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Idaho: State Resource Guide

Digital Collections

The digital collections of the Library of Congress contain a wide variety of primary source materials related to Idaho, 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. Search on terms such as Idaho, Boise, Nampa, and so forth to locate additional information within these digital collections

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.

Selected highlight from this collection:

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 with a date range of 1822 through 1909. Most were written by African-American authors, though some were written by others on topics of particular importance in African-American history. The 800 + titles in the collection include sermons on racial pride and political activism; annual reports of charitable, educational, and political organizations; and college catalogs and graduation orations from the Hampton Institute, Morgan College, and Wilberforce University. Also included are biographies, slave narratives, speeches by members of Congress, legal documents, poetry, playbills, dramas, and librettos. Other materials focus on segregation, voting rights, violence against African Americans, the colonization of Africa by freed slaves, anti-slavery organizations and investigative reports.

Selected highlight from this collection:

Alexander Graham Bell Family Papers at the Library of Congress

This collection consist of correspondence, scientific notebooks, journals, blueprints, articles, and photographs documenting Bell's invention of the telephone and his involvement in the first telephone company, his family life, his interest in the education of the deaf, and his aeronautical and other scientific research.

Selected highlight from this collection:

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

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 1936-1940. There are thirty-three items in this collection that mention Idaho.

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. There are twenty items in this collection that mention Idaho.

California as I Saw It: First-Person Narratives of California's Early Years, 1849 to 1900

The collection covers the dramatic decades between the Gold Rush and the turn of the twentieth century. It captures the pioneer experience; encounters between Anglo-Americans and the diverse peoples who had preceded them; the transformation of the land by mining, ranching, agriculture, and urban development; the often-turbulent growth of communities and cities; and California's emergence as both a state and a place of uniquely American dreams. There are fifty-six items in this collection that mention Idaho.

Capital and the Bay: Narratives of Washington and the Chesapeake Bay Region, 1600 to 1925

This collection comprises first-person narratives, early histories, historical biographies, promotional brochures, and books of photographs in an attempt to capture in words and pictures a distinctive region as it developed between the onset of European settlement and the first quarter of the twentieth century. There are four items that mentions Idaho in this collection.

The Evolution of the Conservation Movement, 1850 to 1920

This 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. This collection has 100 items that mention Idaho.

Frontline Diplomacy: The Foreign Affairs Oral History Collection of the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training

This collection makes available interview transcripts from the oral history archives of the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training (ADST). These transcripts present a window into the lives of U.S. diplomats and the major diplomatic crisis and issues that the United States faced during the second half of the 20th century and the early part of the 21st. This collection contains three items that mentions Idaho.

National American Woman Suffrage Association Collection

The collection consists of a variety of materials from 1890 to 1938  including newspapers, books, pamphlets, memorials, scrapbooks, and proceedings from the meetings of various women's organizations that document the suffrage fight. The bulk of the collection is derived from the library of Carrie Chapman Catt, president of NAWSA from 1900-1904, and again from 1915-1920. Additional materials were donated to the NAWSA Collection from the libraries of other members and officers, including Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Lucy Stone, Alice Stone Blackwell, Julia Ward Howe, Elizabeth Smith Miller, and Mary A. Livermore. There are over ninety items that relate to Idaho in this collection.

Pioneering the Upper Midwest: Books from Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, ca. 1820 to 1910

Portrays the states of Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin from the seventeenth to the early twentieth century through first-person accounts, biographies, promotional literature, local histories, ethnographic and antiquarian texts, colonial archival documents, and other works drawn from the Library of Congress's General Collections and Rare Books and Special Collections Division. The collection's 138 volumes depict the land and its resources; the conflicts between settlers and Native peoples; the experience of pioneers and missionaries, soldiers and immigrants and reformers; the growth of local communities and local cultural traditions; and the development of regional and national leadership in agriculture, business, medicine, politics, religion, law, journalism, education, and the role of women. Twenty items relate to Idaho.

Printed Ephemera: Three Centuries of Broadsides and Other Printed Ephemera

The collection contains, among other materials, posters, playbills, songsheets, notices, invitations, proclamations, petitions, timetables, leaflets, propaganda, manifestos, ballots, tickets, menus, and business cards. The majority of the items in the collection were produced in America and their major strength is in historical Americana. There are more than 28,000 items in the collection with 10,172 available online. The material dates from the seventeenth century to the present day and covers innumerable topics. Several items in the collection pertain to Idaho.

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

This collection contains nearly 455 items collected from various divisions in the Library of Congress. It is particularly strong in advertising and mass-marketing materials and will be of special interest to those seeking to understand economic and political forces at work in the 1920s.  At least fifteen items mention Idaho.

Selected highlight from this collection:

Rosa Parks Papers

This collection contains approximately 7,500 items in the Manuscript Division, as well as 2,500 photographs in the Prints and Photographs Division. It documents many aspects of Parks's private life and public activism on behalf of civil rights for African Americans. One Items relates to Idaho.

Selected highlight from this collection:

The Spalding Base Ball Guides, 1889 to 1939

This collection comprises a historic selection of Spalding’s Official Base Ball Guide and the Official Indoor Base Ball Guide. The collection reproduces 35 of the guides, which were published by the Spalding Athletic Company in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This collection has one item that mentions Idaho three times.

Stars and Stripes: The American Soldiers' Newspaper of World War I, 1918 to 1919

This online collection includes the complete seventy-one-week run of The Stars and Stripes World War I edition. The Stars and Stripes was published in France by the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) of the United States Army from February 8, 1918, to June 13, 1919. This collection has sixteen items that mentions Idaho.

Washington During the Civil War: The Diary of Horatio Nelson Taft, 1861 to 1865

This collection represents three manuscript volumes that document daily life in Washington, D.C., through the eyes of U.S. Patent Office examiner Horatio Nelson Taft (1806-1888). Of special interest is Taft's description of Lincoln's assassination, based on the accounts of his friends and his son, who was one of the attending physicians at Ford's Theatre the night Lincoln was shot.  Transcriptions for all three volumes have been made by Library of Congress staff and are available online with the digital image. This collection has one item that mentions Idaho.

Selected highlight from this collection:

World War I Sheet Music

From 1914 through 1920 the Library of Congress acquired over 14,000 pieces of sheet music relating to what ultimately became known as the First World War.  This sheet music collection represents the intersection of the rich output of popular song and the consciousness of a nation at war.  In addition to commercially published songs, the collection also contains "music of the people" - the work of amateurs in vanity press editions and unpublished manuscripts.  This collection contains six items that mentions Idaho.

Selected highlight from this collection:

The visual material collections at the Library of Congress contains thousands of images documenting the history of Idaho. Selected images of Idaho are provided for each collection listed below. Search on terms Idaho, Boise, Nampa, etc. to locate additional images.

Architecture, Design and Engineering Drawings

This collection comprises about 40,000 drawings (described in more than 3,900 catalog records), spanning 1600 to 1989, with most dating between 1880 and 1940. There are two items in this collection related to Idaho.

Bain Collection

This collection represents the photographic files of one of America's earliest news picture agencies. The photographs Bain produced and gathered for distribution through his news service were worldwide in their coverage, but there was a special emphasis on life in New York City. The bulk of the collection dates from the 1900s to the mid-1920s, but scattered images can be found as early as the 1860s and as late as the 1930s. There are seventeen items in this collection that mention Idaho.

Brady-Handy Collection

The majority of the Brady-Handy negatives are of Civil War and post-Civil War portraits, with a small collection of Washington views. There are six items in this collection that mention Idaho.

