Menachem Mendel

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Presidential Libraries

I recently read in TNR that President George W. Bush plans to raise close to $500 million for his Presidential Library.  In search of something a bit less egotistical than large-budget presidential libraries (GWB did not start the trend, nor are presidential libraries unimportant), I happily stumbled across catalogues of the actual private libraries of Thomas Jefferson and John Adams (via PhiloBiblos).  Now these were well-read men who actually had libraries whose books probably got more use than a photo-op before going on a vacation.  The catalogue of Jefferson’s library is here and Adams’s here.  Jefferson’s library formed the foundation of the Library of Congress after the original collection was burned when the British set fire to the Capitol building in 1814.  I much prefer the other British Invasion, and I think that the latter was a good start at penance for the first.  Not surprisingly Jefferson’s library included:  1. Josephus in Greek, Latin and English; 2.  Philo in Greek and Latin; 3.  Numerous editions of the Bible in Greek, Latin and English.

One Response to “Presidential Libraries”

  1. 1
    andy:

    Let’s try to guess what W’s library will include -Archie comics? Zane Gray westerns?

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