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Memory Introduction

Powder Horn Map

One of the most fascinating cartographic formats represented in the Library’s holdings is a collection of eight powder horns inscribed with maps, dating from the time of the French and Indian War and the American Revolutionary War. For soldiers, hunters, or frontiersmen in the late colonial period, powder horns were indispensable companions to their muskets. Fashioned out of cow or ox horns, they made convenient containers for carrying and protecting gunpowder. Usually handmade, these horns were often inscribed with rhymes, references to particular campaigns, names of forts or towns, diary entries, or maps. Because maps were scarce at the time, it is possible that map-inscribed powder horns served as guides for their owners, but it is more likely that the map images provided records or mementos of the areas that the owners traversed or the campaigns in which they were involved.

The powder horn shown here is undated and unsigned, although it is believed to date from between 1757 and 1760. It shows the Hudson and Mohawk River valleys, as well as Lake Champlain and Lake Ontario, waterways that served as the major arteries of travel between New York City (portrayed pictorially at the bottom of the horn) and the St. Lawrence River Valley to the north, and the Great Lakes to the west. Numerous towns and forts along the route are named, and houses, windmills, boats, and other details enliven the design. The horn also bears a British coat of arms, suggesting the owner was an American colonial or British soldier.

This powder horn was part of the Peter Force Collection, which the Library of Congress purchased by an act of Congress in 1867. Force (1790–1868) was the preeminent collector of Americana (including maps) during the first half of the nineteenth century.

[Powder horn inscribed with map of Hudson and Mohawk river valleys]. Cow or ox horn, polished and finely engraved, ca. 1757. Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress

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The Winter Count

A “winter count” was a Native American mnemonic device passed from one generation to another marked with pictographs that recorded noteworthy events in tribal life that took place each “winter” or year. Battiste Good, a Brulé Dakota living at the Rosebud Agency in South Dakota, probably made this winter count at the turn of the twentieth century based on original records kept on hides (he introduced Arabic numerals). Special characters denoted famines, the introduction of the horse, buffalo hunts, severe winter storms, smallpox epidemics, and other significant events.

Pictured is Chief High Hawk, Battiste Good’s son, and who presumably finished the “winter count” after Good’s death.

Battiste Good (1821–ca. 1907). [Winter Count, 1230–1907]. Enlargement. Pictograph watercolor on paper panels, ca. 1907. Manuscript Division, Library of Congress

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Keeping Memories

Recorded history comes in all forms but probably the most intimate is the personal diary. Diaries can contain private thoughts, provide a personal view of daily routines or public events, include mundane inventories, or catalogue human idiosyncracies. They offer readers a unique perspective, albeit not always honest, and reveal as much about human nature as the facts and figures they can contain. The Library’s Manuscript Division has a wealth of diaries by famous authors as well as ones by writers now unknown. Although there are other such volumes interspersed throughout this exhibition, the five diaries on display here are a gateway into the Memory section of the exhibition—the public and personal side of history as they are revealed in the collections of the Library of Congress.

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  • Clara Barton. 1889 diary page kept during her tenure as president of the American Red Cross and the Johnstown, Pennsylvania flood. Page 2 - Page 3 - Page 4. Holograph manuscript. Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (14A)

  • Titian Ramsay Peale. Diary for the South Seas. September 1839. “Tahiti” illustration of Morai on left-hand page. Page 2 - Page 3 - Page 4. Holograph manuscript. Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (14B)

  • Christian Fleetwood. Diary entry for June 15, 1864. Diary entry for June 19, 1864 noting that President Lincoln and General Grant had passed his bivouac. Diary entry for Sept. 27, 1864. Diary entry October 1, 1864 recounting Civil War battle at Chaffin’s Farm near Richmond, for which Fleetwood was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. Diary entry for October 5, 1864. Holograph manuscript. Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (14C, 14C.1, p1–p4)

  • Alcott Farrar Elwell (1886–1962). 1908 diary entry for “Apple Pie,” from his holograph notebook of recipes used while serving as a camp cook for the expedition of the U.S. Geodetic Survey’s Roosevelt Lignite Conservation Survey in Wyoming, 1908. Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (14D)

  • Walt Whitman. “Friday, Saturday, Sunday–December 20 and 21 was at Falmouth opposite Fredericksburg.” 1862 diary kept during the Civil War. Holograph manuscript. Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (46A.7)

  • George S. Patton. Diary entry for December 6, 1942. Holograph manuscript. Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (70)

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Thomas Jefferson’s Library

The Burning of the City of Washington

At about 8 p.m. on the evening of August 24, 1814, British troops under the command of General Robert Ross marched into Washington, D.C., after routing hastily assembled American forces at Bladensburg, Maryland, earlier in the day. Encountering neither resistance nor any United States government officials—President Madison and his cabinet had fled to safety—the British quickly torched the White House, the Capitol, which then housed the Library of Congress, the navy yard, and several American warships. However, most private property was left untouched. In 1815 Congress approved the purchase of Thomas Jefferson’s library to replace the one lost in the fire.

G. Thompson. The Taking of the City of Washington in America. London: 1814. Wood engraving. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (7.9)

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Book Collector

Thomas Jefferson had a passion for books and assembled the finest private library in America. From the Philadelphia book dealer Nicholas G. Dufief, Jefferson acquired several books from the late Benjamin Franklin’s personal collection, including two pamphlets, bound together, about taxation of the colonies: Reflections moral and political on Great Britain and her colonies by Matthew Wheelock, and Thoughts on the origin and nature of government by Allan Ramsay. As Jefferson wrote to Dufief, he was especially pleased to receive “the precious reliques of Doctor Franklin,” which he valued “not only [for] the intrinsic value of whatever came from him, but [also] my particular affection for him.”

Franklin had written lengthy and heated notes in the margins of the pamphlets on nearly every page, beginning in the preface to the first pamphlet where Franklin, reading of the author’s hope that “a better mode of election may be established to make the representation more equal,” impatiently interjects “why don’t you get about it?”

When the British burned the Capitol during the War of 1812, Congress lost its entire book collection in the flames. Jefferson proposed to sell to Congress his own private library, which consisted of more than six thousand volumes including legal tomes, maps and charts, ancient and modern history, some belles lettres, and the seminal works of such political philosophers as John Locke and Montesquieu, who had inspired the Founding Fathers and shaped their political thought.

While some members of Congress objected to the notion of purchasing so many books not directly related to the business of legislating, Jefferson convinced the majority that “there is, in fact, no subject to which a Member of Congress might not have occasion to refer.”

So it is that the Library of Congress has grown from the seed of Jefferson’s own library, universal in subject matter and format, into a library that serves as Congress’s working research collection, as well as a symbol of the central role that free and unfettered access to information plays in our modern democracy.

[Matthew Wheelock]. Reflections Moral and Political on Great Britain and Her Colonies. Page 2. Page 1 and 2 together. London: 1770, bound with [Allan Ramsay] Thoughts on the Origin and Nature of Government. London: 1769. Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress

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The Order of Books

James Madison appointed George Watterston as Librarian of Congress in 1815—the first to hold the position full time. One of Watterston’s initial tasks was to receive the shipment of books newly purchased from Thomas Jefferson. On April 26, 1815, Watterston wrote to Jefferson asking for the best way to arrange the books: “Your long acquaintance with books & your literary habits have, doubtless, led you to the adoption of some plan of arrangement with respect to libraries, which I should be happy if you would communicate.”

In Jefferson’s day, most libraries were arranged alphabetically. But Jefferson preferred to arrange his by subject. As he explains here to Librarian of Congress George Watterston, he chose “Lord Bacon’s table of science,” the hierarchy of Memory (History), Reason (Philosophy) and Imagination (Fine Arts), to order his arrangement of books by subject, though with some modifications. The result is an order sometimes by subject, sometimes by chronology, “& sometimes a combination of both.” Although he cataloged his library by subject, Jefferson shelved the books by size.

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A “Blueprint” of Jefferson’s Mind

This manuscript catalog, prepared by Jefferson’s private secretary Nicholas Trist, attempts to reconstruct the concept of the original arrangement of Thomas Jefferson’s library. Inspired by Francis Bacon’s organization of knowledge, Jefferson divided his books into the categories of Memory (history), Reason (philosophy) and Imagination (fine arts). Within these divisions, he carefully arranged them chronologically or by analytical value. This volume, long thought to be a catalog of the University of Virginia library, offers a fresh opportunity to study Jefferson’s distinctive mind at work.

Thomas Jefferson. Manuscript catalog in the hand of Nicholas Trist, [1823]. Bound with Catalogue of the Library of the United States. Washington: 1815 (10.2) Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress

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Historian of the American Revolution

Noted poet and dramatist Mercy Otis Warren of Plymouth, Massachusetts, drew on her exceptional literary talents, strong democratic convictions, and intimate friendships with key patriot leaders to produce a penetrating commentary on the Revolutionary era. In ordering subscriptions of Warren’s History for himself and his cabinet, President Jefferson noted his anticipation of her truthful and insightful account of the last thirty years that “will furnish a more instructive lesson to mankind than any equal period known in history.” Singeing of the title page shows how close this volume came to the flames of the 1851 Christmas Eve fire that destroyed nearly two thirds of the books Jefferson had sold to Congress in 1815.

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Jefferson Seeks Madison’s Support

After the British burned the Capitol in 1814, destroying the congressional library, Thomas Jefferson offered to sell his books to Congress at a price they could name. In this letter to his friend and President of the United States James Madison, Jefferson seeks his support for the sale, which members of Congress were then debating.

Thomas Jefferson to James Madison (1751–1836). Polygraph copy, September 24, 1814. Page 2. Manuscript Division, Library of Congress

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Tools of Democracy

On learning of the burning of the Capitol and the 3,000-volume Library of Congress, Jefferson wrote to his friend Samuel Smith asking him to offer Congress his personal library of between “9 and 10,000 volumes” to replace “the devastations of British vandalism at Washington.” Jefferson promised to accept any price set by Congress, commenting that “I do not know that it contains any branch of science which Congress would wish to exclude from this collection . . . there is in fact no subject to which a member of Congress may not have occasion to refer.”

Thomas Jefferson to Samuel H. Smith (1772–1845). Polygraph copy, September 21, 1814. Page 2. Manuscript Division, Library of Congress

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The Three Greatest Men

Thomas Jefferson identified Francis Bacon, John Locke, and Isaac Newton as “the three greatest men that have ever lived, without any exception,” in this 1789 letter ordering portraits of them from the American painter, John Trumbull. Their works in the physical and moral sciences were instrumental in Jefferson’s education and world view.

Thomas Jefferson to John Trumbull (1756–1843). Holograph press copy, February 15, 1789. Manuscript Division, Library of Congress

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Jefferson Counts and Measures His Library

Thomas Jefferson compiled this detailed list of books in his library after agreeing to sell his collection to Congress. Jefferson noted books missing from his collection, as well as those added after his catalog had been completed. Jefferson paid particular attention to the size of the books because that was the basis upon which the purchase price was calculated.

Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826). Holograph list of book titles, 1815. Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (9.2)

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Preserving History

In this letter to his friend Hugh Taylor, Thomas Jefferson stressed the importance of preserving documents relating to the history of the United States. Jefferson wrote: “It is the duty of every good citizen to use all the opportunities, which occur to him, for preserving documents relating to the history of our country.” By a 1903 act of Congress, Jefferson’s papers were among the first group of documents transferred to Library from the Department of State.

Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826) to Hugh P. Taylor. Polygraph copy, October 4, 1823. Page 2. Manuscript Division, Library of Congress. State Department transfer, 1904 (10.6)

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“The Favorite Passion of My Soul”

In the midst of the American Revolution, Thomas Jefferson still found time for music, which he called “the favorite passion of my soul” in this letter to Giovanni Fabbrioni. Jefferson maintained a life-long interest in music, collected numerous treatises on music, and tried to foster an appreciation of music in America, where Jefferson asserted “it [music] is in a state of deplorable barbarism.”

Thomas Jefferson to Giovanni Fabbroni. Holograph letter, June 8, 1778. Page 2. Manuscript Division, Library of Congress. State Department transfer, 1904 (8.4)

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As To The Manner of Payment for Jefferson’s Library

After the British burned the United States Capitol in 1814, Thomas Jefferson offered his personal library as a replacement for the destroyed contents of the Library of Congress. Once Congress and Jefferson had agreed to a price of $23,950 based on the number and size of the books, Samuel H. Smith, Jefferson’s friend and political ally, and Alexander James Dallas, secretary of the treasury, worked out the details in this exchange of letters.

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  • Thomas Jefferson to Alexander James Dallas, April 18, 1815. Manuscript letter. Thomas Jefferson Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress. State Department Transfer, 1904 (9.5)

  • Alexander James Dallas to Thomas Jefferson, April 28, 1815. Manuscript letter. Thomas Jefferson Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress. State Department Transfer, 1904 (9.7)

  • Samuel H. Smith to Thomas Jefferson, February 15, 1815. Manuscript letter. Page 2 - Page 3. Thomas Jefferson Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress. State Department Transfer, 1904 (8.6)

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“Two Pieces of Homespun”

After nearly twelve years of enmity stemming from their spirited presidential election of 1800, won by Jefferson, both men were induced to resume a correspondence and ultimately a friendship by Benjamin Rush (1745–1813) of Philadelphia. This letter of January 1, 1812, was the first in the resumed exchange that would last until their deaths on July 4, 1826. Adams enclosed John Quincy Adams’s (1767–1848) Lectures on Rhetoric and Oratory, which he described as “two Pieces of Homespun.”

John Adams to Thomas Jefferson, January 1, 1812. Manuscript letter. Manuscript Division, Library of Congress. State Department transfer, 1904 (9.9)

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Jefferson Misreads “Homespun”

John Adams wrote to Thomas Jefferson on January 1, 1812, enclosing John Quincy Adams’s, Lectures on Rhetoric and Oratory, that he referred to as “two Pieces of Homespun.” However, the package became separated from Adams’s letter in the mail. Eager to resume a correspondence with his old friend and political rival, Jefferson misinterpreted this as homespun cloth and wrote this January 21, 1812, letter on the virtues of producing homespun cloth in America. Only later did Jefferson learn that Adams had been referring to his son’s book.

Thomas Jefferson to John Adams, January 21, 1812. Manuscript letter. Page 2 - Page 3. Manuscript Division, Library of Congress. State Department transfer, 1904 (9.10)

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“Two Pieces of Homespun” Clarified

Adams received Jefferson’s January 21, 1812, letter with good humor. He explained that the “two Pieces of Homespun” were not cloth but were books “spun from the Brain of John Quincy Adams.” Adams’s and Jefferson’s renewed correspondence—much more than just an exchange of friendly letters—is recognized as one of the greatest intellectual exchanges between former presidents in American history, rivaled only by the correspondence of Jefferson and Madison.

John Adams to Thomas Jefferson, February 3, 1812. Manuscript letter. Page 2. Manuscript Division, Library of Congress. State Department transfer, 1904 (9.11)

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Lectures on Rhetoric and Oratory

John Quincy Adams’s Lectures on Rhetoric and Oratory were sent to Jefferson by John Adams and described as “Two Pieces of Homespun.” John Quincy Adams wrote the two volumes while a professor at Harvard University. Jefferson included the books in his library, which subsequently came to the Library of Congress when Jefferson sold his library to the government in 1815. The two original volumes sent to Jefferson by Adams are on view in the reconstruction of Jefferson’s library in the Northwest Gallery.

John Quincy Adams. Lectures on Rhetoric and Oratory, Delivered to the Classes of Senior and Junior Sophisters in Harvard University. 2 vols. Cambridge: Hilliard and Metcalf, 1810. Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress. Gift of Joseph M. Toner, 1882 (9.12)

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A Design for the Capitol

Thomas Jefferson appointed Benjamin Henry Latrobe “Surveyor of the Public Buildings” of the U.S., putting him in charge of the completion of the Capitol, the White House, and many other projects. In 1815, in response to increased and projected space needs, Latrobe redesigned the main floor of the Capitol, placing the congressional library on this level, with the rotunda serving as its entrance. But the large scale of the 1815 congressional purchase of Jefferson’s library, made this plan obsolete even before construction began.

