The Olympics at the Library of Congress

First American Olympic hockey team

With the Winter Olympic Games in full swing, you might want to integrate into your teaching some of the interesting Olympics-related primary sources that the Library of Congress has collected to bring that event into your classroom.

In “King of Winter Sports,” The Inside Adams Science, Technology & Business blog, librarian Jennifer Harbster reports on some results of “the digitization of its pre-1923 U.S. monograph imprint collection.” Among those digitized items are the Spalding Base Ball Guides, 1889 – 1939. Pique your students’ curiosity about the game’s early days, its equipment and players, and its rule books. The connection to the Olympics lies in the Spalding’s Athletic Library Ice Hockey and Ice Polo Guide (Official Rules for Ice Hockey, Speed Skating, Figure Skating and Curling series from 1905 and 1906. Additionally, you and your students can use Chronicling America’s digitized newspaper collection to research teams, medals, and uniforms. Earlier posts about the Olympic Games include “London Olympic Games Then and Now: 1908 & 2012 ( and “He Shoots, He Scores! A Love of Winter Games” found at .

“Regulating the Winter Olympics in Russia,” at, is a post on the In Custodia Legis site. These posts are written by the law librarians of congress and this blog lists some of the legal wrangling and Russian laws regulating the Olympics. The blog ends by asking readers to see if during the games, they can spot some of the rules in action. That post can be compared with a 2012 post, “The Laws Behind the London Olympics,” to note what the differences in the rules listed in the two countries tell us about life in each.

From the Catbird Seat is the poetry and literature blog on the Library’s site, and it offers a look at the celebratory poems that have been featured in Olympic ceremonies in the article “Olympic Promotional Ads Inspire Through Poetry,” found at The site offers examples of poets, including Walt Whitman, whose works have been adapted for promotional purposes.

Another Library blog, Teaching with the Library of Congress, includes some ideas on “Bringing the Olympic Games into Your Classroom with Primary Sources ( This blog asks students to compare articles from Chronicling America newspapers to those of today and to note similarities and differences—and to discuss the resulting insights.

Other blogs about the 2012 Olympics include these:


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