January 10, 2001 National Digital Library Program Reaches Goal of 5 Million Items Online

More than 90 Collections from the Library's Unparalleled American History Materials Available

Contact: Guy Lamolinara (202) 707-9217

As its concluding event during its Bicentennial year, the Library of Congress has announced a gift to the nation of 5 million American historical items on its Web site. The National Digital Library Program's award-winning project, American Memory (www.loc.gov), has reached its goal of making these materials from the collections of the Library of Congress and other institutions freely available. American Memory is one of the leading providers of high-quality, noncommercial content on the Internet. The site receives more than 18 million "hits" per month and is one of the federal government's most popular Web sites.

The more than 90 American Memory collections offered cover the breadth of U.S. history, from the nation's founding, the wars it has fought, the Great Depression and the great inventors to baseball, the civil rights movement, modern music and theater, the conservation movement and photography. The papers of Presidents Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln bring to life these men and their times. A century later, film brought a new dimension to the public's perception of the careers of presidents such as Theodore Roosevelt, the first U.S. president to have his life chronicled on a large scale by film (even though his predecessors Grover Cleveland and William McKinley were the first to be filmed).

American Memory represents one of the major goals and achievements of the Librarian of Congress, James H. Billington, who came to the Library in 1987 with the idea of sharing as widely as possible the incomparable resources of the institution.

"The U.S. Congress and the American people are the greatest supporters of libraries in history," said Dr. Billington. "Our American Memory project enables us to share with all Americans the riches of their nation's library, the largest repository of knowledge in the world."

The Librarian also acknowledged the significant contributions to American Memory of more than 30 institutions nationwide, whose collections are also available on the site. The digitization and inclusion of these materials were made possible by a $2 million gift to the Library from Ameritech.

The National Digital Library Program of the Library of Congress began in 1994 with major contributions from Metromedia President John W. Kluge and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation ($5 million each) and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation ($3 million). This public-private partnership effort has received $15 million in appropriations from the U.S. Congress and more than $45 million in donations from the private sector.

The James Madison Council, a private sector advisory group to the Library, has been the program's chief source of support. The council is chaired by Mr. Kluge, who has recently donated $60 million to establish the John W. Kluge Center in the Library of Congress and the John W. Kluge Prize in the Human Sciences. The gift is the largest private monetary donation ever given to the Library.

Among the honors American Memory has received are the prestigious Government Information Infrastructure award for the Best Site in Education; a Five-Star Site award from Surfing the Net with Kids; a Pick of the Ages citation from Yahoo!; Time magazine's Best Web Sites for 1996; PC Magazine's Top 100 Sites every year since 1996; Lycos Top 5% of the Internet Award; CNN and PC Magazine's "Best 100" award; Best of the Web by eBlast, Encyclopaedia Britannica's internet guide; History Channel Hotlist; and Best of the Web by the Netscape Net Guide.

The Library of Congress, the largest library in the world, has more than 120 million items in all media in which knowledge is recorded - from a cuneiform tablet dating from 2040 B.C. to compact discs and other digital materials. More than three-fourths of the Library's collections are in nonbook formats - manuscripts, maps, film, audiotape, prints, photographs, music scores and microforms. Although its primary mission is to serve the research needs of the U.S. Congress, its resources are open to all Americans in its 22 reading rooms on Capitol Hill and through its Internet services, which also include THOMAS, a legislative database; online exhibitions; information from the U.S. Copyright Office; and the entire online "card catalog."

The newest online project of the Library is a Web site designed specifically for kids and families, called America's Library (www.americaslibrary.gov). The site, which is supported by a public service campaign of the Advertising Council, invites users to "Log On. Play Around. Learn Something."

Following is a list of the more than 90 historical collections freely available from American Memory:

