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Washington, D.C.: Resource Guide

This guide provides access to digital materials related to Washington, D.C. at the Library of Congress, as well as links to external websites and a selected print bibliography.


On July 16, 1790, the Residence Act, which stipulated that the president select a site on the Potomac River as the permanent capital of the United States following a ten-year temporary residence in Philadelphia, was signed into law. In a proclamation issued on January 24, 1791, President George Washington announced the permanent location of the new capital, an area of land at the confluence of the Potomac and Eastern Branch (Anacostia) rivers that would eventually become the District of Columbia. Soon after, Washington commissioned French engineer Pierre-Charles L’Enfant to create a plan for the city.

This guide compiles links to digital materials related to Washington, D.C. such as books, government documents, manuscripts, maps, motion pictures, photographs, sheet music, and sound recordings that are available throughout the Library of Congress website. In addition, it provides links to external websites focusing on Washington, D.C. and a bibliography containing selected works for both general and younger readers.