Dreams and declarations from the Founding Fathers

Throughout the year we will be highlighting collection items that illustrate the dreams and declarations that have shaped American politics. We also look at the international conflicts, alliances and friendships tied to them.

We will cover topics such as George Washington, British loyalists, the Founding Fathers and the American Civil War. We will also consider the role Scots played in shaping the early nation and their legacy.

Introducing the American collections

In this first video, Foreign Collections curators Chris Taylor and Dora Petherbridge introduce just a small selection of American political material held at the National Library of Scotland.

You can also read a transcript of this video

From George Washington to Barack Obama

From a burgeoning nation once led by a member of a wealthy plantation and slave-owning family to the first African American President, this resource looks at key points in the nation's history.

Through key items in the collections, we will examine how the role of the United States President has taken on global dimensions. We will examine a wide range of material from the 18th century through to the Cold War and beyond.

Mapping the growth of a nation

Map of the USA
1715 map of US
View large map
on Flickr

Alongside early manuscripts, this resource will showcase early maps which chart the expansion of the United States from the early British colonies to modern-day superpower.

Find out more

The collections at the National Library of Scotland have been developed for over 300 years and there is something for every area of interest. At NLS you can see:

  • Manuscripts relating to American and Scottish-American history, including personal accounts and correspondence and documents on military, business, and intellectual matter
  • Recent books from the major American university presses
  • American popular and reference works
  • Published presidential papers and collected works
  • American academic journals — printed and online
  • American newspapers and magazines
  • Official publications, such as those of the US Senate and Congress
  • Digital resources such as 'Sabin Americana' and 'Early American Imprints Series I: Evans'
  • Special printed collections such as the Henderson Memorial Library of Books on America

For more information on the American political history collections or if you have suggestions on material NLS should acquire, please email our Foreign collections team.

Music in the video kindly provided by the Middlesex County Volunteers Fifes and Drums, based in Massachussetts, USA.


Politics and society