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North Carolina: State Resource Guide

Digital Collections

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

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:

African American Perspectives: Materials Selected from the Rare Book Collection

This collection presents a panoramic and eclectic review of African-American history and culture, spanning almost 100 years from the early 19th through the early 20th centuries, with the bulk of the material published between 1875 and 1900.

A selection of highlights from this collection includes:

America Singing: Nineteenth-Century Song Sheets

This collection spans the period from the turn of the nineteenth century to the 1880s, although a majority of the song sheets were published during the height of the craze, from the 1850s to the 1870s.

A selection of highlights from this collection includes:

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, medical needs, diet and miscellaneous observations. Search the collection by location to locate 168 titles of mostly first-person accounts of life in North Carolina during the Great Depression.

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. 

Selected highlight from this collection:

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 more than forty slave narratives from North Carolina.

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

This collection comprises 139 books on Washington, D.C. and the Chesapeake Bay region including first-person narratives, early histories, historical biographies, promotional brochures, and books of photographs that 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.

Selected highlight from this collection:

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

This 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:

Documents from the Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention, 1774 to 1789

The Continental Congress Broadside Collection (253 titles) and the Constitutional Convention Broadside Collection (21 titles) contain 274 documents relating to the work of Congress and the drafting and ratification of the Constitution.

Selected highlight from this collection:

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.

A selection of highlights from this collection includes:

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.

A selection of highlights from this collection includes:

George Washington Papers 

This collection consists of approximately 65,000 items (176,000 pages). Correspondence, letterbooks, commonplace books, diaries and journals, reports, notes, financial account books, and military papers accumulated by George Washington from 1741 through 1799 are organized into nine series.

A selection of highlights from this collection includes:

The James Madison Papers, 1723 to 1859

The James Madison Papers from the Manuscript Division at the Library of Congress document the life of the man who came to be known as the "Father of the Constitution" through correspondence, personal notes, drafts of letters and legislation, an autobiography, legal and financial documents, and miscellaneous manuscripts.

A selection of highlights from this collection includes:

Printed Ephemera: Three Centuries of Broadsides and Other Printed Ephemera

This collection comprises 28,000 primary source items dating from the 17th century to the present and encompassing key events and eras in American history. Browse the collection by location to locate more than forty items printed in North Carolina.

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. Search the full text option of the collection to find items pertaining to North Carolina.

Selected highlight from this collection:

Thomas Jefferson Papers, 1606 to 1827

The complete Thomas Jefferson Papers at the Library of Congress consists of approximately 27,000 documents ranging in date from 1606 to 1827. Correspondence, memoranda, notes, and drafts of documents make up two-thirds of the Papers.

A selection of highlights from this collection includes:

The Wilbur and Orville Wright Papers at the Library of Congress

This collection documents the lives of Wilbur and Orville Wright and highlights their pioneering work which led to the world's first powered, controlled and sustained flight. Included in the collection are correspondence, diaries and notebooks, scrapbooks, drawings, printed matter, and other documents, as well as the Wrights' collection of glass-plate photographic negatives.

A selection of highlights from this collection includes:

Words and Deeds in American History: Selected Documents Celebrating the Manuscript Division's First 100 Years

Included are the papers of presidents, cabinet ministers, members of Congress, Supreme Court justices, military officers, diplomats, reformers and political activists, artists and writers, scientists and inventors, and other prominent Americans whose lives reflect our country's evolution.

Selected highlight from this collection:

The visual material collections at the Library of Congress contains thousands of images documenting the history of North Carolina. Selected images of North Carolina are provided for each collection listed below. Search on terms such as Durham, Kitty Hawk, Raleigh, Wilmington, etc. to locate additional images.

Baseball Cards

This collection presents 2,100 early baseball cards dating from 1887 to 1914. The collection includes baseball cards for the baseball players in Goldsboro, Greensboro, Raleigh, Rocky Mount, and Winston-Salem.

