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U.S. Virgin Islands: State Resource Guide

Digital Collections

The digital collections of the Library of Congress contain a wide variety of primary source materials related to the Virgin Islands, 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.

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

This collection of life histories consists of approximately 2,900 documents, compiled and transcribed by more than 300 writers from 24 states including Connecticut, working on the Folklore Project of the Federal Writers Project, a New Deal jobs program that was part of the U.S. Works Progress (later Work Projects) Administration from 1936 to 1940. A sailor on shore leave discusses his visit to the Virgin Islands.

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

The Capital and the Bay 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. A first person account of a cruise with President Roosevelt from the Chesapeake Bay through the West Indies, stopping to see America's new possessions, including the Virgin Islands is given.

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

Frontline Diplomacy: The Foreign Affairs Oral History Collection of the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training 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. An interview with Henry L. Kimelmand, a U.S. Ambassador to Haiti, businessman and resident of the U.S. Virgin Islands is available.

George Washington Papers

The papers of army officer and first U.S. president George Washington (1732-1799) consist of approximately 77,000 items accumulated by Washington between 1745 and 1799, including correspondence, diaries, and financial and military records.Three items related to the Virgin Islands are included.

National American Woman Suffrage Association Records

The records of the National American Woman Suffrage Association span the years from 1839 to 1961 and reflect the activities of precursor organizations involved in the abolition and women's rights movements, state and federal campaigns for women's suffrage, the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and international women's suffrage organizing. The Woman Voter's Manual, outlines the judicial system of American government and includes the Virgin Islands.

Selected highlight from this collection:

Newspaper Pictorials: World War I Rotogravures, 1914 to 1919

This online collection is drawn from three primary sources: The War of the Nations: Portfolio in Rotogravure Etchings, a volume published by the New York Times shortly after the armistice that compiled selected images from their Mid-Week Pictorial supplements of 1914-19; Sunday rotogravure sections from the New York Times for 1914-19; and Sunday rotogravure sections from the New York Tribune for 1916-19. Three articles on the Virgin Islands are available from the Sunday rotogravure section of the New York Tribune

The collections of the Prints & Photographs Division include photographs, fine and popular prints and drawings, posters, and architectural and engineering drawings. While international in scope, the collections are particularly rich in materials produced in, or documenting the history of, the United States and the lives, interests and achievements of the American people. Search using the subject heading United States--Virgin Islands to find digital images related to the Virgin Islands, such as prints, photographs, and political cartoons.

Bain Collection

The George Granthan Bain Colllection represents the photographic files of one of America's earliest news picture agencies. The collection richly documents sports events, theater, celebrities, crime, strikes, disasters, political activities including the woman suffrage campaign, conventions and public celebrations. Available online are 39,744 glass negatives and a selection of about 1,600 photographic prints for which copy negatives exist, including photographs that represent the Virgin Islands.

Detroit Publishing Company

Photographs from the Detroit Publishing Company Collection includes over 25,000 glass negatives and transparencies as well as about 300 color photo lithograph prints, mostly of the eastern United States. Subjects strongly represented in the collection include city and town views, including streets and architecture; parks and gardens; recreation; and industrial and work scenes, a few of them are from the Virgin Islands.

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

The images in the Farm Security Administration-Office of War Information Collection consist of about 175,000 black-and-white negatives of American people and places. The collection of photographs, taken by a group of U.S. government photographers, fall into the public domain and contain more than 600 black-and-white photographs of the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Selected highlights from this collection:

Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Color Photographs

Photographers working for the U.S. government's Farm Security Administration and later the Office of War Information 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.

Selected highlights from this collection:

Groups of Images (LOTs)

More than 13,000 groups of photographs, prints, drawings, and other visual material offer access to 1.5 million items dating primarily from the 1800s through the present. The groups, called LOTs gather images related to one another by provenance, creator, subject, or format into manageable sets. A few items representing the U.S. Virgin Islands are included.

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. Images of officials from the Virgin Islands on official business in Washington, DC are depicted.

Highsmith (Carol M.) Archive

The online presentation of the Carol M. Highsmith Archive features 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. Highsmith, a distinguished and richly-published American photographer, has donated her work to the Library of Congress since 1992. Her generosity in dedicating the rights to the American people for copyright free access also makes this Archive a very special visual resource. The archive contains the James Michael Newell's Mural Insular Possession: Virgin Islands.

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

The collections document achievements in architecture, engineering, and design in the United States and its territories through a comprehensive range of building types and engineering technologies. The collection includes over 200 illustrations of the Virgin Islands.

National Photo Company Collection

This collection documents virtually all aspects of Washington, D.C. life with most of the images created between 1909 and 1932. The photographic files of the National Photo Company, including an estimated 80,000 images(photographic prints and corresponding glass negatives), were acquired by the Library from its proprietor Herbert E. French in 1947. One glass negative of Alton Augustus Adams from the Virgin Islands Band and the first band master to serve in the U.S. Navy is featured.

Stereograph Cards

The Prints & Photographs Division holdings include images 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. Three early 20th century Virgin Islands stereographs are available.

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 Library's sheet music collection include popular songs, piano music, sacred and secular choral music, solo instrumental music, method books and instructional materials, and music for band and orchestra.

The Library of Congress Celebrates the Songs of America

The Songs of America 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 90,000 online items. Alton Adams, an iconic figure from the Virgin Islands and the first black bandmaster to serve in the U.S. Navy composed a great deal of band music--"The Governor's Own" and "The Virgin Islands March" are two of his most famous compositions. The latter was quickly adopted as an unofficial anthem for the Virgin Islands, but became the official anthem in 1963. Articles about songs relating to the Virgin Islands are also available.   

Selected highlight from this collection: