March 18, 1999 New On-Line Materials Debut from the Library of Congress

Items Range from Papers of Alexander Graham Bell and Three Centuries of Printed Ephemera to Hispano Music and Culture, and Photographs from the South Texas Border

Contact: Guy Lamolinara (202) 707-9217

The National Digital Library (NDL) Program has recently added new multimedia materials from the incomparable collections of the Library of Congress to its American Memory Web site (

More than 40 electronic collections are now available in a public-private partnership that augments the $15 million in public funding dedicated to the NDL Program. The goal of the NDL Program is to have millions of items from the Library and other repositories on-line by the year 2000, the Bicentennial of the Library of Congress (

The new materials are:

  • The Alexander Graham Bell Family Papers. The first release of the Bell Family Papers contains 1,400 items consisting of correspondence, scientific notebooks, journals, blueprints, articles and photographs documenting Bell's invention of the telephone and his involvement in the first telephone company, his family life, his interest in the education of the deaf and his aeronautical and other scientific research.
  • An American Time Capsule: Three Centuries of Broadsides and Other Printed Ephemera. The Library's Printed Ephemera Collection is a rich repository of Americana. It comprises 28,000 primary source items dating from the 17th century to the present and encompasses key events and eras in American history. This preview of the digitized Printed Ephemera Collection presents 50 items that capture the experience of the American Revolution, slavery, the Western land rush, the Civil War, women's suffrage and the Industrial Revolution from the viewpoint of those who lived through those events. A full release of this collection is planned for later this year.
  • The South Texas Border 1900-1920: Photographs from the Robert Runyon Collection. This collection is a unique visual resource documenting the Lower Rio Grande Valley during the early 1900s. Runyon's photographs document the history and development of South Texas and the border, including the Mexican Revolution, the U.S. military presence at Fort Brown and along the border prior to and during World War I, and the growth and development of the Rio Grande Valley.
  • Hispano Music and Culture of the Northern Rio Grande: The Juan B. Rael Collection. This is an on-line presentation of a multiformat ethnographic field collection documenting religious and secular music of Spanish-speaking residents of rural Northern New Mexico and Southern Colorado. In 1940, Juan Bautista Rael of Stanford University, a native of Arroyo Hondo, N.M., used disc recording equipment supplied by the Archive of American Folk Song (now the Archive of Folk Culture, American Folklife Center) to document alabados (hymns), folk drama, wedding songs and dance tunes. The collection also includes manuscript materials and publications by Rael that provide insight into the rich musical heritage and cultural traditions of this region.

The National Digital Library Program, which receives 75 percent of its funding from private sources, will celebrate exceeding its fund- raising goal during an evening reception on April 13 in the Great Hall of the recently restored Thomas Jefferson Building. Press interested in covering this event should call for further details.


PR 99-038
ISSN 0731-3527