Contact: Guy Lamolinara (202) 707-9217

July 12, 1999

New American Memory On-Line Collections Debut

1939 Southern Folk Music Recordings; Maps of National Parks; Images of American Nature

In 1939, John and Ruby Lomax, two of the nation's most important folklorists, embarked on their Southern States Recording Trip, in which they documented, through recordings, photographs and field notes, folksingers and their songs in eight Southern states.

In the "Southern Mosaic" collection, available from the American Memory project of the Library of Congress's National Digital Library Program (, the approximately 25 hours of music from more than 300 performers can be heard. The collection represents the diversity of musical styles of the region and period, including ballads, blues, children's songs, cowboy songs, fiddle tunes, hollers, lullabies, religious dramas, spirituals and work songs. More than 100 songs are in Spanish.

A special presentation provides a day-by-day overview of the 6,502-mile journey through Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, South Carolina and Georgia.

The on-line collection is made possible by the generous support of the Texaco Foundation. The Lomax collection is housed in the Library's American Folklife Center, the largest folklife archives in the nation.

The Library's Geography and Map Division is the source for the "Mapping the National Parks" collection, which offers 200 maps of the Acadia, Great Smoky Mountain, Grand Canyon and Yellowstone national parks, dating from the 17th century to the present. There are special presentations for each of these four parks. The presentation for Acadia offers nautical charts of the first national park on a coast. The Grand Canyon presentation offers not only maps but also links to other American Memory collections that provide spectacular views of the canyon.

The site was made possible by a donation from the Rockefeller Foundation.

The University of Chicago Library was a winner in the first round of the Library of Congress/Ameritech National Digital Library Competition. The competition was made possible by a $2 million donation to the Library from Ameritech.

"American Environmental Photographs, 1891-1936" consists of approximately 4,500 photographs documenting natural environments, ecologies and plant communities in the United States. Produced by a group of American botanists who were instrumental in the development of modern ecological studies, these photographs provide an overview of important representative natural landscapes across the nation. They demonstrate the character of a wide range of American topography: forestation, aridity, shifting coastal dune complexes and watercourses. Comparison of early photographs with later views highlights changes resulting from natural alterations of the landscape, disturbances from industry and development and effective natural resource usage.

The photographs were taken by Henry Chandler Cowles (1869-1939), George Damon Fuller (1869- 1961) and other Chicago ecologists on field trips across North America.

Among the natural features these images document are ecological settings such as dunes, bogs, forests and deserts; individual plants from the Ponderosa pine and birch to grasses and mosses; landscape features such as the Grand Canyon, Lake Superior and the Sierra Nevada; and the consequences of natural and human changes to the environment ranging from erosion and floods to irrigation and lumbering. The collection also includes photographs of University of Chicago botanists as they conducted field research, led students on summer field classes and traveled across the continent on tours, including the International Phytogeographic Excursion of 1913.

American Memory is a project of the National Digital Library Program of the Library of Congress. Its goal is to make freely available 6 million items by 2000, the Bicentennial of the Library of Congress. The Library, in collaboration with other major repositories, is digitizing important American historical collections as its Bicentennial Gift to the Nation.

More than 2 million items are currently available in 60 collections such as early baseball cards; highlights of the career of baseball legend Jackie Robinson; the papers of Presidents Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln; Civil War photographs; and documents relating to the civil rights movement and women's suffrage. The multimedia American Memory collections also include recordings of music and American leaders, films, animation and panoramic photographs and maps.

The Library of Congress, which will be 200 on April 24, 2000, is the world's largest library. It is celebrating its Bicentennial with a series of exhibitions, symposia, the issuance of a coin and stamp and other events. For more information, see the Bicentennial Web site at

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PR 99-095
ISSN 0731-3527

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