American Memory is an Internet-based archive for public domain image resources, as well as audio, video, and archived Web content. It is published by the Library of Congress. The archive came into existence on October 13, 1994 after $13,000,000 was raised in donations.
From the outset, the National Digital Library was truly a collaborative national endeavor. Bipartisan support from the United States Congress for $15 million over five years and a unique public-private partnership involving entrepreneurial and philanthropic leadership led to more than $45 million in private sponsorship from 1994 through 2000.
Beginning in 1996, the Library of Congress sponsored a three-year competition with a $2 million gift from the Ameritech Corporation to enable public, research, and academic libraries, museums, historical societies, and archival institutions (with the exception of federal institutions) to digitize American history collections and make them available on the Library’s American Memory site. The competition produced 23 digital collections that complement American Memory, which now features more than 100 thematic collections.
The National Digital Library exceeded its goal of making five million items available online by 2000. American Memory will continue to expand online historical content as an integral component of the Library of Congress’s commitment to harnessing new technology as it fulfills its mission "to sustain and preserve a universal collection of knowledge and creativity for future generations."