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GLOBAL GATEWAY: Digital Collections
a listing of the searchable Library of Congress and other digital collections with a focus on history and cultures from around the world.

International Collections

  1. Cuneiform Tablets: From the Reign of Gudea of Lagash to Shalmanassar III -- This collection presents clay tablets, cones, and brick fragments inscribed using the ancient pictographic writing system known as cuneiform from the Library of Congress' collections. The Sumerians invented this writing system, which involves the use of a wedge-shaped reed stylus to make impression in clay. Cuneiform Tablets: From the Reign of Gudea of Lagash to Shalmanassar III includes school tablets, accounting records, and commemorative inscriptions. This online presentation features 38 cuneiform tablets, presented with supplementary materials. The 38 tablets are dated from the reign of Gudea of Lagash (2144-2124 B.C.) to Shalmanassar III (858-824 B.C.) during the New Assyrian Empire (884-612 B.C.).

  2. Islamic Manuscripts from Mali -- This collection features 32 manuscripts from the Mamma Haidara Commemorative Library and the Cheick Zayni Bey Library, both in Timbuktu, Mali. Dating from the 16th to the 18th centuries, these manuscripts showcase various styles of the Arabic script and the wide variety of subjects covered by the written traditions of Timbuktu, Mali, and West Africa.

  3. The Kraus Collection of Sir Francis Drake -- Sir Francis Drake, English explorer and naval strategist, circumnavigated the earth from 1577-1580. During these travels, Drake visited the Caribbean and the Pacific claiming a portion of California for Queen Elizabeth and waging battles on the Spanish. This collection comprises important primary and secondary material accumulated about Drake's voyages throughout the then Spanish territory of the Americas. Texts are in English, Latin, German, Dutch, Italian, Spanish and French.

  4. The Lewis Carroll Scrapbook -- The Lewis Carroll Scrapbook Collection at the Library of Congress is an original scrapbook that was kept by Charles Lutwidge Dodgson. Dodgson is better known as Lewis Carroll, the Victorian-era children's author of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865) and Through the Looking Glass (1871). The scrapbook contains newspaper clippings, photographs, and manuscript materials, collected between 1855-72.

  5. Polish Declarations of Admiration and Friendship for the United States -- This is a presentation of the first 13 manuscript volumes of a larger collection of 111 volumes compiled in Poland in 1926 and delivered to President Calvin Coolidge at the White House to honor the 150th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. Richly illustrated with original works by prominent Polish graphic artists, the collection includes the greetings and signatures of national, provincial, and local government officials, representatives of religious, social, business, academic, and military institutions, and approximately 5 1/2 million school children.

  6. Selections from the Naxi Manuscript Collection -- This collection features documents that detail the unique cosmology of the Naxi people of the Yunnan Province in southern China. The Naxi shamanistic priests use a distinctive pictographic writing system that is similar to the ancient Egyptian and Mayan writing systems and is the only living pictographic language in the world. This online presentation features 185 manuscripts, a 39½-foot funerary scroll and an annotated catalog of the entire collection.

  7. Selections of Arabic, Persian, and Ottoman Calligraphy -- This collection presents 373 Arabic calligraphy sheets, ranging from the 9th to the 19th centuries, including examples of calligraphic art - illuminated panels, albums, and poems. In addition to individual calligraphy sheets, the presentation has essays on Ottoman and Persian calligraphic styles, an in-depth look at Qur’anic calligraphic fragments, and an essay discussing some of the Library’s notable Arabic script calligraphy sheets and illuminations.

Collections from American Memory, National Digital Library

  1. The Hannah Arendt Papers at the Library of Congress -- the papers of political philosopher Hannah Arendt (1906-1975) are one of the principal sources for the study of modern intellectual life. They constitute a large and diverse collection reflecting a complex career. The papers contain correspondence, articles, lectures, speeches, book manuscripts, transcripts of Adolf Eichmann's trial proceedings, notes, and printed matter pertaining to Arendt's writings and academic career. This presentation of Arendt's writings also includes an essay on Arendt's intellectual history, a chronology of her life, and an index of all folders in the Arendt Papers.

  2. American Colonization Society Collection Maps of Liberia, 1830-1870 (Liberia) -- this collection of Liberia maps includes twenty examples from the American Colonization Society (ACS), organized in 1817 to resettle free black Americans in West Africa. These maps show early settlements in Liberia, indigenous political subdivisions, and some of the building lots that were assigned to settlers. This on-line presentation also includes other nineteenth-century maps of Liberia.

  3. Puerto Rico at the Dawn of the Modern Age: Nineteenth- and Early-Twentieth-Century Perspectives (Puerto Rico) -- this collection portrays the early history of the commonwealth of Puerto Rico through first-person accounts, political writings, and histories. Among the topics it highlights are the land and its resources, relations with Spain, the competition among political parties, reform efforts, and recollections by veterans of the Spanish-American War. The materials in the collection were published between 1831 and 1929 and consist of 39 political pamphlets, 18 monographs, and 1 journal.

  4. The Spanish-American War in Motion Pictures (Spain, Cuba, and the Philippines) -- Motion pictures of the Spanish-American War and the subsequent Philippine Revolution produced between 1898 and 1901 are featured in this presentation. The complete collection will include 68 motion pictures and a selection of sound recordings related to the war. The Spanish-American War was the first U.S. war in which the motion picture camera played a role. These films were made by the Edison Manufacturing Company and the American Mutoscope & Biograph Company and consist of actualities filmed in the U.S., Cuba, and the Philippines, showing troops, ships, notable figures, and parades, as well as reenactments of battles and other war-time events.

Collections from Prints & Photographs Online Catalog

  1. Abdul Hamid II Collection (Turkey) -- about 1,300 photographs mounted in albums (records being added). ca. 1880-1893. Photographic survey of the Ottoman Empire, showing educational, military, and other government facilities as well as historic sites.

  2. Brumfield Collection (Russia) -- 916 slides. 1987-2000. Documents architectural heritage of pre-Soviet Russia, highlighting wooden buildings, and religious, commercial and industrial facilities, as well as some landscapes.

  3. Carpenter Collection -- about 1,600 photographs (records being added). ca. 1860-1934, bulk 1880-1924. Photos produced and gathered by Frank and Frances Carpenter to illustrate popular writings on world geography. Consists of photos in the Carpenter collection for which copy photos have been produced.

  4. Fenton Crimean War Photographs (Russia) -- 263 photographs by Roger Fenton. 1855. Views of participants, landscapes and equipment.

  5. Fine Prints: Japanese, pre-1915 (Japan) -- about 300 prints and a few drawings 1688-1915. Primarily woodcuts depicting actors, women, landscapes, scenes from Japanese literature and daily life, English and European visitors.

  6. Posters: Spanish Civil War Posters (Spain) -- 124 posters. 1936-1939. Posters sponsored by Republican and anti-Republican groups, trade unions, Catalonian nationalists, and international factions, on themes relating to the causes, conduct, and consequences of the civil war. For potential copyright related reasons, only the thumbnail sized images may display offsite; larger copies are viewable from the research center computers in The Library of Congress.

  7. Posters: World War I Posters (France) -- about 1,200 posters. 1914-1920. American and French posters supporting the war effort.

  8. Prokudin-Gorskii Collection (Russia) -- about 1,900 glass plate negatives by Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii using three-part color separation technique, with about 100 modern digital color renderings and approximately 2,400 prints mounted in fourteen albums. 1909-1915. Photographic survey of the Russian Empire, showing people, religious architecture, historic sites, industry and agriculture, public works construction, water and railway transportation routes, villages and cities.

  9. World's Transportation Commission -- 584 lantern slides and 297 photographic prints. 1894-1896. Asia, Australia, and Oceania, showing scenes and sites, with an emphasis on transportation systems.

Related Links:

American Memory, National Digital Library
Prints & Photographs Online Catalog
Library of Congress >> Global Gateway
May 24, 2006
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