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Jump Back in Time The New Nation (1790-1828)
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Books for Congress
April 24, 1800

How did the Library of Congress get started? On April 24, 1800, President John Adams approved $5,000 for the purchase of "such books as may be necessary for the use of Congress." As a result, Congress had a library. Those first books that arrived from London in 1801 were a collection of 740 volumes and three maps. They were stored in the U.S. Capitol. In 1802, President Thomas Jefferson, a man who loved learning and had an impressive personal library, made plans to expand the Library. This further defined the role and functions of the new institution, which celebrated 200 years of service to Congress and all Americans on April 24, 2000.
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