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full view of the building
John Adams Building originally known as the Annex from roof of main library. (Theodor Horydczak Collection/ Library of Congress)

Over 70 and Still Looking Good

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The picture below is what the Adams Building looks like today, but before January 3, 1939 the area where today’s Adams Building stands looked quite different.  This location once had houses.

The Adams building is visible behind the Jefferson building and construction on the Capitol Visitors Center is visible in the foreground
Aerial view from the west of the Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson and John Adams Building (Carol M. Highsmith Collection/Library of Congress)

By the 1920’s it was quite obvious to the Library that it needed more space! In 1928 the land where the Adams Building is now located was purchased to build a new structure called the Annex. Money was appropriated for land, building construction, and a tunnel to connect the Annex to the existing Library building.  The Annex was ready for occupancy on December 2, 1938 and the staff began to move in.

three houses two are three stores one is two stores with a snow covered street and a single gentleman stands in front
Houses at 204 B Street southeast, Washington, D.C. (Prints and Photographs Division)

January 3, 1939 is  considered to be the date the Annex was opened to the public. Much of the building was devoted to book stacks and Library personnel, but on the 5th floor two reading rooms were created.  The North reading room has murals depicting Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, while the South reading room has an image of Thomas Jefferson with murals that contain many of his quotes.

Today the Science & Business Reading Room occupies the space devoted to Thomas Jefferson.

Comments (2)

  1. Dear Sirs
    Yours Mario Medrano, Guatemala.
    I would ask if you have information about an American citizen named Grady R. Kent, a native of Georgia.
    He was a preacher of the mid-twentieth century, and his work has been evidenced in part.
    If so, I would inform me if I can have access to such information.


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