Welcome reader to my blog - a mixture of this and that. Now that we are living in a retirement community in downtown Columbia, MD my personal gardening activities are somewhat curtailed. I still enjoy visiting gardens, reading, watching wildlife on my walks, traveling, and occasional food commentary. Please leave a comment if you feel inspired to do so. I read every one of them.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Library of Congress Inside

Friday, the 28th, I visited the Library of Congress in Washington, DC.  As promised from my last post where I showed the outside of the building, here is the inside splendor.

Quoting from the pamphlet " The Great Hall is the grand centerpiece of the Italian Renaissance-style building, which is theatrical and heavily ornamented in a Beaux Arts tradition."

Looking up at the ceiling from the first floor.
"The ceiling, seventy-five feet above the marble floor, is decorated with stained-glass skylights."

Here's the skylight.

The Main Reading Room is reserved for researchers but there's a viewing overlook.

"The Main Reading Room's domed ceiling soars 160 feet above the floor."

My photo is taken through glass so you see the reflection.

A friend here at Vantage House worked here 50 years ago and had her desk in one of those alcoves overlooking the main floor.

This is a mosaic of Minerva as she stands ready to defend a civilized society.

It's at the top of the stairs to the viewing overlook of the Main Reading Room.

A view of the Capitol through one of the windows.

"The Library of Congress was established in 1800 ... and the initial collection of 740 books and 3 maps was housed in the new Capitol Building until August 1814, when invading British troops burned the building, destroying the library."

 "President Thomas Jefferson, then retired and living at Monticello, offered his personal library as a replacement.  In January 1815, Congress appropriated $23,950 to purchase Jefferson's collection of 6,487 books..."  The collection was housed in the new Capitol.

Another fire destroyed some of Jefferson's books.  In 1897 a new separate building was opened as the Congressional Library.  The sign above shows which books on display were original to Jefferson's library and which are replacements of ones burned.

Sorry for the poor photo but even with the low light setting it was difficult to capture the space.  Here are some books with green ribbons, original books of Jefferson.

Here is the room where they are housed now.

There are all manner of exhibits in the Library of Congress (Exploring the Early Americas Exhibition, Waldseemuller Map Exhibition, Mapping a New Nation Exhibition, Bob Hope Gallery, Gershwin Room) but the one I was anxious to view was the Gutenberg Bible.

"Produced in Mainz, Germany in the mid 1450s, the Gutenberg Bible is the first book printed using movable metal type in Western Europe."  It's one of three still in existence printed on parchment.

All through the building are paintings and interesting features.

It was a great place to explore and its one to return to again.


Fun60 said...

Your photos show it off to perfection. I am so pleased that for once I can say that I, too, have visited the library.

Gosia k said...

wow a really impressive place to visit

A Colorful World said...

I knew it contained amazing treasures! But I had no idea the building was a treasure from top to bottom! Absolutely stunning...I had no idea!

Stewart M said...

Fascinating story - I went on a guided tour of the Bodleian Library in Oxford, which has a similar (although somewhat older) story of how its started obtaining books.

Bodleian Library

Blogoratti said...

Wonderful visit and an adventure that must have been. Its great to see photos of the largest library in the world. The history and photos are very fascinating indeed. Thanks for sharing!

Tom said...

...Marcia, what a gorgeous place! Why is it that today we only build bug boxes? Thanks for sharing, I hope to see you again.

LA Paylor said...

I live in Maryland too, Severna Park. The LOC is one of the most beautiful buildings we have! I loved your pics. I'm sending a link to my friend Mary, who retired from managing a dept at the LOC. How lucky to work in such a grand building every day!
LeeAnna at not afraid of color

Linda said...

Spectacular! Thanks for sharing.

Cranberry Morning said...

Marcia, I so enjoyed all your beautiful photos of the Library of Congress today. We've not been to Washington for about 25 years. It's definitely time to return. I'll want to see this, thats for sure! How thrilling to see the Gutenberg Bible!

Cynthia said...

Wow, I never imagine how beautiful and ornate the Library of Congress is. I've always had a picture in my mind of musty old books and dark halls. It's absolutely glorious. You took some really nice photos.

Monika B... said...

The mosaics are beautiful.

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