Library of Congress

Home/Library of Congress
14 Feb 2017

Love Stories Found in Ex-Slave Narratives

Happy St. Valentine's Day to my readers. Today's post is about love stories found in ex-slave narratives at the Library of Congress. These narratives are available here: Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers’ Project, 1936-1938. Containing more than 2,300 first person accounts of slavery and 500 photographs of former enslaved people, these narratives were collected in the 1930s as part of the Federal Writers' Project (FWP) of the Works Progress Administration, later renamed Work Projects Administration (WPA).  At the conclusion of the Slave Narrative project, a set of edited transcripts was 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. In 2000-2001, the Library of Congress digitized the narratives from the microfilm edition and scanned from the originals 500 photographs, including more than 200 that had never been microfilmed. The Library of Congress [...]

3 Feb 2017

Searching the Historic American Buildings Survey

HABS team in 1934 measuring the Kentucky School for the Blind. (Courtesy HABS, Library of Congress) Interested in searching the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) to find a connection between an ancestor and a specific place? HABS was established in 1933 when Charles E. Peterson, a young landscape architect proposed the project. It was initially founded as a "constructive make-work program for architects, draftsmen and photographers left jobless by the Great Depression. By creating an archive of historic architecture, HABS provided a database of primary source material and documentation for the then-fledgling historic preservation movement." Today, a division of the U.S. National Park Service (NPS) administers HABS, the Historic American Engineering Record (HAER), and the Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS). Records include "556,900 measured drawings, large-format photographs, and written histories for more than 38,600 historic structures and sites dating from Pre-Columbian times to the twentieth century." The collection is managed by the [...]

9 Jan 2017

World War II Diaries of Friendship, Suffering, Death

From the Washington Post today, a story of World War II diaries of friendship, suffering, death now preserved at the Library of Congress. In September 1944, after two years of suffering in POW camps in the Philippines, U.S. Army Lt. George Washington Pearcy was being transferred to one of Japan’s “hell ships,” bound for captivity in the enemy’s home islands. Before he left, he entrusted his diary to a fellow prisoner who was staying behind. Pearcy had written the diary on the backs of tin-can labels and other scraps of paper, and he wanted to make sure it survived him. He gave it to Lt. Robert F. Augur, a friend who had lost a leg in the fighting at Corregidor in 1942 and who kept a small journal of his own. Pearcy, 29, was killed a few weeks later when the prison ship Arisan Maru was torpedoed by an American [...]

11 Aug 2016

Rambles Through Our Country in 1890

The Library of Congress Prints and Photos blog today features an 1890 game called Rambles Through Our Country – An Instructive Geographical Game for the Young. While it's nice just to marvel at the chromolithograph printing of this colorful game, this item has research value for genealogists working on records from the United States in 1890. There are probably no earth-shattering revelations here, but the images and the way in which Americans viewed individual states in 1890 makes interesting reading, as well as providing context for your research. Lara Szpszak writes, "The goal of the game is to help players become familiar with American geography and the treasures the United States has to offer. A player spins the “teetotum” and places their counter on the matching number on the map. Each number then corresponds to a location and description in the accompanying booklet. Fortunately, the booklet is available online from the Internet [...]