American Memory Historical Collections
Examples of materials related to California are provided for
most of the collections listed below. Search on the term California to locate additional resources within these American Memory
The Aaron Copland Collection, ca. 1900-1990
This multiformat collection includes approximately 400,000 items documenting the multifaceted life of the extraordinary Aaron Copland--composer, performer, teacher, writer, conductor, commentator, and administrator.
Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress
The complete Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress consist of approximately 20,000 documents which include incoming and outgoing correspondence and enclosures, drafts of speeches, and notes and printed material.
The African-American Experience in Ohio: Selections from the Ohio Historical Society
This selection of manuscript and printed text and images illuminates the history of black Ohio from 1850 to 1920, a story of slavery and freedom, segregation and integration, religion and politics, migrations and restrictions, harmony and discord, and struggles and successes.
African American Perspectives: Pamphlets from the Daniel A. P. Murray Collection, 1818-1907
This collection presents a panoramic and eclectic review of African-American history and culture, spanning almost 100 years from the early 19th through the early 20th centuries, with the bulk of the material published between 1875 and 1900.
Alexander Graham Bell Family Papers at the Library of Congress
This collection consist of correspondence, scientific notebooks, journals, blueprints, articles, and photographs documenting Bell's invention of the telephone and his involvement in the first telephone company, his family life, his interest in the education of the deaf, and his aeronautical and other scientific research.
The Alfred Whital Stern Collection of Lincolniana
This collection documents the life of Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) both through writings by and about Lincoln as well as a large body of publications concerning the issues of the times including slavery, the Civil War, Reconstruction, and related topics. Browse the collection by subject to locate more than thirty items pertaining to California.
America at Work, America at Leisure: Motion Pictures from 1894-1915
Work, school, and leisure activities in the United States from 1894 to 1915 are featured in this presentation of motion pictures.
America from the Great Depression to World War II: Photographs from the FSA and OWI, ca. 1935-1945
The images in the Farm Security Administration-Office of War Information Collection are among the most famous documentary photographs ever produced. Created by a group of U.S. government photographers, the images show Americans in every part of the nation. The collection contains more than 4, 000 black-and-white and 121 color photographs of California.
America Singing: Nineteenth-Century Song Sheets
This collection spans the period from the turn of the nineteenth century to the 1880s, although a majority of the song sheets were published during the height of the song-sheet craze, from the 1850s to the 1870s.
America's First Look into the Camera: Daguerreotype Portraits and Views, 1839-1864
The Library's daguerreotype collection consists of approximately 600 photographs dating from 1839 to 1864. Portrait daguerreotypes produced by the Mathew Brady studio make up the major portion of the collection.
American Environmental Photographs, 1891-1936: Images from the University of Chicago Library
This collection consists of 4,500 photographs documenting natural environments, ecologies, and plant communities in the United States at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries. Browse the collection by state to locate more than 300 images of California.
American Landscape and Architectural Design, 1850-1920: A Study Collection from the Harvard Graduate School of Design
This collection of approximately 2,800 lantern slides represents an historical view of American buildings and landscapes built during the period 1850-1920. In addition to photographs, views of locations around the country include plans, maps, and models. Browse the collection by place using the subject heading United States--California--(city) to locate images of California.
American Notes: Travels in America, 1750-1920
This collection comprises 253 published narratives by Americans and foreign visitors recounting their travels in the colonies and the United States and their observations and opinions about American peoples, places, and society from about 1750 to 1920.
An American Time Capsule: Three Centuries of Broadsides and Other Printed Ephemera
This collection comprises 28,000 primary-source items dating from the seventeenth century to the present and encompassing key events and eras in American history. Among them are a variety of posters, notices, invitations, proclamations, leaflets, propaganda, manifestos, menus and business cards. Browse the collection by geographic location of printing to locate more than a 100 items printed in California.
The American Variety Stage: Vaudeville and Popular Entertainment, 1870-1920
This collection illustrates the vibrant and diverse forms of popular entertainment, especially vaudeville, that thrived from 1870-1920. The collection contains ten items pertaining to Califorinia.
