The Library of Congress
[American Memory]

An American Time Capsule: Three Centuries of Broadsides and Other Printed Ephemera
Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress

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The Printed Ephemera collection at the Library of Congress is a rich repository of Americana. In total, the collection comprises 28,000 primary-source items dating from the seventeenth century to the present and encompasses key events and eras in American history. An American Time Capsule, the online presentation of the Printed Ephemera collection, comprises 17,000 of the 28,000 physical items. More are scheduled to be digitized in the future. While the broadside format represents the bulk of the collection, there are a significant number of leaflets and some pamphlets. Rich in variety, the collection includes proclamations, advertisements, blank forms, programs, election tickets, catalogs, clippings, timetables, and menus. They capture the everyday activities of ordinary people who participated in the events of nation-building and experienced the growth of the nation from the American Revolution through the Industrial Revolution up to present day. A future final release will include thousands of oversize items in the collection.
The mission of the Library of Congress is to make its resources available and useful to Congress and the American people and to sustain and preserve a universal collection of knowledge and creativity for future generations. The goal of the Library's National Digital Library Program is to offer broad public access to a wide range of historical and cultural documents as a contribution to education and lifelong learning.

The Library of Congress presents these documents as part of the record of the past. These primary historical documents reflect the attitudes, perspectives, and beliefs of different times. The Library of Congress does not endorse the views expressed in these collections, which may contain materials offensive to some readers.

Special Presentation:
Introduction to Printed Ephemera Collection

Understanding the Collection

About the Collection


Page Order and Folding Diagrams

Collection Connections

Working with the Collection

How to View: Images | Text

How to Order Reproductions

Building the Digital Collection

Copyright and Other Restrictions


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