Cabinet of American Illustration

The collection was the brainchild of William Patten, art editor for Harper's Magazine during the 1880s and 1890s, who established the Cabinet of American Illustration in 1932, in cooperation with the Library of Congress, in order to create a national collection of original works of art documenting what he and others considered the golden age of American illustration that took place from the 1880s through the 1920s. This collections has two items that mention Idaho.

Cartoon Drawings

This collection offers more than 9,000 original drawings for editorial cartoons, caricatures, and comic strips spanning the late 1700s to the present, primarily from 1880 to 1980. The cartoons cover people and events throughout the world, but most of the images were intended for publication in American newspapers and magazines. There are eight items in this collection that mention Idaho.

Cartoon Drawings: Herblock Collection

This collection consists of the cartoon drawings of Herb Block spanning from 1929 to the 1990s. This collection mentions Idaho five times.

Curtis (Edward S.) Collection

 The Curtis collection consists of more than 2,400 silver-gelatin, first generation photographic prints--some of which are sepia-toned--made from Curtis's original glass negatives. Most of the photographic prints are 5" x 7" although nearly one hundred are 11" x 14" and larger; many include the Curtis file or negative number within the image at the lower left-hand corner. This collection contains two photographic items that are related to Idaho.


There are approximately 700 daguerreotypes in the Prints & Photographs Division. The majority of the images are portraits, but the collection does include a few early architectural views, outdoor scenes, and copies of works of art. 384 of the daguerreotypes are credited to Mathew Brady's studio.

Selected highlight from this collection:

Detroit Publishing Company

This 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 five items that mention Idaho.

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

This collection forms an extensive pictorial record of American life between 1935 and 1944. The collection contains more than 1,300 images pertaining to Idaho.

Selected highlight from this collection:

Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Color Photographs

This collection depicts life in the United States, including Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The pictures focus on rural areas and farm labor, as well as aspects of World War II mobilization, including factories, railroads, aviation training, and women working. This collection contains twenty-two items that mention Idaho.

Selected highlight from this collection:

Genthe Collection

Arnold Genthe (1869-1942) was an internationally recognized photographer working in the soft-focus pictorialist style. His photographic career spanned four decades and several continents and ranged thematically from portraiture to dance and travel studies.  The Library of Congress acquired approximately 20,000 items from his unclaimed studio after his death. The "electronic collection" contains approximately 16,000 of Genthe's black and white negatives, transparencies, lantern slides, and color autochromes.

Selected highlight from this collection:

Harris & Ewing Collection

The Harris & Ewing, Inc. Collection of photographic negatives includes glass and film negatives taken by Harris & Ewing, Inc., which provide excellent coverage of Washington people, events, and architecture, during the period 1905-1945. Harris & Ewing, Inc., gave its collection of negatives to the Library in 1955. The Library retained about 50,000 news photographs and 20,000 studio portraits of notable people. Approximately 28,000 negatives have been processed and are available for printing. (About 42,000 negatives still need to be indexed.) This collection contains 71 items that mention Idaho.

Selected highlight from this collection:

Highsmith (Carol M.) Archive

 Photographs of landmark buildings and architectural renovation projects in Washington, D.C., and throughout the United States. The first 23 groups of photographs contain more than 2,500 images and date from 1980 to 2005, with many views in color as well as black-and-white. There are 30 items that mention Idaho in this collection.

Selected highlight from this collection:

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. There over 440 items in this collection that mention Idaho.

Selected highlight from this collection:

National Photo Company Collection

Available online are the glass negatives and a selection of about 1,900 photographic prints for which copy negatives exist. The scanned photographic prints represent a small cross-section of the entire corpus of photographic prints, which include individual prints grouped in LOTs, and prints presented in chronological albums covering events of the period 1919 to 1930 and thematic groups of photographs on the four presidents, inaugurations, sports, landmarks, conventions, and topics of local interest. At least twenty-five items mention Idaho.