Architecture and Interior Design for 20th Century America: Photographs by Samuel Gottscho and William Schleisner, 1935-1955
This collection is comprised of over 29,000 photographs primarily of architectural subjects, including interiors and exteriors of homes, stores, offices, factories, historic buildings, and other structures concentrated chiefly in the northeastern United States. Browse the collection by subject to locate one for California.
Baseball Cards, 1887-1914
This collection presents 2,100 early baseball cards dating from 1887 to 1914. Browse the collection by city to locate baseball players in Los Angeles, Oakland, Sacramento, and San Francisco.
Before and After the Great Earthquake and Fire: Early Films of San Francisco, 1897-1916
This collection consists of twenty-six films of San Francisco from before and after the Great Earthquake and Fire. Seventeen of the films depict San Francisco and its environs before the 1906 disaster. Seven films describe the great earthquake and fire.
Buckaroos in Paradise: Ranching Culture in Northern Nevada, 1945-1982
This collection presents 41 motion pictures and 28 sound recordings that tell the story of life and work on the Ninety-Six Ranch and of its cowboys, known in the region as buckaroos.
Built in America: Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record, 1933-Present
The Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) and the Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) collections document achievements in architecture, engineering, and design in the United States through a comprehensive range of building types and engineering technologies. Browse the collection by place to locate items for California.
By the People, For the People: Posters from the WPA, 1936-1943
This collection consists of 908 boldly colored and graphically diverse original posters produced from 1936 to 1943 as part of the New Deal. Browse the collection by subject index to locate 38 posters for California.
"California as I Saw It": First-Person Narratives of California's Early Years, 1849-1900
This collection consists of the full texts and illustrations of 190 books documenting the formative era of California's history through eyewitness accounts. It covers the dramatic decades between the Gold Rush and the turn of the twentieth century.
California Gold: Northern California Folk Music from the Thirties Collected bySidney Robertson Cowell
This collection includes sound recordings, still photographs, drawings, and written documents from a variety of European ethnic and English- and Spanish-speaking communities in Northern California.
A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation: U.S. Congressional Documents and Debates, 1774-1875
This collection consists of a linked set of published congressional records of the United States of America from the Continental Congress through the 43rd Congress, 1774-1875.
The Chinese in California, 1850-1925
This collection documents the nineteenth and early twentieth century Chinese immigration to California and the West. The primary source materials include photographs, original art, cartoons and other illustrations; letters, diaries, business records, and legal documents; as well as pamphlets, broadsides, speeches, sheet music, and other printed matter.
Edward S. Curtis's The North American Indian: Photographic Images
The North American Indian by Edward S. Curtis is one of the most significant and controversial representations of traditional American Indian culture ever produced. Issued in a limited edition from 1907-30, the publication continues to exert a major influence on the image of Indians in popular culture. Curtis said he wanted to document "the old time Indian, his dress, his ceremonies, his life and manners." Browse the collection by geographic location to locate images for California.
The Emergence of Advertising in America: 1850-1920
This collection includes cookbooks, photographs of billboards, print advertisements, trade cards, calendars, almanacs, and leaflets for a multitude of products. Browse the subject index and click on "c" to locate advertisements pertaining to California.
The Evolution of the Conservation Movement, 1850-1920
This collection documents the historical formation and cultural foundations of the movement to conserve and protect America's natural heritage. The collection includes forty-three images of California by photographer Carleton E. Watkins one of California's early commercial photographers.
First-Person Narratives of the American South, 1860-1920
This compilation of 141 printed texts from the libraries at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill documents the culture of the nineteenth-century American South from the viewpoint of Southerners.
- The Adventures of Two Alabama Boys / Crumpton, Hezekiah John, b. 1828 and Crumpton, Washington Bryan, 1842-1926. [Pt.3. of the narrative includes To California and Back after a Lapse of Forty Years, by W. B. Crumpton.]
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.
Frontline Diplomacy: The Foreign Affairs Oral History Collection of the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training
The collection presents a window into the lives of American diplomats. Transcripts of interviews with U.S. diplomatic personnel capture their experiences, motivations, critiques, personal analyses, and private thoughts. The collection includes interviews of American diplomats from California.
