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Benjamin Banneker: Online Resources

Compiled by Angela McMillian, Digital Reference Specialist

Benjamin Banneker: Surveyor-Inventor-Astronomer
Benjamin Banneker: Surveyor-Inventor-Astronomer...
1 photograph: digital, TIFF file, color.
Carol M. Highsmith Archive.
Prints & Photographs Division.
Reproduction Number:

The digital collections of the Library of Congress contain a wide variety of material associated with Benjamin Banneker. This guide compiles links to digital materials related to Benjamin Banneker that are available throughout the Library of Congress Web site. In addition, it provides links to external Web sites focusing on Banneker and a bibliography containing selected works for both general and younger readers.

Library of Congress Web Site | External Web Sites | Selected Bibliography

Digital Collections

African American Perspectives: Pamphlets from the Daniel A. P. Murray Collection, 1818-1907

The collection presents a panoramic and eclectic review of African-American history and culture, spanning almost one hundred years from the early nineteenth through the early twentieth centuries, with the bulk of the material published between 1875 and 1900. Search the full-text option to locate six items that mention Benjamin Banneker.

From Slavery to Freedom: The African-American Pamphlet Collection, 1824-1909

The collection consists of 397 pamphlets, published from 1824 through 1909, by African-American authors and others who wrote about slavery, African colonization, emancipation, reconstruction, and related topics. The materials range from personal accounts and public orations to organizational reports and legislative speeches. Search the full-text option to locate three items that mention Benjamin Banneker.

The George Washington Papers

The complete George Washington Papers collection from the Manuscript Division at the Library of Congress consists of approximately 65,000 documents. This is the largest collection of original Washington documents in the world. Document types in the collection as a whole include correspondence, letterbooks, commonplace books, diaries, journals, financial account books, military records, reports, and notes accumulated by Washington from 1741 through 1799.

Printed Ephemera: Three Centuries of Broadsides and Other Printed Ephemera

The collection comprises 28,000 primary source items dating from the seventeenth century to the present and encompassing key events and eras in American history. Benjamin Banneker is included in the circular "An old story made new. Negro makers of history by Carter Godwin Woodson."

Thomas Jefferson Papers, 1606 to 1827

The complete Thomas Jefferson Papers at the Library of Congress consists of approximately 27,000 documents ranging in date from 1606 to 1827. Correspondence, memoranda, notes, and drafts of documents make up two-thirds of the Papers.

Words and Deeds in American History: Selected Documents Celebrating the Manuscript Division's First 100 Years

Included are the papers of presidents, cabinet ministers, members of Congress, Supreme Court justices, military officers and diplomats, reformers and political activists, artists and writers, scientists and inventors, and other prominent Americans whose lives reflect our country's evolution.

American Folklife Center

Folklife in Your State: Maryland

The collections of the American Folklife Center contain rich and varied materials from Maryland that document the diversity of the state's folk traditions. Maryland's Local Legacies projects, an exploration of local traditions and celebrations, includes information on the Benjamin Banneker Historical Park & Museum.

America's Library

Jump Back in Time

Mathematician and Astronomer Benjamin Banneker Was Born, November 9, 1731


African-American Odyssey: A Quest for Full Citizenship

This exhibition showcases the incomparable African-American collections of the Library of Congress. It displays more than 240 items, including books, government documents, manuscripts, maps, musical scores, plays, films, and recordings.

.American Treasures of the Library of Congress

Jefferson Responds to Banneker

Thomas Jefferson, secretary of state in the first federal government and one of Virginia's largest planters and slave holders, wrote this letter to Benjamin Banneker in response to a letter that argued strongly for an end to slavery.

Praise for Banneker

In this letter to the French philosopher Marquis de Condorcet, Thomas Jefferson praises the mathematical abilities of Benjamin Banneker, "the son of a black man born in Africa, and of a black woman born in the United States."

Special Presentation

African American History Month Portal

In celebration of African-American History Month, this Web site highlights the many resources on African-American history and culture available from our extensive online collections.

Teachers Page

Lesson Plans

African American Identity in the Gilded Age: Two Unreconciled Strivings

Students examine the tension experienced by African Americans as they struggled to establish a vibrant and meaningful identity based on the promises of liberty and equality in the midst of a society that was ambivalent towards them and sought to impose an inferior definition upon them.

To Kill a Mockingbird: A Historical Perspective

Students gain a sense of the living history that surrounds the novel To Kill a Mockingbird. Through studying primary source materials from American Memory and other online resources, students of all backgrounds may better grasp how historical events and human forces have shaped relationships between black and white and rich and poor cultures of our country.

Today in History

November 9

Mathematician and astronomer Benjamin Banneker was born on November 9, 1731, in Ellicott's Mills, Maryland. Largely self-taught, Banneker was one of the first African Americans to gain distinction in science. His significant accomplishments and correspondence with prominent political figures profoundly influenced how African Americans were viewed during the Federal period.

Virtual Programs and Services

African American Sites in the Digital Collections

Contributions by African Americans to the arts, education, industry, literature, politics and much more are well represented in the vast collections of the Library of Congress. The digital collections are no exception. The guide includes resources for Benjamin Banneker in the 1763-1815: The American Revolution & A New Nation section.

External Web Sites

Africans in America: America's Journey through Slavery, from PBS external link icon

The Africans in America Web site is a companion to Africans in America, a six-hour public television series. The site examines the economic and intellectual foundations of slavery in America and the global economy that prospered from it. And it reveals how the presence of African people and their struggle for freedom transformed America. The site includes the following entries pertaining to Benjamin Banneker:

The Banneker-Douglass Museum

The Banneker-Douglass Museum, named for Benjamin Banneker and Frederick Douglass, was dedicated on February 24, 1984. As the State of Maryland’s official museum of African American heritage, the Banneker-Douglass Museum serves to document, interpret, and promote the history and culture of African American Marylanders through exhibitions, programs and projects in order to improve the understanding and appreciating of American’s rich cultural diversity for all.

Benjamin Banneker Historical Park & Museum external link icon

The Park and Museum honors Benjamin Banneker — scientist, astronomer, mathematician, abolitionist, surveyor, farmer, almanac publisher– on the site of his former farmstead.

The Church in the Southern Black Community, 1780-1925 external link icon

This compilation of printed texts traces how Southern African Americans experienced and transformed Protestant Christianity into the central institution of community life.

The Cornell University Library Making of America Collection external link icon

The Cornell University Library Making of America Collection is a digital library of primary sources in American social history from the antebellum period through reconstruction. The collection is particularly strong in the subject areas of education, psychology, American history, sociology, religion, and science and technology.

Early Americas Digital Archive (EADA) external link icon

The Early Americas Digital Archive (EADA) is a collection of electronic texts originally written in or about the Americas from 1492 to approximately 1820. EADA is published and supported by the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH), at the University of Maryland.

The Washington Interdependence Council (WIC) external link icon

The Washington Interdependence Council is a 501(c)3 non-profit civic organization authorized by Congress [P.L. 105-355] to erect a monument external link icon to colonial American hero Benjamin Banneker external link icon [1731-1806].

Selected Works by Benjamin Banneker

Banneker, Benjamin. Copy of a Letter from Benjamin Banneker to the Secretary of State, with His Answer. Philadelphia: Printed and sold by Daniel Lawrence ..., 1792.
LC Call Number: E446 .B2 Am Imp [Catalog Record]

Selected Biographies and other Studies of Banneker

Bedini, Silvio. The Life of Benjamin Banneker: the First African-American Man of Science.
Baltimore: Maryland Historical Society, 1999.
LC Call Number: QB36.B22 B4 1999 [Catalog Record]

Cerami, Charles. Benjamin Banneker: Surveyor, Astronomer. New York: J. Wiley, 2002.
LC Call Number: QB36.B22 C43 2002 [Catalog Record]

Latrobe, John H. B. Memoir of Benjamin Banneker: Read Before the Maryland Historical Society... Baltimore: Printed by J. D. Toy, 1845.
LC Call Number: E185.97 .B22 [Catalog Record] [Full-text] external link icon

Tyson, Martha E. A Sketch of the Life of Benjamin Banneker; From Notes Taken in 1836. Baltimore: Maryland Historical Society, 1854.
F176 .M34 vol. 3, no. 8 [Catalog Record] [Full-text] external link icon

Wagner, Heather Lehr. Benjamin Banneker. New York: Chelsea House, 2011.
LC Call Number: QB36.B22 W345 2011 [Catalog Record]

Weatherly, Myra. Benjamin Banneker: American Scientific Pioneer. Minneapolis, MN: Compass Point Books, 2006.
LC Call Number: QB36.B22 W43 2006 [Catalog Record]

Younger Readers

Blue, Rose. Benjamin Banneker: Mathematician and Stargazer. Brookfield, CT: Millbrook Press, 2001.
LC Call Number: QB36.B22 B57 2001 [Catalog Record]

Burke, Rick. Benjamin Banneker. Chicago, IL: Heinemann Library, 2003.
LC Call Number: QB36.B22 B87 2003 [Catalog Record]

Hinman, Bonnie. Benjamin Banneker: American Mathematician and Astronomer. Philadelphia: Chelsea House Publishers, 2000.
LC Call Number: QB36.B22 H56 2000 [Catalog Record]

Litwin, Laura Baskes. Benjamin Banneker: Astronomer and Mathematician. Berkeley Heights, NJ: Enslow Publishers, 1999.
LC Call Number: QB36.B22 L58 1999 [Catalog Record]

Wadsworth, Ginger. Benjamin Banneker: Pioneering Scientist. Minneapolis: Carolrhoda Books, 2003.
LC Call Number: QB36.B22 W34 2003 [Catalog Record]

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  January 30, 2018
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