James Madison, MLIS? Part 2

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December 18, 2012 by Lorene

In January, 1783, Madison and Jefferson spent a lot of time looking at book catalogues (AKA reader’s advisory publications.) Congress asked Madison for a list of books that may be useful in their deliberations, which, essentially, would create the first Library of Congress. Also, Jefferson wanted to catalogue his own collection and make a list of titles he wanted to purchase in Europe. Madison compiled more than 300 titles, including more than 1400 volumes on international law, treatises, geography, war, languages, etc. Alas, Congress decided they didn’t want to spend the money on a library. According to Ketcham’s book, Madison’s handwritten list still exists in the papers of the Continental Congress.

P.S. The Library of Congress was not established until Jefferson’s presidency. Also, during Madison’s presidency, Jefferson’s library was purchased to replace the books burned by the Brits.

As much as I’m enjoying reading about the history of our country, I’m also loving all the information about which founding fathers were big readers.


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