Thomas Jefferson was renowned for being many things: third president of the United States, author of the Declaration of Independence, father of the University of Virginia, founding father of the nation and the Library of Congress, respected scholar and prolific inventor. So, it should come as no surprise that he was also a poet, or, at the very least, a poetry lover who dabbled a bit on the side.
Other presidents who labored over the almighty verse were Abraham Lincoln, James Madison and Jimmy Carter. The Digital Reference Team of the Library of Congress has put together a guide to the Library’s poetry resources, including one that highlights presidents as poets.
The month of April marks many other auspicious occasions, particularly for the Library of Congress. On April 13, 1743, Jefferson was born. The Library was founded on April 24, 1800.
As a man who stated he could not live without books, Jefferson took a keen interest in the Library and its collection while he was president of the United States from 1801 to 1809. In fact he approved the first law defining the role and functions of the new institution, including the creation of the post of Librarian of Congress. When the British army invaded the city of Washington and burned the Capitol, including the 3,000-volume Library of Congress, Jefferson sold his personal library of 6,487 volumes to replace what had been lost.