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Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson, surrounded by books

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President James Madison Approved an Act of Congress to Purchase Thomas Jefferson's Library
January 30, 1815

Thomas Jefferson, enjoying his retirement at Monticello, offered to sell his collection of 6,487 volumes to the Library Committee of Congress in order to rebuild the collection of the Congressional Library. His personal collection contained over twice the number of books Congress had lost in the fire. It also included a wider range of topics in several languages. The previous library covered only law, economics, and history. However, Jefferson said of his collection, "I do not know that it contains any branch of science which Congress would wish to exclude from their collection."
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