June 26, 2000 Library of Congress Adds New Online Collections to the American Memory Web Site

From Fiddle Tunes to Thomas Jefferson to Railroad Maps; New Collections Provide Unique Access to Library Materials

Contact: Guy Lamolinara (202) 707-9217

The Library of Congress American Memory Web site has recently been enhanced by the addition of three new and exciting collections from the Library's Archive of Folk Culture and from three institutions in the Pacific Northwest.

"Fiddle Tunes of the Old Frontier: The Henry Reed Collection" and "'Now What a Time': Blues, Gospel, and the Fort Valley Music Festivals, 1938-1943" are new from the Archive of Folk Culture. "American Indians of the Pacific Northwest" was drawn from the extensive collections of the University of Washington Libraries, the Cheney Cowles Museum/Eastern Washington State Historical Society in Spokane, and the Museum of History and Industry in Seattle.

The digitization of "The Thomas Jefferson Papers at the Library of Congress" and "Railroad Maps: 1828-1900" has recently been completed, and a new presentation on "Census Atlases" has been added to the online "Map Collections" segment.

"Fiddle Tunes of the Old Frontier: The Henry Reed Collection," is a multiformat ethnographic field collection of traditional fiddle tunes performed by Henry Reed of Glen Lyn, Virginia. The collection includes tunes recorded by folklorist and retired head of the Library's American Folklife Center, Alan Jabbour, in 1966-67, when Reed was more than 80 years old. The tunes represent the history and spirit of Virginia's Appalachian frontier. This online collection incorporates 184 original sound recordings, 19 pages of field notes, and 60 musical transcriptions with descriptive notes on tune histories and musical features.

"'Now What a Time': Blues, Gospel, and the Fort Valley Music Festivals, 1938-1943" consists of some 100 sound recordings, primarily blues and gospel songs, and related documentation from the folk festival at Fort Valley State College (now Fort Valley State University), Fort Valley, Georgia. The documentation was created by John Wesley Work III in 1941 and by Lewis Jones and Willis Laurence James in March, June and July 1943. Also included are recordings made in Tennessee and Alabama by John Work between September 1938 and 1941. The Archive of American Folk Song, now the Archive of Folk Culture, of the American Folklife Center supported this recording project. The collectors' song lists and correspondence are part of the online collection. An interesting feature of this collection is the rewording of several standard gospel songs to address the wartime concerns of the artists. This online presentation is made possible by the generous support of the Texaco Foundation.

"American Indians of the Pacific Northwest" integrates more than 2,300 photographs and 7,700 pages of text relating to the American Indians in two cultural areas of the Pacific Northwest, the Northwest Coast and Plateau. The materials illustrate many aspects of life and work, including housing, clothing, crafts, transportation, education and employment of these cultures. Ten essays on specific tribal groups written by anthropologists, historians and teachers who have studied the rich heritage of Pacific Northwest Native Americans help to interpret and provide a larger context for the entire collection. The presentation and addition of these materials to the Library's American Memory site is supported by an award from the Library of Congress/Ameritech National Digital Library Competition.

The "Thomas Jefferson Papers" is the largest collection of original Jefferson documents in the world and consists of approximately 27,000 documents, comprising approximately 83,000 images in its online presentation. The collection includes correspondence, commonplace books, financial account books, and manuscript volumes. The series is organized into nine groups, ranging from 1606 to 1827. Correspondence, memoranda, notes, and drafts of documents make up two-thirds of the papers. Among the documents included are: Jefferson's writings as a delegate to the second Continental Congress; his drafting of the Declaration of Independence, June-July 1776; his position as governor of Virginia, 1779-81; his return to Congress as a representative, 1783-84; and his appointment as minister plenipotentiary in Europe and then minister to the Court of Louis XVI, succeeding Benjamin Franklin, 1784-89. Special presentations include time lines (click on a date and a box opens up with a short description of what Jefferson did or wrote that year), selected quotations from the Thomas Jefferson Papers, an article by Jefferson historian Joseph J. Ellis titled "American Sphinx: The Contradictions of Thomas Jefferson" that was originally published in Civilization magazine, and a history and analysis of the conservation of the Jamestown Records of the Virginia Company of London, which are part of the Thomas Jefferson Papers. The Thomas Jefferson project is funded by Reuters America Inc. and the Reuters Foundation.

The Geography and Map Division has custody of the largest collection of maps and atlases in the world. Recently completed for online users is the digital presentation of a selection of railroad maps from the holdings of the division, based on the popular printed cartobibliography Railroad Maps of the United States: A Selective Annotated Bibliography of Original 19th-century Maps in the Geography and Map Division of the Library of Congress, compiled by Andrew M. Modelski (1975). The maps selected represent a profile of the development of cartographic style and technique and are not intended to inventory all maps in the division that show railroads. They also reflect the important achievements of early railroaders in reaching their ultimate goal of providing a transportation network spanning the country and linking the Atlantic and Pacific coasts.

A second addition to the online "Maps Collection" is a special presentation on Census Atlases, with essays on the history of the compilation of national atlases in the United States and additional information, from the First National Atlas of 1870 through the atlases from 1880 to 1920. The atlases for 1870, 1880 and 1890 are presented page by page and can be read by zooming in on sections of the pages that the viewer wishes to see.

These new and updated collections have been added to the more than 75 already freely available from American Memory, which is a project of the National Digital Library Program. The program aims to bring more than 5 million items of American history to citizens everywhere via the Internet by the end of 2000.

The latest online project of the Library is a family-friendly site aimed at children and their parents at www.americaslibrary.gov. "Log On ... Play Around ... Learn Something."


PR 00-095
ISSN 0731-3527