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Photogrammar

Photogrammar is a web-based platform for organizing, searching, and visualizing the 170,000 photographs from 1935 to 1945 created by the United State’s Farm Security Administration and Office of War Information (FSA-OWI). [more inside]
posted by ColdChef on Sep 3, 2014 - 22 comments

Talking Folklore in the Digital Age

"When most people think of 'folklore,' they tend to think of fairy tales and urban legends. Trevor Blank thinks of photoshopped memes and dark humor." The Signal, a blog from the Library of Congress, has posted a two-part interview (part 2 is here) with Blank, who studies creepypastas, LOLs, demotivational posters, and other dynamics of "folk culture in the digital age." [more inside]
posted by MonkeyToes on Jul 2, 2014 - 6 comments

Meet the Next U.S. Poet Laureate: Charles Wright

Various news sources report that Charles Wright will today be named the next Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry of the United States Library of Congress. An extensive biography and 50 poems are available from the Poetry Foundation. [more inside]
posted by Jahaza on Jun 12, 2014 - 21 comments

(Another) look at Giovanni Battista Braccelli's Bizzarie di varie figure

Giovanni Battista d'Antonio Braccelli was a Florentine artist (PDF*) who was active from 1616 to 1649, and is little known beyond some highly creative works. Finding details on his life can be more difficult due to multiple forms for his names (Giovanbatista, Bracelli, Braccielli, Brazzè, and the nickname "il Bigio" - the gray one) within his own work and secondary sources, and early writers conflated his biography with that of a Genoese painter of the same name. But if you enjoy surreal illustrations, check out Braccelli's Bizzarie di varie figure (online view from Gallica - Bibliothèque nationale de France; online and PDF in the US Library of Congress collection** from Lessing J. Rosenwald). [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Mar 12, 2014 - 6 comments

"The fals fox came vpon a day, And with our gese he made affray."

“The Fox” tells the simple story of a fox who attacks a farmer’s birds. In most versions, he is spotted by the farmer’s wife and chased away by the farmer himself, but gets away with a duck or a goose. Although it often sounds thoroughly modern, it is in fact one of the oldest folksongs we have in English. The earliest texts are in Middle English and come from the 15th century.
Folklife Today, a blog from the Library of Congress, provides a short history of this well-loved song. [more inside]
posted by MonkeyToes on Feb 28, 2014 - 15 comments

"Most of America's Silent Films Are Lost Forever"

Most of America's silent films are lost forever, according to the newly released Library of Congress report The Survival of American Silent Feature Films: 1912–1929. (You can look up the ones that survive in this handy database). [more inside]
posted by bubukaba on Dec 4, 2013 - 39 comments

feel so good this mornin' ... gon' be downloadin' all night long

"Folk Music in America" is a series of 15 LP records published by the Library of Congress between 1976 and 1978 to celebrate the bicentennial of the American Revolution. It was curated by librarian/collector-cum-discographer Richard K. Spottswood, and funded by a grant by the National Endowment for the Arts. It's absolutely fantastic. And here it is.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Aug 10, 2013 - 21 comments

The Roadmap to Saving the Sounds of America, Though the Road is Bumpy

The National Recording Preservation Board was mandated by the National Recording Preservation Act of 2000, but it didn't have a preservation plan in place to address saving everything from the oldest tin foil recordings (prev) to recent "born digital" creations. That changed with the National Recording Preservation Plan (full 89 page PDF). Except, "the recording preservation provisions under current law are so restrictive you literally can't make — legally — a digital copy of an older analog recording without permissions which are very hard to get" (NPR). [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Feb 15, 2013 - 8 comments

Don't unlock your phone!

