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Books Purchased From Cadell & Davies/Bingham & Waln of London, November 1800

London booksellers were required for the “purchase of such books as may be necessary for the use of the Congress.” One order included Jefferson’s Notes on Virginia, Gibbon’s histories of the Roman Empire and Greece and various histories of European nations and America.

Manuscript Division, Library of Congress

Books Purchased From Cadell & Davies/Bingham & Waln of London

Establishing a Library for Congress - 1

The Library of Congress was established in the act that provided for relocating the federal government to Washington, D.C. That act also authorized purchasing $5,000 worth of books and the “fitting up of a suitable apartment for containing them.” Most of these books were destroyed when British troops burned the Capitol in 1814. To replace them, Thomas Jefferson sold to the government his personal library of over seven thousand volumes. The Library of Congress was housed in the Capitol until 1897, when the Library moved to its own building.