A selection of highlights from this collection includes:

By Popular Demand: Jackie Robinson and Other Baseball Highlights, 1860s-1960s

This online presentation introduces a multi-faceted man and a variety of complex issues, topics, and events that risk oversimplification in any short retelling. Also included is a sampler of thirty four images related to early baseball (1860s-1920s) from various files and collections in the Prints & Photographs Division, Library of Congress.

Selected highlight from this collection:

Civil War Glass Negatives and Related Prints

This collection contains 1,118 photographs. Most of the images were made under the supervision of Mathew B. Brady, and include scenes of military personnel, preparations for battle, and battle after-effects. The collection also includes portraits of both Confederate and Union officers, and a selection of enlisted men. Browse the collection by location to locate more than ten images of North Carolina.

A selection of highlights from this collection includes:

Daguerreotypes

The Library's daguerreotype collection consists of approximately 600 photographs dating from 1839 to 1864. Portrait daguerreotypes produced by the Mathew Brady studio make up the major portion of the collection.

Selected highlight from this collection:

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 eighty images of North Carolina.

A selection of highlights from this collection includes:

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 the collection by location to locate more than 2,500 black-and-white photographs of North Carolina.

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. 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. Browse the collection by location to locate four images of North Carolina.

Gottscho-Schleisner Collection

This collection is comprised of over 29,000 photographs primarily of architectural subjects, including interiors and exteriors of homes, stores, offices, factories, historic buildings, and other structures concentrated chiefly in the northeastern United States. Browse the collection by location to locate more than 80 photographs of North Carolina.

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 500 items for North Carolina.

A selection of highlights from this collection includes:

Horydczak Collection

This collection documents the architecture and social life of the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area in the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s, including exteriors and interiors of commercial, residential, and government buildings, as well as street scenes and views of neighborhoods.

A selection of highlights from this collection includes:

Panoramic Photographs

This collection contains approximately 4,000 images featuring American cityscapes, landscapes, and group portraits. Browse the collection by location to locate more than forty images of North Carolina.

A selection of highlights from this collection includes:

Quilts and Quiltmaking in America, 1978 to 1996

This collection represents a wide range of quiltmaking techniques, from highly traditional to innovative. The quilts pictured exhibit excellent design and technical skill in a variety of styles and materials.

A selection of highlights from this collection includes:

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

The photographs in this collection document the National Woman's Party's push for ratification of the 19th Amendment as well as its later campaign for passage of the Equal Rights Amendment. 

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.

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

The maps and charts in this collection number well over two thousand different items, with easily as many or more unnumbered duplicates, many with distinct colorations and annotations. The collection contains from this time period more than twenty maps for North Carolina.

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.

Selected highlight from this collection:

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 the presentation by location to locate more than ninety maps for North Carolina.

Selected highlight from this collection:

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:

Rochambeau Map Collection

This collection contains cartographic items used by Jean Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur, comte de Rochambeau (1725-1807), when he was commander in chief of the French expeditionary army (1780-82) during the American Revolution. The maps were from Rochambeau's personal collection, cover much of eastern North America, and date from 1717 to 1795.

Selected highlight from this collection:

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 170 maps for North Carolina.

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 North Carolina.

Civil Rights Oral Histories

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 directs the Library of Congress (LOC) and the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) to conduct a 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 new interviews with people who participated in the struggle, over a five year period beginning in 2010.

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.

After the Day of Infamy: "Man-on-the-Street" Interviews Following the Attack on Pearl Harbor

This collection contains 12 hours of opinions recorded following the bombing of Pearl Harbor from over 200 individuals across the United States. Browse the collection by location to locate eight interviews from North Carolina.

A selection of highlights from this collection includes:

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 nineteen recordings from North Carolina.

A selection of highlights from this collection includes:

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. The user can listen to digitized recordings, watch performances of artists interpreting and commenting on American song, and view sheet music, manuscripts, and historic copyright submissions online. Browse the collection by location to locate more than thirty items pertaining to North Carolina.

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.

A selection of highlights from this collection includes: