American Treasures of the Library of Congress: Memory
daguerrotype of seamstress Seamstress
Sixth-plate daguerreotype, ca. 1853
Prints & Photographs Division

Jefferson wrote that "it is the duty of every good citizen to use all the opportunities which occur to him for preserving documents relating to the history of our country." Memory is the core of history, and shared memories constitute the core of a common national past.

The historical documents found here at the Library were created by individuals as well as groups. They reflect the private side of life as well as the public and include unpublished and unofficial materials. Together they make a richly textured tapestry of failure as well as triumph, of broken promises as well as exalted dreams.

They constitute a road map for discovery, and, as Jefferson knew well, the journey of discovery in a library is always, to some degree, a journey of self-discovery.


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