News & Politics

5 Interesting Items in the Library of Congress That Aren’t Flutes

Two words: Tiny. Book.

The Library of Congress’ flute collection made headlines after a visit from singer Lizzo, but the instruments aren’t the only fascinating artifacts in the archives. Here are five interesting items in the library’s collection. 

Mary Todd Lincoln’s pearl necklace and bracelets 

A gift from Abraham Lincoln’s granddaughter, the jewelry was presented to the library in 1927. The former First Lady wore the seed-pearl necklace and two bracelets to the first Lincoln inaugural ball. According to Tiffany records, Abraham Lincoln bought the necklace for $180 and the bracelets for $350. 

Charles Dickens’ traveling cutlery kit

Marked by his initials, the English writer used this traveling kit while he visited the United States in the 1860s. The kit includes a steel spoon, knife, and corkscrew inside an ivory-covered case. 

A film of Annie Oakley shooting a rifle 

This 33mm film reel shot in 1895 features the Ohio sharpshooter in a rifle shooting exhibit. The 38-second movie was considered a short film. You can watch Oakley’s target practice in black and white here.  

One of the smallest books in the world

Published by Scotland’s Gleniffer Press in 1985, Old King Cole is less than two millimeters tall and smaller than a penny. The Library of Congress’ copy is the 59th edition of the teeny-tiny read. 

A map with the first documented use of “America”

Often referred to as America’s Birth Certificate, Martin Waldseemüller’s 1507 World Map is the first to show the Americas as a separate land mass from Asia. Waldseemüller named the lands after the voyager Amerigo Vespucci. 

Katie Kenny
Editorial Fellow