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Alabama: State Resource Guide

Digital Collections

The digital collections of the Library of Congress contain a wide variety of primary source materials related to Alabama, including books, government documents, manuscripts, maps, motion pictures, photographs, sheet music, and sound recordings. Provided below is a link to the home page for each relevant digital collection along with selected highlights.

Written materials in the Library's digital collections include books, government documents, manuscripts, and sheet music. Examples of written materials related to Alabama are provided for most of the collections listed below.

African American Perspectives: Materials Selected from the Rare Book Collection

"African American Perspectives" gives a panoramic and eclectic review of African American history and culture and is primarily comprised of two collections in the Rare Book and Special Collections Division: the African American Pamphlet Collection and the Daniel A.P. Murray Collection with a date range of 1822 through 1909. The collection contains eight items pertaining to Alabama.

A selection of highlights from this collection includes:

Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress

The complete Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress consist of approximately 20,000 documents which include incoming and outgoing correspondence and enclosures, drafts of speeches, and notes and printed material.

A selection of highlights from this collection includes:

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

These life histories were written by staff of the Folklore Project of the Federal Writers' Project for the U.S. Works Progress (later Work Projects) Administration (WPA) from 1936-40. The collection contains thirty-three titles for Alabama.

A selection of highlights from this collection includes:

American Notes: Travels in America, 1750 to 1920

This collection comprises 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 collection contains more than 100 items pertaining to Alabama.

Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936 to 1938

The collection contains more than 2,300 first-person accounts of slavery and 500 black-and-white photographs of former slaves. Browse by location to locate slave narratives for Alabama.

A selection of highlights from this collection includes:

A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation: U.S. Congressional Documents and Debates, 1774-1875

The collection consists of a linked set of published congressional records of the United States of America from the Continental Congress through the 43rd Congress, 1774-1875.

A selection of highlights from this collection includes:

The Evolution of the Conservation Movement, 1850-1920

This collection documents the historical formation and cultural foundations of the movement to conserve and protect America's natural heritage. Search the full-text option to locate items related to Alabama.

A selected highlight from this collection includes:

Music for the Nation: American Sheet Music, ca. 1870 to 1885

This collection consists of over 62,000 pieces of sheet music registered for copyright during the nineteenth century. Included are popular songs, operatic arias, piano music, sacred music and secular choral music, solo instrumental music, method books and instructional materials, and music for band and orchestra.

A selection of highlights from this collection includes:

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 encompassing key events and eras in American history. Browse by location to locate twenty-one items printed in Alabama.

A selection of highlights from this collection includes:

Prosperity and Thrift: The Coolidge Era and the Consumer Economy, 1921-1929

This collection assembles a wide array of Library of Congress source materials from the 1920s that document the widespread prosperity of the Coolidge years, the nation's transition to a mass consumer economy, and the role of government in this transition.

A selected highlight from this collection includes:

The visual material collections at the Library of Congress contains thousands of images documenting the history of Alabama. Selected images of Alabama are provided for each collection listed below. Search on terms such as or names of cities, towns, and sites, etc. to locate additional images.

Baseball Cards

This collection presents 2,100 early baseball cards dating from 1887 to 1914.

A selection of highlights from this collection includes:

Daguerreotypes

This collection consists of approximately 700 photographs dating from 1839 to 1864. Portrait daguerreotypes produced by the Mathew Brady studio make up the major portion of the collection. The collection includes four daguerreotype portraits of congressmen from Alabama.

A selection of highlights from this collection includes:

Detroit Publishing Company

This collection of photographs from the Detroit Publishing Company Collection includes over 25,000 glass negatives and transparencies as well as about 300 color photolithograph prints, mostly of the eastern United States. The collection contains more than 100 photographs of Alabama.

Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Black-and-White Negatives

The images in the Farm Security Administration-Office of War Information Collection are among the most famous documentary photographs ever produced. Created by a group of U.S. government photographers, the images show Americans in every part of the nation. Browse by location to locate more than 2,500 photographs for Alabama.

Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Color Photographs

Photographers working for the U.S. government's Farm Security Administration (FSA) and later the Office of War Information (OWI) between 1939 and 1944 made approximately 1,600 color photographs that depict life in the United States, including Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. This collections contains more than ten color photographs of Alabama.

Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record/Historic American Landscapes Survey

The Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) and the Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) collections document achievements in architecture, engineering, and design in the United States through a comprehensive range of building types and engineering technologies. Browse by location to locate more than 1,200 items for Alabama.

Panoramic Photographs

The Panoramic Photograph Collection contains approximately 4,000 images featuring American cityscapes, landscapes, and group portraits. The collections contains more more than forty images for Alabama.

A selection of highlights from this collection includes:

Quilts and Quiltmaking in America, 1978 to 1996

The Lands' End collection provides a different but complementary window into late-twentieth century quiltmaking. This online presentation documents the 181 state and national winners of contests sponsored by the company in 1992, 1994, and 1996, and reflects a sampling of excellent design and technical skill characteristic of prizewinning quilts during this period. This collection includes a large number of quilt images from across the country and statements provided by the makers in surveys about their quilts.

