18 November 2015

Did you know that the the Library of Congress has an Extensive Manuscript Collection?


The Library of Congress (LOC) never ceases to amaze me with the breadth of its collection.  I frequently use these LOC collections -- Chronicling America and Maps.  I occasionally dabble in other collections and somehow have managed to overlook the Manuscripts collection! Sacré Bleu.

The other week on FB there were a few posts pointing to finding aids for these two LOC manuscript collections -- Hillcrest Children's Center (Washington, D.C.) records, 1815-1966 and Aaron Ziegelman Foundation collection.

Of course that just whetted my appetite to know what else the LOC Manuscripts collection has.

You can search by keywords or browse by collection as well as by subject and other options.

As always, I started by searching on North Carolina and was surprised to find this genealogical collection (see entry below).  The Contents list provides detailed information about what is included.  You can also print out any located finding aids in various formats (e.g. PDF) which is the most useful format for me as the “Scope and Content Note” was very helpful. 

If you are researching Northumberland & Henrico Counties VA this looks like it could be an excellent resource.

Walter Jones (1745-1815) ... because of Walter Jones’s association with the county court, his papers include several non-family legal documents, actions brought before the court, lists of fees due the clerks, and bills and receipts for legal services rendered by Jones that often cite specifies of the cases involved. These documents supplement the public records of the transactions of the Northumberland County Court ...

... a memorandum book of notes and drafts of legal documents pertaining to Thomas Jones’s service as justice of the peace of Henrico County between 1783 and 1794...


I next searched on Connecticut, my home state, and found these two interesting sounding collections ...

  • John Fisher papers, 1777-1802 -- Military supply agent and merchant. Correspondence, memoranda, accounts, purchase and delivery orders, receipts, requisitions, invoices, and other financial and mercantile records relating primarily to the distribution of food and supplies to the Continental Army in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.

  • William Torrey papers, 1777-1904 -- Continental Army officer. Orderly books of the Second Massachusetts Regiment, 1777-1783, kept primarily by Torrey, including general, division, brigade, and regimental orders, a muster roll of the regiment, memorandum book containing returns, Continental Congress resolves, and miscellaneous material.
I then searched on South Carolina – History – Civil War, 1861-1865 and there were 14 finding aids found!

Some collections seem to also have been microfilmed.  In that case, you may find that a local library may have a copy or be able to borrow one via interlibrary loan (ILL).  I used Worldcat to search on “Edmund Ruffin diaries” + microfilm and I found that several nearby university libraries have microfilm copies from this collection.  So, this gives me an option to see the contents of a collection held in DC just a few miles from my house.

If you haven’t checked out the LOC Manuscript collection, I really suggest that you do.


What is your favorite newly discovered LOC Manuscript collection?  Do you have an all time favorite one that has greatly assisted your research?








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