American Treasures of the Library of Congress: Memory, Exhibit Object Focus

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A Design for the Capitol

images/at0139.2s.jpg
Benjamin Henry Latrobe (1764-1820)
[U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C.; Principal Floor Plan, Vestibule, House of Representatives, Senate Chamber, Library]
Graphite, ink, and watercolor on paper, April 24, 1817
Prints & Photographs Division
Gift of William Morrow Roosevelt, 1975 (139.2)

Thomas Jefferson appointed Benjamin Henry Latrobe "Surveyor of the Public Buildings" of the U.S., putting him in charge of the completion of the Capitol, the White House, and many other projects. In 1815, in response to increased and projected space needs, Latrobe redesigned the main floor of the Capitol, placing the congressional library on this level, with the rotunda serving as its entrance. But the large scale of the 1815 congressional purchase of Jefferson's library, made this plan obsolete even before construction began.

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