The Library of Congress is in downtown DC, just behind the Capitol building (next to the Supreme Court). The LOC spans multiple buildings, but the one open for free tours is the Jefferson Building. The historic building now houses many exhibits, as well as a concert hall and a public reading room.
The building is gorgeous and we saw it in its holiday finery.
I enjoyed seeing the Gutenberg Bible and the Bay Psalm Book, along with lots of other Bibles and religious books. They have a great pamphlet you can take home. I also enjoyed seeing the St. John’s Bible displayed. It called to mind the wonderful weeks I’ve spent in Collegeville, MN at St. John’s Abbey.
For me, another highlight of the tour was the Thomas Jefferson Library. When the original Library of Congress burned down, Jefferson donated his personal library, and that library has been recreated in a circular exhibit. Jefferson is a complicated and fascinating historic figure. How thrilling to stand and be surrounded by his books! (Check out the quote at the top of the display.)
I will leave you with another notable quotation which shows the way our nation intertwines literacy and faith: “Ignorance Is the Curse of God, Knowledge the Wing Wherewith We Fly to Heaven.”
Susan Cleveland says
Reminds me of a 1987 text criticism project involving studying and translating a piece of previously untranslated 10th century vellum housed in the Library of Congress. I had permission to enter the Rare Manuscripts room and select the vellum. It was a hymn written in Greek mostly about Paradise. At the time I lived two blocks away on Constitution Ave, attending Wesley Seminary. Oh the sweet memories!! Yes, sister, books rock!!
Ruth Everhart says
Susan, thanks so much for sharing this story! I feel I can picture that time of your life so much better now! And BTW — Happy Birthday!