OF CONTENTS - Introduction - A
Brief History of the Library
THE THOMAS JEFFERSON BUILDING
Part 1 - Part 2
The East Corridor
In the center of the ceiling vault are three panels by William Andrew MacKay which represent the Life of Man. On either side of these panels are the following quotations that refer to this monumental subject.
They are, on the west side (or at the head of the paintings), from left to right:
COMES THE BLIND FURY WITH THE ABHORRED SHEARS
THE WEB OF LIFE IS OF A MINGLED YARN, GOOD AND ILL TOGETHER
FOR A WEB BEGUN GOD SENDS THREAD
The quotations on the east, or at the foot of the central vault paintings, are taken from Cardinal Wolsey's speech in Shakespeare's Henry VIII. From left to right, they are:
THIS IS THE STATE OF MAN: TO-DAY HE PUTS FORTH
On either side of these panels are four rectangular paintings by George Randolph Barse, Jr., representing Literature. Along the east side, beginning at the north, are LYRICA (Lyric Poetry), TRAGEDY, COMEDY, and HISTORY. On the west side, again beginning at the south, are ROMANCE, FANCY, TRADITION, and EROTICA (Love Poetry).
At each end of the ceiling vault is a tablet containing the surnames of eminent American printers, and men who have contributed to the improvement of American printing machinery. At the north end are the names of GREEN, DAYE, FRANKLIN, THOMAS, and BRADFORD; at the south end, the names are CLYMER, ADAMS, GORDON, HOE, and RUCE.
The quotations on the gilt wall tablets above the windows along the east side are:
SCIENCE IS ORGANIZED KNOWLEDGE
Around the corner, facing the staircase, you will find:
BEAUTY IS TRUTH, TRUTH BEAUTY
On the other side of the staircase:
TOO LOW THEY BUILD WHO BUILD BENEATH THE STARS
And around the corner, facing the Great Hall:
THERE IS BUT ONE TEMPLE IN THE UNIVERSE
Printers' marks, or trade marks from printers and publishers, embellish the upper walls of all four corridors on the second floor of the Great Hall. In the east corridor the following marks can be found:
Along the north wall
Along the east wall, beginning on the left
Along the south wall
Along the west wall, beginning on the left
The Entrance to the Visitors' Gallery, Main Reading Room
The vaulting of the passageway leading to the Visitors' Gallery consists of a series of six small domes. In the medallions are various objects symbolizing the Fine Arts, specifically Acting, Music, Sculpture, Literature, and Architecture.
The trophies of Sculpture and Architecture are accompanied by appropriate names. The subjects of the sculptures are the Farnese Bull, the Laocoon, the Niobe, and the Parthenon pediment. In the bordering arabeseques are the names of the four divinities often taken as the subject of ancient statuary: VENUS, APOLLO, HERCULES, and ZEUS. For Architecture, the buildings commemorated are the COLOSSEUM, the TAJ MAHAL, the PARTHENON, and the PYRAMIDS, and the cities are those with whose fame these monuments are connected: ROME, AGRA, ATHENS, and GIZEH.
In the bays opposite the two elevator entrances are two small lunettes. The painting on the north side depicts John James Audubon, the one on the south, the historian William Hickling Prescott, with Prescott's name on the painting. These two paintings, by an unknown artist, replaced the original paintings, "L'Allegro" and "Il Penseroso" by William G. Van Ingen, sometime between the opening of the building in 1897 and 1911. The Van Ingen paintings, according to Small's Handbook, "suggested the subjects of Milton's well-known companion poems" and included inscriptions of portions of the two poems.
A marble mosaic of Minerva by Elihu Vedder can be seen along the wall of the staircase landing that leads to the Visitors' Gallery. The artist's name can be seen beneath the owl near her right foot. Her armor partly laid aside, this Minerva of Peace is depicted as the vigilant guardian of civilization. The various fields of learning, listed on a scroll in Minerva's hand, are: AGRICULTURE, EDUCATION, MECHANICS, COMMERCE, GOVERNMENT, HISTORY, ASTRONOMY, GEOGRAPHY, STATISTICS, ECONOMICS, PAINTING, SCULPTURE, ARCHITECTURE, MUSIC, POETRY, BIOGRAPHY, GEOLOGY, BOTANY, MEDICINE, PHILOSOPHY, LAW, POLITICS, ARBITRATION, TREATIES, ARMY-NAVY, FINANCE, ART OF WAR.
Beneath the mosaic is the inscription:
NIL INVITA MINERVA QUAE MONUMENTUM AERE PERENNIUS EXEGIT
The South Corridor
Frank Weston Benson's paintings dominate the south wall and the ceiling. The subject of Benson's four circular panels on the south wall is the Seasons, each represented by a half- length figure of a young woman. From east to west, beginning above the first door leading into the Southwest Gallery, they are Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter. In the ceiling vault, the Three Graces are depicted in octagonal panels, from east to west: Aglaia (Husbandry), Thalia (Music), and Euphrosyne (Beauty). At each end of the ceiling is a rectangular panel by Frederic C. Martin painted in a style depicting ancient games, but representing the modern sports of football (east end) and baseball (west end).
quotation from Sir Philip Sidney accompanies Frank W. Benson's painting "Summer" in
the South Corridor ceiling in the Great Hall. The decorations surrounding
the panel -- and throughout the building -- were the responsibility
of Elmer E. Garnsey, who also supervised the lettering of the inscriptions
At the west end, Pompeiian panels by George Maynard of PRUDENCE and TEMPERANCE flank the window, just as on the east side Maynard has depicted PATRIOTISM and COURAGE. The bas-reliefs in the vault, above the west window, are by Roland Hinton Perry, and represent the Sibyls, or ancient prophetesses, who interpreted omens, delivered oracles, and foretold the future. The sibyls here portrayed are the Cumaean or Roman Sibyl (first panel) and, on the other side of the arch, a Scandinavian Vala or Wise Woman.
Around the west end window (through which you can see the Capitol), there are five semicircular or circular tablets, two of which are ornamented with the obverse and reverse of the Great Seal of the United States. The other three carry the following quotations:
BENEATH THE RULE OF MEN ENTIRELY GREAT,
MAN RAISES, BUT TIME WEIGHS
THE NOBLEST MOTIVE IS THE PUBLIC GOOD
Quotations on the gilt tablets, beginning under the window on the east end and moving to the right, from east to west along the south wall are:
BEHOLDING THE BRIGHT COUNTENANCE OF TRUTH, IN THE QUIET
THE TRUE UNIVERSITY OF THESE DAYS IS A COLLECTION OF
NATURE IS THE ART OF GOD
THERE IS NO WORK OF GENIUS WHICH HAS NOT BEEN
IT IS THE MIND THAT MAKES THE MAN, AND OUR VIGOR
THEY ARE NEVER ALONE THAT ARE ACCOMPANIED WITH NOBLE
MAN IS ONE WORLD AND HATH ANOTHER TO ATTEND HIM
TONGUES IN TREES, BOOKS IN THE RUNNING BROOKS, SERMONS
THE TRUE SHEKINAH IS MAN
And above the west window:
ONLY THE ACTIONS OF THE JUST SMELL SWEET AND BLOSSOM
IN THE DUST
Quotations on the wall above the golden tablets, beginning between the windows on the west end and moving to the right along the north wall, are:
A LITTLE LEARNING IS A DANGEROUS THING;
LEARNING IS BUT AN ADJUNCT TO OURSELF
STUDIES PERFECT NATURE AND ARE PERFECTED BY EXPERIENCE
DREAMS, BOOKS, ARE EACH A WORLD; BOOKS WE KNOW,
THE FAULT IS NOT IN OUR STARS
THE UNIVERSAL CAUSE
CREATION'S HEIR, THE WORLD, THE WORLD IS MINE!
VAIN, VERY VAIN, THE WEARY SEARCH TO FIND
Medallions representing different fields of knowledge and endeavor are interspersed with the quotations, paintings, and printers' marks. On the south wall, from east to west, are PRINTING, POTTERY, and GLASS-MAKING; on the north wall, from west to east, are CARPENTRY, SMITHERY, and MASONRY.
Printers' marks, or trade marks from printers and publishers, embellish the south and north walls. On the south wall, from east to west, the marks are for:
VELPIUS; ESTIENNE; DE COLINES; REGNAULT;
On the north wall, from west to east, the marks are for:
WÉCHEL; TORY; CHAUDIÈRE; LE ROUGE; BREVILLE; DOLET; TRESCHEL; PETIT
The West Corridor
In the center of the ceiling vault are three panels by William B. Van Ingen representing Painting, Architecture, and Sculpture. On either side of these medallions are four rectangular paintings by Walter Shirlaw, representing The Sciences. Along the west side, beginning at the left, are ZOOLOGY, PHYSICS, MATHEMATICS, and GEOLOGY. On the east, again beginning at the left, are ARCHAEOLOGY, BOTANY, ASTRONOMY, and CHEMISTRY.
