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Marvin Kranz: Manuscripts Behind the Scenes

Image of Marvin Kranz Meet Marvin Kranz, Historical Specialist, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress.

The stacks of the Library of Congress’s Manuscript Division are the greatest repository of personal papers documenting the nation’s political and cultural development--but because their holdings are unique and irreplaceable, the stacks are also closed to visitors and even to scholars. In this Webcast, Marvin Kranz, historical specialist in the Manuscript Division, guides you on a personal tour of the manuscript stacks, highlighting some of their most remarkable holdings and offering his expert views on what makes these documents powerful windows into the American past.

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Library of Congress Web Sites of Interest

The Manuscript Division: Highlights, History, and Guides

Words and Deeds in American History: Selected Documents Celebrating the Manuscript Division's First 100 Years
An online collection of some of the division's greatest treasures.

Library of Congress Manuscripts: An Illustrated Guide
An introductory guide to the division and its holdings.

History and Background
A brief history of the division.

American Women: A Gateway to Library of Congress Resources for the Study of Women's History and Culture in the United States: Manuscript Division
An online guide to researching women's history in the Manuscript Division.

Manuscript Division Publications
Publications by and about the Manuscript Division.

The Manuscript Reading Room
The Manuscript Division's online portal.

Manuscript Division Collections Online

Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress
Correspondence, drafts of speeches, and notes and printed material, largely from the 1850s through Lincoln's presidential years, 1860-65. Highlights include Lincoln's drafts of the Emancipation Proclamation and of his Second Inaugural Address.

Alexander Graham Bell Family Papers at the Library of Congress
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.

American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1940
Life histories of thousands of Americans, compiled and transcribed by the Federal Writers' Project for the U.S. Works Progress (later Work Projects) Administration (WPA) between 1936 and 1940.

Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1938
More than 2,300 first-person accounts of slavery and 500 black-and-white photographs of former slaves, collected in the 1930s as part of the Federal Writers' Project of the Works Progress Administration (WPA).

By Popular Demand: Jackie Robinson and Other Baseball Highlights, 1860s-1960s
Manuscripts and other materials that tell the story of Jackie Robinson and the history of baseball.

A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation: U.S. Congressional Documents and Debates, 1774-1875
Includes Letters of Delegates to Congress, 1774-1789, the documentary edition of materials in the Manuscript Division.

A 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.

The Evolution of the Conservation Movement, 1850-1920
Manuscript materials in this multiformat collection comprise Frederick Law Olmsted's pioneering statement of a philosophy for scenic wilderness preservation and the painting- and photograph-filled Souvenir Album of the 1899 Harriman Alaska Expedition.

The 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.

Freedom's Fortress: The Library of Congress, 1939-1953
A window into the history of the Library of Congress during the period that established it as one of America's foremost citadels of intellectual freedom.

The George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress, 1741-1799
The largest collection of original Washington documents in the world.

The Hannah Arendt Papers at the Library of Congress
The papers of political philosopher Arendt (1906-1975), which constitute one of the principal sources for the study of modern intellectual life.

"I Do Solemnly Swear...": Presidential Inaugurations
Manuscript diaries, letters, and drafts of inaugural addresses in a multiformat collection documenting the inaugurations of American presidents from 1789 to 2001. This collection features a series of video presentations by Marvin Kranz discussing manuscripts and other materials that trace the history of the inaugurations and the traditions associated with them.

The James Madison Papers, 1723-1836
The documentary record of the life the "Father of the Constitution" who was also the nation's fourth president.

Poet at Work: Recovered Notebooks from the Thomas Biggs Harned Walt Whitman Collection
Four of Walt Whitman's working notebooks contain his thoughts in prose and expressions in poetry.

Polish Declarations of Admiration and Friendship for the United States
Greetings and signatures for the United States from a cross-section of Polish citizens, richly illustrated with original works by prominent Polish graphic artists.

Prosperity and Thrift: The Coolidge Era and the Consumer Economy, 1921-1929
Manuscript materials in this multiformat collection comprise selections from the papers of twelve individuals and two institutions.

Samuel F. B. Morse Papers at the Library of Congress, 1793-1919
The documentary record of the life, career, and wide-ranging interests of the pioneering inventor and painter.

The Thomas Jefferson Papers at the Library of Congress
The world's largest collection of the papers of the author of the Declaration of Independence and third president of the United States.

Washington during the Civil War: the Diary of Horatio Nelson Taft, 1861-1865
How Washingtonians experienced the Civil War, through the diary of a civil servant. Includes new information about Lincoln's assassination.

The Wilbur and Orville Wright Papers at the Library of Congress
The documentary record of the lives of Wilbur and Orville Wright highlights the pioneering work that led to the world's first powered, controlled and sustained flight.

Women of Protest: Photographs from the Records of the National Woman's Party
Photographs document the National Woman's Party's push for ratification of the 19th Amendment and its later campaign for passage of the Equal Rights Amendment.

The Zora Neale Hurston Plays at the Library of Congress
Ten newly-discovered, unpublished plays reflect Hurston's life experience, travels, and research, especially her study of folklore in the African-American South.

Selected Online Exhibitions Featuring Manuscript Division Materials

1492: An Ongoing Voyage

The African-American Mosaic: A Library of Congress Resource Guide for the Study of Black History and Culture

African American Odyssey

The American Colony in Jerusalem

American Treasures of the Library of Congress

Benjamin Franklin . . . In His Own Words

Bob Hope and American Variety

Churchill and the Great Republic

Declaring Independence: Drafting the Documents

The Dream of Flight: A Library of Congress Special Presentation Commemorating the Centennial of Flight

For European Recovery: The Fiftieth Anniversary of the Marshall Plan

Freud: Conflict and Culture

From Haven to Home: 350 Years of Jewish Life in America

The Gettysburg Address

"I Do Solemnly Swear . . .": Inaugural Materials from the Collections of the Library of Congress

In the Beginning Was the Word: The Russian Church and Native Alaskan Cultures

John Bull & Uncle Sam: Four Centuries of British-American Relations

Madison's Treasures

Margaret Mead: Human Nature and the Power of Culture

Religion and the Founding of the American Republic

Revising Himself: Walt Whitman and Leaves of Grass

Rivers, Edens, Empires: Lewis & Clark and the Revealing of America

Roger L. Stevens Presents

Temple of Liberty: Building the Capitol for a New Nation

Thomas Jefferson

"With An Even Hand": Brown v. Board At Fifty

Women Come To The Front

The Work of Charles and Ray Eames: A Legacy of Invention

World Treasures of the Library of Congress: Beginnings

Reference Guidance from the Manuscript Division

Contact the reference staff of the Manuscript Division for help and guidance in using the division's collections.

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  December 23, 2015
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