It is now illegal in the US to unlock your smartphone. You face up to five years imprisonment and a $500,000 fine. [more inside]
posted by Chocolate Pickle on Jan 28, 2013 - 161 comments

Ex Libris Houdini

Ehrich Weisz may not have had much formal education, but he grew up to be Harry Houdini, self-educated stunt performer, escape artist, and owner of "one of the largest libraries in the world on psychic phenomena, Spiritualism, magic, witchcraft, demonology, evil spirits, etc., some of the material going back as far as 1489." Houdini bequeathed much of his collection to the Library of Congress, which received 3,988 volumes from his collection in 1927, including a number of magic books inscribed or annotated by well-known magicians. Archive.org has more of the Harry Houdini Collection online. He also put a great deal of research into his tricks, as seen in his letter to Dr. W. J. McConnell, a physiologist at the U.S. Bureau of Mines, written up after Houdini's watery grave stunt in 1926.
posted by filthy light thief on Dec 3, 2012 - 5 comments

Not the Wilhelm Scream

What Did The Rebel Yell Sound Like? (video): 'From the early 1900's through the 1940's, Civil War veterans were filmed, recorded and interviewed at reunions, parades, and other patriotic events where, as the century advanced, they came increasingly to seem like ambulatory trophies from some distant age of heroes.'
posted by the man of twists and turns on Apr 27, 2012 - 50 comments

The art of Kevin J. Weir, who enjoys bears, space, and GIFs

Kevin J. Weir is an artist, making ads (1, 2, 3, 4, 5), and more interestingly, not ads. In the latter category, he has made 3 stand-alone sites: the Flux Machine, a tumblr of public domain images turned into animated GIFs, ranging from amusing to surreal (with an extra dash of Lovecraft), which Cartoon Brew likened to Terry Gilliam and Stan VanDerBeek; Nyan Waits, another spin-off of the Nyan Cat meme/theme, now with more Tom Waits; and Loud Portraits, an interactive portrait gallery. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Apr 4, 2012 - 9 comments

1930s-40s in Colour

The Library of Congress has posted a series of colour photos from the 1930s and 1940s online. [more inside]
posted by gman on Mar 5, 2012 - 17 comments

"Three months later, the seven youngest children were sent to an orphanage. The family was never reunited."

"Family working in the Tifton Cotton Mill. Mrs. A.J. Young works in mill and at home. Nell (oldest girl) alternates in mill with mother. Mammy (next girl) runs 2 sides. Mary (next) runs 1½ sides. Elic (oldest boy) works regularly. Eddie (next girl) helps in mill, sticks on bobbins. Four smallest children not working yet. The mother said she earns $4.50 a week and all the children earn $4.50 a week. Husband died and left her with 11 children. Two of them went off and got married. The family left the farm two years ago to work in the mill." [more inside]
posted by apricot on Oct 16, 2011 - 38 comments

HABS, HAER, HALS, CRGIS, NRHP and NHL. Together at last.

Heritage Documentation Programs is part of the National Park service and administers the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) - the United States government's oldest historic preservation program - Historic American Engineering Record (HAER), Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS) and Cultural Resources Geographic Information Systems (CRGIS) [more inside]
posted by IvoShandor on Aug 7, 2011 - 2 comments

The Library of Congress documentary

The Library of Congress (1:30m), a tour documentary by C-SPAN.
posted by stbalbach on Jul 20, 2011 - 8 comments

Music to my ears.

New from the Library of Congress, National Jukebox, where you can listen to 10,000 rare historic sound recordings. (Streaming only, requires flash and javascript.)
posted by fings on May 10, 2011 - 22 comments

Tufte eat your heart out!

"A Series of Statistical Charts, Illustrating The Condition of the Descendants of Former African Slaves Now Resident In the United States of America." (HQ Library of Congress links.) W.E.B. DuBois : "I wanted to set down its aim and method in some outstanding way which would bring my work to the notice of the thinking world. The great World's Fair at Paris was being planned and I thought I might put my findings into plans, charts and figures, so one might see what we were trying to accomplish." [more inside]
posted by stratastar on Feb 25, 2011 - 8 comments

It's probably doing some research on Natty Bumppo

Since at least Wednesday, there's been a Cooper's Hawk in the Main Reading Room at the Library of Congress. It has has adopted the ornate 160ft high dome as its aerie. [more inside]
posted by Herodios on Jan 21, 2011 - 48 comments

Homage to Sportswomen of the Past

Vintage photos of women in sport. "At the turn of the last century women in the western world were finding a voice, both collectively and individually. As the Victorian era lapsed in to memory and the Edwardian Era commenced many women chose to pursue sports." [more inside]
posted by gman on Nov 18, 2010 - 14 comments

DIY Jazz Wall Art, just add printer.

Between 1938 and 1948, William P. Gottlieb wrote about and photographed the jazz world. In 1995, the Library of Congress acquired his collection of approximately 1500 photographs covering more than 250 jazz musicians. While discussed here seven years ago, not mentioned at that time was the fact that Mr. Gottlieb agreed to transfer his copyrights into the public domain 15 years after acquisition. Fast forward to 2010, and you will find that the Library has added high resolution TIFFs download links to the image pages (click on the thumbnail images to get to the TIFF download links). A few pictures to whet your appetite: Ella Fitzgerald and Dizzy Gillespie, Cab Calloway, Les Paul, Django Reinhardt, Nat King Cole, Duke Ellington, Sidney Bechet, and Louis Armstrong.
posted by fings on Aug 6, 2010 - 19 comments

Early films from the Library of Congress

America at Work, America at Leisure - "Work, school, and leisure activities in the United States from 1894 to 1915 are featured in this presentation of 150 motion pictures." [Library of Congress Youtube playlist]
posted by peacay on May 20, 2010 - 5 comments

Music and the Brain

Music and the Brain The Library of Congress' Music and the Brain podcasts offer lectures and conversations about new research at the intersection of cognitive neuroscience and music. Sufi rituals, Wednesday is Indigo Blue (synaesthesia), Your Brain on Jazz, The Music of Language and the Language of Music, and more.
posted by carter on Feb 15, 2010 - 13 comments

"Poor Salignac! how hard a fate was thine..."

Presidents as Poets, a virtual exhibit from the Library of Congress, examines the lyrical efforts of eight American presidents, including Barack Obama's "Pop," Abraham Lincoln's "The Bear Hunt," and John Quincy Adams' Dermot MacMorrogh or the Conquest of Ireland: An Historical Tale of the Twelfth Century in Four Cantos. [more inside]
posted by Iridic on Feb 10, 2010 - 22 comments

World War I Posters

From the Prints & Photographs Division Library of Congress - browse through more than 1900 World War I posters. You can also search or look by subject heading. [via] [more inside]
posted by cashman on Oct 8, 2009 - 8 comments

When we've been there ten thousand years.

Hymn 41 Harmony Grove New Britain Claremont Arlington Amazing Grace. The timeline links to a nice variety of recordings, traditional (1939: Mary Shipp; 1941: Shiloh Baptist Church) and otherwise (1975: The Amazing Rhythm Aces; 1992: The Lemonheads). [more inside]
posted by nebulawindphone on Jul 24, 2009 - 27 comments

World Digital Library

The World Digital Library is set to open on the 21st of April, but appears to be operating as of now. Coral Cache
posted by djgh on Apr 19, 2009 - 6 comments

Postcards from Israel (or stamps, anyway).

Postcards from Israel (or stamps, anyway). COLOURlovers (previously) has posted a set of color palettes drawn from designer and blogger Karen Horton's flickr collection of vintage Israeli postage stamps. [more inside]
posted by sarabeth on Mar 2, 2009 - 3 comments

2008 Film Preservation picks on Internet Archive

Each December, the United States National Film Preservation Board chooses up to 25 films they deem worthy of taking special action to preserve in the Library of Congress. It’s a new year, and that means 25 more films are welcomed in the vault of the National Film Registry. Three of the 2008 picks can be viewed on Internet Archive as well as nearly 40 picks from years past.
posted by stbalbach on Jan 6, 2009 - 57 comments

For Ourselves and Our Posterity

Inauguration 2009 Sermons and Orations Project The Library of Congress invites you to submit digital audio or video recordings of speeches made between January 16 and january 25, 2009 on the occasion of Barack Obama's inauguration. The speeches will be archived in a collection for future scholarship, much like the Day of Infamyand other collections capturing signifcant American moments.
posted by Miko on Dec 24, 2008 - 4 comments

This deal here is new

"New Deal Programs: Selected Library of Congress Resources was created to serve as a starting point for research using Library of Congress collections of New Deal program materials." Includes links to numerous collections of digitized materials, including photos, posters, music, manuscripts and more. [more inside]
posted by dersins on Jul 15, 2008 - 4 comments

That toddlin' town

Photographs from the Chicago Daily News, 1902-1933. Stumbled upon whilst looking for historical info on 1933, this Library of Congress-hosted site provides access to "over 55,000 images of urban life captured on glass plate negatives" by the photographers of the Daily News. memory.loc.gov simply never disappoints.
posted by mwhybark on Jul 13, 2008 - 5 comments

Webcasts from the Library of Congress

Webcasts from the Library of Congress. Hundreds of recent public programs from the Library of Congress, from Indian Religious Freedom, to Litigate or Legislate? to End of European Colonial Empires, to Robert E. Lee, to 1507 Waldseemuller World Map. Other topics include Performing Arts, Education, Government, World Affairs, Literature, Religion and Science. [more inside]
posted by LarryC on Feb 22, 2008 - 6 comments

Rediscovered photos from Lincoln's second inauguration

"New" photos emerge of Lincoln's second inauguration The Library of Congress has discovered new photographs taken in 1865 at Abraham Lincoln's second inauguration. For years they were filed under President Grant's archive, mislabeled into obscurity. Incidentally, this week will be the grand opening of Lincoln's summer "cottage" in northwest DC.
posted by wowbobwow on Feb 18, 2008 - 11 comments

The Library of Congress, on Flickr.

The Library of Congress, on Flickr. [more inside]
posted by chunking express on Jan 16, 2008 - 23 comments

Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers

Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers is a beta release of the Library of Congress/National Endowment for the Humanities partnership project, the (previously mentioned) National Digital Newspaper Program. In its current state, Chronicling America allows users to search for and read newspaper pages from 36 newspapers published between 1900 and 1910, and search for information on American newspapers published between 1690 and present day.
posted by cog_nate on Aug 13, 2007 - 9 comments

Where it says snow read teeth-marks of a virgin

Green Buddhas
On the fruit stand.
We eat the smile
And spit out the teeth.

Surrealist poet Charles Simic was named the Poet Laureate of the US this week. He also won the Wallace Stevens Award for "outstanding and proven mastery" of the art of poetry. [more inside]
posted by jessamyn on Aug 2, 2007 - 90 comments

Designs for an American Landscape

The decade between 1922 & 1932 was not a good one for Frank Lloyd Wright; his star had faded in the US upon his return from Japan, and even though his most prolific years were still ahead of him, he had trouble finding work, and was evicited, his fabled home siezed by creditors. The Library of Congress hosts a fantastic collection of 5 projects he undertook during this era, none of which ever came to fruition. All that's left are his extensive blueprints, perspective drawings, and scale models carved specifically for the exhibit.
posted by jonson on Aug 14, 2006 - 15 comments

Sorry, no love letters to Heidegger here!

Hannah Arendt's Papers are digitally preserved by the Library of Congress. Read her lectures on Political Philosophy. Browse her correspondence. Here she castigates once-friend, Gershom Scholem, for his poor treatment of Eichmann in Jerusalem. Here she explains forgiveness to the hapless poet she called 'Wystan:' W. H. Auden.
posted by anotherpanacea on Jun 1, 2006 - 17 comments

Creative Americans: Portraits by Carl Van Vechten 1932-1964

Creative Americans: The Carl Van Vechten Photographs Collection at the Library of Congress consists of 1,395 photographs taken by American photographer Carl Van Vechten (1880-1964) between 1932 and 1964. The bulk of the collection consists of portrait photographs of celebrities, including many figures from the Harlem Renaissance. Portraits include those of Tallulah Bankhead, Salvador Dali, Truman Capote, Dizzy Gillespie, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Eartha Kitt, and Joe Louis. They are all available in medium or high resolution JPEG’s or uncompressed archival TIFF versions.
posted by ND¢ on Feb 17, 2006 - 10 comments

LibraryThing: Like Flickr for your books.

LibraryThing. Like Flickr for your books.
posted by monju_bosatsu on Sep 14, 2005 - 31 comments

Manteca to Nirvana

The latest additions to the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress have just been announced. This year's additions of "culturally, historically or aesthetically important" works include "Swanee'" by Al Jolson, Edward R. Murrow's radio reports from London during WWII, and "Fear of a Black Planet" by Public Enemy. View the full registry here, selection criteria and nomination information here.
posted by me3dia on Apr 6, 2005 - 17 comments

Civil War Maps

Civil War Maps The Library of Congress just published an online collection of approximately 2,240 Civil War maps, with information about the collection and a History of Mapping the Civil War.
posted by kirkaracha on Jan 11, 2005 - 6 comments

Voices from the Days of Slavery.