The Hannah Arendt Papers at the Library of Congress
The papers contain correspondence, articles, lectures, speeches, book manuscripts, transcripts of Adolf Eichmann's trial proceedings, notes, and printed matter pertaining to Arendt's writings and academic career.
Hispano Music & Culture from the Northern Rio Grande: The Juan B. Rael Collection
A presentation of a multi-format ethnographic field collection documenting religious and secular music of Spanish-speaking residents of rural Northern New Mexico and Southern Colorado.
- Correspondence (from Mr. Juan B. Rael, Dept. of Romanic Languages,
Stanford University, California)
Historic American Sheet Music, 1850-1920
The collection includes 3042 pieces of sheet music published in America between 1850 and 1920. It presents a wide variety of types of vocal music: bel canto, minstrel songs, protest songs, sentimental songs, patriotic and political songs, plantation songs, Civil War songs, spirituals, dance music, songs from vaudeville and musicals, "Tin pan alley" songs, and songs from World War I.
History of the American West, 1860-1920: Photographs from the Collection of the Denver Public Library
Over 30,000 photographs illuminate many aspects of the history of the American West. They illustrate Colorado towns and landscape, document the place of mining in the history of Colorado and the West, and show the lives of Native Americans from more than forty tribes living west of the Mississippi River.
Inventing Entertainment: The Early Motion Pictures and Sound Recordings of the Edison Companies
This site features 341 motion pictures, 81 disc sound recordings, and other related materials, such as photographs and original magazine articles. Browse the subject index to locate motions pictures pertaining to California.
The Geography & Map Division of the Library of Congress holds more than 4.5 million items, of which Map Collections represents only a small fraction, those that have been converted to digital form. The collection is organized according to seven major categories: Cities and Towns, Conservation and Environment, Cultural Landscapes, Discovery and Exploration, General Maps, Military Battles and Campaigns, and Transportation and Communication. Browse the geographic location index to locate more than 100 maps of California.
Music for the Nation: American Sheet Music, 1820-1860 & 1870-1885
This collection consists of over 62,000 pieces of sheet music registered for copyright during the nineteenth century. Browse the subject index to locate sheet music for California.
The Nineteenth Century in Print: Books
This collection is particularly strong in poetry and in the subject areas of education, psychology, American history, sociology, religion, and science and technology. Browse the subject index to locate books about California.
The Nineteenth Century in Print: Periodicals
This collection comprises periodicals published in the United States during the nineteenth century, primarily during the second half of the century. The materials selected illuminate the subject areas of education, psychology, American history, sociology, religion, and science and technology.
Photographs from the Chicago Daily News
This collection comprises approximately 54,000 images of urban life captured on glass plate negatives between 1902 and 1933 by photographers employed by the Chicago Daily News, one of Chicago's leading newspapers.
Pioneering the Upper Midwest: Books from Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, ca. 1820-1910
This collection portrays the states of Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin from the seventeenth to the early twentieth centuries through first-person accounts, biographies, promotional literature, local histories, ethnographic, antiquarian, and colonial archival documents, and other texts drawn from the Library of Congress' General Collections and the Rare Books & Special Collections Division.
Prairie Settlement: Nebraska Photographs and Family Letters, 1862-1912
This collection integrates two collections from the holdings of the Nebraska State Historical Society. Approximately 3,000 glass plate negatives crafted by Solomon D. Butcher record the process of settlement of Nebraska between 1886 and 1912. Approximately 3,000 pages of Oblinger family letters discuss land, work, neighbors, crops, religious meetings, problems with grasshoppers, financial problems, and the Easter Blizzard of 1873. Browse the subject index to locate two letters for California.
Prosperity and Thrift: The Coolidge Era and the Consumer Economy, 1921-1929
This collection assembles a wide array of Library of Congress source materials from the 1920s that document the widespread prosperity of the Coolidge years, the nation's transition to a mass consumer economy, and the role of government in this transition.
- Cost of Living Studies. No. 1, 1928: Quantity and Cost Estimate of the Standard of Living of the Professional Class.
