April 16, 2001 Historian David McCullough to Speak about John and Abigail Adams at the Library of Congress on April 24

Contact: Helen Dalrymple (202) 707-1940

David McCullough, Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer and popular narrator of some of television's most distinguished historical series, will deliver a free, public lecture on John Adams and his family in the Coolidge Auditorium of the Library's Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First Street S.E., on Tuesday, April 24, at 8 p.m. The title of Mr. McCullough's talk is "The Enduring Examples of John and Abigail Adams." No tickets are required.

John Adams is the subject of a forthcoming biography by Mr. McCullough, which is scheduled to be published by Simon & Schuster in May. A review of the book in Publishers Weekly notes that although the facts about John Adams's life are well-known, "with his astute marshaling of facts, the author surpasses previous biographers in depicting Adams's years at Harvard, his early public life in Boston and his role in the first Continental Congress...."

David McCullough is no stranger to the Library of Congress. He has used the Library's collections extensively for many years in doing research for his books. He drew heavily from the Library's manuscript collections for Truman (1992); Mornings on Horseback (1981), about Theodore Roosevelt's progress from boyhood to his return from the Badlands; the story of the building of the Panama Canal in The Path Between the Seas (1977); and also for his forthcoming biography of John Adams. For some of his other books, The Johnstown Flood (1968) and The Great Bridge (1972), Mr. McCullough used the Library's unparalleled photographic collections.

Rep. Tim Roemer (D-Ind.) first proposed an event at the Library of Congress to honor John Adams and his family earlier this year. Librarian of Congress James Billington agreed, and he suggested a special evening featuring David McCullough because of his forthcoming study of John Adams.

Following the current April recess of the Congress, Rep. Roemer and Senator Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) plan to introduce legislation that would authorize the placement of a commemorative work in Washington, D.C., to honor President John Adams and his family's legacy of public service. Other notable members of the Adams family include Abigail Adams, wife of John Adams and a prolific writer and staunch abolitionist; John Quincy Adams, sixth president and member of Congress, whose career epitomizes the spirit of public service; and Louisa Adams, wife of John Quincy, poet and early feminist. Co-sponsors of the bipartisan legislation include Rep. Amo Houghton (R-N.Y.) and Rep. William Delahunt (D-Mass.) who represents the Adamses' hometown of Quincy, Massachusetts.

One of the three Library of Congress buildings on Capitol Hill is named for John Adams, who as president in 1800 signed into law on April 24 an act moving the seat of government to Washington, D.C. That legislation included an appropriation for $5,000 "for the purchase of such books as may be necessary for the use of Congress...and for fitting up a suitable apartment for containing them." Thanks to President John Adams, therefore, the official "birthday" of the Library of Congress is April 24 ? celebrated last year as the Library's Bicentennial.


PR 01-059
ISSN 0731-3527