April 11, 2001 Two Collections Added to American Memory Web Site

Ex-Slave Narratives and Narratives of Washington, D.C., and the Chesapeake

Contact: Guy Lamolinara (202) 707-9217

The Library of Congress has just made available two new collections of narratives on its popular American Memory Web site. The collections are available at www.loc.gov and add to the more than 90 diverse collections already online.

"Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1938" contains more than 2,300 first-person accounts of slavery and 500 black-and-white photographs of former slaves. These narratives were collected in the 1930s as part of the Federal Writers' Project of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and assembled and microfilmed in 1941 as the 17-volume Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States from Interviews with Former Slaves.

This online offering is a joint presentation of the Manuscript and Prints and Photographs divisions of the Library of Congress and includes more than 200 photographs from the Prints and Photographs Division that are now made available to the public for the first time. "Born in Slavery" was made possible by a major gift from the Citigroup Foundation.

The online presentation also includes an essay on the collection by Norman R. Yetman, Chancellors Club Teaching Professor of American Studies and Sociology and Chair of the American Studies Program at the University of Kansas. His publications on the Slave Narrative -over- Collection include Life Under the "Peculiar Institution": Selections from the Slave Narrative Collection (1970), also published under the title Voices from Slavery: 100 Authentic Slave Narratives (revised edition, 2000), and articles in American Quarterly.

The second collection of narratives is "The Capital and the Bay: Narratives of Washington and the Chesapeake Bay Region, ca. 1600-1925. The online presentation comprises 139 books selected from the Library of Congress's General Collections and two books from its Rare Book and Special Collections Division. "The Capital and the Bay" includes first-person narratives, early histories, historical biographies, promotional brochures and books of photographs that capture in words and pictures a distinctive region as it developed between the onset of European settlement and the first quarter of the 20th century.

A special presentation, "Pictures of People and Places," consists of selected illustrations from books included in "The Capital and the Bay."

Another American Memory collection has been augmented. "A Century of Lawmaking, 1774-1873" has just been expanded with more than 130,000 pages of proposed bills and resolutions from the 13th Congress to the 42nd Congress.

American Memory is a project of the National Digital Library Program of the Library of Congress. Its more than 90 collections ? which range from papers of the U.S. presidents, Civil War photographs and early films of Thomas Edison to papers documenting the women's suffrage and civil rights movements, Jazz Age photographs and the first baseball cards ? include more than 5 million items from the collections of the Library and those of other major repositories. The latest Web site from the Library is aimed at kids and families. The colorful and interactive "America's Library" (www.americaslibrary.gov) invites users to "Log On ... Play Around ... Learn Something."


PR 01-058
ISSN 0731-3527