Benjamin Henry Latrobe (1764–1820). [U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C.; Principal Floor Plan, Vestibule, House of Representatives, Senate Chamber, Library]. Graphite, ink, and watercolor on paper, April 24, 1817. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. Gift of William Morrow Roosevelt, 1975 (139.2)

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A New World

First Map of the American Continents

Münster, one of the most prolific geographers in the sixteenth century, was the first map maker to publish separate maps of the four continents, which originally appeared in his 1540 Basel edition of Ptolemy’s Geographia. Up until this time, the only printed maps showing the European discoveries in the new world were world maps, but with this publication he issued a map showing just the American continent. Although he boldly labeled this irregularly-shaped land mass “Novis orbis” and “die Nüw Welt,” Münster included a reference to America, thus perpetuating a place name that originated in 1507 by Martin Waldseemüller, another German geographer.

Sebastian Münster (1489–1552). Die neuwen Inseln so hinder Hispanien gegen Orient bey dem land India ligen [fifth state]. [Basel: 1550]. Woodcut print map. Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress. Hauslab Collection, transferred from the Air Force, 1975 (21A.4)

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Early Image of the Americas

Sixteenth-century European cartographers anxiously and expeditiously recorded the expanding world image that resulted from the Age of European Discoveries. One of the first printed maps to document these expeditions was Johann Ruysch’s 1507 world map, which portrays the lands encountered by Christopher Columbus (including Cuba, Hispaniola, and the northern coast of South America) as islands off the coast of Asia, while the lands explored by John Cabot (Newfoundland and Greenland) are depicted as peninsulas attached to the Asian mainland.

Johann Ruysch (d. 1533). Geographia. [Rome: Bernardinus de Vitalibus, 1507]. Atlas with hand-colored engravings. Enlargements: Left - Right. Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress

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Mapping the New Discoveries

For sixteenth-century Europeans, the most authoritative information about the Americas was obtained from returning explorers and navigators. Each pilot who accompanied a Spanish exploring expedition had to deposit the logs and charts with the Casa de Contratación (Board of Trade) in Seville, which became the repository for Spanish travel information about the Americas. This large map, one of only two existing copies, was compiled by Diego Gutiérrez—a chart and instrument maker and pilot who worked for the board. The map provided current information about the people, settlements, and other geographical features of the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts of North America and all of Central and South America.

Diego Gutiérrez, compiler (active 1554–1570). Hieronymous Cock, engraver (1510–ca.1570). Americae sive quartae orbis partis nova et exactissima descriptio. [Antwerp]: 1562. Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress

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Map of Manhattan

This 1639 map is the earliest portrayal of Manhattan and its environs. The map may have been drawn by Johannes Vingboons, cartographer to the Prince of Nassau for the West India Company of Holland. This map, possibly done to encourage Dutch settlement, depicts plantations and small farms. These widely dispersed settlements are keyed by number in the lower right-hand corner to a list of land occupants. The list of references includes a grist mill, two sawmills and “Quarters of the Blacks, the Company’s Slaves.” Also delineated are a few roads represented by dashed lines and four Indian villages situated in what is now Brooklyn.

Johannes Vingboons. Manatus gelegen op de Noot Rivier, 1639. Manuscript map on vellum in pen and ink and watercolor wash. Selected text. Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress

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Exploring the Carolinas

John White, one of the company sent by Sir Walter Raleigh to establish an English colony on Roanoke Island in 1585, went at least twice to the Carolina coast in the 1580s. There he produced a series of drawings of the everyday life of the Native American populations. Theodor de Bry engraved these scenes from White’s renderings. White also compiled this map of the North Carolina coast from Cape Lookout to the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, based on the British explorations of 1585-86, which was subsequently engraved by de Bry and published in 1590.

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News of the Voyages

Officials in the Ottoman Empire were intensely interested in the maritime exploratory expeditions sponsored by Spain and Portugal. In 1583, Mehmet Efendi produced a summary of these voyages entitled Kitab Iklimi Cedit (The Book of the New World). Ibrahim Müteferrika updated and republished the work in 1730. This rare volume is the first text about the Americas printed by Muslims and the first illustrated book printed in the Islamic world.

Mehmet Efendi (ca. 1522–1588). Tarihi Hindi Garbî, Istanbul: Müteferrika Press, 1730. Page 2. African and Middle Eastern Division, Library of Congress. Gift, 1903 (21)

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Chronicling The New World

Gonzalo Oviedo sailed in 1514 on the first of his many journeys to America, where he compiled detailed descriptions and woodcut illustrations of products and goods found in the New World. The Spaniard introduced Europe to an enormous variety of previously unheard of “exotica,” including the pineapple, the canoe, smoking tobacco, the manatee, and the hammock. Along with Pedro Mártir de Anglería and Bartolomé de Las Casas, Oviedo was one of the first European “chroniclers of the Indies” having written two comprehensive works on America, including the rare Historia.

Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo y Valdés (1478–1557). La Historia general de las Indias. [N.P]: 1535. Page 2 - Page 3 - Page 4 - Page 5 - Page 6 - Page 7 - Page 8. Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress. Acquired, 1867 (17.3)

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A Portuguese World View

Compiled in Lisbon in 1630, this manuscript atlas was the work of João Teixeira, who served as cosmographer to the king of Portugal and is considered the most prolific Portuguese cartographer of the seventeenth century. This unique compilation not only provides a comprehensive portrait of the Portuguese empire at the beginning of the seventeenth century but also reflects the rivalry of the Portuguese and Spanish during the European Age of Discovery. Shown here is a general map of the northern portion of the Pacific Ocean indicating a lack of accurate geographical knowledge of North America’s west coast.

João Teixeira. Taboas geraes de toda a navegacïo divididas e emendada por Dom Ieronimo de Attayde. Manuscript atlas, 1630. Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress (20.6) Purchased 1922

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John Smith’s Map of the Chesapeake Bay

Based on a three-month exploratory survey by boat in the summer of 1608 under the direction of Captain John Smith, this map is the earliest published of the entire Chesapeake region. It not only shows the location of Jamestown, the first English settlement in the region, but also the location of Indian villages along the bay and its numerous tributaries. The map is oriented with west at the top, drawing attention to the approaching ships from England at the bottom of the sheet.

John Smith (ca. 1580–1631). Virginia, Discovered and Discribed by Captayn John Smith, Sixth state. [London: William Hole, 1624]. Engraved map. Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress (19.2)

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History of New Spain

Fray Diego Durán (d. 1588?) was a Spanish Dominican priest who worked to convert the Aztec, or Mexica, people to Christianity. In the 1570s, in order to understand their culture more fully, he recorded the history of their society in a manuscript that was not published until the nineteenth century. Shown here is a confrontation between the Mexica and the powerful Spanish forces of Hernando Cortés (1485–1547) during his campaign of 1519–1521.

Fray Diego Durán. “De como el Marquis del Valle Don Hernando Cortes. . . salio a conquistar las demas Provincias . . .” [Cortés and Soldiers Confront the Indians]. La Historia antigua de la Nueva España, 1585. Early nineteenth-century facsimile. Manuscript Division, Library of Congress. Purchased from Peter Force, 1867 (17.5)

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Reform in the “New World”

Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas is known throughout history for his stand on the rights of native Americans. Shortly before leaving Spain in 1542 to take the bishopric in Chiapas, New Spain (Mexico), Las Casas penned this petition to King Charles I and the Spanish Council of the Indies. In it, he presented thirty points concerning how the clergy could reform the issues of slavery, death, and rampant disregard for native life. The Council responded to each point, which was annotated in the margins.

Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas. (1484–1566) to King Charles I (1500–1558), 1542. Page 2 - Page 3 - Page 4 - Page 5 - Page 6 - Page 7. Holograph manuscript. Manuscript Division, Library of Congress. Gift of Hans P. Kraus, 1969 (17.6, 17.7)

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Fort Ticonderoga Battle Plan

This 1759 manuscript map dating from the era of the French and Indian War, shows a battle plan proposed by the British for their encounter with French troops near Fort Ticonderoga, New York. Drawn by William Brasier, this map is from the collection of William Faden, one of the most prominent British publishers of American Revolutionary battle maps. His collection includes many beautifully colored manuscript maps that later were incorporated into engraved maps of the period and were printed and sold by Faden in London.

