneers in fields formerly restricted to men. Also obtained
were the records of women's voluntary associations and national
reform and trade organizations founded and supported by women.
Other holdings include letters and diaries documenting women's
everyday existence and revealing women's hopes, disappointments,
Hannah Arendt Papers at the Library of Congress
The papers of the author, educator, and political philosopher Hannah
Arendt (1906-1975) are one of the principal sources for the study
of modern intellectual life and constitute a large and diverse
collection reflecting a complex career. With over 25,000 items
(about 75,000 digital images), the papers contain correspondence,
articles, lectures, speeches, book manuscripts, transcripts of
Adolf Eichmann's trial proceedings, notes, and printed matter pertaining
to Arendt's writings and academic career. The entire collection
has been digitized and is available to researchers in reading rooms
at the Library of Congress, the New School University in New York
City, and the Hannah Arendt Center at the University of Oldenburg,
Germany. Parts of the collection and the finding aid are available
for public access on the Internet.
The Clara Barton Papers at the Library of Congress
Philanthropist, nurse, educator, and lecturer. Correspondence, diaries, reports, legal and financial papers, organizational records, lectures, writings, scrapbooks, printed matter, memorabilia, and other papers relating to Barton's work to provide relief services during the Civil War and the Franco-Prussian War, the work of the American National Red Cross which she founded, and the National First Aid Association of America.
Confederate States of America Records
The records of the Confederate States of America span the years 1854-1889, with the bulk of the material concentrated in the period 1861-1865, during the Civil War in America. The collection relates to the formation of the government of the Confederacy and the conduct of its internal, external, and military affairs. With few exceptions, the collection consists of official or semiofficial records generated by departments of the Confederate government and their agents. The departments of state, justice, treasury, navy, war, and the post office are represented, along with material relating to the president, congress, and constitution.
Alexander Graham Bell Family Papers, 1862-1939
The online version of the Alexander Graham Bell Family Papers at
the Library of Congress comprises a selection of 4,695 items (totaling
about 51,500 images). This presentation contains correspondence,
scientific notebooks, journals, blueprints, articles, and photographs
documenting Bell's invention of the telephone and his involvement
in the first telephone company, his family life, his interest in
the education of the deaf, and his aeronautical and other scientific
research. Included among Bell's papers are pages from his experimental
notebook from March 10, 1876, describing the first successful experiment
with the telephone, during which he spoke through the instrument
to his assistant the famous words, "Mr. Watson--Come here--I
want to see you." Bell's various roles in life as teacher,
inventor, celebrity, and family man are covered extensively in
Harry A. Blackmun Papers at the Library of Congess
The papers of Harry Andrew Blackmun (1908-1999), lawyer, judge,
and associate justice of the United States Supreme Court, are housed
in the Manuscript Division at the Library of Congress. The collection
spans the years 1913-2001 with the bulk concentrated from 1959
to 1994. Selected materials from the collection -- including the
38-hour oral history video interviews and associated transcript
-- have been digitized and are now publicly available online. Other
case materials have been digitized but must be viewed at a special
workstation in the Manuscript Reading Room.
Evolution of the Conservation Movement, 1850-1920
This presentation documents the historical formation and cultural
foundations of the movement to conserve and protect America's natural
heritage, through books, pamphlets, government documents, manuscripts,
prints, photographs, and motion picture footage drawn from the
collections of the Library of Congress. The collection includes
a report prepared by Frederick Law Olmsted in 1865 and a private
souvenir album documenting the 1899 Harriman Alaska expedition.
and Thrift: The Coolidge Era and the Consumer Economy, 1921-1929
This collection assembles a wide array of Library of Congress source
materials from the 1920s that document the widespread prosperity
of the Coolidge years, the nation's transition to a mass consumer
economy, and the role of government in this transition. The collection
includes nearly 150 selections from twelve collections of personal
papers and two collections of institutional papers from the Manuscript
Division. It is particularly strong in advertising and mass-marketing
materials and will be of special interest to those seeking to understand
economic and political forces at work in the 1920s.
Finding Our Way in the Cosmos: From Galileo to Sagan and Beyond
Like our ancestors, we look up at the heavens and wonder. What is the structure of the universe? How significant are we? Are we alone? In Carl Sagan’s words, “we are a way for the cosmos to know itself.” To commemorate the acquisition of The Seth MacFarlane Collection of the Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan Archive, the Library of Congress presents an exploration of these questions across the breadth of its collections and offers a first glimpse into Carl Sagan’s papers.
Frederick Douglass Papers at the Library of Congress
The papers of the nineteenth-century African-American abolitionist
who escaped from slavery and then risked his own freedom by becoming
an outspoken antislavery lecturer, writer, and publisher contain
approximately 7,400 items (38,000 images) relating to Douglass'
life as an escaped slave, abolitionist, editor, orator, and public
servant. The papers span the years 1841 to 1964, with the bulk
of the material from 1862 to 1895. The collection consists of correspondence,
speeches and articles by Douglass and his contemporaries, a draft
of his autobiography, financial and legal papers, scrapbooks, and
Diplomacy: The Foreign Affairs Oral History Collection of the
Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training
This collection presents a window into the lives of American diplomats.
Transcripts of interviews with U.S. diplomatic personnel capture
their experiences, motivations, critiques, personal analyses, and
private thoughts. These elements are crucial to understanding
the full story of how a structure of stable relationships that
maintained world peace and protected U.S. interests and values
was built. The interviews in the collection are mostly with Foreign
Service Officers but there also are some with political appointees
and other officials.
Fortress: The Library of Congress, 1939-1953
This presentation tells the history of the Library of Congress
during a particularly important period. From 1939 to 1953 the Library
underwent a myriad of changes that established the institution
as one of America’s foremost citadels of intellectual freedom.
Archibald MacLeish and Luther Harris Evans, Librarians of Congress
during this time, adopted new administrative procedures that improved
the Library’s ability to acquire collections and made it
a more vital resource both for Congress and the public during and
after the war.
Do Solemnly Swear ...": Presidential Inaugurations
A collection of approximately 400 items or 2,000 digital files
relating to inaugurations from George Washington's in 1789 to George
W. Bush's inauguration of 2001. This presentation includes diaries
and letters of presidents and of those who witnessed inaugurations,
handwritten drafts of inaugural addresses, broadsides, inaugural
tickets and programs, prints, photographs, and sheet music. The
collection has been organized chronologically by presidential inauguration
and an effort has been made to offer a balanced number of items
for each inaugural event.
Warren G. Harding-Carrie Fulton Phillips Correspondence
The Warren G. Harding-Carrie Fulton Phillips Correspondence (240 items; 1910-1924) consists primarily of letters written by President Harding (1865-1923), before and during his tenure as a U.S. senator, to his paramour Carrie Fulton Phillips (1873-1960), wife of a Marion, Ohio, store owner. Also included are drafts and notes for correspondence written by Phillips during her approximately fifteen-year relationship with Harding, as well as a handful of other related items.
Zora Neale Hurston Plays at the Library of Congress
A selection of ten plays written by Hurston (1891-1960), author,
anthropologist, and folklorist. Deposited in the United States
Copyright Office between 1925 and 1944, most of the plays remained
unpublished and unproduced until they were rediscovered in the
Copyright Deposit Drama Collection in 1997. The plays reflect Hurston's
life experience, travels, and research, especially her study of
folklore in the African-American South. Totaling 1,068 hundred
images, the scripts are housed in the Library's Manuscript, Music,
and Rare Books and Special Collections Divisions.
Thomas Jefferson Papers at the Library of Congress
The complete Thomas Jefferson Papers from the Manuscript Division
at the Library of Congress consists of approximately 27,000 documents.
This is the largest collection of original Jefferson documents
in the world. Document types in the collection as a whole include
correspondence, commonplace books, financial account books, and
manuscript volumes. The collection is organized into ten series
or groupings, ranging in date from 1606 to 1827 and documents the
broad range of Jefferson's intellectual and political interests.
of Delegates to Congress
The twenty-six volumes of the Letters of Delegates to Congress,
1774-1789 aims to make available all the documents written
by delegates that bear directly upon their work during their years
of actual service in the First and Second Continental Congresses,
1774-1789. Although letters from delegates comprise the preponderance
of the entries, there are many diaries, public papers, essays,
and other documents. This work builds on an earlier eight-volume
edition of Letters of Members of the Continental Congress edited
by Edmund C. Burnett.
Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress
The complete Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress consists
of approximately 20,000 documents. The collection is organized
into three "General Correspondence" series which include
incoming and outgoing correspondence and enclosures, drafts of
speeches, and notes and printed material. Most of the 20,000 items
are from the 1850s through Lincoln's presidential years, 1860-65.
Treasures include Lincoln's draft of the Emancipation Proclamation,
his March 4, 1865, draft of his second Inaugural Address, and his
August 23, 1864, memorandum expressing his expectation of being
defeated for re-election in the upcoming presidential contest.
Lewis H. Machen Family Papers
The Gresham family material in the Lewis H. Machen Family Papers consists of seven diaries kept by Georgia teenager LeRoy Wiley Gresham (1847-1865) during the Civil War, and approximately 550 items of correspondence, primarily letters exchanged by members his family’s inner circle. Among the principal figures represented, all from Macon, Georgia, are John Jones Gresham, an attorney, judge, and plantation owner; his wife Mary Baxter Gresham; and their children, Thomas, LeRoy, and Minnie. Following Minnie's marriage to Arthur Machen in 1873, and for the years of her residence in Baltimore, Maryland, the papers consist largely of letters she received from her husband, family, and friends.
James Madison Papers
The James Madison Papers from the Manuscript Division at the Library
of Congress consist of approximately 12,000 items captured in some
72,000 digital images. They document the life of the man who came
to be known as the "Father of the Constitution" through
correspondence, personal notes, drafts of letters and legislation,
an autobiography, legal and financial documents, and miscellaneous
manuscripts. The collection is organized into six series dating
from 1723 to 1836.
Meeting of Frontiers
Meeting of Frontiers is a bilingual, multimedia English-Russian digital library that tells the story of the American exploration and settlement of the West, the parallel exploration and settlement of Siberia and the Russian Far East, and the meeting of the Russian-American frontier in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest.
Patsy T. Mink Papers
In 2007, the Manuscript Division celebrated the completion of a 3½-year project to process the rich and voluminous papers of former Hawaii representative and Title IX advocate Patsy T. Mink (1927-2002), which had been donated to the Library in 2003 by Mink’s husband and daughter. Congresswoman Mink was a vigorous and tireless champion of women's rights, an early and vocal opponent to the Vietnam War, and a leader on issues involving education, the environment, welfare, and civil rights. With her election in 1964, Mink became the first woman of color and the first Asian American woman to serve in Congress.
F. B. Morse Papers at the Library of Congress
This online presentation comprises about 6,500 items, or approximately
50,000 images, that document Morse's invention of the electromagnetic
telegraph, his participation in the development of telegraph systems
in the United States and abroad, his career as a painter, his family
life, his travels, and his interest in early photography, religion,
and the nativist movement. Included in the collection are correspondence,
letterbooks, diaries, scrapbooks, printed matter, maps, drawings,
and other miscellaneous materials. The collection includes the
original paper tape containing the first telegraph message, "What
hath God wrought?," sent on May 24, 1844.
Daniel P. Moynihan Papers at the Library of Congess
An overview of the papers of educator, politician, sociologist and diplomat Daniel atrick Moynihan (1927-2003). Moynihan is best known as a U.S. senator from the state of New York; he began his senatorial career in 1977 and served as a Democratic Party leader in Congress until he left Capitol Hill in January 2001. At well over a million items, the Moynihan collection in the Manuscript Division is one of the largest manuscript collections of personal papers at the Library of Congress.
The Phillips/Mathée Collection spans the years 1913-2014, but only one item is dated later than 1972. The collection is a companion to the Warren G. Harding-Carrie Fulton Phillips Correspondence, also held by the Manuscript Division. The papers center on Isabelle Phillips Mathée, daughter of Carrie Fulton Phillips, the paramour of Warren G. Harding, and Isabelle's husband, William Helmuth Mathée. Included are photographs of Isabelle and her mother, Carrie, letters from President Harding to William Helmuth Mathée, and correspondence, legal papers, and news clippings concerning the discovery in 1964 of Harding's correspondence with Carrie Phillips and the subsequent legal proceedings. The final folder contains a statement from the four grandsons of Isabelle and William Mathée conveying their thoughts about these papers and the Warren G. Harding-Carrie Fulton Phillips Correspondence.
Declarations of Admiration and Friendship for the United States
A presentation of the first 13 manuscript volumes of a larger collection
of 111 volumes compiled in Poland in 1926 and delivered to President
Calvin Coolidge at the White House to honor the 150th anniversary
of the Declaration of Independence. Richly illustrated with original
works by prominent Polish graphic artists, the collection includes
the greetings and signatures of national, provincial, and local
government officials, representatives of religious, social, business,
academic, and military institutions, and approximately 5 ½ million
school children. This searchable online presentation is a complete
facsimile of the six oversized presentation volumes and the seven
volumes of secondary school signatures.
Popular Demand: Jackie Robinson and Other Baseball Highlights,
2007 marks the 60th anniversary of Jackie Robinson's rookie season
for the Brooklyn Dodgers. When he stepped onto Ebbets field on
April 15th, 1947, Robinson became the first African American in
the twentieth century to play baseball in the major leagues --
breaking the "color line," a segregation practice dating
to the nineteenth century. Jackie Robinson was an extremely talented
multi-sport athlete and a courageous man who played an active role
in civil rights. This presentation was created to commemorate his
achievements and describe some aspects of the color line's development
and the Negro Leagues. Materials that tell his story, and the history
of baseball in general, are located throughout the Library of Congress.
in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers' Project,
Contains more than 2,300 first-person accounts of slavery and 500
black-and-white photographs of former slaves. These narratives
were collected in the 1930s as part of the Federal Writers' Project
of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and assembled and microfilmed
in 1941 as the seventeen-volume Slave Narratives: A Folk History
of Slavery in the United States from Interviews with Former Slaves.
This online collection is a joint presentation of the Manuscript
and Prints and Photographs Divisions of theLibrary of Congress
and includes more than 200 photographs from the Prints and Photographs
Division that are now made available to the public for the first
Charles Wellington Reed Papers, 1776-1926
The papers of Civil War soldier and artist Charles Wellington Reed (1841-1926) span the years 1776-1926, with the bulk of the material concentrated in the period 1862-1865, when he served with the Ninth Independent Battery, Massachusetts Light Artillery. The collection includes approximately seven hundred sketches previously bound in two volumes and correspondence relating primarily to the Civil War. Other items consist of articles, citations and military papers, clippings, a diary, maps, Reed’s Medals of Honor, photographs, and printed matter. The material is arranged alphabetically by type of material.
Civil War Soldier in the Wild Cat Regiment: Selections from
the Tilton C. Reynolds Papers
Documents the Civil War experience of Captain Tilton C. Reynolds,
a member of the 105th Regiment of Pennsylvania Volunteers. Comprising
164 library items, or 359 digital images, this online presentation
includes correspondence, photographs, and other materials dating
between 1861 and 1865. The letters feature details of the regiment's
movements, accounts of military engagements, and descriptions of
the daily life of soldiers and their views of the war. Forty-six
of the letters are also made available in transcription.
