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A Guide to the Spanish-American War

The Battle of Manila
The Battle of Manila.
Lithograph by Muller,
Luchsinger & Co., 1898.
Prints & Photographs Division.
Reproduction Number:
LC-USZC4-740 (color film copy transparency)

The digital collections of the Library of Congress contain a wide variety of material associated with the Spanish-American War, including manuscripts, maps, broadsides, photographs, prints, sheet music, and films. This guide compiles links to digital materials related to the Spanish-American War that are available throughout the Library of Congress Web site. In addition, it provides links to external Web sites focusing on the Spanish-American War and a bibliography containing selections for both general and younger readers.

Library of Congress Web Site | External Web Sites | Selected Bibliography

Featured Digital Collections

The Spanish-American War in Motion Pictures

This collection features 68 motion pictures produced between 1898 and 1901 of the Spanish-American War and the subsequent Philippine Revolution. The Spanish-American War was the first U.S. war in which the motion picture camera played a role. These films were made by the Edison Manufacturing Company and the American Mutoscope & Biograph Company and consist of actualities filmed in the U.S., Cuba, and the Philippines, showing troops, ships, notable figures, and parades, as well as reenactments of battles and other war-time events.

The Articles and Essays section presents the motion pictures in chronological order together with brief essays that provide a historical context for their filming.

Highlights of films from the Spanish-American War include:

The World of 1898: The Spanish-American War

Created by the Library of Congress Hispanic Division, this online presentation provides resources and documents about the Spanish-American War, the period before the war, and some of the fascinating people who participated in the fighting or commented about it. Information about Cuba, Guam, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Spain, and the United States is provided in chronologies, bibliographies, and a variety of pictorial and textual material from bilingual sources, supplemented by an overview essay about the war and the period.

Additional Digital Collections

American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936 to 1940

These life histories were compiled and transcribed by the staff of the Folklore Project of the Federal Writers' Project for the U.S. Works Progress (later Work Projects) Administration (WPA) from 1936-1940. The Library of Congress collection includes 2,900 documents representing the work of over 300 writers from 24 states. Search on the phrase Spanish-American War to find recollections of veterans of the war.

Clara Barton Papers

Clara Barton was a philanthropist, nurse, educator, and lecturer. Correspondence, diaries, reports, legal and financial papers, organizational records, lectures, writings, scrapbooks, printed matter, memorabilia, and other papers relating to Barton's work to provide relief services during the Civil War and the Franco-Prussian War, the work of the American National Red Cross which she founded, and the National First Aid Association of America. The Clare Barton Papers contains 148 items related to her work during the Spanish-American War.

A selection of highlights from this collection includes:

Maps: Military Battles and Campaigns

The focus of this collection is Americana and cartographic treasures of the Library of Congress. These images were created from maps and atlases selected from the collections of the Geography and Map Division. This collection contains seven maps related to the Spanish-American War.

New York Journal and Related Titles, 1896 to 1899

The New York Journal Collection consists of The Journal (1896-01-01 to 1896-07-18) and subsequent titles, New York Journal (1896-07-16 to 1897-04-01) and New York Journal and Advertiser (1897-04-02 to 1899-12-31) . In 1895, William Randolph Hearst purchased the paper to compete with Joseph Pulitzer's New York World. The New York Journal is an example of "Yellow Journalism," where the newspapers competed for readers through bold headlines, illustrations, and activist journalism.  The paper infamously reported on and influenced events like the Spanish-American War.

Selections related to the Spanish-American War include:

Printed Ephemera: Three Centuries of Broadsides and Other Printed Ephemera

The Printed Ephemera collection at the Library of Congress is a rich repository of Americana. In total, the collection comprises 28,000 primary-source items dating from the seventeenth century to the present and encompasses key events and eras in American history.

Examples of printed ephemera from the Spanish-American War era include:

Puerto Rico at the Dawn of the Modern Age: Nineteenth- and Early-Twentieth-Century Perspectives

This collection portrays the early history of the commonwealth of Puerto Rico through first-person accounts, political writings, and histories drawn from the Library of Congress's General Collections. Among the topics it highlights are the land and its resources, relations with Spain, the competition among political parties, reform efforts, and recollections by veterans of the Spanish-American War.

Highlights from the Spanish-American War include:

William McKinley Papers

The papers of army officer, U.S. representative, and governor of Ohio William McKinley (1843-1901), who became the twenty-fifth president of the United States, consist of 131,000 items (121,435 images) most of which were digitized from 98 reels of previously produced microfilm. The collection contains papers related to the Spanish-American War, including McKinely's draft requesting authority to use American miliary forces to intervene in hostitlities in Cuba between the Spanish government and the Cuban people.

America's Library

Jump Back in Time: Commodore George Dewey Was Born, December 26, 1837.

Jump Back in Time: U.S.S. Maine Was Sunk, February 15, 1898.

Jump Back in Time: Teddy Roosevelt and the Rough Riders, July 1, 1898.

Jump Back in Time: U.S. Raised the Flag in Puerto Rico, October 18, 1898.

Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers

Chronicling America

This site allows you to search and view millions of historic American newspaper pages from 1789-19242. Search this collection to find hundreds of newspaper articles related to the Spanish-American War.

Examples of articles about the Spanish-American War include:

In addition, the Newspaper and Current Periodical Reading Room has created a series of topics guides to the newspapers included in Chronicling America, including guides on the major events of the Spanish American War and the sinking of the Maine.


American Treasures of the Library of Congress - Capturing the Spanish-American War

This online exhibition presents drawings by William Glackens, an American artist who was sent to Cuba during the Spanish-American War to capture the action for McClure's Magazine. Published at a time when photographers had made documentary sketch artists virtually obsolete, Glacken's work represents the apotheosis of American graphic journalism.

