August 31, 2000 Diverse Group of Online Collections Debuts on American Memory

Early Motion Pictures, Florida Folklife, Civil War Music, Maps of American Revolution

Contact: Guy Lamolinara (202) 707-9217

Four collections of materials relating to American history have just been added to the award-winning American Memory collections available from the Library of Congress.

Motion pictures from 1894 to 1915 depicting work, school and leisure activities in the United States are featured in "America at Work, America at Leisure," a presentation of 150 motion pictures. Highlights include films of the U.S. Postal Service from 1903, cattle breeding, fire fighters, ice manufacturing, logging, calisthenic and gymnastic exercises in schools, amusement parks, boxing, expositions, football, parades, swimming and other sporting events.

"Florida Folklife from the WPA Collections" is a multiformat ethnographic field collection documenting African American, Arabic, Bahamian, British American, Cuban, Greek, Italian, Minorcan, Seminole and Slavic cultures throughout Florida. Recorded by Robert Cook, Herbert Halpert, Zora Neale Hurston, Stetson Kennedy, Alton Morris and others in conjunction with the Florida Federal Writers' Project, the Florida Music Project and the Joint Committee on Folk Arts of the Work Projects Administration, it features folk songs and folktales in many languages. The online presentation provides access to 376 sound recordings and 106 accompanying materials, including an essay on Florida folklife by Zora Neale Hurston. "Florida Folklife" is made possible by the generous support of the Texaco Foundation.

"Band Music from the Civil War Era" makes available examples of a brilliant style of brass band music that flourished in the 1850s in the United States and remained popular through the 19th century. Bands of this kind served in the armies of both the North and the South during the Civil War. This online collection includes both printed and manuscript music (mostly in the form of "part books" for individual instruments) selected from the collections of the Music Division of the Library of Congress and the Walter Dignam Collection of the Manchester Historic Association (Manchester, New Hampshire). The collection features more than 700 musical compositions, as well as eight full-score modern editions and 19 recorded examples of brass band music in performance.

"The American Revolution and Its Era: Maps and Charts of North America and the West Indies, 1750-1789" represents an important historical record of the mapping of North America and the Caribbean. There are more than 2,000 maps and charts in this collection; almost 600 maps are original manuscript drawings. Users can compare versions of several of the most important maps of the period, follow the development of a particular map from the manuscript sketch to the finished printed version and its foreign derivatives, and examine the cartographic styles and techniques of surveyors and map makers from seven countries: Great Britain, France, Germany, Spain, Holland, Italy and the United States.

These new collections have been added to the more than 80 already freely available from American Memory, which is a project of the National Digital Library Program of the Library of Congress. By the end of 2000, the program will bring more than 5 million items of American history to citizens everywhere through the Internet.

The latest Web site from the Library is aimed at kids and families. The colorful and interactive "America's Library" ( invites users to "Log On ... Play Around ... Learn Something."


PR 00-129
ISSN 0731-3527