Library of Congress List of "Books That Shaped America"

The Library of Congress recently released an inaugural list of 88 “Books That Shaped America.” The list accompanies an exhibit as part of a multi-year series called “Celebration of the Book.” The “Books That Shaped America” exhibit, the first in the series, opened June 25th and will remain on display until September 29th.

Do you see any of your favorite titles?  Are there any books not on this list that you think should be?  Readers are invited to take a survey to nominate their top three titles, share the titles that mean most to them, and to make suggestions for titles to be added to the list.

The list of title/authors is below; accompanied by the year they were first published.  The hyperlinked titles represent the books Rice Library owns (64 from the list of 88). Clicking on any of these titles will bring readers to the catalog record of that selected title.

Some other interesting facts about the titles in this list:
  • Published in the 18th Century: 9
  • Published in the 19th Century: 18
  • Published in the 20th Century: 60
  • Published in the 21st Century: 1
  • Oldest title: Experiments and Observations on Electricity, Benjamin Franklin (1751)
  • Newest title: The Words of Cesar Chavez, Cesar Chavez (2002)
  • Most represented single decade: 1960’s (11 titles)

Here is the list:

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain (1884)
Alcoholics Anonymous, anonymous (1939)
American Cookery, Amelia Simmons (1796)
The American Woman’s Home, Catherine E. Beecher and Harriet Beecher Stowe (1869)
And the Band Played On, Randy Shilts (1987)
Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand (1957)
The Autobiography of Malcolm X, Malcolm X and Alex Haley (1965)
Beloved, Toni Morrison (1987)
Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, Dee Brown (1970)
The Call of the Wild, Jack London (1903)
Catch-22, Joseph Heller (1961)
The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger (1951)
The Cat in the Hat, Dr. Seuss (1957)
Charlotte’s Web, E.B. White (1952)
Common Sense, Thomas Paine (1776)
The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care, Benjamin Spock (1946)
Cosmos, Carl Sagan (1980)
A Curious Hieroglyphick Bible, anonymous (1788)
The Double Helix, James D. Watson (1968)
The Education of Henry Adams, Henry Adams (1907)
Experiments and Observations on Electricity, Benjamin Franklin (1751)
Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury (1953)
Family Limitation, Margaret Sanger (1914)
The Federalist, anonymous (1787)
The Feminine Mystique, Betty Friedan (1963)
The Fire Next Time, James Baldwin (1963)
For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ernest Hemingway (1940)
Gone With the Wind, Margaret Mitchell (1936)
Goodnight Moon, Margaret Wise Brown (1947)
A Grammatical Institute of the English Language, Noah Webster (1783)
The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck (1939)
The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald (1925)
Harriet, the Moses of Her People, Sarah H. Bradford (1901)
The History of Standard Oil, Ida Tarbell (1904)
History of the Expedition Under the Command of the Captains Lewis and Clark, Meriwether Lewis (1814)
Howl, Allen Ginsberg (1956)
How the Other Half Lives, Jacob Riis (1890)
How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie (1936)
The Iceman Cometh, Eugene O’Neill (1946)
Idaho: A Guide in Word and Pictures, Federal Writers’ Project (1937)
In Cold Blood, Truman Capote (1966)
Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison (1952)
The Jungle, Upton Sinclair (1906)
The Joy of Cooking, Irma Rombauer (1931)
Leaves of Grass, Walt Whitman (1855)
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Washington Irving (1820)
Little Women, or, Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy, Louisa May Alcott (1868)
Mark, the Match Boy, Horatio Alger Jr. (1869)
McGuffey’s Newly Revised Eclectic Primer, William Holmes McGuffey (1836)
Moby-Dick, or, the Whale, Herman Melville (1851)
Native Son, Richard Wright (1940)
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, Frederick Douglass (1845)
New England Primer , anonymous (1803)
New Hampshire, Robert Frost (1923)
On the Road, Jack Kerouac (1957)
Our Bodies, Ourselves, Boston Women’s Health Book Collective (1971)
Our Town: A Play, Thornton Wilder (1938)
Peter Parley’s Universal History, Samuel Goodrich (1837)
Poems, Emily Dickinson (1890)
Poor Richard Improved, Benjamin Franklin (1758)
Pragmatism, William James (1907)
The Private Life of the Late Benjamin Franklin, LL.D., Benjamin Franklin (1793)
The Red Badge of Courage, Stephen Crane (1895)
Red Harvest, Dashiell Hammett (1929)
Riders of the Purple Sage, Zane Grey (1912)
Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, Alfred C. Kinsey (1948)
The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne (1850)
Silent Spring, Rachel Carson (1962)
The Snowy Day, Ezra Jack Keats (1962)
The Souls of Black Folk, W.E.B. Du Bois (1903)
The Sound and the Fury, William Faulkner (1929)
Spring and All, William Carlos Williams (1923)
Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert A. Heinlein (1961)
A Streetcar Named Desire, Tennessee Williams (1947)
A Street in Bronzeville, Gwendolyn Brooks (1945)
A Survey of the Roads of the United States of America, Christopher Colles (1789)
Tarzan of the Apes, Edgar Rice Burroughs (1914)
Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston (1937)
To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee (1960)
A Treasury of American Folklore, Benjamin A. Botkin (1944)
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Betty Smith (1943)
Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe (1852)
Unsafe at Any Speed, Ralph Nader (1965)
Walden; or, Life in the Woods, Henry David Thoreau (1854)
The Weary Blues , Langston Hughes (1925)
Where the Wild Things Are, Maurice Sendak (1963)
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum (1900)
The Words of César Chávez, César Chávez (2002)


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