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European Mission and Cooperative Acquisitions Project at the Library of Congress

Manuscript Resources

Below are selected resources held by the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress. Researchers should contact the Manuscript Reading Room directly for assistance in accessing relevant collection items.

About the Manuscript Division

The Manuscript Division seeks to preserve personal papers and organizational records that document the course of America's national experience. Its more than twelve thousand collections and more than seventy million items touch upon every aspect of American history and culture. The Manuscript Division's holdings are strongest, however, in the areas of American national government, the federal judiciary, diplomacy, military history, women's history, and black history. 

All researchers are advised to e-mail or telephone the Manuscript Reading Room prior to visiting. Many collections are stored off-site, and advance notice is needed to retrieve these items for research use. Restrictions on the use of certain materials have been imposed by donors or for reasons of national security. Information governing the use of any specific group of manuscripts will be supplied upon request. Prospective readers should bear in mind the restrictions on photocopying and publication imposed by the Copyright Act of 1976. It is the responsibility of the prospective users or their publishers to determine the copyright status or obtain the required permissions before publication of manuscript material from the Library's collections.

The Library of Congress Archives

Librarian of Congress Luther Evans and Maj. Thomas Horan, seated, with members of the European Mission. January 1946. Library of Congress Manuscript Division.
Members of the Library of Congress European Mission, January 12, 1946. Seated left, Librarian of Congress Luther H. Evans and right, Major James Horan (Coordinator of Libraries, War Department). Standing left to right, David C. Clift (Columbia University Library), Dr. Harry M. Lydenberg (American Library Association), Richard S. Hill (Library of Congress, Music Division), Julius Allen (Library of Congress, Legislative Reference Service), Don Carlos Travis (U.S. Office of Censorship), Daniel Shacter (State Department) and Janet Emerson (Library of Congress). Photo published in Library of Congress Information Bulletin, January 12-18, 1946. Original photo is #358 in the Photos, Images and Objects (PIO) series of the Library of Congress Archives Collection, Manuscript Division.

The Library of Congress Archives, 1800-2015, comprises the collected records of the Library of Congress. The historical materials collected were transferred to the Manuscript Division to document the people, collections, and activities of the Library of Congress. This archive contains more than three million items including records of the design and construction of the Thomas Jefferson Building, acquisitions records dating back to the 1890s, photographs of activities and staff members, and Library of Congress memorabilia.

The European Mission Series

The Library of Congress Archives includes the records of the LC European Mission and Cooperative Acquisitions, 1942-1957. The European Mission and Cooperative Acquisitions Project series consists of materials distributed per agreements with partner institutions to acquire World War II-era publications for American libraries and sent to the Library of Congress.


During the war, the Library asked agents in Europe to find and acquire books and other publications that had been ordered, but could not be shipped to the U.S. Immediately following the war, the European Mission was organized by the Library of Congress to acquire these materials, as well as material published during the war on behalf of 152 American libraries. Members of the Mission included librarians from various repositories on a cooperative basis. During the period of U.S. military occupation of the American sector of Germany, Office of the Military Government, U.S. (OMGUS) directed the European Mission's activities to collect, review, and acquire materials from vast stores of Nazi-looted items discovered in various hidden locations. The U.S. military shipped these materials to collecting points in Germany, according to the type of material. The Library's European Mission primarily worked at the Offenbach Archival Depot and the Munich Central Collecting Point.


There are 36 boxes of records, approximately 8,000 items or 13.8 linear feet. Records include material documenting acquisitions of various types of materials; contacts made with German book agents; description of specific materials screened by the Mission for the War Department; communications with U.S. military authorities, the Committee to Advise on the Distribution of Foreign Acquisitions, and American research libraries; records of purchases and shipments; documentation of Germans who assisted Mission activities; Mission member personnel files; and records of restitution.

Types of Material

The records contain administrative files, correspondence, and reports created by members of the LC Mission to purchase books and periodicals published during the war; investigate the book trade and renew arrangements with publishers and book dealers; and assist the U.S. military in screening captured Nazi records and publications.


The European Mission and Cooperative Acquisitions Project series is an alphabetically arranged group of files that document Library of Congress efforts to acquire publications in Europe during and after World War II.

The Agents files include individuals and publishers that acquired material for the Library of Congress and the Cooperative Acquisitions Project. Case files were created to document the various sources of material that the U.S. military confiscated and the European Mission reviewed and acquired. The Communications files contain the various communications between the Library of Congress and the European Mission. Ten containers comprise the records of the Cooperative Acquisitions Project. Representatives files document the participation of librarians and other professionals in the European Mission. Restitution files describe efforts made to return materials to repositories in Germany and German occupied territories repositories and through the Jewish Restitution Commission.


The following titles link to fuller bibliographic information in the Library of Congress Online Catalog. Links to additional online content, including finding aids for the collections, are included when available.

Related Collections

The following collection titles link to fuller bibliographic information in the Library of Congress Online Catalog. Links to additional online content, including finding aids for the collections, are included when available.