[This publication presents the results of a study to establish the cost of maintaining satisfactory living standards for California state employees in 1920, when postwar prices were at their peak.]
- Publication [Nos. 11-12]/ issued by Better Homes in America. [Guidebook for Better Homes Campaigns in Rural Communities and Small Towns; Guidebook for Better Homes Campaigns in Cities and Towns] - The pamphlets provide illustrations of demonstration homes in Massachusetts, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, Arkansas and California.
Quilts and Quiltmaking in America, 1978-1996
This collection represents a wide range of quiltmaking techniques, from highly traditional to innovative. The quilts pictured exhibit excellent design and technical skill in a variety of styles and materials.
September 11, 2001, Documentary Project
The September 11, 2001, Documentary Project captures the heartfelt reactions, eyewitness accounts, and diverse opinions of Americans and others in the months that followed the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and United Airlines Flight 93. It includes twenty-four interviews recorded in California.
The Spanish-American War in Motion Pictures
This collection contains motion pictures of the Spanish-American War and the subsequent Philippine Revolution produced between 1898 and 1901.
"Suffering Under a Great Injustice": Ansel Adams's Photographs of Japanese-American Internment at Manzanar
This collection presents for the first time side-by-side digital scans of both Adams's 242 original negatives and his 209 photographic prints, allowing viewers to see his darkroom technique and in particular how he cropped his prints.
Taking the Long View: Panoramic Photographs, 1851-1991
This collection contains approximately 4,000 images featuring American cityscapes, landscapes, and group portraits. Browse the collection by place to locate more than 400 images of California.
Theodore Roosevelt: His Life and Times on Film
This presentation features 104 films which record events in Roosevelt's life from the Spanish-American War in 1898 until his death in 1919.
Touring Turn-of-the-Century America: Photographs from the Detroit Publishing Company, 1880-1920
This collection of photographs from the Detroit Publishing Company Collection includes over 25,000 glass negatives and transparencies as well as about 300 color photolithograph prints, mostly of the eastern United States. Browse the collection by place to locate more than 100 images of California.
Trails to Utah and the Pacific: Diaries and Letters, 1846-1869
The collection tells the stories of Mormon pioneer families and others who were part of the national westering movement, sharing trail experiences common to hundreds of thousands of westward migrants.
Traveling Culture: Circuit Chautauqua in the Twentieth Century
This collection presents 7,949 publicity brochures, promotional advertisements and talent circulars for some 4,546 performers who were part of the Chautauqua circuit.
Voices from the Dust Bowl: The Charles L. Todd and Robert Sonkin Migrant Worker Collection, 1940-1941
This collection documents the everyday life of residents of Farm Security Administration (FSA) migrant work camps in central California in 1940 and 1941.
Washington as It Was: Photographs by Theodor Horydczak, 1923-1959
This collection documents the architecture and social life of the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area in the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s, including exteriors and interiors of commercial, residential, and government buildings, as well as street scenes and views of neighborhoods. Browse the subject index to locate images of California.
Westward by Sea: A Maritime Perspective on American Expansion, 1820-1890
This selection of items from Mystic Seaport Museum's archival collections includes logbooks, diaries, letters, business papers, and published narratives of voyages and travels. The collection contains more than fifty items pertaining to California.
Women of Protest: Photographs from the Records of the National Woman's Party
The photographs in this collection document the National Woman's Party's push for ratification of the 19th Amendment as well as its later campaign for passage of the Equal Rights Amendment. Browse the subject index to locate more than twenty images for California.
Woody Guthrie and the Archive of American Folk Song: Correspondence, 1940-1950
This collection highlights letters between Woody Guthrie and staff of the Archive of American Folk Song (now the Archive of Folk Culture, American Folklife Center) at the Library of Congress. The collection contains three letters pertaining to California.
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, diplomats, reformers and political activists, artists and writers, scientists and inventors, and other prominent Americans whose lives reflect our country's evolution.
Working in Paterson: Occupational Heritage in an Urban Setting
The collection presents 470 interview excerpts and 3,882 photographs from the Working in Paterson Folklife Project of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.