Library of Congress

The Library of Congress was established by an act of Congress in 1800 when President John Adams signed a bill providing for the transfer of the of the seat of government from Philadelphia to the new capital city of Washington. It was housed in the new Capitol until August 1814, when invading British troops set fire to the Capitol Building, burning and pillaging the contents of the small library. Within a month, retired President Thomas Jefferson offered his personal library as a replacement. Jefferson had spent 50 years accumulating books and his library was considered to be one of the finest in the United States.