Crowdsourcing Challenge!

By the People, the Library’s crowdsourcing transcription project, is calling on volunteers to complete 1,000 pages from the “Suffrage: Women Fight for the Vote” campaign before Monday, August 19th. The speeches, diaries, and letters of suffragists reveal complex personalities and a multifaceted movement.  Here, Elizabeth A. Novara, a historian in the Library’s Manuscript Division, writes about some of the family and personal relationships that sustained … Continue reading Crowdsourcing Challenge!

Now Online! The Love Letters of James and Lucretia Garfield

James and Lucretia Garfield, depicted in unnamed publication, ca. 1880 This is a guest post by Michelle Krowl, a historian in the Manuscript Division. It’s a lovely piece about how the slow-burning passion of the couple developed over years of time. “It is nearly ten o’clock Sunday night and I will not lie down to sleep till I have told you again that I love … Continue reading Now Online! The Love Letters of James and Lucretia Garfield

Inquiring Minds: Rediscovering One of America’s Leading Songwriters

An excerpt in Gena Branscombe’s writing from her original “Pilgrims of Destiny” manuscript, held in the Library’s Music Division. Mezzo-soprano Kathleen Shimeta stumbled upon Gena Branscombe (1881–1977) in the late 1990s when Shimeta was planning a Valentine’s Day recital. Branscombe, it turned out, had set to music Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s famous sonnet beginning “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.” Delighted by … Continue reading Inquiring Minds: Rediscovering One of America’s Leading Songwriters

New! Baseball’s Jim Bouton and “Ball Four” at the Library

The original cover, “Ball Four” (1970). Jim Bouton Papers, Manuscript Division. Jim Bouton Enterprises, Inc., no commercial reuse. We are thrilled to announce that the Library has acquired the papers of former Major League Baseball pitcher Jim Bouton. Celebrated in his 20s as a pitcher with the New York Yankees of the 1960s, Bouton attained lasting fame as the author of an explosive (and hilarious) memoir, “Ball Four: … Continue reading New! Baseball’s Jim Bouton and “Ball Four” at the Library

The Will of Claudia Izard: An Uneasy Antebellum Testament

This is a guest post by Julie Miller, a historian in the Manuscript Division. It offers a window into the social realities of South Carolina in the days leading up to the Civil War, when very different ideas of “freedom” existed side by side. As any reader will notice, such issues persist in different form today.  Henry and Claudia Izard lived at a house called … Continue reading The Will of Claudia Izard: An Uneasy Antebellum Testament

Inquiring Minds: Ryan Semmes

Ryan Semmes with the main attraction at the Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library at Mississippi State University. Ryan P. Semmes is Associate Professor and Coordinator of the Congressional and Political Research Center at the Mississippi State University Libraries. He has been on the faculty since 2007 and has worked as archivist with the Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library at MSU since 2009. He is also … Continue reading Inquiring Minds: Ryan Semmes

Fresh Life (Online) for the epic Shahnamah

Detail, illustration in the Shahnamah. Printed in India, circa 1600. “The Shahnamah,” (translated as “The Persian Book of Kings”) is the majestic narrative that recounts the history of pre-Islamic Persia, a staggering work of literature first published about 1,000 years ago. Written by the poet Ferdowsi, it is composed of 62 separate stories set in 50,000 rhyming couplets and divided into 990 chapters. It was … Continue reading Fresh Life (Online) for the epic Shahnamah

Crowdsourcing the Clara Barton Diaries? Let Miss Barton Come to Your Aid!

One of the Library’s crowdsourcing projects at By The People is “Clara Barton: ‘Angel of the Battlefield,’” in which volunteers are transcribing the diaries of the legendary nurse.  Michelle Krowl, a historian in the Library’s Manuscript Division, recently was working with Barton’s diaries, puzzling over a blurred name. For those of you drawn to such literary mysteries, and who might be intrigued to try your … Continue reading Crowdsourcing the Clara Barton Diaries? Let Miss Barton Come to Your Aid!

“Game of Thrones” and Dragon Warfare

“Game of Thrones” is back for its final season, and the fate of Westeros may well depend on how the ice dragon (Viserion), now the winged weapon of the White Walkers, fares against his still-living counterparts. If you’re still reading, you know that the HBO series is based on George R.R. Martin’s books, which are, in turn, loosely based on England’s Wars of the Roses, … Continue reading “Game of Thrones” and Dragon Warfare

Inquiring Minds: Researching Women’s History at the Library

Stephanie Salinas (left) and Lorena Rodriguez in the Manuscript Reading Room. Photo by David Rice. For years now, Saundra Rose Maley has encouraged her English composition students at Montgomery College in Montgomery County, Maryland, to think of themselves as detectives. The setting for their investigations: the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress. Their task: to scout out primary sources for novel or surprising details … Continue reading Inquiring Minds: Researching Women’s History at the Library