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Library of Congress Loan Receipt Book, page "G" (1846-1865)

In the 19th century the Library of Congress kept hand-written records of book loans. This page shows loans to members of Congress before the Civil War. It includes Senators Jefferson Davis and Judah Benjamin, who left Congress and became leaders of the Confederacy; and Andrew Johnson, a loyal Unionist who was elected Vice President under President Abraham Lincoln.

Manuscript Division, Library of Congress

Library of Congress Loan Receipt Book, page "G" (1846-1865)

The Library of Congress

Thomas Jefferson believed “there is…no subject to which a member of Congress may not have occasion to refer.” His broad approach to book collecting shaped the holdings of the Library of Congress, which Congress originally established as a resource for its members. Many senators and representatives—including some who left to join the Confederacy and others who remained loyal to the Union—were voracious readers, with interests encompassing history, poetry, art, and literature as well as law and politics.