Weird History

16 Fascinating Historical Artifacts Stored In The Library of Congress

The Library of Congress (LOC) is a bastion of historical holdings, with some really old objects you’d expect to find, like Abraham Lincoln’s inaugural Bible, a rough draft of the Declaration of Independence, and Walt Whitman’s notebooks. However, there's also no dearth of weird artifacts in the Library of Congress. In fact, the world’s largest library, founded in 1800, contains plenty of antiquated items that are perhaps less than venerable but still fascinating. Along with books, the library’s 164 million items include old films, sheet music, maps, comics, advertisements, recordings, recipes, posters, photographs, newspapers... and hair.

Yes, the LOC has locks of hair in its collections, from the revered heads of Thomas Jefferson and Walt Whitman, among other famous figures. Many of these weird old objects in the Library of Congress (including the hair cuttings) are available for viewing in digital format, although most are not digitized – understandably – because the Library adds about 12,000 items each day. So, what's the strangest thing in the Library of Congress? It's too hard to choose, but here are some of the lesser-known and downright weirdest artifacts in the Library of Congress.