When Was the Library of Congress Established? | History Hit

When Was the Library of Congress Established?

History Hit

05 Jun 2019

The Library of Congress, the main research facility for the US Congress, was established on 24 April 1800.

A bill signed by President John Adams transferring the seat of government from Philadelphia to the new capital of Washington mentioned the creation of a reference library for use by Congress.

The library was created using a fund of $5,000.

Main reading room at Library of Congress

The Thomas Jefferson collection

In August 1814 the original library was destroyed by invading British troops who set fire to the Capitol Building where it was housed.

Retired President Thomas Jefferson, who had amassed a vast collection of books over his lifetime, offered his personal collection as a replacement.

Congress paid $23,950 for the 6,487 books, which formed the foundation of today’s library.

On 13 September 1759, on the Plains of Abraham near the city of Quebec, an outnumbered British army fought a battle that would change the history of the world: the Battle of Quebec.
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The largest library in the world

Today the Library of Congress is the largest library in the world, with more than 162 million items made up of 38 million books and other print materials as well as photographs, recordings, maps, sheet music and manuscripts.

About 12,000 new items are added to the collection daily. The collection includes material in 470 different languages.

Official flag of the United States Library of Congress

Among its most precious items, the library includes the first known book printed in North America, “The Bay Psalm Book” (1640) and the 1507 world map by Martin Waldseemüller, known as ‘America’s Birth Certificate’, the first document on which the name America appears.

The Battle of Gettysburg was arguably the turning point for the American Civil War and involved an artillery bombardment which may have been the loudest man-made event until the detonation of the first atomic bomb at Alamogordo. But what actually happened at Gettysburg? To take us through the events of the 1-3 July 1863, James spoke to Craig Symonds, a teacher at the US Naval Academy for 30 years and the author of countless books. Craig takes us through the lead up to the battle, the strategies in play and the bloody outcomes of this high watermark of the Civil War.
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