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Digitized Materials from the Rare Book & Special Collections Division

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Books Catalogues Exhibits


The Lessing J. Rosenwald Collection
Taking the illustrated book as its central theme and containing books from the last six centuries and manuscripts from the three preceding.

Early Copyright Records Collect, 1790-1870.
The documents in this collection are the result of the first federal copyright laws in 1790 and 1831 (as amended) and contain the early copyright records and material held by the federal district courts and numerous government offices in Washington, DC. 

The Alfred Whital Stern Collection of Lincolniana
From the Stern Collection, primary and secondary materials relating to Abraham Lincoln. Includes letters, pamphlets, broadsides, realia and assorted ephemera.

African American Perspectives
African American history and culture from the early 19th through the early 20th centuries. Authors represented are Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Benjamin W. Arnett, Alexander Crummel, Mary Church Terrell, Kelly Miller, Charles Sumner and Emanuel Love.

Mormon Books
Important early printed books related to the history of the Mormons.

American Books
Books published in and/or cover the topic of the United States.

Printed Ephemera; Three Centuries of Broadsides and Printed Ephemera
A rich repository of Americana primary-source items dating from the seventeenth century to the present and encompasses key events and eras in American history.

Documents from the Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention, 1774-1789
Documents relating to the work of Congress and the drafting and ratification of the Constitution.

Prints by John James Audubon
A selection of prints from the John James Audubon Birds of America Collection.

Children's Literature
Children's literature selected from multiple collections across the Rare Book and Special Collections Division.
The Kraus Collection of Sir Francis Drake
Amassed by Hans P. Kraus, this collection comprises important primary and secondary materials accumulated about Sir Francis Drake’s voyages.
Miniature Books
Books ten centimeters or less in height
The Jay I. Kislak Collection
Cultures and history of the Americas. Includes thousands of books and artifacts of native civilizations of the Americas donated by Jay and Jean Kislak.


Gastronomy Books
Books on the topic of gastronomy. Selected mainly from Pennell and Bitting Collections in the Rare Book and Special Collections Division.

Science, Magic and Mathematics
Books on the topic of multi-disciplinary topics addressing science, magic and mathematics from multiple collections within the Rare Book and Special Collections Division.

Magic Apparatus

Magic Apparatus
Magic apparatus from the McManus-Young Collections in the Rare Book and Special Collection Division.

Slavic Books
Books published from the Slavic countries. Selected from multiple collections across the Rare Book and Special Collections Division.

Travels and Voyages
Books on travel and voyages. Selected from multiple collections across the Rare Book and Special Collections Division.

An American Ballroom Companion: Dance Instruction Manuals, ca. 1490-1920 An American Ballroom Companion
Over two hundred social dance manuals and also includes a significant number of antidance manuals, histories, treatises on etiquette.

"I Do Solemnly Swear...": Presidential Inaugurations" Approximately 400 items relating to inaugurations from George Washington's to Barack Obama's inauguration. Includes diaries and letters, handwritten drafts, broadsides, inaugural tickets and programs, prints, photographs, and sheet music.

Slaves and the Courts, 1740-1860
Over a hundred pamphlets and books concerning the experiences of African-American slaves in the American colonies and the United States.

America Singing: Nineteenth-Century Song Sheets
Song sheets spanning the period from the turn of the nineteenth century to the 1880s.

The American Variety Stage: Vaudeville and Popular Entertainment, 1870-1920
Rare items from the collection include English- and Yiddish-language playscripts, theater playbills and program, photographs and memorabilia documenting the life and career of Harry Houdini.

National American Woman Suffrage Association Collection
(NAWSA) contains nearly 800 books and pamphlets documenting the suffrage campaign. They were collected between 1890 and 1938 by members of NAWSA. The bulk of the collection is derived from the library of Carrie Chapman Catt. Additional materials were donated from the libraries of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Lucy Stone, Alice Stone Blackwell, Julia Ward Howe, Elizabeth Smith Miller and Mary A. Livermore.

See the blog post: “Roll up your sleeves, set your mind to making history.”

American Women: A Gateway to Resources at the Library of Congress
Women's history materials drawn from a plethora of Library sources including the Rare Book and Special Collections Division.
The Lewis Carroll Scrapbook
An original scrapbook kept by Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, better known as Lewis Carroll. It contains approximately 130 items, including newspaper clippings, photographs, and manuscript materials..

Additional Books
Of various topics and origins. Holdings from the Rare Book and Special Collections Division.

Special Collection Catalogues

Sir Francis Drake, a Pictorial Biography
This presentation of the life of Sir Francis Drake in manuscripts, engraved portraits and views, maps, medals, and books, is intended to show Drake as he appeared to his contemporaries. Most of the documentation is from his own lifetime, the balance being from the period shortly after his death when some of the most detailed narratives of his campaigns and raids appeared.
Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson
Compiled with Annotations by E. Millicent Sowerby The book collections of the Library of Congress were reestablished, after their destruction in 1814, by the purchase of the private library of Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826). At the time of the purchase, Jefferson's collection contained 6,487 volumes in the fields of politics, history, science, law literature, fine arts, and philosophy and was recognized as one of the finest private libraries in the United States. The Jefferson Library forms the nucleus around which the present collections of the Library of Congress have been assembled.
My Cookery Books
A select bibliography of the Elizabeth Robins Pennell collection.



Out of the Ashes: A New Library of Congress and the Nation
An exhibit featuring Jefferson’s 6,487-volume library which was the foundation of the modern Library of Congress.
Benjamin Franklin...In His Own Words
Displays the depth and breadth of Benjamin Franklin's public, professional, and scientific accomplishments through important documents, letters, books, broadsides, and cartoons. Marking the tercentenary of Franklin's birth, this exhibition, concentrates on his achievements as a printer and writer, an inventor and scientist, and, particularly, as a politician and statesman.
Exploring the Early Americas; The Jay I. Kislak Collection
Selections from the more than 3,000 rare maps, documents, paintings, prints, and artifacts that make up the Jay I. Kislak Collection at the Library of Congress.
Illuminating the Word; The St. John's Bible
An illuminated, handwritten Bible commissioned by Saint John's University and Abbey in Minnesota.
Thomas Jefferson's Library
Divided into categories of Memory, Reason, and Imagination—which Jefferson translated to “History,” “Philosophy,” and “Fine Arts”—and further divided into forty-four “chapters,” the collection placed within Jefferson’s fingertips the span of his multifaceted interests.
Heavenly Craft: The Woodcut in Early Printed Book
Woodcut-illustrated books purchased by Lessing J. Rosenwald at the Dyson Perrins sale, now part of the legendary Rosenwald Collection at the Library of Congress.
Bible Collection
This online exhibit examines two monumental Bibles: one, the Giant Bible of Mainz, signifies the end of the handwritten book and the other, the Gutenberg Bible, marks the beginning of the printed book and the explosion of knowledge and creativity it would engender. This exhibition explores the significance of the two Bibles, and, through an interactive presentation, the relationship between the Mainz Bible, the Gutenberg Bible, and sixteen selected Bibles from the Library’s collections.


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  March 25, 2022
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