  • Aaron Copland Collection, ca. 1900-1990
  • Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress
  • African American Odyssey
  • African American Perspectives: Pamphlets from the Daniel A. P. Murray Collection, 1818-1907
  • The African-American Experience in Ohio: Selections from the Ohio Historical Society
  • African American Sheet Music, 1850-1920: Selected from the Collections of Brown University
  • Alexander Graham Bell Family Papers at the Library of Congress
  • The Alfred Whital Stern Collection of Lincolniana
  • America at Work, America at Leisure: Motion Pictures from 1894 to1915
  • America from the Great Depression to World War II: Photographs from the FSA and OWI, ca. 1935-1945
  • America Singing: Nineteenth Century Song Sheets
  • America's First Look into the Camera: Daguerreotype Portraits and Views, 1839-1862
  • An American Ballroom Companion: Dance Instruction Manuals, ca. 1490-1920
  • American Environmental Photographs, 1891-1936: Images from the University of Chicago Library
  • American Indians of the Pacific Northwest
  • American Landscape and Architectural Design, 1850-1920: a Study Collection from the Harvard Graduate School of Design
  • American Leaders Speak: Recordings from World War I and the 1920 Election
  • American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1940
  • The American Revolution and Its Era: Maps and Charts of North America and the West Indies, 1750-1789
  • An American Time Capsule: Three Centuries of Broadsides and Other Printed Ephemera
  • The American Variety Stage: Vaudeville and Popular Entertainment, 1870-1920
  • Architecture and Interior Design for 20th Century America: Photographs by Samuel Gottscho and William Schleisner, 1935-1955
  • Around the World in the 1890s: Photographs from the World's Transportation Commission, 1894-1896
  • Band Music from the Civil War Era
  • Baseball Cards, 1887-1914
  • Before and After the Great Earthquake and Fire: Early Films of San Francisco, 1897-1916
  • Buckaroos in Paradise: Ranching Culture in Northern Nevada, 1945-1982
  • Built in America: Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record, 1933-Present
  • By Popular Demand: "Votes for Women" Suffrage Pictures, 1850-1920
  • By Popular Demand: Jackie Robinson and Other Baseball Highlights, 1860s-1960s
  • By Popular Demand: Portraits of the Presidents and First Ladies, 1789-Present
  • By the People, For the People: Posters from the WPA, 1936-1943
  • "California as I Saw It": First-Person Narratives of California's Early Years, 1849-1900
  • California Gold: Northern California Folk Music from the Thirties. Collected by Sidney Robertson Cowell
  • A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation: U.S. Congressional Documents and Debates, 1774-1873
  • Civil War Maps
  • Creative Americans: Portraits by Carl Van Vechten, 1932-1964
  • Dayton C. Miller Flute Collection
  • Documents from the Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention, 1774-1789
  • Early Virginia Religious Petitions
  • The Evolution of the Conservation Movement, 1850-1920
  • Fiddle Tunes of the Old Frontier: The Henry Reed Collection
  • Fifty Years of Coca-Cola Television Advertisements: Highlights from the Motion Picture Archives at the Library of Congress
  • First-Person Narratives of the American South, 1860-1920
  • Florida Folklife from the WPA Collections, 1937-1942
  • From Slavery to Freedom: The African-American Pamphlet Collection, 1824-1909
  • George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress, 1741-1799
  • Hispano Music & Culture from the Northern Rio Grande: The Juan B. Rael Collection
  • Historic American Sheet Music, 1850-1920
  • History of the American West, 1860-1920: Photographs from the Collection of the Denver Public Library
  • "I Do Solemnly Swear...": Presidential Inaugurations
  • Inside an American Factory: Films of the Westinghouse Works, 1904
  • Inventing Entertainment: the Early Motion Pictures and Sound Recordings of the Edison Companies
  • The Last Days of a President: Films of McKinley and the Pan-American Exposition, 1901
  • The Leonard Bernstein Collection, ca. 1920-1989
  • The Life of a City: Early Films of New York, 1898-1906
  • Map Collections: 1544-1999
  • Mapping the National Parks
  • Maps of Liberia, 1830-1870
  • Mr. Lincoln's Virtual Library
  • Music for the Nation: American Sheet Music, 1870-1885
  • The New Deal Stage: Selections from the Federal Theatre Project, 1935-1939
  • The Nineteenth Century in Print: Books
  • The Nineteenth Century in Print: Periodicals
  • The Northern Great Plains, 1880-1920: Photographs from the Fred Hultstrand and F.A. Pazandak Photograph Collections
  • "Now What a Time": Blues, Gospel, and the Fort Valley Music Festivals, 1938-1943
  • Omaha Indian Music
  • Origins of American Animation
  • Panoramic Maps
  • Pioneering the Upper Midwest: Books from Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, ca. 1820-1910
  • Poet at Work: Recovered Notebooks from the Thomas Biggs Harned Walt Whitman Collection
  • Prairie Settlement: Nebraska Photographs and Family Letters, 1862-1912
  • Prosperity and Thrift: The Coolidge Era and the Consumer Economy, 1921-1929
  • Puerto Rico at the Dawn of the Modern Age: Nineteenth- and Early-Twentieth-Century Perspectives
  • Quilts and Quiltmaking in America, 1978-1996
  • Railroad Maps, 1828-1900
  • Selected Civil War Photographs
  • Small-Town America: Stereoscopic Views from the Robert Dennis Collection, 1850-1920
  • The South Texas Border, 1900-1920: Photographs from the Robert Runyon Collection
  • Southern Mosaic: The John and Ruby Lomax 1939 Southern States Recording Trip
  • The Spanish-American War in Motion Pictures
  • Taking the Long View: Panoramic Photographs, 1851-1991
  • Tending the Commons: Folklife and Landscape in Southern West Virginia
  • Theodore Roosevelt: His Life and Times on Film
  • The Thomas Jefferson Papers at the Library of Congress
  • Touring Turn-of-the-Century America: Photographs from the Detroit Publishing Company, 1880-1920
  • Voices from the Dust Bowl: the Charles L. Todd and Robert Sonkin Migrant Worker Collection, 1940-1941
  • Votes for Women: Selections from the National American Woman Suffrage Association Collection, 1848-1921
  • Washington as It Was: Photographs by Theodor Horydczak, 1923-1959
  • William P. Gottlieb: Photographs from the Golden Age of Jazz
  • Words and Deeds in American History: Selected Documents Celebrating the Manuscript Division's First 100 Years


PR 01-004
ISSN 0731-3527