Prints and Photographs Division

Pictorial Americana: Selected Images from the Collections of the Library of Congress

Pictorial Americana, a 1955 Library of Congress publication, contains a chapter listing selected images related to the Spanish-American War and the Philippine Insurrection.

Detroit Publishing Company

This collection of photographs from the Detroit Publishing Company Collection includes approximately 70 photographs of the Spanish-American War.

Panoramic Photographs

The Panoramic Photograph Collection contains approximately four thousand images featuring American cityscapes, landscapes, and group portraits. This collection includes ten photographs of the wreck of the U.S.S. Maine taken in 1911.

Search the Prints and Photographs Online Catalog (PPOC) to find hundreds of additional images related to the Spanish-American War.

The Teachers Page

Primary Source Set: The Spanish-American War: The United States Becomes a World Power

This Primary Source Set includes images, documents, maps, motion pictures, newspapers, and analysis tools to help teach about the Spanish-American War.

Today in History

December 26, 1837

George Dewey, naval hero of the Spanish-American War, was born in Montpelier, Vermont, on December 26, 1837.

February 15, 1898

On February 15, 1898, an explosion of unknown origin sank the battleship U.S.S. Maine in the Havana, Cuba, harbor, killing 266 of the 354 crew members. The sinking of the Maine incited United States passions against Spain, eventually leading to a naval blockade of Cuba and a declaration of war.

April 25, 1898

On April 25,1898, the United States formally declared war against Spain.

June 10, 1898

On June 10, 1898, U.S. Marines landed at Guantanamo Bay. For the next month, American troops fought a land war in Cuba, which resulted in the end of Spanish colonial rule in the Western Hemisphere.

July 1, 1898

On July 1, 1898, Theodore Roosevelt and his volunteer cavalry, the Rough Riders, stormed Kettle Hill, and then joined in the capture of the San Juan Hill complex. Thus they helped to secure a U.S. victory in the Battle of Santiago, the decisive battle of the short-lived Spanish-American War.

October 18, 1898

On October 18, 1898, American troops fighting the Spanish-American War raised the United States flag in Puerto Rico, formalizing U.S. control of the former Spanish colony.

Link disclaimerExternal Web Sites

Crucible of Empire: The Spanish-American War

This site on the Spanish-American War is a companion to a PBS documentary on the war. It includes a transcript of the film, a timeline, essays on yellow journalism, and examples of music from the 1890s related to the war.

Military Resources: Spanish-American War & the Philippine Insurrection

A compilation of resources on the Spanish-American War compiled by the Archives Library Information Center at the National Archives and Records Administration. It includes links to information at the National Archives, as well as links to external sites.

A War in Perspective, 1898-1998: Public Appeals, Memory, and the Spanish-American Conflict

This site created by the New York Public Library provides a re-examination of the Spanish-American War and its consequences beyond traditional military, political, and diplomatic perspectives.

Online Bookshelves: War with Spain

The U.S. Army Center of Military History provides the full text of online books related to the Spanish-American War.

Spanish American War Bibliography

This extensive bibliography was created by the Naval History and Heritage Command. The purpose of this publication is to encourage understanding and further study of the naval aspects of the Spanish-American War.

The Spanish American War Centennial Website

This site commemorates the centennial of the Spanish-American War. It contains a wide variety of information on the war, including an overview of the war, a chronology, action reports, diaries, unit profiles, rosters, photographs, and genealogy research tips.

Selected Bibliography

Official Verbatim Report in Spanish and English of Every Session and the Protocols and Treaty in Full Between the United States and Spain as Originally Procured and Exclusively Published by the New York Journal and Advertiser. New York: 1898. [Catalog Record] [Full Text]

A Treaty of Peace Between the United States and Spain. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1899. [Catalog Record] [Full Text]

Bradford, James C. ed. Crucible of Empire: The Spanish-American War & Its Aftermath. Annapolis, Md.: Naval Institute Press, 1993.
LC call number: E715 .C78 1993 [Catalog Record]

Freidel, Frank B. The Splendid Little War. Boston: Little, Brown, 1958.
LC call number: E715 .F7 [Catalog Record]

Gould, Lewis L. The Spanish-American War and President McKinley. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1982. [Catalog Record]

Hendrickson, Kenneth E. The Spanish-American War. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2003.
LC call number: E715 .H48 2003 [Catalog Record]

McCartney, Paul T. Power and Progress: American National Identity, the War of 1898, and the Rise of American Imperialism. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2006. [Catalog Record]

Musicant, Ivan. Empire by Default: The Spanish-American War and the Dawn of the American Century. New York: H. Holt, 1998.
LC call number: E404 .B37 [Catalog Record]

Trask, David F. The War with Spain in 1898. New York: Macmillan, 1981.
LC call number: E715 .T7 [Catalog Record]

Zimmermann, Warren. First Great Triumph: How Five Americans Made Their Country a World Power. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2002. [Catalog Record]

Younger Readers

Dolan, Edward F. The Spanish-American War. Brookfield, Conn.: Millbrook Press, 2001.
LC call number: E715 .D65 2001. [Catalog Record]

Golay, Michael. Spanish-American War. New York: Facts on File, 2003.
LC call number: E715 .G58 2003. [Catalog Record]

Kupferberg, Audrey E. The Spanish-American War. San Diego: Blackbirch Press, 2005.
LC call number: E715 .K87 2004 [Catalog Record]

Somerlott, Robert. The Spanish-American War: Remember the Maine! Berkeley Heights, N.J.: Enslow Publishers, 2002.
LC call number: E715 .S76 2002 [Catalog Record]

Wukovits, John F. The Spanish-American War. San Diego: Lucent Books, 2002.
LC call number: E715 .W85 2002 [Catalog Record]

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  May 18, 2020
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