Library of Congress, Manuscript Division
Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress
The Manuscript Division was one of several "departments" established in 1897 when the Library of Congress moved from the United States Capitol to a separate building nearby. Its staff of four assumed custody of a collection of twenty-five thousand manuscripts which had accumulated throughout the nineteenth century, chiefly through the purchase in 1867 of Peter Force's collection of Americana, the gift in 1882 of Joseph M. Toner's collection relating to George Washington and American medical history, and several small transfers from the Smithsonian Institution. In 1903, by an act of Congress and an executive order, the State Department began transferring historical papers, including several presidential collections, which had been acquired by the federal government.