Voices from the Days of Slavery. A collection of audio recordings made between 1932 and 1975 of African Americans known to have once been slaves. Hear Isom Moseley describe how he used to make soap, and express his opinion of the "white folks" who owned and ran the plantation where he was held. Wallace Quarterman describes his experience as a freed man in Georgia, and recounts the violent atmosphere of the Reconstruction South. Aunt Phoebe Boyd describes the demands of agricultural work. Even more narratives are available as transcripts from the companion exhibit, Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1938 (linked to previously on Metafilter here), though some of these were unfortunately edited selectively.
posted by profwhat on Jan 19, 2004 - 15 comments

This place is dazzlingly, I was going to say glaringly, beautiful...

Travels in America. Another amazing resource from the Library of Congress, this contains "253 published narratives by Americans and foreign visitors recounting their travels in the colonies and the United States and their observations and opinions about American peoples, places, and society from about 1750 to 1920... The narratives in American Notes range from the unjustly neglected to the justly famous, and from classics of the genre to undiscovered gems." Go to "Search by keyword," put the name of a city into "Search Full Text," and enjoy. (The quote in the post title is about Santa Barbara, from First impressions in America by John Ayscough [pronounced "ascue"].) Via MeFi's own plep.
posted by languagehat on Oct 14, 2003 - 5 comments

panorama

Taking the Long View: Panoramic Photographs, 1851-1991 ~ 4000+ images archived, courtesy of they US Library of Congress.
posted by crunchland on Jul 17, 2003 - 10 comments

Beginnings

Beginnings at the Library of Congress. The origins of the Universe, humanity and society as viewed by different cultural and religious traditions; and their attempts to explain it all.
The Talk.Origins Archive presents a more scientific view of physical and biological beginnings.
posted by plep on May 3, 2003 - 6 comments

Library of Congress celebrates its 202nd birthday

Library of Congress celebrates its 202nd birthday. Today, the Library of Congress celebrates its 202nd birthday. On April 24, 1800, President John Adams approved the appropriation of $5,000 for the purchase of "such books as may be necessary for the use of congress."
The books, the first purchased for the Library of Congress, were ordered from London and arrived in 1801. The collection of 740 volumes and three maps was stored in the U.S. Capitol, the Library's first home. President Thomas Jefferson approved the first legislation defining the role and functions of the new institution on January 26, 1802.
Check out, Jefferson's Legacy: A Brief History of the Library of Congress and a Concordance of Images for more.
posted by Blake on Apr 24, 2003 - 12 comments

Vernacular Music from the American Memory historical collections at the Library of Congress

"Now What a Time": Blues, Gospel, and the Fort Valley Music Festivals, 1938-1943
Approximately one hundred sound recordings, primarily blues and gospel songs, and related documentation from the folk festival at Fort Valley State College (now Fort Valley State University), Fort Valley, Georgia. The documentation was created by John Wesley Work III in 1941 and by Lewis Jones and Willis Laurence James in March, June, and July 1943. Also included are recordings made in Tennessee and Alabama by John Work between September 1938 and 1941. Audio Title Index

The John and Ruby Lomax 1939 Southern States Recording Trip
Folk singers and folksongs documented during a three-month trip through the southern United States. Audio Title Index

California Gold: Northern California Folk Music From the Thirties
Materials from the WPA California Folk Music Project Collection, including sound recordings, still photographs, drawings, and written documents from a variety of European ethnic and English- and Spanish-speaking communities in Northern California. The collection comprises 35 hours of folk music recorded in twelve languages representing numerous ethnic groups and 185 musicians. Audio Title Index (As Always, More Inside)
posted by y2karl on Apr 14, 2003 - 12 comments

Edward S. Curtis's The North American Indian

'The North American Indian by Edward S. Curtis is one of the most significant and controversial representations of traditional American Indian culture ever produced. Issued in a limited edition from 1907-1930, the publication continues to exert a major influence on the image of Indians in popular culture ... Featured here are all of the published photogravure images including over 1500 illustrations bound in the text volumes, along with over 700 portfolio plates. ' All that and a great links page too.
The Curtis Collection is also worth a look.
posted by plep on Jan 29, 2003 - 26 comments

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