Alexander Hamilton Stephens Papers
The papers of Alexander Hamilton Stephens (1812-1883), lawyer, journalist, governor of Georgia, member of both houses of the United States Congress, and vice president of the Confederate States of America, span the years 1784-1886, with the bulk of the material concentrated in the period 1850-1883. The collection consists primarily of correspondence, supplemented by an autobiography and journal and miscellaneous memoranda, legal documents, and clippings. The papers are organized in three series: General Correspondence, Letters from Servants, and Autobiography and Journal.
during the Civil War: The Diary of Horatio Nelson Taft, 1861-1865
Three manuscript volumes, totaling 1,240 digital images, that document
daily life in Washington, D. C., through the eyes of Horatio Nelson
Taft (1806-1888), an examiner for the U. S. Patent Office. Now
located in the Manuscript Division at the Library of Congress,
the diary details events in Washington during the Civil War years
including Taft's connection with Abraham Lincoln and his family.
Of special interest is Taft's description of Lincoln's assassination,
based on the accounts of his friends and his son, who was one of
the attending physicians at Ford's Theatre the night Lincoln was
shot, on April 14, 1865. Transcriptions for all three volumes have
been made by Library of Congress staff and are available online
along with the digital images.
Washington Papers at the Library of Congress
The complete George Washington Papers collection from the Manuscript
Division at the Library of Congress consists of approximately 65,000
documents. This is the largest collection of original Washington
documents in the world. Document types in the collection as a whole
include correspondence, letterbooks, commonplace books, diaries,
journals, financial account books, military records, reports, and
notes accumulated by Washington from 1741 through 1799. The collection
is organized into nine Series.
at Work: Recovered Notebooks from the Thomas Biggs Harned Walt
This collection offers access to the four Walt Whitman Notebooks
and a cardboard butterfly that disappeared from the Library of
Congress in 1942. They were returned on February 24, 1995. The
Thomas B. Harned collection of the Walt Whitman papers spans the
period 1842 to 1937, with most of the items dated from 1855 to
1892. It was donated in 1918. The collection consists of correspondence,
poetry and prose manuscripts, notes and notebooks, proofs and offprints,
printed matter, and miscellaneous items, laminated and boxed in
seven containers, and supplemented by one manuscript box of ancillary
of Protest: Photographs from the Records of the National Woman's
The National Woman’s Party, representing the militant wing
of the suffrage movement, utilized open public demonstrations to
gain popular attention for the right of women to vote in the United
States. Their picketing, pageants, parades, and demonstrations—as
well as their subsequent arrests, imprisonment, and hunger strikes—were
successful in spurring public discussion and winning publicity
for the suffrage cause. These photographs include both images that
depict this broad range of tactics as well as individual portraits
of organization leaders and members. They document the National
Woman’s Party’s push for ratification of the 19th Amendment
as well as its later campaign for passage of the Equal Rights Amendment.
and Deeds in American History: Selected Documents Celebrating
the Manuscript Division's First 100 Years
In honor of the Manuscript Division's centennial, its staff has
selected for online display approximately ninety representative
documents spanning from the fifteenth century to the mid-twentieth
century. Included are the papers of presidents, cabinet ministers,
members of Congress, Supreme Court justices, military officers
and diplomats, reformers and political activists, artists and writers,
scientists and inventors, and other prominent Americans whose lives
reflect our country's evolution. Most of the selected items fall
within one of eight major themes or categories which reflect the
division's strengths. Each of these themes is the focus of a separate
essay containing links to digital reproductions of selected documents.
Wilbur and Orville Wright Papers at the Library of Congress
The online presentation of The Wilbur and Orville Wright Papers
at the Library of Congress, comprising about 10,121 library items
or approximately 49,084 digital images, documents the lives of
Wilbur and Orville Wright and highlights their pioneering work
which led to the world's first powered, controlled and sustained
flight. Included in the collection are correspondence, diaries
and notebooks, scrapbooks, drawings, printed matter, and other
documents, as well as the Wrights' collection of glass-plate photographic
negatives. This online presentation includes the famous glass-plate
negative of the "First Flight" at Kitty Hawk on December
17, 1903, as well as diaries and letters in which Wilbur and Orville
Wright recount their work that led to that day.