At either end of the vault is a tablet containing the names of scientists. At the north end are: LA GRANGE, LAVOISIER, RUMFORD, and LYELL; at the south end are: CUVIER, LINNAEUS, SCHLIEMANN, and COPERNICUS. On either side of these tablets, are these quotations:
THE LIGHT SHINETH IN DARKNESS, AND THE DARKNESS
IN NATURE ALL IS USEFUL, ALL IS BEAUTIFUL
Quotations on the gilt wall tablets along the west side, beginning at the left, are as follows:
ART IS LONG, AND TIME IS FLEETING
THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD IS THE BIOGRAPHY OF GREAT MEN
BOOKS WILL SPEAK PLAIN WHEN COUNSELLORS BLANCH
GLORY IS ACQUIRED BY VIRTUE BUT PRESERVED BY LETTERS
THE FOUNDATION OF EVERY STATE IS THE EDUCATION OF ITS
Printers' marks or trade marks from printers and publishers embellish the east and west walls. Along the east wall, beginning at the upper left, the marks are for these firms:
CRATANDER; VALENTIN KOBIAN; MARTIN SCHOTT;
Along the west wall, beginning on the left, the marks are for:
WOLFANG KOPFEL, FUST and SCHOEFFER, CRAFT MULLER,
The North Corridor
Robert Reid's brilliantly colored paintings dominate the north wall and the ceiling. Reid's four circular panels on the north wall, from west to east, are titled WISDOM, UNDERSTANDING, KNOWLEDGE, and PHILOSOPHY. In the ceiling vault, the octagonal decorations represent the five senses: TASTE, SIGHT, SMELL, HEARING, and TOUCH. Alternating with the ceiling paintings are a series of rectangular panels by Frederic C. Martin that depict events in ancient sports. The scenes, from west to east in the ceiling, are of discus throwing, wrestling, running, the rub-down, victory, and the return home.
At the west end, Pompeiian panels depicting INDUSTRY and CONCORDIA by George Maynard flank the window, just as on the east side Maynard has pictured FORTITUDE and JUSTICE. The bas-reliefs in the vault above the west window are by Roland Hinton Perry. They represent the Sibyls, ancient prophetesses who interpreted omens, delivered oracles, and foretold the future. The sibyls portrayed here are the Greek Sybil and the Eastern, or Persian Sybil. In the first panel, the Greek Sybil is represented by the priestess of the world-renowned Oracle at Delphi. In the second panel, the face of the prophetess is veiled, signifying the occult wisdom of the East.
Above the west window is the quotation:
THE CHIEF GLORY OF EVERY PEOPLE ARISES FROM ITS AUTHORS
Around the west window are five round tablets, two of which are ornamented with the obverse and reserve of the Great Seal of the United States. The other three carry the following quotations:
ORDER IS HEAVEN'S FIRST LAW
MEMORY IS THE TREASURER AND GUARDIAN OF ALL THINGS
BEAUTY IS THE CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE
Quotations on the golden wall tablets on the north wall, from west to east, are:
THERE IS ONE ONLY GOOD, NAMELY, KNOWLEDGE;
KNOWLEDGE COMES, BUT WISDOM LINGERS
WISDOM IS THE PRINCIPAL THING; THEREFORE GET WISDOM;
IGNORANCE IS THE CURSE OF GOD,
HOW CHARMING IS DIVINE PHILOSOPHY!
BOOKS MUST FOLLOW SCIENCES, AND NOT SCIENCES BOOKS
IN BOOKS LIES THE SOUL OF THE WHOLE PAST TIME
WORDS ARE ALSO ACTIONS AND ACTIONS ARE A KIND OF WORDS
Between the windows on the golden tablet at the east end of the corridor is the quotation:
READING MAKETH A FULL MAN; CONFERENCE A READY MAN;
Excerpts from "Unexpressed," a poem by Adelaide Procter, are found on seven tablets on the north and south walls. On the south wall, reading from left to right, the verses are:
NO REAL POET EVER WOVE IN NUMBERS
On the north wall:
DWELLS WITHIN THE SOUL OF EVERY ARTIST
Interspersed with the quotations from the poem "Unexpressed" are medallions representing different fields of knowledge and endeavor. On the south wall, from east to west, are NAVIGATION, MECHANICS, and TRANSPORATION; on the north wall, from west to east, are GEOMETRY, METEOROLOGY, and FORESTRY.
