Attached are the announcements for a new collection and an update to the
George Washington papers from the National Digital Library at the Library
of Congress. Our apologies for any duplication as this messsage is being
sent to a number of lists.
Please send any questions about America Singing or the update to the George
Washington papers to [log in to unmask]
America Singing: 19th Century Song Sheets Collection to be Added to
American Memory historical collections
The latest addition to the American Memory online historical collections
documents one of the earliest forms of mass media in the United States.
Descended from the British musical broadsides of the sixteenth and
seventeenth centuries, song sheets disseminated popular songs before the
invention of recorded music.
Song sheets were especially popular during the Civil War, recording
military movements and reflecting public attitudes about the war. They
also honored individual regiments and military and political leaders. The
4,291 song sheets in this new online collection provide a unique
perspective on the social, economic, and political issues of the day. Some
of America's most beloved songs such as the "Battle Hymn of the Republic"
and the "Star Spangled Banner" were printed as song sheets.
Unlike other kinds of sheet music, song sheets were normally single sheets
printed with lyrics but no music. The lyrics have been set to the tunes of
familiar songs such as "Yankee Doodle" and "The Last Rose of Summer" or to
new songs being sung in music halls. Though many songs were serious or
dramatic, others were humorous and poked fun at various people or events.
In addition to documenting public opinion, song sheets also document
changes in the printing industry. Several companies are highlighted within
the collection and users can see how publishing houses relocated and
changed over time. The collection also documents the introduction of the
mechanized printing press and how this new technology helped to meet the
needs of a country that was eager for news and for ways to express itself.
America Singing: 19th Century Song Sheets can be found at the following
Diaries, Exercise Books and Maps added to George Washington Papers online
The Library of Congress National Digital Library Program and the Manuscript
Division announce the release of George Washington Papers Series 1,
Exercise Books, Diaries, and Surveys, 1741-1799, and, in addition, with the
Geography and Map Division, the release of a special presentation "Early
Maps and Surveys Drawn or Annotated by George Washington." Both may be
found at the Library of Congress's American Memory Collections Web site for
the George Washington Papers at <http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/gwhtml/>.
Series 1a, Exercise Books, 1745-ante 1747, consists of three volumes. The
first of these is "The Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior in Company and
Conversation" (ante 1747) in Washington's hand and preceded by hand-copied
legal forms, such as deeds of conveyance, with which an
eighteenth-century youth aspiring to the status of a landowning gentleman
would need to be familiar. Two more school copybooks from 1745 containing
arithmetic, geometry, and surveying exercises complete Series 1a.
Series 1b, Diaries, 1748-1799, consists of thirty-six volumes dating from
1748 through 1799. Of special note among these are "Journey over the
Mountain," Washington's account of his 1748 surveying trip to the
Shenandoah Valley on behalf of prominent Virginia landowner, Lord Thomas
Fairfax, and Washington's 1787 diary kept while presiding over the
constitutional convention in Philadelphia. Fourteen of Washington's diaries
were kept in the blank pages provided in eighteenth-century printed
almanacs for such purposes. Entries throughout are devoted to
weather observations, work and activities at Mount Vernon, social events
and people, and Washington's public life. Images of Washington's diary
pages have been enhanced in Photoshop, using a sharpening filter to improve
legibility. In June 2000, transcriptions with annotations of
George Washington's diaries will be provided online.
Series 1c, Surveys, 1749-1752, consists of four volumes of field notes,
records of surveys, and land records. At the age of sixteen George
Washington began working as a surveyor for the Fairfax family, the largest
landowners in Virginia. Washington's survey books contain field notes,
retained copies of final surveys, and notations of the fees received,
recorded in Washington's handwriting. The surveys indicate the high skill
attained by Washington at a young age and indicate the
important information on Virginia land that Washington was able to parlay
into valuable acquisitions for himself and his family connections. Most of
the surveys were done in what is now the Winchester area of the Shenandoah
Accompanying the fifth release of the Washington Papers are maps and text
from the Geography and Map Division. The National Digital Library Program
and the Geography and Map Division announce a Special Presentation entitled
"Early Maps and Surveys Drawn or Annotated By Washington," which includes
several very important, very rare, and relatively unknown maps highlighting
Washington's public surveying and land-speculation activities.
Over the course of his life Washington surveyed 80,000 acres of land in
more than 200 professional surveys and drew or annotated more than fifty
additional maps, plans, pen and ink sketches or architectural plans.
Although not all of these maps have survived, the Library of Congress
Manuscript and Geography and Map Divisions' collections constitute almost
one third of extant Washington maps. The Geography and Map Division's
collections include two finished survey plats (1748 and
1749), two early maps of the city of Alexandria (1748 and 1749), a 1760 map
of land Washington purchased from William Clifton adjoining the Mount
Vernon estate and a 1766 map of the same area, and a 1793 printed map of
Mount Vernon based on an original map drawn by Washington.
In addition to his surveying career, Washington was an active land
speculator. Beginning with his first land purchase at the age of eighteen
and continuing throughout the rest of his life Washington
eventually purchased approximately 70,000 acres in Virginia, Pennsylvania,
Maryland, New Jersey, Kentucky, and present-day West Virginia. The
Geography and Map Division's collections include several
maps directly relating to Washington's land speculation, including a unique
1774 manuscript map of western Virginia documenting the location of more
than 20,000 acres patented by Washington and members of the Virginia
Regiment in exchange for their military service in the French and Indian War.
The online delivery of these very large digital map files is accomplished
using MrSid software, a wavelet compression technology made available to
the Library of Congress by LizardTech of Seattle, Washington. MrSid
software allows immediate access to any part of an image. While the map may
be viewed in its entirety at selected sizes, MrSid software allows viewing
of particular portions of the image requested by the viewer. Many of
Washington's maps are now too fragile to be used for research in the
original. This online presentation, then, makes available valuable items
otherwise inaccessible to users.
The eight series of the Washington Papers have been presented online in
five successive releases from February 1998 through this fifth release of
Series 1, which consists of approximately 4,200 grayscale GIF preview and
JPEG archival or reference images. The fifth release brings the total
number of images online to 87,500. The total size of the collection is
approximately 65,000 documents comprising 147,000 images.
A final update of Series 4, General Correspondence, and release of
transcriptions to accompany Series 1b, Diaries, in 2000 will complete the
online presentation of the George Washington Papers.
The George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress at
Elizabeth L. Brown
Automated Reference Services Librarian
National Digital Library Program, LIBN/NDL/LC(1330)
Library of Congress, Washington, DC 20540-1330
[log in to unmask] telephone: 202/707-2235
Library of Congress American Memory Home Page: