March 22, 2000 New Book Features the Architecture of the Library's Thomas Jefferson Building

Contact: Library of Congress contact: Audrey Fischer (202) 707-0022 | Pomegranate contact: Eve Rouverol (800) 227-1428

The Library of Congress: An Architectural Alphabet will be published in April by the Library of Congress in cooperation with Pomegranate Press. The publication is one of several planned to celebrate the Library's Bicentennial on April 24, 2000.

Across the street from the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C., stands the first of the three Library of Congress buildings. The Thomas Jefferson Building, completed in 1897 and named for the president in 1980, is a landmark in the nation's capital as well as one of the country's great architectural treasures.

"At the heart of all our efforts stands the Jefferson Building, a heroic structure that is at once celebratory, inspirational, and educational," said Librarian of Congress James. H. Billington. "Few places represent human aspiration in such dramatic fashion."

The Library of Congress: An Architectural Alphabet opens doors into many of the extraordinary spaces and features that rest within the 600,000 square feet enclosed by the building's historic walls. The book offers an illustrated tour of the Library's art, architecture, and sculpture, created by some 50 artists and artisans. From A (for arch) to Z (for zigzag), it explores the Jefferson Building's unusual architectural details -- egg-and-dart molding, helixes, jambs, pilasters, quoins, spandrels, tripods, vaults, and even an X-motif printer's mark. Illustrations and descriptions are joined by a colorful alphabet drawn from the Library's collection of rare books and manuscripts.

Visitors must allot many hours to see all of this landmark's 409,000 cubic feet of granite, 22 million red bricks, 500,000 enameled bricks, 2,165 windows, 15 varieties of marble, untold numbers of classical columns, and millions of items. Compact in a 9-by-9-inch format, the Architectural Alphabet is a wonderful place to start.

The Library of Congress: An Architectural Alphabet -- a 64-page, hardbound book, with 29 color photographs -- will be available for $17.95 in major bookstores and from the Library of Congress Sales Shops (Credit card orders: 202-707-0204).


PR 00-038
ISSN 0731-3527