A selection of highlights from this collection includes:

The Library of Congress has custody of the largest and most comprehensive cartographic collection in the world with collections numbering over 5.5 million maps, 80,000 atlases, 6,000 reference works, over 500 globes and globe gores, 3,000 raised relief models, and a large number of cartographic materials in other formats, including over 19,000 CDs/DVDs.

American Revolution and Its Era: Maps and Charts of North America and the West Indies, 1750 to 1789

The maps and charts in this online collection number well over two thousand different items, with easily as many or more unnumbered duplicates, many with distinct colorations and annotations. Almost six hundred maps are original manuscript drawings, a large number of which are the work of such famous mapmakers as John Montrésor, Samuel Holland, Claude Joseph Sauthier, John Hills, and William Gerard De Brahm.

A selection of highlights from this collection includes:

Cities and Towns

This category includes maps that depict individual buildings to panoramic views of large urban areas. These maps record the evolution of cities illustrating the development and nature of economic activities, educational and religious facilities, parks, street patterns and widths, and transportation systems. Browse the collection by location to locate more than forty maps for Alabama.

A selection of highlights from this collection includes:

Civil War Maps

This collection brings together materials from three premier collections: the Library of Congress Geography and Map Division, the Virginia Historical Society, and the Library of Virginia. Among the reconnaissance, sketch, and theater-of-war maps are the detailed battle maps made by Major Jedediah Hotchkiss for Generals Lee and Jackson, General Sherman's Southern military campaigns, and maps taken from diaries, scrapbooks, and manuscripts all available for the first time in one place.

A selection of highlights from this collection includes:

Panoramic Maps

The panoramic map was a popular cartographic form used to depict U.S. and Canadian cities and towns during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Known also as bird's-eye views, perspective maps, and aero views, panoramic maps are nonphotographic representations of cities portrayed as if viewed from above at an oblique angle.

A selection of highlights from this collection includes:

Railroad Maps, 1828 to 1900

The Railroad maps represent an important historical record, illustrating the growth of travel and settlement as well as the development of industry and agriculture in the United States. They depict the development of cartographic style and technique, highlighting the achievement of early railroaders. Included in the collection are progress report surveys for individual lines, official government surveys, promotional maps, maps showing land grants and rights-of-way, and route guides published by commercial firms.

A selection of highlights from this collection includes:

Sanborn Maps

The Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps Online Checklist provides a searchable database of the fire insurance maps published by the Sanborn Map Company housed in the collections of the Geography and Map Division. The online checklist is based upon the Library's 1981 publication Fire Insurance Maps in the Library of Congress and will be continually updated to reflect new acquisitions. Browse the collection by location to locate more than 300 maps for Alabama.

A selection of highlights from this collection includes:

Transportation and Communication

These maps document the development and status of transportation and communication systems on the national, state, and local level. Transportation maps can depict canal and river systems, cycling routes , railway lines and systems, roads and road networks, and traffic patterns. Communication maps illustrate the location and distribution of telegraph routes, telephone systems and radio coverage.

A selection of highlights from this collection includes:

The Library oversees one of the largest collections of motion pictures in the world. Acquired primarily through copyright deposit, exchange, gift and purchase, the collection spans the entire history of the cinema. The following moving image collections contain materials related to Alabama.

Civil Rights History Project

On May 12, 2009, the U. S. Congress authorized a national initiative by passing The Civil Rights History Project Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-19). The law directed the Library of Congress (LOC) and the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) to conduct a national survey of existing oral history collections with relevance to the Civil Rights movement to obtain justice, freedom and equality for African Americans and to record and make widely accessible new interviews with people who participated in the struggle. The project was initiated in 2010 with the survey and with interviews beginning in 2011. Browse the collection by location to locate more than fifteen interviews for Alabama.

A selection of highlights from this collection includes:

National Screening Room

These selections are presented as part of the record of the past. They are historical documents which reflect the attitudes, perspectives, and beliefs of different times.

A selected highlight from this collection includes:

The Library of Congress holds the nation's largest public collection of sound recordings (music and spoken word) and radio broadcasts, some 3 million recordings in all.

Fiddle Tunes of the Old Frontier: The Henry Reed Collection

This multi-format ethnographic field collection of traditional fiddle tunes is performed by Henry Reed of Glen Lyn, Virginia. Recorded by folklorist Alan Jabbour in 1966-67, when Reed was more than eighty years old, the tunes represent the music and evoke the history and spirit of Virginia's Appalachian frontier.

A selection of highlights from this collection includes:

Southern Mosaic: The John and Ruby Lomax 1939 Southern States Recording Trip

A multi-format ethnographic field collection that includes approximately 700 sound recordings, as well as photographic prints, fieldnotes, dust jackets, and other manuscripts documenting a three-month, 6,502-mile trip through the southern United States collecting folksongs. Browse by location to locate more than a hundred items pertaining to Alabama.

Voices from the Days of Slavery: Former Slaves Tell Their Stories

The recordings of former slaves in this collection come from several collections held in the American Folklife Center's Archive of Folk Culture. They were made by various interviewers working in nine Southern states between 1932 and 1975. Browse the collection by place to locate interviews from Alabama.

A selection of highlights from this collection includes: