American Minute


April 24: The Library Of Congress


Originally for legislators to do research, it began APRIL 24, 1800, with a $5,000 grant from Congress.

The British set fire to it during the War of 1812, burning hundreds of books.

Thomas Jefferson provided over 6,400 volumes to restock it.

The Library of Congress relocated to its present site in 1897 and is now the largest library in the world, with over 118 million items on more than 500 miles of shelves.

The Library of Congress’ Rare Book Division has 1,470 Bibles dating from the beginning of printing, including one of three existing copies of the original 15th Century Gutenberg Bible on vellum.

Inscribed on the walls of the Library of Congress are the verses:

“The light shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehendeth it not” (John 1:5);

“Wisdom is the principal thing therefore get wisdom and withall thy getting, get understanding” (Proverbs 4:7);

“What doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with thy God” (Micah 6:8);

“The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament showeth His handywork (Psalm 19:1).

Also inscribed in the Library of Congress is Alfred Lord Tennyson’s line:

“One God, one law, one element, and one far-off divine event, to which the whole creation moves.”

The Library of Congress has an outstanding exhibit, titled “Religion and the Founding of the American Republic” at



Library of Congress. July 27, 1962, Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia, in a message delivered in Congress two days after the Supreme Court declared prayer in schools unconstitutional. Robert Flood, The Rebirth of America (Philadelphia: Arthur S. DeMoss Foundation, 1986), pp. 66-69. Gary DeMar, America’s Christian History: The Untold Story (Atlanta, GA: American Vision Publishers, Inc., 1993), p. 55.

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Photo credit: Wilson Loo Kok Wee (Flickr)


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