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A Jefferson Legacy

After capturing Washington, D.C. in 1814, the British burned the U.S. Capitol and destroyed the Library of Congress and its 3000-volume collection in the process. Thomas Jefferson, in retirement at Monticello, offered to sell his personal library to the Library Committee of Congress in order to rebuild the collection of the Congressional Library. On 30 January 1815, President James Madison approved an act of Congress appropriating $23,950 to purchase Thomas Jefferson’s library of 6,487 volumes. Jefferson’s library not only included over twice the number of volumes as had been destroyed, it expanded the scope of the library beyond its previous topicsâ€â€?law, economics, and historyâ€â€?to include a wide variety of subjects in several languages. Today, Thomas Jefferson’s library is one of the Library’s “special collections.” Visit The Library of Congress online to peruse various listings.

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