Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Library of Congress Collections: Rare Book & Special Collections Reading Room


The Library of Congress



This view of St. Augustine is the earliest engraving of any locality that is now in the United States. The English fleet lies at anchor, the infantry troops having disembarked and are attacking the Spanish settlement on May 28 and 29, 1586. To see more, visit the online exhibit of The Cultures and History of the Americas; the Jay I. Kislak Collection. Image Courtesy of the Library of Congress.
This view of St. Augustine is the earliest engraving of any locality that is now in the United States.
The English fleet lies at anchor, the infantry troops having disembarked and are attacking the Spanish settlement
on May 28 and 29, 1586. From the online exhibit of The Cultures and History of the Americas; the Jay I. Kislak Collection.
 Image Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

"Today the division's collections amount to nearly 800,000 books, broadsides, pamphlets, theater playbills, title pages, prints, posters, photographs, and medieval and Renaissance manuscripts. Although the division's materials have come into its custody for a variety of reasons--their monetary value, importance in the history of printing, binding, association interest, or fragility, they have one point in common: the collections offer scholarly documentation about the western and American traditions of life and learning."

  • Introduction
  • American History
  • American Literature
  • Book Arts
  • The Illustrated Book
  • List of Selected Special Collections
  • Concordance of Images
    • How to order copies of the images



  • Books
  • Catalogs
  • Exhibits
  • Discovery and Exploration
    • "documents the discovery and exploration with both manuscripts and published maps. Many of these maps reflect the European Age of Discoveries, dating from the late 15th century to the 17th century when Europeans were concerned primarily with determining the outline of the continents as they explored and mapped the coastal areas and the major waterways. Also included are 18th and 19th century maps documenting the exploration and mapping of the interior parts of the continents, reflecting the work of Lewis and Clark and subsequent government explorers and surveyors."
    • Essay about the 1562 Map of America
    • Collections Items
  • Louisiana: European Explorations and the Louisiana Purchase
    • "This presentation focuses on the various documents from maps to newspapers to cultural artifact that help to describe the region of North America that stretched from as far east as Alabama into what is now the state of  Montana.  The 119 items presented here come from the various special and general collections of the Library of Congress."
    • Essay on the Exploration and Legacy of the Louisiana Territory
    • Collections Items
  • Military Battles and Campaigns
    • "This category contains maps showing campaigns of major military conflicts including troop movements, defensive structures and groundworks, roads to and from sites of military engagements, campsites, and local buildings, topography and vegetation. Some of the maps are manuscripts drawn on the field of battle, while others are engraved including some that have manuscript annotations reflecting the history of the battle or campaign. A significant number of battle maps provide information about the locality that is not available elsewhere such as the location of plantations, the names of landowners in the area, the configuration of small towns and villages, and indications of prior settlement by native Americans."
    • Collections Items
  • Rochambeau Map Collection
    • "contains cartographic items used by Jean Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur, comte de Rochambeau (1725-1807), when he was commander in chief of the French expeditionary army (1780-82) during the American Revolution. The maps were from Rochambeau's personal collection, cover much of eastern North America, and date from 1717 to 1795. The maps show Revolutionary-era military actions, some of which were published in England and France, and early state maps from the 1790s. Many of the items in this extraordinary group of maps show the importance of cartographic materials in the campaigns of the American Revolution as well as Rochambeau's continuing interest in the new United States.The collection consists of 40 manuscript and 26 printed maps, and a manuscript atlas, the originals of which are in the Library of Congress' Geography and Map Division."
    • Collections Items
Rare Book Webcasts

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