On January 26,he signed a bill that allowed the president to appoint the Librarian of Congress and establishing a Joint Committee on the Library to regulate and oversee it. The new law also extended borrowing privileges to the President and Vice President. However, he believed that all subjects had a place in the Library of Congress. I do not know that it contains any branch of science which Congress would wish to exclude from their collection; there is, in fact, no subject to which a Member of Congress may not have occasion to refer.
Origin and Jefferson's contribution[ edit ] James Madison is credited with the idea of creating a congressional library, first making such a proposition in On January 26,he signed a bill that allowed the president to appoint the Librarian of Congress and establishing a Joint Committee on the Library to regulate and oversee it.
The new law also extended borrowing privileges to the President and Vice President.
However, he believed that all subjects had a place in the Library of Congress. I do not know that it contains any branch of science which Congress would wish to exclude from their collection; there is, in fact, no subject to which a Member of Congress may not have occasion to refer.
His original collection was organized into a scheme based on Francis Bacon 's organization of knowledge.
Specifically, he grouped his books into Memory, Reason, and Imagination, which broke down into 44 more subdivisions. The Library followed Jefferson's organization scheme until the late 19th century, Library congress research papers librarian Herbert Putnam began work on a more flexible Library of Congress Classification structure that now applies to more than million items.
Ina fire destroyed two thirds of the Jefferson collection, with only 2, books remaining. By Library congress research papers, the Librarians of Congress had found replacements for all but of the works that were in Jefferson's original collection.
Weakening[ edit ] On December 22, the largest fire in the Library's history destroyed 35, books, about two—thirds of the Library's collection and two-thirds of Jefferson's original transfer.
Pearcewho restricted the Library's activities. While Meehan was Librarian he supported and perpetuated the notion that "the congressional library should play a limited role on the national scene and that its collections, by and large, should emphasize American materials of obvious use to the U.
His efforts were blocked by Smithsonian secretary Joseph Henrywho advocated a focus on scientific research and publication. Unable to resolve the conflict, Henry dismissed Jewett in July In the Smithsonian building, also called the Castle due to its Norman architectural style, was devastated by fire and presented Henry an opportunity in regards to the Smithsonian's non-scientific library.
Around this time, the Library of Congress was making plans to build and relocate to the new Thomas Jefferson Buildingwhich would be fire proof.
Stephenson as Librarian of Congress in and the appointment is regarded as the most political to date. He could manage this division of interest because he hired Ainsworth Rand Spofford as his assistant.
Spofford's expansion[ edit ] The Library of Congress reasserted itself during the latter half of the 19th century under Librarian Ainsworth Rand Spofford who directed it from to He built broad bipartisan support for it as a national library and a legislative resource, aided by an overall expansion of the federal government and a favorable political climate.
He began comprehensively collecting Americana and American literatureled the construction of a new building to house the Library, and transformed the Librarian of Congress position into one of strength and independence. Between andCongress appropriated funds for the construction of the Thomas Jefferson Buildingplaced all copyright registration and deposit activities under the Library's control, and restored the international book exchange.
The Library also acquired the vast libraries of the Smithsonian and of historian Peter Forcestrengthening its scientific and Americana collections significantly. Bythe Library of Congress hadvolumes and was tied with the Boston Public Library as the nation's largest library.
It moved from the Capitol building to its new headquarters in with more thanvolumes, 40 percent of which had been acquired through copyright deposit. Spofford and six experts sent by the American Library Association  testified that the Library should continue its expansion towards becoming a true national library.
Congress more than doubled the Library's staff from 42 to based on the hearings, and with the assistance of Senators Justin Morrill of Vermont and Daniel W.
Voorhees of Indiana, and established new administrative units for all aspects of the collection. Congress also strengthened the office of Librarian of Congress to govern the Library and make staff appointments, as well as requiring Senate approval for presidential appointees to the position. Spofford's successor John Russell Youngthough only in office for two years, overhauled the Library's bureaucracy, used his connections as a former diplomat to acquire more materials from around the world, and established the Library's first assistance programs for the blind and physically disabled.
Young's successor Herbert Putnam held the office for forty years from toentering into the position two years before the Library became the first in the United States to hold one million volumes. He instituted the interlibrary loan service, transforming the Library of Congress into what he referred to as a "library of last resort".
Inhe persuaded President Theodore Roosevelt to transfer by executive order the papers of the Founding Fathers from the State Department to the Library of Congress. Putnam expanded foreign acquisitions as well, including the purchase of a four-thousand volume library of Indicathe purchase of G.
Yudin's eighty-thousand volume Russian library, the Schatz collection of early opera librettosand the early s purchase of the Russian Imperial Collection, consisting of 2, volumes from the library of the Romanov family on a variety of topics.
Collections of Hebraica and Chinese and Japanese works were also acquired. Based in the Progressive era 's philosophy of science as a problem-solver, and modeled after successful research branches of state legislatures, the LRS would provide informed answers to Congressional research inquiries on almost any topic.
InCongress passed an act allowing the Library of Congress to establish a trust fund board to accept donations and endowments, giving the Library a role as a patron of the arts. The Library received the donations and endowments of prominent individuals such as John D.
RockefellerJames B.The papers of Abraham Lincoln (), lawyer, representative from Illinois, and sixteenth president of the United States, contain approximately 40, documents dating from to , although most of the collection spans from the s through Lincoln’s presidency ().
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