Press Contact: Jeanne Smith (202) 707-4337
Public Contact: European Division (202) 707-4543

April 21, 1995

Library of Congress Publishes New Guide to European Collections

The European Division of the Library of Congress has announced publication of "Library of Congress European Collections, An Illustrated Guide" to provide scholars and researchers with an overview of holdings dealing with the European continent and the former nations of the Soviet Union. This is the fourth in a series of guides to Library collections published with the support of the Madison Council, the Library's national, private-sector advisory body dedicated to helping the Library share its unique resources with the nation and the world.

Guides published earlier describe the Library's music, theater, and dance holdings; its Manuscript Division collections; and materials in the Rare Book and Special Collections Division.

While the three earlier guides describe holdings in particular divisions, the new European publication covers materials held throughout the Library. Chapters in the new guide describe holdings in humanities and social sciences, the arts, science and technology, special collections, rare books and manuscripts, maps, and "European Americana and American Europeana." It includes a brief researcher's guide to use of these collections.

The Library's collections of European materials are among its most extensive and for almost 200 years have been important resources for researchers. After the Library was created by Congress in 1800 and given an appropriation of $5,000, initial book orders were placed with London booksellers for such volumes as Lord Herbert's "Life of Henry VIII", Appian's "History of the Civil Wars of the Romans", Machiavelli's "Florentine History", and Rapin's "History of England", which were listed in the Library's first catalog, published in 1802.

Most of the Library's early acquisitions were destroyed by fire in 1814. When Thomas Jefferson's library was purchased to replace them, strong emphasis continued to be placed on European materials. In amassing materials for his library over a 50-year period, Jefferson had systematically acquired books published in all the European capitals.

"Library of Congress European Collections, An Illustrated Guide" is an 80-page paperback publication containing 31 color and 19 black-and-white illustrations. It was prepared under the direction of Michael Haltzel, former chief of the European Division, with contributions from the division's staff of specialists and research librarians.

"Library of Congress European Collections, An Illustrated Guide" is available for $9.50 from the Superintendent of Documents, PO Box 371954, Pittsburgh, PA 15250-7954. Cite stock number 030- 001-00155-5.

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PR 95-050
ISSN 0731-3527

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