American Memory:  Technical summary

from the Continental Congress and Constitutional Convention, 1774-1789
First Congress drawing

URL for collection:

Collection Overview

Documents relating to the work of Congress and the drafting and ratification of the Constitution, including extracts of the journals of Congress, resolutions, proclamations, committee reports, treaties, and early printed versions of the United States Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. The Continental Congress broadsides trace the evolution of congressional measures at specific stages of consideration, and differ significantly from the modified resolutions finally adopted by Congress. Some items contain manuscript annotations not recorded elsewhere that offer insight into the delicate process of creating consensus. Not every major topic considered by Congress is represented by this collection; the bulk of the pieces date from 1781 to 1788. The Constitutional Convention broadsides date from 1786 to 1789, and include documents relating to the Constitutional Convention of 1787, extracts of proceedings of state assemblies and conventions relating to the ratification of the Constitution, and several essays on ratification. Most broadsides are one page in length, others range from 1 to 28 pages.
Source collection
The Continental Congress Broadside Collection and the Constitutional Convention Broadside Collection are both parts of a larger collection of broadsides or printed ephemera held by the Rare Book and Special Collections Division.
LCCNs 90-898267 and 90-898266 [Links to catalog records (z39.50 query) will not work when main cataloging system is not available.]
Technical features
Searchable text for short length documents written by different authors. Image set includes variant instances of the same printed document (often with handwritten emendations) and some segment and closeup views. Bitonal images scanned from microfilm.
Original material formats
Number of original items
274 (Continental Congress Broadside Collection, 253 titles; Constitutional Convention Broadside Collection, 21 titles)
Status of collection
Available online.
Public access:
The Library is not aware of any U.S. copyright or any other restrictions for the documents in this collection. See notes on rights and restrictions provided by the Library to users of this collection.

Aids to intellectual access

Type & granularity
MARC bibliographic records. Each bib. record describes a single item.
Sample bibliographic display in American Memory.
Linking to digital reproductions
Bibliographic record contains identifier used in as leading string for filenames for component files of metaobject representing document. Filenames for page-images include feature codes for copy number, segments, etc. Item may consist of several copies, each of which has been imaged (some with segments). All items except one (in German) are also reproduced by searchable text. Groups of documents with same leading characters in identifier are stored in same directory [Sample directory for documents c01 through c20]. Numbering system in place to link searchable text to cover and illustration images.

Digital reproductions

Total file-space for digital reproductions: 123 Mbytes

Printed Matter (documents) Archival text file Page-images
Marker Filename extension ".sgm" Filename extension ".tif"
Formats SGML TIFF Group IV
DTD American Memory
(TEI conformant)
Tonal resolution n/a 1 bit
Spatial resolution
n/a 300 dpi
Quantity (approx) 273 690 pages
File size 3-66 Kbytes 80-300 Kbytes
Sample Sample SGML document Sample page-image
and segments:
Upper left
Upper right
Lower left
Lower right

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