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Jump Back in Time Progressive Era (1890-1913)
The Main Reading Room, Library of Congress
The domed reading room that Spofford envisioned in the Library of Congress

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The Library of Congress Opened Its Doors
November 1, 1897

In 1871 the Librarian of Congress, Ainsworth Rand Spofford, suggested the construction of a building designed with the dignity and magnitude befitting "America's National Library." Spofford "envisioned a circular, domed reading room at the Library's center, surrounded by ample space for the Library's various departments." Thomas Casey and Bernard Green of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began to focus on the interior of the building in 1888. They hoped to make it a showcase for the talents of American artists and artisans. When completed, it was the largest and costliest library building in the world and a grand showcase for knowledge and learning in America.
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