William Brasier. Project for the attack of Ticonderoga, proposed to be put in execution as near as the circumstances and ground will admit, 1759. Manuscript map. Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress (21B.4)

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Early Map of the Dutch Colony of New Netherland

Based on the explorations of Henry Hudson, the Dutch claimed the territory extending from the Delaware Bay to Connecticut River, establishing the colony known as New Netherland. Nicolaes Visscher’s mid-seventeenth century map of this Dutch colony is one of the best known maps of the region. It also boasts a vignette, in the lower right hand corner, with one of the earliest views of New Amsterdam, renamed New York City in 1664.

Nicolaes Visscher (1618–1679). Novi Belgii Novaeque Angliae nec non partis Virginae tabula. [Amsterdam, ca. 1685]. Hand-colored engraving. Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress (21B.7)

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Portolan Chart of the Carribean

This chart, drawn in the portolan style on vellum, includes the Gulf and southeastern Atlantic coasts of the present-day U.S., extending north beyond Cape Hatteras. Latitude, is indicated along a vertical line that extends from south to north on the left side of the chart. Longitude is indicated along two lines, one extending west across the Gulf of Mexico and the other going east from latitude 31 N. The chart identifies numerous costal names, most of which are written portolan-style inward from the coast.

Pedro Alcantara Espinosa. Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, West Indies, Campeche, Mexico, 1765. Five-sided portolan chart on vellum. Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress. Acquired, 1919 (19.4)

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Early Manuscript Maps of New Netherlands

Reputedly drawn by Joan Vinckeboons, cartographer to the Prince of Nassau for the West India Company of Holland, these two manuscript charts depict the early seventeenth-century Dutch colony of New Netherlands, where the major settlement focused on the Hudson (Noort) River.

The maps were part of a larger manuscript atlas compiled for the West India Company, reflecting the Dutch trading and settlement interests in the Western Hemisphere. The map displayed on the left shows the Hudson River divided in two segments, with the lower river and Fort Amsterdam (Manhattan) pictured above and the upper river and Fort Orange (Albany) drawn below.

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  • Joan Vinckeboons. “Pascaert van Nieuw Nederlandt Virginia, ende Nieuw-Engelandt . . .”. Manuscript map. Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress. Gift of Henry Harrisse, 1915 (17.12) [ Digital ID# g3320 lh00817 ]

  • Joan Vinckeboons. “Noort Rivier in Niew Neerlandt,” ca. 1639. Manuscript map. Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress. Gift of Henry Harrisse, 1915 (17.12) [ Digital ID# g3802 ct001070 ]

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The French on the Revolutionary War

This rare French map depicts the mid-Atlantic colonies during the American Revolutionary War. Little is known of the cartographer, identified only as Michel, but he also produced a companion map of the northern colonies during the same year. This map reflects the French interests in events in America, which by 1778 had become direct national support of the American war for independence. The map is an important addition to the Library’s strong collection of Revolutionary War maps.

Michel. Partie Méridionale des Possessions Angloise en Amérique. Paris: a l’Hotel de Soubise, 1778. Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress. Gift of Harry Gray, 2000 (21C.8)

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The Failure to Retake Savannah

Pierre Ozanne was a marine artist assigned to the French fleet during the American Revolution. The map and its lengthy legend and notes recount the combined American troops and French fleet’s failure to retake Savannah in 1779. It shows the locations of the French and American camps, lines of march, the Spring Hill redoubt where the major action took place, and cultural features such as a Jewish cemetery and a hospital.

Pierre Ozanne (1737–1813). Siège de Savannah fait par les troupes françoises aux ordres du général d’Estaing vice-amiral de France, 1779. Map, pen-and ink, watercolor and gilt. Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress (21A.7) Digital ID # g3924s ar157700

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California as an Island

One of the major geographic misconceptions originating during the discovery and exploration of North America was the depiction of California as an island. Based on erroneous Spanish manuscript accounts, European cartographers began in 1622 to portray the western coast of North America as a separate island. Major publishers, especially the British and the Dutch, accepted this concept well into the early eighteenth century, long after Father Eusebio Kino confirmed during exploration of the American southwest from 1698 to 1701 that California was not an island. Shown here is one of fourteen manuscript maps acquired by the great nineteenth-century collector of Americana, Henry Harisse.

Johannes Vingboons. [Map of Baja California Shown as an Island], 1639. Manuscript map. Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress. Gift of Henry Harisse, 1915 (110.10)

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Captain Cook and the Pacific Northwest

Sailing under the British flag with the intention of locating the western gateway to the fabled Northwest Passage, Captain James Cook (1728–1779) devoted his third and final voyage to exploring the Pacific Basin and the northwest coast of North America from Oregon to Alaska. His account of the voyage included illustrations like this view of a sea otter on the west coast of Vancouver Island in present-day British Columbia. Cook was instructed to observe the flora, fauna, and geology he encountered and “. . . to describe them as minutely, and to make as accurate drawings of them, as you can . . .”

S. Smith, after John Webber. “Sea Otter” in James Cook. A Voyage to the Pacific Ocean . . . Performed under the Direction of Captains Cook, Clerke, and Gore . . .1776, 1777, 1778, 1779, and 1780. London: W. Strahan, 1780. Engraving. Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress (16.5)

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Havana Harbor and the Island of Cuba

This panoramic view of Havana harbor and vicinity by Johannes Vingboons emphasizes the strong fortifications protecting the city. View shows fortifications, city buildings, ships, the harbor, the nearby countryside including erroneous peaks looming over the harbor. Johannes Vingboons, a cartographer in the employ of the Dutch West India Company, produced maps for more than thirty years for use by Dutch mercantile and military shipping. Vingboons’ map of the island of Cuba includes coastline, coastal features, soundings, navigational hazards, settlements, and streams.

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  • Johannes Vingboons (1665–1670). Havana Op’t Eylant Cuba (Havana Harbor). Gift of Henry Harrisse, 1915 (20.8)

  • Cuba. Colored pen-and-ink manuscript maps,ca. 1665. Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress. Gift of Henry Harrisse, 1915 (20.9)

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Faith and Freedom

America’s First Book

This humble and well-worn hymnal was printed in 1640 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, by Stephen Daye, first printer of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. It is the very first book printed in what is now the United States.

Known as The Bay Psalm Book, but really titled The Whole Booke of Psalmes Faithfully Translated into English Metre, it represents what was most sacred to the Puritans—a faithful translation of God’s Word, to be sung in worship by the entire congregation. Other Protestant denominations relied on selected paraphrases of the Scripture, but the Puritans believed this could compromise their salvation. The same faith that compelled them to leave England and strike out for the New World prompted them to commit this text to print before all others.

The Whole Booke of Psalmes Faithfully. Translated into English Metre. Cambridge, MA: 1640. Cover. Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress

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Ephrata Community Songbook

The principal source for the music of the German Seventh-Day Baptists, a group that immigrated to Pennsylvania in 1732, this manuscript is inscribed with a title that unrolls in the full proliferation of German Pietism: “The Bitter good, or the song of the lonesome turtledove, the Christian church here on earth, in the valley of sadness, where it bemoans its ‘widowhood’ and at the same time sings of another, future reunion [with God].”

Johann Conrad Beissel, founder of the Seventh-Day Baptists, served not only as spiritual director of the group but also as its composer, devising his own system of composition. His method is described in Chapter eight of Thomas Mann’s 1947 novel Doktor Faustus:

“He decreed that there should be ‘masters’ and ‘servants’ in every scale . . . And those syllables upon which the accent lay had always to be presented by a ‘master,’ the unaccented by a ‘servant.’”

With these rules Beissel set to music the hymn texts of his denomination (many of which he had written) and large passages of the Bible. He is said to have hoped to set the entire Bible to music in this system. In performance his music seems almost willfully awkward to those accustomed to normal German hymnody—or even to the homegrown hymntunes of the late-eighteenth-century English-language American tunesmiths—but the passionate need to express the words of the text is never in doubt. This style of music declined after the death of Beissel in 1768.

