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American Memory

President Lincoln's Favorite Poem President Lincoln's Favorite Poem, by William Knox.
A. W. Auner, ... Phila. [n. d.]

America Singing:
Nineteenth Century Song Sheets
Library of Congress.

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American Memory collections with significant poetry-related content
American Memory Collections with some poetry content
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The American Memory historical collections provide access to primary source materials such as letters, diaries, photographs, maps, sound recordings, and video recordings that serve as a record of American history and culture. The more than 130 collections and ten million items in American Memory include single poems, collections of poetry, reviews of poetry books, poems set to music, and biographies and photographs of poets. The sections below identify every American Memory collection that includes poetry-related resources. When available, a list of poetry-related subject headings for that collection is listed. Click on any subject heading to go to a list of items in the collection cataloged under that subject. For many collections, in order to retrieve all resources related to poetry it is necessary to search the collection by keyword in addition to searching by subject headings.

American Memory collections with significant poetry-related content

Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress

Can’t sort by subject; keyword search required. Suggested keywords: poem; poet; poetry. Also see the Library web page on poetry written by Abraham Lincoln.

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

Davis, D. Webster--(Daniel Webster),--b. 1862.--Idle moments containing Emancipation and other poems
Johnson, Francis,--1792-1844--Poetry
Poems--Illinois--Chicago--19th century
Poems--South Carolina--Charleston--1890
Poems--South Carolina--Charleston--1894
Price, Joseph Charles,--1854-1893--Poetry
White, J. Wofford--Poetry

The African-American Experience in Ohio

Afro-American poets
American poetry--Afro-American authors
Poetry--Black Authors

African-American Sheet Music, 1850-1920

Afro-American poets
American poetry--19th century--Musical settings
American poetry--20th century--Musical settings

African American Oddysey

Scroll down sections to find information on:

Phillis Wheatley, Poems on Various Subjects: Religious and Moral [Full text of book available here]

William Lloyd Garrison, “Sonnet to Liberty”; John Greeleaf Whittier, "The Branded Hand"

William Waring Cuney, ""My Lord, What a Morning"  

Countee Cullen, Langston Hughes, etc

Langston Hughes, "The Negro Speaks of Rivers"

The Alexander Graham Bell Family Papers


America from the Great Depression to World War II: Black-and-White Photographs from the FSA-OWI, 1935-1945

No "Poetry" subject; keyword search required. Suggested keywords:poet, poem, poetry; names of poets (e.g., Langston Hughes).

American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1940

Can’t sort by subject; keyword search required. Suggested keywords: tramp poet; verse, poem; poetry; poet; names of poets (e.g., Robert Frost).

An American Time Capsule: Three Centuries of Broadsides and Other Printed Ephemera

Can’t sort by subject; keyword search required. See feature presentation topic, "Poetry and Verse in Ephemera". Suggested search terms.

The Capital and the Bay: Narratives of Washington and the Chesapeake Bay Region, ca. 1600-1925

American poetry--Maryland--Cecil County
Baltimore (Md.)--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Poetry
Cecil County (Md.)--Poetry
Maryland--Description and travel--Poetry
Patapsco River (Md.)--Poetry
Poetry of places--Potomac River
Poets, American--Homes and haunts--Maryland--Cecil County
Potomac River--Description and travel--Poetry
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Poetry

The Chinese in California, 1850-1925

Angel Island Immigration Station--Poetry
Chinatown (San Franicisco, Calif.)--Poetry
Chinese poetry--California--San Francisco
Chinese poetry
Folk poetry, Chinese--California--San Francisco
Poetry--Social aspects--California--San Francisco

Creative Americans: Portraits by Carl Van Vechten, 1932-1964

See sections on Poets and Authors.

Freedom’s Fortress: The Library of Congress, 1939-1953

Library of Congress--Poetry

The Hannah Arendt Papers at the Library of Congress

Family Papers:
Blücher, Heinrich---Writings---Poetry---n.d.

Speeches and Writings File, 1923-1975, n.d.
Miscellany---Poetry and stories

Miller NAWSA Suffrage Scrapbooks, 1897-1911

Equal-pay poems
Poe, Edgar Allen
Suffrage Poem
Valentine Poem

The Nineteenth Century in Print: Books

Sampler of Poetry Books

American poetry
American poetry--20th century
American poetry--Friend authors
Bible--History of Biblical events--Poetry
Children's poetry
Children's poetry, American
Columbus, Christopher--Poetry
Edward--VII,--King of Great Britain,--1841-1910--Poetry
English poetry
Ireland--History--English Conquest, 1166-1186--Poetry
Jesus Christ--Poetry
Judas Iscariot--Poetry
Lincoln, Abraham,--1809-1865--Poetry
Philip,--Sachem of the Wampanoags,--d. 1676--Poetry
Religious poetry, English
Slavery--United States--Poetry
Society of Friends--Poetry
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Poetry
United States--History--Revolution, 1775-1783--Poetry

The Nineteenth Century in Print: Periodicals

No subject search; keyword search required. Suggested keywords.

