And Then Life Happened, History Thursday

What I did on my summer vacation: Part the First

Currently Listening To: The Wanted – “Lightning”
Currently Reading: The Exiled Queen by Cinda Williams Chima; Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

This morning, I loaded all the pictures from my camera onto my computer.

Guys, I took a lot of pictures. It’s going to take me awhile to go through them. However, I definitely want to share some of them with you, so I’m probably going to end up posting them in bits and pieces on here for awhile. And since I was in Washington, D.C. and then upstate New York – which are both places where there was history in everyone’s backyards – it makes sense that I’d also take this opportunity to go into the history behind a lot of the things I saw. (Did I mention how much I geeked out when I was on that trip? I probably did. Multiple times.)

Also, I kept a journal during the trip, so if there are any particularly profound kernels in there, I’ll be sure to include them.

Without further ado, I’ll devote today’s post to the Library of Congress, which was a place I never, ever wanted to leave. (This is true of many of the places we went.)

I’m really, really excited to be standing outside the LOC, even though it was about 9:30 am and already HOT and HUMID.

The Library is housed in four different buildings, but we only went in the main one, the Jefferson building. Obviously, the Jefferson building is named for my favorite president, Thomas Jefferson (hereafter known as T-Jeff), for reasons I’ll get to in a bit.

These pictures definitely don’t do it justice, but pretty much every spare wall, ceiling, and floorspace is decorated with something – mosaics, paintings, etc. And every single bit of it has some sort of symbolism associated with it. A lot of the art ties back to the Greeks and Romans – since a lot of the ideas our country was founded on were based a lot on what these two civilizations did, a lot of the buildings pay homage to them (see: columns, columns, EVERYWHERE). For example, there’s a giant picture of Minerva, Roman goddess of wisdom, looking over the library.

Top 3 coolest things I saw in the Library of Congress:

1. T-Jeff’s personal library. Or, at least part of it. See, after the British burned down important national buildings during the War of 1812 (see: the White House, the Capitol), he decided to donate his personal collection since the original collection was turned to kindling. His personal library originally consisted of close to 6500 books (which I can only aspire to). Right now the library only has about 4000ish of the titles that were in his collection – they’re been trying to reconstruct it, so some of the books were actually his, and some are just replicas. But they have a room where you can go look at them all in their climate-controlled shelves, and it’s awesome.

2. The Gutenberg Bible. It will take a whole separate post to talk about the significance of the development of the printing press, but seeing the first result of it up close and personal was amazing.

3. The Armenian Room. There was an exhibit all about Armenian manuscripts. They had such a rich literary tradition, and looking at all of the manuscripts on display was awesome. They were so ornate – these books really were works of art.

And there you have it – my far too brief recap of the Library of Congress. Next week I’ll have a post featuring jewelry and pretty dresses, two of my favorite things ๐Ÿ™‚

“I cannot live without books.”
Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to John Adams

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4 thoughts on “What I did on my summer vacation: Part the First”

  1. Haha! I agree with Rachel: T-Jeff is an awesome nickname! Those pictures are fantastic… Such gorgeous architecture! I'm so glad you're going to share all your vacation photos with us. I love living vicariously through other peoples' trips. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. I wish I could take credit for it, but my brother is actually the one who came up with it…he was joking, but he didn't think I'd actually use it!And THANK YOU for all your help with my query!

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