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Library of Congress, online

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http://www.loc.gov/rr/askalib/   "Ask a Librarian, online"

The Library of Congress, the World's premier library service, offers online access to their collection that rivals "showing up in person." Click on the above link, fill in the form (with as much detail as possible, based on personal search of LOC Catalogue), and submit the query...

In my own recent experience, I desired a Letter addressed to one of our favourite Generals, John A. Logan, from the Showman, P.T. Barnum. Believed to be stored with the "John Alexander Logan Family Papers" there was no "master listing" of items held; and the Letter (if it was held) could have been in any of the boxes, 1 - 33... although I believed it was most likely in Box 1, or Box 6, or Box 33. Not having any unrealistic expectation (but just wanting to know if the Letter was held by Library of Congress) I enabled the above link... completed the Query Form (including my concern that the Letter may be in any of the three boxes)... and hit, Submit Query.

That was late last night... Today, when I awoke, I found a reply from Library of Congress not only verifying, "Yes, we hold that Letter," but with a facsimile of the complete Letter -- all four pages -- from P.T. Barnum. 

If you have not tried the Online service at Library of Congress recently, you will be in for a pleasant surprise...



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