Selected highlight from this collection:

Panoramic Photographs

The Panoramic Photograph Collection contains approximately four thousand images featuring American cityscapes, landscapes, and group portraits. These panoramas offer an overview of the nation, its enterprises and its interests, with a focus on the start of the twentieth century when the panoramic photo format was at the height of its popularity. Subject strengths include: agricultural life; beauty contests; disasters; engineering work such as bridges, canals and dams; fairs and expositions; military and naval activities, especially during World War I; the oil industry; schools and college campuses; sports; and transportation. This collection includes over forty photographs from Idaho.

Photochrom Prints   

This collection contains almost 6,000 views of Europe and the Middle East and 500 views of North America. Published primarily from the 1890s to 1910s, these prints were created by the Photoglob Company in Zürich, Switzerland, and the Detroit Publishing Company in Michigan. The richly colored images look like photographs but are actually ink-based photolithographs, usually 6.5 x 9 inches.

Selected highlight from this collection:

Popular Graphic Arts

About 15,000 historical prints (ca. 1700-1900) created to document geographic locations or popular subjects and sometimes used for advertising and educational purposes. Most are by American printmakers, but publishers in many other countries are also represented. Subjects vary widely, from city and harbor views, street scenes, and manufacturing plants to genre scenes, historical events, religious iconography and portraits. This collection has three items that mentions Idaho.

Posters: Yanker Poster Collection

 The Yanker Poster Collection includes more than 3,000 political, propaganda, and social issue posters and handbills, dating 1927-1980. Most posters are from the United States, but over 55 other countries and the United Nations are also represented. There are five items that mention Idaho in this collection.

Selected highlight from this collection:

Quilts and Quiltmaking in America, 1978 to 1996

Contains 181 segments from recorded interviews with quilt makers and 410 graphic images (prints, positive transparencies, and negatives) from two collections in the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress: the Blue Ridge Parkway Folklife Project Collection (AFC 1982/00) and the Lands' End All-American Quilt Contest Collection (AFC 1997/011). The images of the quilts convey the range of contemporary quilt making styles in the United States, while the recorded interview segments provide information on the quilt makers and their work within the context of their lives and region and a more in-depth portrait of quilt making in daily life. This collection contains three items that reference Idaho.

Selected highlight from this collection:

Stereograph Cards

Over 8,000 stereographs available online, representing roughly 15 percent of the 52,000 stereographs produced from the 1850s to the 1940s, with the bulk of the collection dating between 1870 and 1920. The online images feature cities and towns around the world, expeditions and expositions, industries, disasters, and portraits of Native Americans, presidents, and celebrities. This collection has over fifty items that mention Idaho.

Selected highlight from this collection:

Women of Protest: Photographs from the Records of the National Woman's Party

This collection includes 448 digitized photographs selected from approximately 2,650 print photographs in the Records of the National Woman's Party, a collection of more than 438,000 items, housed in the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress.  The images span from 1875 to 1938 but largely were created in the years between 1913 and 1922. The photographs document the National Woman's Party's push for ratification of the 19th Amendment as well as its later efforts for passage of the Equal Rights Amendment. This collection has one item that mentions Idaho.

Selected highlight from this collection:

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.

Cities and Towns

This collection 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.

Selected highlight from this collection:

Civil War Maps

Civil War Maps contains items from the Library of Congress Geography and Map Division, the Library of Virginia, and the Virginia Historical Society. Most of the items presented here are documented in Civil War Maps: An Annotated List of Maps and Atlases in the Library of Congress, compiled by Richard W. Stephenson in 1989.  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. Browse the presentation by location to locate maps for Idaho.

Selected highlight from this collection:

Discovery and Exploration

This category 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. Browse the presentation by location to locate maps for Idaho.

Selected highlight from this collection:

General Maps

This collection includes maps that typically portray the physical environment and a variety of cultural elements for a geographic area at a particular point in time. Browse the presentation by location to locate maps of Idaho.