The group’s illuminated musical manuscripts were hand-lettered in Fraktur and are among the earliest original music composed in the British colonies. This volume was once in the possession of Benjamin Franklin, and a note on the flyleaf reads: “April 1775. This curious book was lent me by Doctor Franklin just before he set out for Pennsylvania.”

Ephrata Community. Die bittre Gute, oder Das Gesäng der einsamen Turtel-Taube . . . Manuscript hymnal, 1746. Music Division, Library of Congress

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To Bigotry No Sanction

This congratulatory address, written by Moses Seixas (1744–1809) was presented by the Hebrew Congregation in Newport, Rhode Island, on behalf of “the children of the stock of Abraham” to President George Washington on August 17, 1790, on the occasion of his visit to the city. In his address, Seixas referred to past persecutions of the Jews and then lauded the new nation’s commitment to religious liberty:

“Deprived as we heretofore have been of the invaluable rights of free citizens, we now (with a deep sense of gratitude to the Almighty disposer of all events) behold a government erected by the Majesty of the People—a Government which to bigotry gives no sanction, to persecution no assistance, but generously affording to All liberty of conscience and immunities of Citizenship, deeming every one, of whatever Nation, tongue, or language, equal parts of the great governmental machine.”

In his reply, President Washington echoed Seixas’s words:

“It is now no more that toleration is spoken of as if it was the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights. For happily, the government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens, in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.”

These two letters were published in several newspapers that year and thus became the first presidential declaration of the free and equal status of Jews in America. Seixas’s original formulation, “To bigotry . . . no sanction, to persecution no assistance,” became—through its use by President Washington—a cherished expression of America’s abiding commitment to safeguard the rights and freedoms of all its inhabitants.

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  • Moses Seixas (1744–1809) to George Washington (1732–1799). Holograph, August 17, 1790. Manuscript Division, Library of Congress

  • George Washington to Moses Seixas. Letterbook copy in the hand of Washington’s secretary. Page 2. George Washington Papers. Manuscript Division, Library of Congress

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Congratulatory Address to Washington

On behalf of the Hebrew Congregations in Philadelphia, New York, Charleston, and Richmond, Manuel Josephson wrote this congratulatory address to George Washington in which he praises the president as a military leader. He then adds, “but not to your sword alone is the present happiness to be ascribed; that, indeed opened the way to the reign of Freedom, but never was it perfectly secure, till your hand gave birth to the Federal Constitution. . . .”

Manuel Josephson to George Washington. “Congratulatory Address . . .” Manuscript letter, December 13, 1790. Manuscript Division, Library of Congress

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First Complete Bible Printed in America

The “Eliot Bible” was published in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1663 under the title The Holy Bible Containing the Old Testament and the New. Translated into the Indian Language. It was translated into Algonquian by John Eliot, “Apostle to the Indians,” to support his missionary efforts among Native Americans. The Eliot Bible appeared some 120 years before the first complete English edition of the Biblewas published in what is now the United States.

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The Holy Bible . . . Cambridge: Samuel Green and Marmaduke Johnson, 1663. Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress

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The Paths to Heaven and Hell

The term “fraktur” refers to manuscripts and printed folk art produced by the largely German and Swiss-born residents of Pennsylvania and Ohio. Fraktur took the form of baptismal or wedding certificates, memorial remembrances, academic rewards, illuminated alphabets, mottoes, hymns, as well as biblical excerpts and served to preserve the language, culture, and customs of the people of such enclaves as Bethlehem, Ephrata, Easton, and Lancaster.

This woodcut depicts the diverse paths toward heaven and hell and good and evil, in an effort to warn and instruct members of the community.

Pennsylvania German. Das neue Jerusalem. Fraktur woodcut with watercolor, 19th century. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. LC-USZ62-58622, LC-USZC4-4570

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Jefferson’s First Inaugural Address

Thomas Jefferson was inaugurated as the third president of the United States on March 4, 1801, after being elected in one of the nation’s closest presidential contests. In this, his first inaugural address, Jefferson sought to reach out to his political opponents and heal the breach between Federalists and Republicans. Strongly criticized as a deist or even an atheist, Jefferson strongly stated his belief in the importance of religion in the address. He closes the speech listing the “freedom of religion” prominently among the constitutional freedoms.

Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826). Manuscript draft of first inaugural address, 1801. Page 2. Manuscript Division, Library of Congress

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Colonial Life

The Accident in Lombard Street

Thomas Jefferson was inaugurated as the third president of the United States on March 4, 1801, after being elected in one of the nation’s closest presidential contests. In this, his first inaugural address, Jefferson sought to reach out to his political opponents and heal the breach between Federalists and Republicans. Strongly criticized as a deist or even an atheist, Jefferson strongly stated his belief in the importance of religion in the address. He closes the speech listing the “freedom of religion” prominently among the constitutional freedoms.

Charles Willson Peale (1741–1827). The Accident in Lombard Street. Philadelphia: 1787. Etching. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

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George Washington’s Rules of Civility

A youthful George Washington copied out these 110 simple “Rules of Civility & Decent Behaviour in Company and Conversation” as a school training exercise. This code of conduct is a simplified version of Francis Hawkins’ Youths Behavior, or Decency in Conversation Amongst Men, which was based on a sixteenth-century set of rules compiled for young gentlemen by Jesuit instructors. Washington’s handwriting, grammar, and spelling reflect his youth, and the “Rules” reflect his strong desire to be a gentleman planter.

George Washington (1732–1799). Holograph manuscript, ca. 1753. Page 2 - Page 3. Manuscript Division, Library of Congress. State Department transfer, 1904

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Early Engraving of Philadelphia

Philadelphia, site of both Continental Congresses, was one of the most urban, advanced cities in America in the eighteenth century. During the winter of 1777-78, it was occupied by the British under General William Howe. The British enjoyed their stay immensely, while Washington’s army suffered near starvation at Valley Forge. This engraving is one of the few authentic portraits of an American city before the Revolution.

Thomas Jefferys, after George Heap and Gerard Vandergucht. An East Prospect of the City of Philadelphia. Engraving. London, 1756. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (22A.5)

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An American Farmer

In his 1782 literary classic Letters from an American Farmer, Crèvecoeur gave literary expression to an emerging American national identity and the attractions of the pastoral and agricultural landscape. He portrayed the American farmer and Indian as pastoral ideals who had escaped the corruption of civilization. Jefferson adopted this notion of naive primitivism, which elevated the Indian to “noble savage” but failed to seriously consider tribal order and Native American culture when formulating policies and theories concerning Native Americans. Crèvecouer’s manuscript contains numerous essays not found in the 1782 edition.

Michel-Guillamaume Jean de Crèvecoeur. [J. Hector St. John] (1735–1813). Volume 1 of holograph manuscript essay, ca. 1769–1780. Manuscript Division, Library of Congress. Gift of the Cafritz Foundation, 1986

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The First Literary Journal for Women

The editors of this journal for women published in the United States promised to provide a variety of prose and poetry to “inspire the FEMALE MIND with a love of religion, of patience, prudence, and fortitude.” The plan was to publish a volume of a least 300 pages every six months, including reviews of new literature, and summaries of foreign news. This frontispiece of the first issue, engraved by James Thackara and John Vallance, honored Mary Wollstonecraft by depicting the “Genius of the Ladies Magazine” presenting Liberty with a copy of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, the cornerstone treatise on women’s rights.

The Lady’s Magazine, and Repository of Entertaining Knowledge. . . . Philadelphia: W. Gibbons, 1792-93. Frontispiece. Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress. Transfer, 1880

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Indian Map of Ohio River Country

According to marginal notations, this rough sketch map was drawn by “Chegeree (the Indian) who says he has travell’d through the country.” One of the very few examples in the Library’s collection of a map drawn by a Native American, it shows Indian settlements in the area from Lake Erie to the mouth of the Ohio river in the middle of the eighteenth century.

Chegeree (the Indian). Map of the country about the Mississippi [ca. 1755]. Manuscript map. Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress. Purchased from Peter Force, 1867 (113.4)

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The Likeness of George Washington

Amos Doolittle, an enterprising printer and engraver in New Haven, Connecticut, exploited the commercial potential of George Washington’s likeness following the 1788 election campaign—the country’s first—to create one of the earliest American presidential political prints. This unusually large and ambitious print by a native-born, apparently self-taught engraver represents a significant achievement in American popular printmaking and marked George Washington’s passage from military command to civilian rule. The engraving proved commercially successful and Doolittle later created similar engravings portraying John Adams and Thomas Jefferson.

Amos Doolittle (1754–1832). A Display of the United States of America. Engraving on paper (sixth or seventh state), 1794. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. Gift/Purchase Marian S. Carson, 1996 (226.1)

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A Portrait of Washington

One of the most meticulous and elegant portraitists in America during the Federal period, Charles St. Memin employed modern theories and classical taste to create this unique memorial image of the nation’s first president. The profile format was inspired both by contemporary writings on physiognomy, which held that cranial structure revealed moral character and intellectual capabilities, and by recent excavations of Greek antiquities, which showed that profiles were preferred by that early democratic model for the new American republic.

Charles Balthazar Julien Fevret de Saint-Mémin (1770–1852). George Washington. Black and white chalk on paper, ca. 1800. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

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A Quaker School

At the suggestion of the Quaker reformer Anthony Benezet, the Philadelphia Society of Friends (Quakers) established a coeducational “Negro school” in 1770. Opened to slaves and free blacks of all ages, the school offered instruction in reading, writing, arithmetic, and Christian doctrine. James Bringhurst, a master carpenter and merchant, was among the school’s trustees. Reporting on the progress of the school, Bringhurst extols the students for their intelligence and tenacity.

James Bringhurst (1730–1810) to John Chaloner. Holograph letter, March 22, 1792. Page 2 - Page 3 - Page 4. Manuscript Division, Library of Congress

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“Read, and Be Wise”

A constant companion to beginning readers in Colonial America, the hornbook was a popular teaching aid in England during the sixteenth through the eighteenth century. Typically, hornbooks were composed of a printed alphabet sheet tacked or pasted to a wooden bat-shaped board and covered with a thin sheet of translucent horn, but there are specimens in ivory, silver, leather and even gingerbread. Printed sheets usually included both lower case and capital alphabets, vowels, and numerals, accompanied by a cross ornament, the Benediction, and Lord’s Prayer. Often attached by string to the owner’s belt, the hornbook was readily available to serve as a bat during play.

However there are unusual specimens like this luxurious example (pictured below) on a silver sheet incised with the alphabet, complete with all twenty-six letters and two dipthongs and ten numerals, and framed in ivory and silver.

By the late eighteenth century, the battledore, a secondary term for hornbook, reproduced the alphabet on a stiff paper card, folded wallet style, with the flap on the left. Letters were often paired with pictorial mnemonics. Although printed in Philadelphia, this Johnson battledore is illustrated with familiar street cries of London. Printed twelve to sixteen to a sheet, battledores were sold by chapbook vendors for a penny each.

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The Virginia Company

King James I chartered the Virginia Company of London in 1606 to establish a commercial venture in “Virginia,” which included all lands in North America not occupied by the Spanish or French. The company founded the first permanent English settlement at Jamestown. Its records are an invaluable resource for the early settlement of America. Shown here are court proceedings for April 12, 1621.

The Virginia Company. “Court Book.” Manuscript volume, 1624. Page 2 - Page 3 - Page 4. Manuscript Division, Library of Congress. Purchase, 1829 (21C.6)

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Plan of Savannah

In 1733 James Edward Oglethorpe planned Georgia’s first European settlement around several small squares, designed to defend settlers against invasion from Native Americans and the Spanish. The Filature, a building on Reynolds Square, housed an experimental silk weaving plant in the 1750s (when this enterprise failed, the building was converted to a dance hall). The City Market was located in Ellis Square. This map was drawn shortly after a devastating fire in 1796 and details the burned as well as the unharmed portions of the city.

A Plan of the City of Savannah. Manuscript map. Ink and watercolor on paper, ca. 1796. Manuscript Division, Library of Congress

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Free Quaker Meetinghouse

Built for Quakers expelled from the Religious Society of Friends because of their participation in the Revolutionary War, this Free Quakers Meetinghouse, designed by Timothy Matlack, is a fine example of nationalist architectural influences on the traditional plain Quaker style. American architectural drawings before the nineteenth century are extremely rare, as are the cost estimates and correspondence that also survive to illuminate the history of the design and construction of this fine structure.

Timothy Matlack. Free Quakers Meetinghouse, Philadelphia, elevation of east front. Iron gall ink on laid paper, ca. 1783. Manuscript Division, Library of Congress

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Supporting American Revolutionaries

Reverend Jacob Duche reached the oratorical pinnacle of patriotic preachers with this sermon delivered to the Continental Congress on July 20, 1775. Duche, an Anglican minister in Philadelphia, delivered this fervent plea for heavenly support of the American Revolutionaries when he was chaplain of the Continental Congress. Reverend Duche, who was the brother-in-law of noted composer and patriot Francis Hopkinson, later denounced General Washington and the patriotic cause before fleeing as a loyalist to England in 1777.

Jacob Duche; (1738–1798). The American Vine, A Sermon . . . Philadelphia: James Humphreys, 1775. Page 2 - Page 3. Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress

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German Almanac

One of the earliest dual-color illustrated almanacs, Der Hoch-Deutsch Americanische Kalender was printed in Germantown, Pennsylvania, by Christoph Saur. Saur’s publication was the first foreign-language almanac printed in the United States.

Der Hoch-Deutsch Americanische kalender . . . Germantown, Pennsylvania: Christoph Saur, 1749. Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress. Purchased from Marian S. Carson, 1996 (221.1)

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Land Grant

William Penn received a royal charter from King Charles II of England in 1681 to cover a debt of £16,000 owed by the monarch to Penn’s father Admiral William Penn, by which he became the proprietor of a huge tract of land in what is now Pennsylvania. Just three months after the king signed the patent, young Penn had two agencies selling land there and also dispatched his cousin William Markham as his deputy. Markham arrived in the vast new colony in July 1681, charged with asserting the proprietors’ authority over existing settlements, appointing a council, organizing judicial systems, selecting the site for Philadelphia, and settling the question of the boundary between Pennsylvania and Maryland.

William Penn Land grant to Thomas Mintz, William Markham, Thomas Ellis, and John Goodson. Manuscript on parchment, 1687. Manuscript Division, Library of Congress. Purchase/gift of Marian S. Carson, 1997 (231.2)

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Plan of Ticonderoga

Michel Capitaine du Chesnoy, a highly skilled French engineer, accompanied General Lafayette to America. He recorded battles of the American Revolutionary War, including this map of the area near Fort Ticonderoga. Although the Americans suffered defeat there in July of 1777, in October of that year a decisive American victory at the Battle of Saratoga influenced the French government’s decision to enter the war to assist the American colonists. The map shows the military installations and British troop positions in New York during this time period.

The second map details the miliary operations of the French fleet and American troops commanded by Major General Sullivan against the English land and sea forces around Newport, Rhode Island, in 1778. The Library has recently acquired six rare manuscript maps drawn by Capitaine. As a group they document Lafayette’s activities as a volunteer in the Continental Army under George Washington’s command.

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  • Michel Capitaine du Chesnoy. Plan of Carillion ou [sic] Ticonderoga: which was quitted by the Americaines in the night from the 5th to the 6th of July 1777. Map, cloth backing. Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. H.F. Lenfest (21B.8)

  • Michel Capitaine du Chesnoy for General LaFayette. Plan de Rhode Islande, les differentes operations de la flotte françoise et des trouppes Américaines commandeés par le major général Sullivan contre les forces de terre et de mer des Anglois depuis le 9 Aout jusqu’a la nuit du 30 au 31 du même mois que les Américains ont fait leur retraite 1778. Hand-colored manuscript map on cloth backing. Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. H.F. Lenfest, 2000 (21B.9)

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Plan of San Antonio, Texas

Well outside the geographical sphere of what was imagined as the United States following the war of independence, the Spanish administration continued to build colonial communities in the West according to a 1573 Spanish ordinance that prescribed a particular layout for towns. This precise form of development has left an historical imprint on many regions of the country. Historian Juan Augustan Morfi’s 1780 plan of San Antonio illustrates that the focal point of the prescribed plan is formed by the church (iglesia) and government buildings (cassas reales) facing each other across a large central plaza. The plan also indicates a prison and other public structures, a slaughter house and meat market, and the patioed houses.

William Penn Land grant to Thomas Mintz, William Markham, Thomas Ellis, and John Goodson. Manuscript on parchment, 1687. Manuscript Division, Library of Congress. Purchase/gift of Marian S. Carson, 1997 (231.2)

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The New England Psalm-Singer

The development of music in the British colonies was closely linked with Protestant liturgy and its vocal accompaniment. William Billings, one of the first American-born composers, was an itinerant singing master who tutored the young of affluent families. He augmented his teaching wages by selling his own books of musical compositions for the voice, such as this manual introduced by Paul Revere’s illustration of a music party. Revere’s plate is one of the few surviving graphic representations of people making music in eighteenth-century America.

Paul Revere. “A Music Party.” Frontispiece engraving and title page from William Billings, The New England Psalm-Singer. Page 2. Boston, 1770. Music Division, Library of Congress (24)

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Powerful Polemics

In January 1776, little more than a year after emigrating from England, Thomas Paine penned his famous radical pamphlet Common Sense, in which he urged the American Colonies to declare independence and immediately severe all ties with the British monarchy. Published just as colonists learned of George III’s speech proclaiming the American Colonies in rebellion against the Crown, Common Sense became an instant best seller with several thousand copies sold within days.

Thomas Paine (1737–1809). Common Sense: Addresses to the Inhabitants of America . . . Page 2 - Page 3 - Page 4 - Page 5 - Page 6. Philadelphia: 1776. Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress. Purchase, 1867 (26.10)

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Part of the Delaware River

During the Revolution, British strategy was to undermine the cause from within by gaining support of Loyalists and slaves. This plan of a fifteen-mile stretch of the Delaware below Philadelphia belonged to British Admiral Richard Howe. It includes the “Obstructions to the Navigation of the river laid down by the Rebels,” and shows the location of fortifications, such as Mud Island and Red Bank. These defenses failed to prevent British occupation of Philadelphia in 1777.

John Hunter (1738–1821). Plan of part of the River Delaware from Chester to Philadelphia in which is mark’d the position of His Majesty’s ships on the 15th of November 1777. Manuscript map, with ink and watercolor. Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress (21C.9)

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Poor Richard Illustrated

The enduring popularity of Poor Richard’s Almanac is emphasized in this print published nearly seventy years after Franklin’s death. Of the publication, Franklin wrote in his autobiography: “In 1732 I first published my Almanack under the Name of Richard Saunders; it was continu’d by me about 25 Years, commonly call’d Poor Richard’s Almanack. I endeavour’d to make it both entertaining and useful, and it accordingly came to be in such Demand that I reaped considerable Profit from it, vending annually near ten Thousand.” The twenty-four oval vignettes surrounding Franklin’s portraits illustrate Poor Richard’s most enduring proverbial sayings.

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The Atlantic Neptune

This chart of Boston Harbor, based primarily on 1769 surveys by George Callendar, is an example of the detailed navigational charts found in The Atlantic Neptune. First published in the mid–1770s under the direction of British hydrographer Joseph Des Barres, these nautical charts were the official source for the British Royal Navy during the Revolutionary War. These engraved sheets were produced and revised using the most recent innovations in scientific cartography, accurately depicting the hazards and shoals along the North American coastline.

Joseph Frederick Wallet Des Barres (1722–1824). [A Chart of the Harbour of Boston], from The Atlantic Neptune. London: 1775. Engraved map. Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress (26.13)

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The Progress of the Army

This manuscript map, from the American Revolutionary War, was drawn by a British cartographer. It illustrates military operations in the area around Elkton, Maryland, and Valley Forge and Philadelphia in Pennsylvania. The map documents the period in which the British sailed south, arriving on the west side of the Elk River on August 25, 1777, until the British army took possession of Philadelphia on September 26. The map shows in detail military engagements that took place during that time, including the Battle of Brandywine on September 9–11, and denotes roads, ferry and river crossings, marching routes, taverns, and place names.

Progress of the Army from Their Landing Till Taking Possession of Philadelphia. Manuscript map with pen and ink and watercolor. Page 2. Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress (21A.8) Digital ID: g3791s ar106100

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Democracy in America

The Young Republic

Between 1810 and 1840, painter and printmaker John Rubens Smith traveled the eastern seaboard of the United States, creating a life portrait of the young republic. Smith sketched cities and towns, rivers, roads, bridges, and mills. His drawings captured the spirit and energy of the new nation during a period of enormous growth and optimism and the literal transformation of the American landscape during the first decades of the Industrial Revolution.

The first is of the nearly completed U.S. Capitol that must have seemed to Smith a particularly poignant symbol of American idealism and ambition. He rendered it from virtually every angle, including this finished view from about 1830. The cows grazing on what is now the Mall offer surprising visual evidence that America’s rural character persisted even as urbanization and the Industrial Revolution transformed the nation.

The second drawing is a finished watercolor of a paper mill complex on the Brandywine River. This painting suggests the fragile harmony between nature and technology achieved in America during the first decades of the Industrial Revolution.

Smith was a skillful delineator of the American scene in the decades before photography, and a gifted teacher who influenced a generation of American artists through his drawing academies and drawing manuals. Shown is his drawing of a Connecticut paper mill and his drawing manual for young students.

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Tools of the Trade

Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre invented the daguerreotype process which was later announced in France on August 19, 1839. Although a complex and slow process, American photographers quickly capitalized on this new invention because of its capability of capturing a “truthful likeness.”

Typically portraiture in nature, celebrities, political figures, as well as tradesman were often invited and encouraged to have their pictures taken by daguerreotypists. Pictured here are daguerreotype portraits of workers who provide a revealing look at the nineteenth century American trades.

Workers, proud of their skills and professions, chose to present themselves honestly, spending nearly one day’s wage for their photographic portrait.

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Related Items

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    Unattributed. [Salesman]. Sixth-plate daguerreotypes, ca. 1855. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. Salesman: LC-USZC4-3949, LC-USZ62-2047

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    Unattributed. [Railroad Workers]. Sixth-plate daguerreotypes, ca. 1855. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. Railway Workers: LC-USZC4-3944, LC-USZ62-2041

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    Unattributed. [Watchmaker]. Sixth-plate daguerreotypes, ca. 1850. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. Watchmaker: LC-USZ62-2042, LC-USZC4-3945

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    Unattributed. [Cooper]. Sixth-plate daguerreotypes, ca. 1850. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. Cooper: LC-USZC4-4073, LC-USZ62-2050

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    Unattributed. [Four shoemakers holding shoes and shoemaking equipment]. Sixth-plate daguerreotypes, ca. 1840–1860. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. Purchase/exchange, 1981 (30.5) [LC-USZC4-3946]

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    Unattributed. [Workers with their casting tools]. Sixth-plate daguerreotypes, ca. 1855. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. Purchase/exchange, 1981 (31.9) Digital ID # cph 3g11324

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Compromise of 1850

South Carolina Senator John C. Calhoun prepared his last speech during the course of the great debate over the Compromise of 1850, a controversial set of resolutions sponsored by Henry Clay that moved the slavery question squarely to the forefront.

On March 4, 1850, too ill to deliver the speech himself, Calhoun watched Virginia Senator James M. Mason read for him. The emphasis was wholly on northern aggression and against the trend for conciliation and compromise. Calhoun would return to the Senate on March 7 to listen to the speech given by Daniel Webster in favor of Clay’s resolutions, but died shortly after, on March 31, 1850.

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Women’s Work

Occupational portraits of women taken during the early decades of photography are exceedingly rare. The millinery business was one of the few respectable occupations available to women who sought employment. Milliners could work in their homes while they raised their families. They were paid by the piece, which provided a very small income compared with factory work. By the mid–1850s the daguerreotype had been largely replaced by the ambrotype, a faster and less expensive photographic process that used a glass plate rather than polished metal.

Unattributed. [Milliner and Daughter]. Springfield, Illinois. Quarter-plate ambrotype, hand-colored, ca.1854. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. LC-USZC4-6024

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Star-Spangled Banner

In 1814, Francis Scott Key wrote new words for a well-known drinking song, “To Anacreon in Heaven,“ to celebrate America’s recent victory over the British. However, only in 1931, following a twenty-year effort during which more than forty bills and joint resolutions were introduced in Congress, was a law finally signed proclaiming “The Star Spangled Banner” to be the national anthem of the United States.

The present copy, one of only five known to have been made by Key, is the earliest of four dating from the period 1840–1842 near the end of his life.

Shown here is a copy of the first printed edition combining words and music—one of only ten copies known to exist.

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  • Francis Scott Key (1779–1843). “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Baltimore: Thomas Carr, 1814. Printed sheet music. Music Division, Library of Congress. Purchase, 1941 (29.1)

  • Francis Scott Key. “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Washington, D.C., 1840. Holograph. Music Division, Library of Congress

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B. B. French’s Diary

The journals of Benjamin Brown French, New Hampshire politician, Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives, and Commissioner of Public Buildings in Washington, D.C., provide a colorful glimpse into nineteenth-century America from the Jacksonian era to the period of Reconstruction. French’s entry for December 25, 1851, recounts the devastating fire that engulfed the Capitol and burned 25,000 volumes in the Congressional Library. But he remarks that “one large room, attached to the main Library, containing all the books on Politics & Religion, was untouched by the fire.”

Benjamin Brown French (1800–1870). Diary entry, December 25, 1851. Page 2 - Page 3 - Page 4 - Page 5 - Page 6 - Page 7. Manuscript Division, Library of Congress. Gift of the French family, 1922 (32.5)

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Sketching the Mid-Atlantic

Philadelphia was an important center of printmaking in America and James Queen became one of the city’s most proficient and prolific practitioners during the nineteenth century. He worked primarily for P.S. Duval, a pioneer in the art of lithography, who called him “one of the best artist in the country.”

The Carson Collection includes hundreds of lithographic portraits, landscapes, and street scenes drawn by Queen as well as numerous pencil and watercolor sketches created during his travels through the mid-Atlantic States.

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American Flag Designs

Samuel Chester Reid was a naval officer and hero of the War of 1812. In 1818 he collaborated with New York Congressman Peter H. Wendover to steer a bill through Congress that established uniformity in the design of the United States flag. Although the number of stripes was congressionally mandated to remain thirteen in 1777, designs varied wildly. Reid suggested that stars be added as new states were admitted into the Union. On the final page of this 1850 letter to his son, Reid drew three other flag designs as well as the image of the “national cockade” or rosette.

Samuel Chester Reid (1883–1861). Design of various flags and the “National Cockade . . . As Adopted by Congress in 1818.” Pen and ink and watercolor drawing, February 17, 1850. Page 2 - Page 3 - Page 4. Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (26.7)

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First Hospital for the Mentally Ill

Benjamin Hornor Coates, M.D., was attending physician at the Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia from 1828 to 1841. The Pennsylvania Hospital began admitting mentally disturbed patients after 1752. It was the first institution in the United States dedicated to the treatment of mental and physical illness in a period of reform that saw the shift away from punishment and restraint toward the treatment of patients’ symptoms. Coates was a pioneer in the use of narcotics in the treatment of the insane. Shown here is a list of patients treated in 1838, noting the date of admissions.

Benjamin Hornor Coates, M.D. (1797–1881). List of patients at the Pennsylvania Hospital. Bound holograph manuscript, 1838. Page 2 - Page 3 - Page 4 - Page 5 - Page 6 - Page 7 - Page 8 - Page 9 - Page 10 - Page 11 - Page 12 - Page 13 - Page 14. Manuscript Division, Library of Congress. Gift/purchase Marian S. Carson, 1997 (27.9)

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Encouraging Manufactures for “Women & Girls”

Acting on a January 15, 1790, request from the House of Representatives to prepare a report on the status and means of promoting manufactures in the United States, Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton over a two-year period prepared his monumental Report on Manufactures. Hamilton solicited information on manufacturing throughout the country. Among the responses was that of Joseph Dana of Ipswich, Massachusetts, who enclosed these varied examples of lace made “altogether by Women & Girls & that it occupies only (or chiefly) such portions of time as can be well spared from the concerns of the family.” Hamilton preserved these lace patterns in his papers, and mentioned them in his report: “A Manufactory of Lace upon a scale not very extensive has been long memorable at Ipswich in the State of Massachusetts.”

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  • Samples of Ipswich Lace in linen and silk. Manuscript Division, Library of Congress. Transferred from the State Department, 1904 (32A)

  • Joseph Dana to George Cabot, January 24, 1791. Holograph letter. Manuscript Division, Library of Congress. Transferred from the State Department, 1904 (32B)

  • Alexander Hamilton (1755–1804). “Report on Manufactures,” December 5, 1791. Holograph document, fourth draft. Manuscript Division, Library of Congress. Transferred from the State Department, 1904 (32C)

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Children’s Books

Marian Carson’s special interest in collecting children’s literature has brought to the Library a splendid gathering of rare and fragile pieces, printed primarily in Philadelphia and New York during the first half of the nineteenth century. Through charming verse and delightful illustration these tiny survivors document the emerging emphasis on reading for pleasure and entertainment rather than exclusively for moral instruction and help us to better understand the minds of the adults that produced them.

Marmaduke Multiply. Boston: Munroe and Francis, 1839. Page 2 - Page 3 - Page 4 - Page 5 - Page 6 - Page 7 - Page 8 - Page 9. Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress

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A Rare Civics Lesson

One of only five known copies of this rare American children’s book, published in Baltimore around 1825, the Calendar describes the duties and pay of various government officials including the president, vice president, cabinet members, and Congress. In verse that celebrates learning, virtue, and patriotic spirit, the “rising generation” is offered hope that “you, if you’re good, may be President yet.” The text and twelve hand-colored engravings are the work of a Baltimore lawyer who, in his youth, wrote and drew for the publisher Fielding Lucas in exchange for law books.

John Latrobe (1803-91). The Juvenile National Calendar . . . . Baltimore: F. Lucas, Jr.; Philadelphia: Ash & Mason, [ca. 1825]. Page 2 - Page 3 - Page 4 - Page 5. Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress

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A Sketch of John Quincy Adams

On February 21, 1848, John Quincy Adams suffered a stroke at the Capitol during his ninth successive term as congressman from Massachusetts. The sketch, upon which this print is based, was made while he lay unconscious, by congressional reporter Arthur Stansbury. Although Adams’s severe, uncompromising political style had won him few friends during his presidential term (1825–1829) and tenure at the Capitol, he was widely admired for the force of his intellect and independent nature.

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A Portrait of the Country

Captain Michael Seymour, commanding officer of the H.M.S. Vindictive, toured the eastern seaboard for fifteen days in July 1846, traveling through Boston, the state of New York, Philadelphia, and finally Washington, D.C. He captured the landscape of a growing republic in the British tradition of topographical draftsmanship. In a letter to his daughter he described Niagara Falls at length, writing, “They are quite terrific to stand near, and contemplate from some, of the points of view either below or overhanging them. I, of course, tried to make a few sketches, but it is impossible to give on paper the Grandeur and immensity they possess. . . .”

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The War of 1812

The journal kept by surgeon Amos Evans aboard the American frigate USS Constitution is one of two Naval medical journals known to have survived from the period. It contains the only detailed first-person account of the Constitution’s famous August 19, 1812, battle at sea with the La Guerrière, in which the British ship was vanquished. As shipboard physician, Evans witnessed firsthand both the heroism and the human costs of the war. By way of epigram for his journal he quoted the poet William Cowper: “O for a lodge in some vast wilderness . . . Where rumor . . . Of unsuccessful or successful war / Might never reach me more!”

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  • Amos A. Evans (1785–1848). Journal from the USS Constitution, ca. 1813–1814. Page 2. Manuscript Division, Library of Congress. Gift of Walter Edwin Rex III, 2005 (22A.8)

  • Amos A. Evans (1785–1848). Medical notebook, ca. 1813–1814. Page 2. Manuscript Division, Library of Congress. Gift of Walter Edwin Rex III, 2005 (22A.9)

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