Written materials include books, government documents, manuscripts, and sheet music. Examples of written materials related to Massachusetts are provided for
most of the collections listed below. Search on terms such as Massachusetts, Boston, and so forth to locate
additional information within these digital collections.
Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress
The complete Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress consists of approximately 20,000 documents.
African American Perspectives: Pamphlets from the Daniel A.P. Murray Collection, 1818-1907
The Daniel A. P. Murray Pamphlet 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.
The Alfred Whital Stern Collection of Lincolniana
Alfred Whital Stern (1881-1960) of Chicago presented his outstanding collection of Lincolniana to the Library of Congress in 1953. The 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. It includes more than one hundred items related to Massachusetts.
America Singing: Nineteenth-Century Song Sheets
For most of the nineteenth century Americans learned the latest songs from printed song sheets. Not to be confused with sheet music, song sheets are single printed sheets, usually six by eight inches, with lyrics but no music. Search this collection to find hundreds of song sheets that mention Massachusetts.
American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1940
The collection includes 2,900 documents representing the work of over 300 writers from 24 states. The histories describe the informant's family education, income, occupation, political views, religion and mores, medical needs, diet and miscellaneous observations. Pseudonyms are often substituted for individuals and places named in the narrative texts. Included in the collection are 137 titles of mostly first-person accounts of life in Massachusetts during the Great Depression.
An American Time Capsule: Three Centuries of Broadsides and Other Printed Ephemera
The Printed Ephemera collection at the Library of Congress is a rich repository of Americana. In total, the collection comprises 28,000 primary-source items dating from the seventeenth century to the present and encompasses key events and eras in American history. This collection contains more than 1,800 items printed in Massachusetts.
A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation: U.S. Congressional Documents and Debates, 1774-1875
This collection contains the records of the Continental Congress, the Constitutional Convention, and the United States Congress from 1774 to 1875, including journals, debates, bills, and laws.
The Frederick Douglass Papers at the Library of Congress
The Frederick Douglass Papers at the Library of Congress presents the papers of the nineteenth-century African-American abolitionist who was born a slave, in Tuckahoe, Talbot County, Maryland, in 1818. Douglass escaped from slavery in 1838 and then risked his own freedom by becoming an outspoken antislavery lecturer, writer, and publisher.
From Slavery to Freedom: The African-American Pamphlet Collection, 1824-1909
This collection presents 396 pamphlets from the Rare Book and Special Collections Division, published from 1822 through 1909, by African-American authors and others who wrote about slavery, African colonization, Emancipation, Reconstruction, and related topics.
George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress, 1741-1799
The complete George Washington Papers collection from the Manuscript Division at the Library of Congress consists of approximately 65,000 documents.
The James Madison Papers, 1723-1836
The James Madison Papers from the Manuscript Division at the Library of Congress document the life of the man who came to be known as the "Father of the Constitution" through correspondence, personal notes, drafts of letters and legislation, an autobiography, legal and financial documents, and miscellaneous manuscripts.
Miller NAWSA Suffrage Scrapbooks, 1897-1911
The Elizabeth Smith Miller and Anne Fitzhugh Miller scrapbooks are a part of the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) Collection in the Rare Book and Special Collections Division.
Music for the Nation: American Sheet Music, ca. 1820-1860
The collection consists of over 15,000 pieces of sheet music registered for copyright during the years 1820 to 1860.
Music for the Nation: American Sheet Music, ca. 1870 to 1885
Music for the Nation: American Sheet Music, 1870-1885 consists of over 47,000 pieces of sheet music registered for copyright during the years 1870 to 1885.
Slaves and the Courts, 1740-1860
Slaves and the Courts contains just over a hundred pamphlets and books (published between 1772 and 1889) concerning the difficult and troubling experiences of African and African-American slaves in the American colonies and the United States, including nine publication related to Massachusetts.
- Boston slave riot, and trial of Anthony Burns : containing the report of the Faneuil Hall meeting, the murder of Batchelder, Theodore Parker's lesson for the day, speeches of counsel on both sides, corrected by themselves, verbatim report of Judge Loring's decision, and, a detailed account of the embarkation.
- The trial and execution for petit treason, of Mark and Phillis, slaves of Capt. John Codman : who murdered their master at Charlestown, Mass., in 1755, for which the man was hanged and gibbeted, and the woman was burned to death : including, also, some account of other punishments by burning in Massachusetts / by Abner Cheney Goodell, Jr.
Jefferson Papers at the Library of Congress
The complete Thomas Jefferson Papers from the Manuscript
Division at the Library of Congress consists of approximately
Words and Deeds in American History: Selected Documents Celebrating the Manuscript Division's First 100 Years
In honor of the Manuscript Division's centennial, its staff has selected for online display approximately ninety representative documents spanning from the fifteenth century to the mid-twentieth century.