Libraries and bookstores are one of Washington's
big draws. The Library of Congress is the mother lode - it's the world's largest
and the US's national library - with over 115 million items on 965 kilometers (600 miles) of shelves!
funds for a library in 1800. Unfortunately it was destroyed by the
British when they sacked the Capitol in 1814.
personal library then became the nucleus of the new collection.
The imposing granite 1897 Beaux Arts Jefferson Building has a ceremonial
Corinthian portico, and sculpted busts of men of letters gazing
For many scholars,
sitting in the Main Reading Room at the mahogany reader's tables 48.8
meters (160 feet) below the domed ceiling is an almost spiritual
The art deco Adams
Building was completed in 1939, the modern Madison Building opposite in
Holdings in the
Jefferson, Madison, and Adams buildings, clustered between 1st and 3rd
streets on Pennsylvania Avenue SE, include the contents of Lincoln's pockets on the evening
he was shot, original scores by Beethoven and Brahms, props belonging to Houdini, and original drafts
of the Declaration of
Independence, the Emancipation
the Gettysburg Address.
get into the Main Reading Room as the current president was giving a
speech for an exhibition of Winston Churchill's life.)