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Library of Congress Loan Receipt Register (1863-1867)

While located in the U.S. Capitol, the Library of Congress kept handwritten records of book loans. These pages list titles borrowed in the Civil War era by Senators Daniel Clark of New Hampshire and Henry Wilson of Massachusetts. Their reading ranged from The Arabian Nights to studies of butterflies and botany.

Library of Congress Archives, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress

Henry Wilson's borrowing history at the Library of Congress Daniel Clark's borrowing history at the Library of Congress

A Library for Congress

Thomas Jefferson believed "there is ... no subject to which a member of Congress may not have occasion to refer," and his broad approach to book collecting shaped the holdings of the Library of Congress. The library was created for members of Congress as a resource for their work—by extension becoming the nation's library and the world's largest repository of knowledge. In addition to politics, history, and law, its holdings encompass philosophy, poetry, classical literature, art, the natural sciences, and popular fiction.