Printers' marks, or trade marks from printers and publishers, embellish the north and south walls. On the south wall, from east to west, the marks are for:
WILLIAM CAXTON; R. GRAFTON; VAUTROLLIER; JOHN DAY; W. JAGGARD; ARBUTHROT; A. HESTER; R. PYNSON.
On the north wall, from west to east, the marks are for these firms:
D. APPLETON; THE DEVINNE PRESS; CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS; HARPER AND BROTHERS; THE RIVERSIDE PRESS; THE CENTURY CO.; J.B. LIPPINCOTT CO.; DODD, MEAD AND CO.
The Southwest Gallery (The Arts and the Sciences)
The paintings in the large lunettes at each end of the Southwest Gallery are by Kenyon Cox: The Sciences at the south end, and The Arts at the north end of the gallery.
Names of renowned artists and scientists are inscribed on tablets above the windows and the doors. Starting at the north entrance near The Arts and moving south, they are: WAGNER, HOMER, MICHELANGELO, RAPHAEL, RUBENS, MILTON, LEIBNITZ, DALTON, KEPLER, HERSCHEL, GALILEO, ARISTOTLE, PTOLEMY, HIPPARCHUS, LAMARCK, HELMHOLTZ, PHIDIAS, VITRUVIUS, BRAMANTE, and MOZART.
The monogram "CL" for Congressional Library is used as a decorative feature in the ceiling.
This photograph shows ornaments being prepared for installation in the second floor gallery ceilings. The "CL" stands for "Congressional Library," the name by which the Library of Congress was known at the turn of the century. The gilding of the rosettes (foreground) was another responsibility of Elmer E. Garnsey, who also supervised the setting of the tiles, the assembling of the mosaics, the color coordination, and the execution of the painted panels.
The Southwest Pavilion (The Discoverers)
The paintings in the lunettes and the disc in the domed ceiling are the work of George Willoughby Maynard. In the lunettes the sequence of Maynard's subjects begins on the east side and continues to the right, as follows: ADVENTURE, DISCOVERY, CONQUEST, CIVILIZATION. In the ceiling disc, the artist has depicted four qualities appropriate to these four stages of a country's development: COURAGE, VALOR, FORTITUDE, and ACHIEVEMENT.
The paintings in the lunettes include the names of illustrious discoverers and adventurers. They are, as follows:
East Lunette (Adventure)
DRAKE DIAZ CAVENDISH NARVAEZ RALEIGH COELHO SMITH CABEZA FROBISHER VERRAZANO GILBERT BASTIDAS
South Lunette (Discovery)
SOLIS CABOT ORELLANA MAGELLAN VAN HORN HUDSON OIEDA BEHRING COLUMBUS VESPUCIUS PINZON BALBOA
West Lunette (Conquest)
PIZARRO CORTES ALVARADO STANDISH ALMAGRO WINSLOW HUTTEN PHIPS FRONTENAC VELASQUEZ DE SOTO DE LEON
North Lunette (Civilization)
ELIOT PENN CALVERT WINTHROP MARQUETTE MOTOLINA JOLIET FRITZ OGLETHORPE YEARDLEY LAS CASAS LA SALLE
The wall tablets bear these words, beginning in the southwest corner and proceeding to the right:
ARTS, LETTERS, TOLERATION, SPAIN, ENTERPRISE, OPPORTUNITY, FORTUNE, PORTUGAL, INDIA, ELDORADO, AMERICA, FRANCE, EXPLORATION, DOMINION, COLONIZATION, ENGLAND
Circular plaques in relief, representing the Four Seasons, are in the four corners beneath the ceiling. The series, repeated in the other three second floor pavilions, is the work of Bela Lyon Pratt. Beginning in the corner and proceeding clockwise, Spring carries the label Seed, Summer is Bloom, Autumn is Fruit, and Winter is Decay.
The Northwest Gallery