“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 -
"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 -
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
posted by filthy light thief
on Dec 3, 2012 -
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 -
Kevin J. Weir
is an artist, making ads (1
), 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 -
New from the Library of Congress, National Jukebox
posted by fings
on May 10, 2011 -
"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 -
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 -
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 -
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 -
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 Infamy
and other collections capturing signifcant American moments.
posted by Miko
on Dec 24, 2008 -
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 -
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 -
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 -
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 -
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
posted by Blake
on Apr 24, 2003 -
"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 IndexThe 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 IndexCalifornia 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 -
'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
The Curtis Collection
is also worth a look.
posted by plep
on Jan 29, 2003 -