The Library of Congress
An Architectural Alphabet
- An A to Z look at the art, architecture, and sculpture of the Library of Congress
Across the street from the United States Capitol in Washington, DC, stands the original building of the Library of Congress, completed in 1897. The Thomas Jefferson Building, as it was named in 1980, is a landmark both in the nation’s capital and in the nation’s architectural heritage. Through the monumental bronze entrance doors, into the Great Hall, along the resplendent corridors and galleries, and into the building’s incomparable study and exhibition spaces, the library remains one of the most handsomely decorated structures in the United States. This book opens doors into many of these spaces and explores out-of-the-way nooks and crannies to uncover many unusual architectural details, which often go unnoticed within the 600,000 square feet of space that the building’s walls enclose. This charming book also offers a delightful and captivating tour of the library’s art, architecture, and sculpture, created at the end of the 19th century by some 50 artists and artisans. Illustrations from colourful alphabets found among the library’s rare books and manuscripts are paired with images of egg-and-dart moldings, helixes, jambs, quoins, spandrels, tripods, vaults and more.