Selected highlight from this collection:

Mapping the National Parks

This collection documents the history, cultural aspects and geological formations of areas that eventually became National Parks. The collection consists of approximately 200 maps dating from the 17th century to the present, reflecting early mapping of the areas that would become four National Parks, as well as the parks themselves. Browse the presentation by location to locate maps for Idaho.

Selected highlight from this collection:

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. Browse the presentation by location to locate maps for Idaho.

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.

Selected highlight from this collection:

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. Browse the presentation by location to locate maps for Idaho.

Selected highlight from this collection:

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. Browse the presentation by location to locate maps for Idaho.

Selected highlight from this collection:

The moving image collections at the Library of Congress include a wide variety of films ranging from historic silent films to webcasts of recent Library events and performances. Search for your state by subject (begin with United States and then select Idaho)

Buckaroos in Paradise: Ranching Culture in Northern Nevada, 1945 to 1982

This collection includes 41 motion pictures and 28 sound recordings, motion pictures produced from 1945 to 1965 by Leslie Stewart (owner of the Ninety-Six Ranch), 2,400 still photographs drawn from the Center's ethnographic project conducted 1978-1982 and from historic photos dating 1870-1958. It presents documentation of a Nevada cattle-ranching community, with a focus on the family-run Ninety-Six Ranch. The focus was on the work of buckaroos, as cowboys are commonly called in the region.

Selected highlight from this collection:

Event Videos

The Library of Congress hosts public events featuring authors, world leaders, entertainers, scholars and sports legends. We have been recording Library events for decades and are making those recordings available in this collection.

Selected highlight from this collection:

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. Following are collections that contain items related to Idaho. The following moving image collections contain materials related to Idaho. Search on terms such as Idaho, Boise, Nampa, and so forth to locate additional items.

American English Dialect Recordings: The Center for Applied Linguistics Collection

This collection contains 118 hours of recordings documenting North American English dialects. The recordings include speech samples, linguistic interviews, oral histories, conversations, and excerpts from public speeches. Browse the collection by location to locate fourteen recordings from Idaho.

California Gold: Northern California Folk Music from the Thirties Collected by Sidney Robertson Cowell

This collection includes sound recordings, still photographs, drawings, and written documents from a variety of European ethnic and English- and Spanish-speaking communities in Northern California. There are seven items in this collection that mention Idaho.

Selected highlight from this collection:

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. This collection has more than 80,000 online items. There are nineteen items in this collection that mentions Idaho.

Selected highlight from this collection:

Voices from the Dust Bowl: the Charles L. Todd and Robert Sonkin Migrant Worker Collection, 1940 to 1941

This is a collection of selections from a multi-format ethnographic field collection documenting the everyday life of residents of Farm Security Administration (FSA) migrant work camps in central California in 1940 and 1941.

Selected highlight from this collection:

The Library of Congress web archives are organized in thematic and event-based collections, and contain websites documenting a variety of U.S. and international organizations representing a broad range of subjects and topic areas. Following are examples of collections that contain items related to Idaho. Search on terms such as Idaho, Boise, Nampa, and so forth to locate additional material.

Public Policy Topics Web Archive

This collection is a selection of web sites containing different viewpoints on a variety of American public policy topics. The sites in the collection were produced by domestic and some foreign political groups, community and religious organizations, advocacy groups, foreign and domestic news sources, independent organizations and some government agencies. This collection contains more than five items that mention Idaho.

United States Congressional Web Archive

 The United States Congressional Web Archive includes member websites of from the House of Representatives and Senate, from the end of the 107th Congress through the 112th Congress. This collection contains eight items that relate to Idaho.

United States Elections Web Archive

The United States Elections Web Archive includes sites archived weekly during the election seasons since 2000, documenting sites associated with the Presidential, Congressional, and gubernatorial elections. The campaign sites archived for the U.S. Elections typically include social media channels as well, in order to provide a fuller representation of how candidates presented themselves via the Internet to the electorate. This collection has more than forty items that mention Idaho.