Photographs from the Chicago Daily News

Poets, English--Illinois--Chicago--1910-1919

September 11, 2001, Documentary Project

September 11 Terrorist Attacks, 2001--Poetry

The Stars and Stripes, 1918-1919

No subject search; keyword search required. Note that most issues contain an "Army Poets" column. Search also under the keyword poem.

Sunday School Books: Shaping the Values of Youth in Nineteenth-Century America

Children's poetry
Religious poetry

Note that many more poems can be found using a full-text search.

Thomas Jefferson Papers

No subject search; keyword search required. Suggested keyword: poem.

Traveling Culture: Circuit Chautauqua in the Twentieth Century


Walt Whitman Notebooks ("Poet at Work: Recovered Notebooks from the Thomas Biggs Harned Walt Whitman Collection")

Note that you cannot search by keyword or subject.

Words and Deeds in American History

See the following sections:

Poetry and Fiction

A page from Lincoln's sum book (includes poem)


American Memory Collections with some poetry content

The Aaron Copland Collection

Nine poems of Emily Dickinson [sketches]

America Singing: Nineteenth-Century Song Sheets

Some lyrics taken from poems. Suggested keywords.

America's First Look into the Camera: Daguerreotype Portraits and Views, 1839-1864

See images of the following poets:

William Cullen Bryant

Ralph Hoyt

Phoebe Cary

An American Ballroom Companion

No "Poetry" Subject; keyword search required. Suggested descriptive information search keywords: poem; verse.

The American Colony in Jerusalem, 1870-2006

Sacred poetry

American Notes: Travels in America, 1750- 1920

No "Poetry" subject; keyword search required. Suggested full text search keywords.

The American Variety Stage: Vaudeville and Popular Entertainment, 1870-1920

poems -- comic

Also see Orpheum Circuit News, November 14, 1915 : Needle threading trick.

Buckaroos in Paradise: Ranching Culture in Northern Nevada, 1945-1982

First stanza of poem entitled "Nevada"

California As I Saw It

No "Poetry" subject; keyword search required. Suggested descriptive information search keywords: poems; poetry; verse. Suggested full text search keywords.

California Gold: Northern California Folk Music from the Thirties. Collected by Sidney Robertson Cowell

American poetry--Texts
Epic poetry, Croatian
Epic poetry, Finnish
Kosovo, Battle of, 1389--Poetry
Old Norse poetry

A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation: U.S. Congressional Documents and Debates, 1774-1875

See the following pages:

Letters of Delegates to Congress: Volume 13 June 1, 1779 - September 30, 1779 - Thomas Burke's "Epistle"

Letters of Delegates to Congress: Volume 5 August 16, 1776 - December 31, 1776 - William Ellery to Nicholas Cooke

Chicago Anarchists on Trial: Evidence from the Haymarket Affair, 1886-1887


The Church in the Southern Black Community, 1780-1925

Items including at least one poem:

Afro-American encyclopaedia

From slavery to the Bishopric in the A.M.E. Church : an autobiography

The Rev. J.W. Loguen, as a slave and as a freeman : a narrative of real life

Civil War Maps, 1861-1865

The following map includes Confederate poetry:

Map of the Confederate States of America. [1861-65]

Emergence of Advertising in America

Pitching In!

Emile Berliner and the Birth of the Recording Industry


The Evolution of the Conservation Movement

No "Poetry" Subject; keyword search required. See also The Harriman Alaska Expedition: Chronicles and Souvenirs May to August 1899, which includes poems.

The First American West: The Ohio River Valley, 1750-1820

American poetry
Boone, Daniel, 1734-1820—Poetry
Embargo, 1807-1809--Poetry
Jefferson, Thomas, 1743-1826--Poetry
Louisiana Purchase--Poetry
Patriotic poetry, American
Political poetry, American
United States--History--War of 1812--Poetry
Washington, George, 1732-1799--Poetry

First-Person Narratives of the American South, 1860-1920

Afro-American poets--North Carolina--Biography
Afro-Americans--North Carolina--Poetry
North Carolina--Poetry
Slavery--North Carolina--Poetry
Slaves--North Carolina--Poetry
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Poetry

The Frederick Douglass Papers at the Library of Congress

Can’t sort by subject; keyword search required. Suggested keyword: poem.

The George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress, 1741-1799

No "Poetry" subject; keyword search required. Suggested keyword: poem. See also the Library web page on poetry written by George Washington.

Historic American Sheet Music, 1850-1920 (from Duke University)

Some lyrics are taken from poems. Suggested keywords: names of poets (e.g., Henry Wadsworth Longellow, John Greenleaf Whittier)

History of the American West, 1860-1920: Photographs from the Collection of the Denver Public Library


Also see the following items:
Cheyenne canon
Burns statute [sic], City Park, Denver
Mrs. Gilbert McClurg

"I Do Solemnly Swear ...": Presidential Inaugurations


Note that John F. Kennedy’s entry includes poems by Robert Frost.

Inventing Entertainment: the Early Motion Pictures and Sound Recordings of the Edison Companies

Children's poetry, American
Domestics--Juvenile poetry
Love poetry

Leonard Bernstein Collection

English Poetry

Map Collections: 1500-2005

Maps that include poems:

Plan of Fort Meigs' and its environs

Map of the Confederate States of America. [1861-65]

Music for the Nation: American Sheet Music

Some lyrics are taken from poems.

The Northern Great Plains, 1880-1920: Photographs from the Fred Hultstrand and F.A. Pazandak Photograph Collections

Poets laureate--North Dakota--1910-1919
Poets--North Dakota--1910-1919

"Now What a Time": Blues, Gospel, and the Fort Valley Music Festivals, 1938-1943

See: Langston Hughes, on the poetic element of the blues

Pioneering the Upper Midwest: Books from Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, ca. 1820-1910

No "Poetry" subject; keyword search required. Suggested descriptive information search keywords: poems; verse; poet. Suggested full text keywords.

Prairie Settlement: Nebraska Photographs and Family Letters, 1862-1912

Love poetry

Prosperity and Thrift: The Coolidge Era and the Consumer Economy, 1921-1929

Items you will find include:

Anna Kelton Wiley Papers. Homemaker-Consumer Life in Washington, D.C., 1922-23. (Image 24)

"Homing," a poem by Arna Bontemps

Review of Langson Hughes's "The Weary Blues"

"John Reed," a poem by Arturo Giovannitti

Also, search the descriptive information for poem to find another poem in this collection. A full text search for keywords such as poem and poet retrieves additional items.

Reclaiming the Everglades

Everglades (Fla.)--Poetry
Seminole Indians--Poetry

The Samuel F. B. Morse Papers at the Library of Congress

Poems (Series: Miscellany)

Tending the Commons: Folklife and Landscape in Southern West Virginia


Touring Turn-of-the-Century America: Photographs from the Detroit Publishing Company, 1880-1920

Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth,--1807-1882--Homes & haunts

Keyword searches for poet and poetry yield a few additional poetry-related images.

Trails to Utah and the Pacific: Diaries and Letters, 1846-1869

No "Poetry" subject; keyword search required. Suggested descriptive information search keyword: poem. Suggested full text search keywords: poem; poet.

Voices from the Dust Bowl: the Charles L. Todd and Robert Sonkin Migrant Worker Collection, 1940-1941

No "Poetry" subject; keyword search required. Suggested keywords: poet; poem.

Votes for Women: Selections from the National American Woman Suffrage Association Collection, 1848-1921

No "Poetry" subject; full text search required. Suggested keywords: poem; poet; poetry; verse. See also the book Are Women People? A book of Rhymes for Suffrage Time.

Washington as It Was: Photographs by Theodor Horydczak, 1923-1959


Also see the item:
Cleveland Perry. Poem, "Old home by the mill"

The Alfred Whital Stern Collection of Lincolniana


Also see the Library web page on poetry written by Abraham Lincoln.

Westward by Sea: A Maritime Perspective on American Expansion, 1820-1890

American poetry--Women authors
Lyric poetry
Sea poetry, American

Searching by Keyword

When searching individual American Memory collection or across all American Memory collections for poetry-related materials, consider using the following keywords:

Couplet Nursery Rhyme Rhyme
Lyric Poem Titles of poems
Names of poem types (ballad, sonnet, etc.) Poet Titles of poetry books
Names of poets Poetry Verse

Select any hyperlinked keyword or phrase to conduct an automatic cross-collection search of American Memory. Note that a cross-collection search will typically search only the descriptive information of records in a collection, and not a collection's full text. Full-text searches of collections require users to enter an individual collection and use the Search Full Text option, if available. Full-text searching is most often available for collections containing printed works. Of these, the Nineteenth Century in Print: Periodicals collection contains the most poetry content.

Other suggested poetry search terms can be found on the Literature & Poetry Community Center (scroll down to bottom of page). For general help searching American Memory, see the American Memory Search Help page.

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  October 22, 2014
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