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Florida: State Resource Guide

Digital Collections

The digital collections of the Library of Congress contain a wide variety of primary source materials related to Florida, 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 Florida are provided for most of the collections listed below.

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

The collection includes 2,900 documents representing the work of over 300 writers from 24 states. The histories describe the informant's family education, income, occupation, political views, religion and mores, medical needs, diet, and miscellaneous observations. Included in the collection are 128 titles of mostly first-person accounts of life in Florida during the Great Depression.

American Notes: Travels in America, 1750 to 1920

The 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.

A selection of highlights from this collection includes:

The American Variety Stage: Vaudeville and Popular Entertainment, 1870-1920

The American Variety Stage is a multimedia anthology selected from various Library of Congress holdings. This collection illustrates the vibrant and diverse forms of popular entertainment, especially vaudeville, that thrived from 1870-1920. The collection contains two items that reference Florida.

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.

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

The collection documents the historical formation and cultural foundations of the movement to conserve and protect America's natural heritage, through books, pamphlets, government documents, manuscripts, prints, photographs, and motion picture footage drawn from the collections of the Library of Congress.

Selected highlight from this collection:

The Frederick Douglass Papers at the Library of Congress

The Frederick Douglass Papers at the Library of Congress presents the papers of the nineteenth-century African-American abolitionist who escaped from slavery and then risked his own freedom by becoming an outspoken antislavery lecturer, writer, and publisher.

Selected highlight from this collection:

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

The collection contains more than 62,500 pieces of historical sheet music registered for copyright: more than 15,000 registered during the years 1820-60 and more than 47,000 registered during the years 1870-85.

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 encompasses key events and eras in American history. The collection includes twelve items printed in Florida.

A selection of highlights from this collection includes:

Slaves and the Courts, 1740 to 1860

The collection contains just over 100 pamphlets and books (published between 1772 and 1889) concerning the difficult and troubling experiences of African and African-American slaves in the American colonies and the United States.

Selected highlight from this collection:

Thomas Jefferson Papers, 1606 to 1827

The complete Thomas Jefferson Papers from the Manuscript Division at the Library of Congress consist of approximately 27,000 documents. This is the largest collection of original Jefferson documents in the world. The collection is organized into ten series or groupings, ranging in date from 1606 to 1827.

A selection of highlights from this collection includes:

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

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. Browse the collection by location to locate more than 900 photographs for Florida.

A selection of highlights from this collection includes:

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

The images in the collection show Americans at home, at work, and at play, with an emphasis on rural and small-town life and the adverse effects of the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl, and increasing farm mechanization. The collection contains more than 2,000 images of Florida.

Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Color Photographs

The color photographs of the Farm Security Administration-Office of War Information Collection include scenes of rural and small-town life, migrant labor, and the effects of the Great Depression. Browse the collection by location to locate eleven images of Florida.

Gottscho-Schleisner Collection

The Gottscho-Schleisner Collection is comprised of over 29,000 images primarily of architectural subjects, including interiors and exteriors of homes, stores, offices, factories, historic buildings, and other structures. The collection contains more than 2,000 images pertaining to Florida.

A selection of highlights from this collection includes:

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 the collection by location to locate more than 700 items for Florida.

A selection of highlights from this collection includes:

Panoramic Photographs

The collection contains approximately four thousand images featuring American cityscapes, landscapes, and group portraits. The images date from 1851 to 1991 and depict scenes in all fifty states and the District of Columbia. More than twenty foreign countries and a few U.S. territories are also represented.

A selection of highlights from this collection includes:

Quilts and Quiltmaking in America, 1978 to 1996

The collection presents 181 segments from recorded interviews with quiltmakers and 410 graphic images (prints, positive transparencies, and negatives) from 2 collections in the American Folklife Center: the Blue Ridge Parkway Folklife Project and the Lands' End All-American Quilt Contest Collection.

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

This collection represents an important historical record of the mapping of North America and the Caribbean. 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. The collections contain more than sixty maps for Florida.

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.

A selection of highlights from this collection includes:

Civil War Maps

This presentation contains approximately 2,240 Civil War maps and charts and 76 atlases and sketchbooks that are held within the Geography and Map Division, 200 maps from the Library of Virginia, and 400 maps from the Virginia Historical Society. Browse this category by location to locate more than twenty maps for Florida.

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 400 maps for Florida.

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 Florida.

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 eight interviews for Florida.

A selection of highlights from this collection includes:

Inventing Entertainment: The Early Motion Pictures and Sound Recordings of the Edison Companies

The collection features 341 motion pictures, 81 disc sound recordings, and other related materials, such as photographs and original magazine articles.

A selection of highlights from this collection includes:

The Spanish-American War in Motion Pictures

This presentation features 68 motion pictures, produced between 1898 and 1901, of the Spanish-American War and the subsequent Philippine Revolution. Browse the collection by location to locate more than ten motion pictures for Florida.

A selection of highlights 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.

Florida Folklife from the WPA Collections, 1937 to 1942

The collection is a multiformat ethnographic field collection documenting African-American, Arabic, Bahamian, British-American, Cuban, Greek, Italian, Minorcan, Seminole, and Slavic cultures throughout Florida. Recorded by Robert Cook, Herbert Halpert, Zora Neale Hurston, Stetson Kennedy, Alton Morris, and others in conjunction with the Florida Federal Writers' Project, the Florida Music Project, and the Joint Committee on Folk Arts of the Work Projects Administration, it features folksongs and folktales in many languages, including blues and work songs from menhaden fishing boats, railroad gangs, and turpentine camps; children's songs, dance music, and religious music of many cultures; and interviews, also known as "life histories." The collection includes a special presentation, "A Florida Treasure Hunt."

The Library of Congress Celebrates the Songs of America

The Songs of America presentation allows you to explore American history as documented in the work of some of our country's greatest composers, poets, scholars, and performers. From popular and traditional songs, to poetic art songs and sacred music, the relationship of song to historical events from the nation's founding to the present is highlighted through more than 80,000 online items. Browse the collection by location to locate more than 400 items for Florida.

September 11, 2001, Documentary Project

The September 11, 2001, Documentary Project captures the heartfelt reactions, eyewitness accounts, and diverse opinions of Americans and others in the months that followed the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and United Airlines Flight 93. Browse by location to locate five interviews from Florida.

A selection of highlights from this collection includes:

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

The collection is a multiformat ethnographic field collection that includes nearly 700 sound recordings, as well as fieldnotes, dust jackets, and other manuscripts documenting a 3-month, 6,502-mile trip through the southern United States.

A selection of highlights from this collection includes: