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Title: Handbook of the new Library of Congress
Author: Various
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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  [Illustration: (colophon)]





The intention of this Handbook is to furnish such an account of the
new building of the Library of Congress as may prove of interest to
the general reader, and at the same time serve as a convenient guide
to actual visitors. To this latter end, a system of headings and
sub-headings has been introduced, and the building has been described
throughout in the order in which a visitor might naturally walk
through it. Criticism has been avoided in the general description,
but a brief survey of the artistic qualities of the Architecture,
Sculpture, and Painting is given in Mr. Caffin’s supplementary essay.

The writer had intended at first to give rather a full account of the
collections of the Library, of the Smithsonian system of exchange, of
the operation of the copyright law, and of the general system under
which the Library was carried on. So much of what he might have thus
described, however, would have been entirely changed, and so much
more considerably modified, by the new methods of administration made
possible and necessary by the new building, that it was decided to
pass lightly over all matters connected with the administration of
the Library. Should another edition of the Handbook be called for, it
is hoped that there will be an opportunity to supply this omission.
In the meantime it will be found that Mr. Spofford’s paper on the
Function of a National Library will serve to indicate the general
scope of the institution.

The writer desires to express his great obligation, for much
information and courtesy, to Mr. Bernard R. Green, in charge of the
Library during the time that this book was preparing, to Mr. Edward
Pearce Casey, and to Mr. Spofford. Without their assistance the book
could hardly have been written. Thanks are due, also, to many of the
individual artists for their courtesy in explaining the meaning and
application of their work--and in particular to Mr. Elmer E. Garnsey,
for a great deal of painstaking assistance.

  H. S.

  COPYRIGHT NOTICE:--In addition to the general copyright of this
  Handbook, which covers the text and illustrations, the engravings
  of the paintings in the following pages are from Copley Prints,
  copyright 1896 and 1897, by Curtis & Cameron, the Prints being
  made directly from the original paintings, copyright 1896 and
  1897 by the several artists.



  HISTORY OF THE LIBRARY                                        2
      The Burning by the British Troops                         2
      The Acquisition of Jefferson’s Library                    3
      Mr. Spofford’s Administration                             3
      The Old Quarters in the Capitol                           4
      The Agitation for a New Building                          4

  THE NEW BUILDING                                              6
      The General Decoration; Mr. Garnsey and Mr. Weinert       7
      The General Character of the Building                     8

  THE EXTERIOR OF THE BUILDING                                  9
      The Façade                                               10

  THE ENTRANCE PAVILION                                        11
      Mr. Hinton Perry’s Fountain                              12
      The Ethnological Heads                                   13
      The Portico Busts                                        16
      Mr. Pratt’s Spandrel Figures                             17

  THE MAIN ENTRANCE                                            18
      Mr. Warner’s Bronze Doors                                18
      Mr. Macmonnies’s Bronze Door                             20

  MAIN ENTRANCE HALL                                           21
      The Vestibule                                            21
      The Stucco Decoration of the Vestibule                   22
      The Marble Flooring                                      22
      The Staircase Hall                                       23
      The Commemorative Arch                                   23
      Mr. Warner’s Spandrel Figures                            24
      Mr. Martiny’s Staircase Figures                          24
      The Ceiling of the Staircase Hall                        27
      The Mosaic Vaults of the First Floor Corridors           28
      Mr. Pearce’s Paintings                                   28
      Mr. Walker’s Paintings                                   30
      Mr. Alexander’s Paintings                                33
      Mosaic Decorations of the East Corridor                  33
      The Librarian’s Room                                     34
      The Lobbies of the Rotunda                               35
      Mr. Vedder’s Paintings                                   36
      The Second Floor Corridors                               39
      The Decoration of the Vaults                             39
      The Printers’ Marks                                      42
      Mr. Hinton Perry’s Bas-reliefs                           43
      Mr. Shirlaw’s Paintings                                  44
      Mr. Reid’s Paintings                                     46
      Mr. Barse’s Paintings                                    48
      Mr. Benson’s Paintings                                   50
      The Decoration of the Walls                              51
      Mr. Maynard’s Pompeiian Panels                           52
      The Inscriptions along the Walls                         53

  THE ENTRANCE TO THE ROTUNDA                                  55
      Mr. Van Ingen’s Paintings                                55
      Mr. Vedder’s Mosaic Decoration                           56

  THE ROTUNDA                                                  57
      The Importance of the Rotunda                            58
      The General Arrangement                                  60
      The Alcoves                                              61
      The Symbolical Statues                                   62
      The Portrait Statues                                     64
      Mr. Flanagan’s Clock                                     66
      The Lighting of the Rotunda                              67
      The Semicircular Windows                                 68
      The Dome                                                 70
      The Stucco Ornamentation                                 70
      Mr. Blashfield’s Paintings                               71
      The Rotunda Color Scheme                                 76
      Provision for Readers                                    77
      The Book-Carrying Apparatus                              78
      Connection with the Capitol                              79

  THE BOOK-STACKS                                              80
      Arrangement and Construction                             80
      Ventilation and Heating                                  82
      The Shelving                                             82
      Lighting                                                 82

  THE LANTERN                                                  84

  THE RECTANGLE                                                84

  SOUTHEAST GALLERY                                            86
      Mr. Cox’s Paintings                                      86

  THE PAVILION OF THE DISCOVERERS                              88
      Mr. Pratt’s Bas-reliefs                                  89
      Mr. Maynard’s Paintings                                  89

  THE PAVILION OF THE ELEMENTS                                 93
      Mr. R. L. Dodge’s Paintings                              93

  THE PAVILION OF THE SEALS                                    94
      Mr. Van Ingen’s Paintings                                96
      Mr. Garnsey’s Ceiling Panel                              98

  THE PAVILION OF ART AND SCIENCE                              99
      Mr. W. de L. Dodge’s Paintings                           99

  THE NORTHWEST GALLERY                                       101
      Mr. Melchers’s Paintings                                101

  THE RECTANGLE: FIRST FLOOR CORRIDORS                        101
      Mr. McEwen’s Paintings                                  102

  THE HOUSE READING ROOM                                      106
      Mr. Dielman’s Mosaics                                   107
      Mr. Gutherz’s Paintings                                 109

  THE SENATE READING ROOM                                     110

  THE NORTH CORRIDOR                                          111
      Mr. Simmons’s Paintings                                 111

  SPECIAL ROOMS                                               112

  THE BASEMENT                                                112


  THE FUNCTION OF A NATIONAL LIBRARY                          123


[Illustration: (decorative archway)]





The Library of Congress in Washington is not the mere reference
library for the legislative branch of the Government that its name
would imply. It is, in effect, the library of the whole American
people, directly serving the interests of the entire country. It was,
it is true, founded for the use of the members of the Senate and
House of Representatives; but, although the original rule still holds
good that only they and certain specified Government officials may
take books away from the building,[1] the institution has developed,
especially during the last quarter of a century, into a library
as comprehensively national as the British Museum in London, the
Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, or the Imperial Library in Vienna.
It is more freely open to the public than any of these, everyone
of suitable age being permitted to use its collections without the
necessity of a ticket or formal permission, while in scope it is
their equal, however much it may for the time being be inferior to
them in certain branches of learning. Its aim in the accumulation
of books is inclusive and not exclusive, as Mr. Spofford explains
elsewhere in this Handbook, in his article on _The Function of a
National Library_.

This development amounts almost to a change of front, in spite of
the fact that the original purpose of the Library as an aid to the
legislation and debates of Congress has been fully preserved. The
change has been brought about in many ways, but principally by
the exchange system of the great governmental scientific bureau,
the Smithsonian Institution, and by the operation of the national
copyright law.

The Smithsonian Institution issues each year a large number of
scientific publications of the highest interest and importance. It
distributes these throughout the world, receiving in exchange a body
of scientific literature which comprehends practically everything of
value issued by every scientific society of standing both in this
country and abroad. With the exception of a small working library
retained by the Smithsonian Institution for the immediate use of
its officers, the splendid collection of material which has been
gathered during the forty years in which this exchange system has
been in operation is deposited in the Library of Congress, forming a
scientific library unrivalled in this country.

By the operation of the copyright law, any publisher, author, or
artist desiring to obtain an exclusive privilege of issuing any
publication whatever, must send two copies of the publication on
which a copyright is asked to the Librarian of Congress to be
deposited in the Library. By this means, during the twenty-five years
that the law has been in force, the Library has been enabled to
accumulate approximately the entire current product of the American
press, as well as an enormous number of photographs, engravings,
and other works coming under the head of fine arts. The possession
of this material would alone give the Library a special national
character possible to no other library in the country.


The Library of Congress was founded in the year 1800, about the
time that the government was first established in Washington. Five
thousand dollars was the first appropriation, made April 24, 1800,
while Congress was still sitting in Philadelphia. Some of the
Democratic Congressmen, as strict constructionists, opposed the idea
of a governmental library, but their party leader, Thomas Jefferson,
then President, warmly favored it. He called it, later in life, with
a sort of prophetic instinct, the “Library of the United States,”
and his support of it from the very beginning was so hearty and
consistent that he may perhaps be regarded in the broad sense as the
real founder of the institution.

The Library was shelved from the first in a portion of the Capitol
building. The first catalogue was issued in April, 1802. It appears
that there were then, in accordance with the old-fashioned method
of dividing books according to size, not subject, 212 folios, 164
quartos, 581 octavos, 7 duodecimos, and 9 maps.

=The Burning by the British Troops.=--The War of 1812 wrecked the
slender accumulations of the first dozen years of the Library’s
existence. The collection was entirely destroyed by fire by the
British troops which entered Washington August 24, 1814. The burning
is described by a writer in an old magazine. “The British,” he
says, “first occupied the Capitol, only the two wings of which
were finished, and connected by a wooden passageway erected where
the Rotunda now stands. The leading officers entered the House of
Representatives, where Admiral Cockburn of the Royal Navy (who was
co-operating with General Ross), seating himself in the Speaker’s
chair, called the assemblage to order. ‘Gentlemen,’ shouted he,
‘the question is, Shall this harbor of Yankee democracy be burned?
All in favor of burning it will say Aye!’ There was a general
affirmative response. And when he added, ‘Those opposed will say
Nay,’ silence reigned for a moment. ‘Light up!’ cried the bold
Briton; and the order was soon repeated in all parts of the building,
while soldiers and sailors vied with each other in collecting
combustible material for their incendiary fires. The books on the
shelves of the Library of Congress were used as kindling for the
north wing; and the much admired full-length portraits of Louis XVI.
and his queen, Marie Antoinette, which had been presented by that
unfortunate monarch to Congress, were torn from their frames and
trampled under foot. Patrick Magruder, then Clerk of the House of
Representatives and Librarian of Congress, subsequently endeavored to
excuse himself from not having even attempted to save the books; but
it was shown that the books and papers in the departments were saved,
and that the Library might have been removed to a place of safety
before the arrival of the British.”

=The Acquisition of Jefferson’s Library.=--Jefferson was then living
in retirement at Monticello. He was in some financial difficulty
at the time, and he offered the Government the largest portion of
his library, comprising some 6,700 volumes, for the price which he
had originally paid for them--$23,700. The offer was accepted by
Congress, although it met with much opposition. Among those who
objected to the bill were Daniel Webster, then a Representative from
New Hampshire; while Cyrus King, a Federalist member of the House
from Massachusetts, “vainly endeavored to have provision made for the
rejection of all books of an atheistical, irreligious, and immoral
tendency”--a curious example of the many attacks of a similar nature
made upon Jefferson by his political opponents.

With Jefferson’s books as a nucleus, the Library of Congress began
to make substantial gains. In 1832, a law library was established as
a distinct department of the collection. At present it numbers some
85,000 volumes, but for the greater convenience of the Supreme Court,
which sits in the old Senate Chamber of the Capitol, it has not been
removed from its former quarters in that building. It is always
reckoned, however, as a portion of the collection of the Library of

In 1850, the Library contained about 55,000 volumes. December
24, 1851, a fire broke out in the rooms in which it was shelved,
consuming three-fifths of the whole collection, or about 35,000
volumes. A liberal appropriation for the purchase of books in place
of those destroyed was made by Congress, and from that time to the
present day the growth of the Library has been unchecked.

=Mr. Spofford’s Administration.=--In December, 1864, the present
Librarian, Mr. Ainsworth Rand Spofford, was appointed by President
Lincoln[2]. The general management of the Library has always been
in the hands of a joint committee of Congress; but the membership
of the committee is constantly changing, so that the Librarian is
practically the real head and director of the institution. During the
time that Mr. Spofford has occupied his position, not only has the
growth of the collection been little short of marvellous, but so
many changes of system have been introduced as almost completely to
transform the old Library of half a century ago. The year following
Mr. Spofford’s appointment, the previous copyright law was modified
so as to require the deposit in the Library of Congress of a copy of
every publication on which copyright was desired, the second copy
required being deposited elsewhere. The administration of the law
was still divided, however, in that each State had its own office
for copyright--some States more than one--with the result that the
volumes due the Government were sometimes received and sometimes
not. There was no way to call the negligent publisher or author to
account, for no single office contained the complete information
necessary. Such system as existed was often invalidated by the
carelessness of the officials--the Clerks of the United States
District Courts--in charge in the various States. In 1870, therefore,
Congress still further amended the copyright law by consolidating
the entire department in the hands of the Librarian of Congress, as
Registrar of Copyrights, with the provision that both copies of the
publication copyrighted should go to the Library. Since then, the law
has worked with perfect smoothness, and with the result of enormous
additions to the Library--numbering, in the year 1896, no less than
55,906 publications of all kinds.

Naturally enough, therefore, the Library has grown in the last
quarter of a century to be by far the largest in the country. In 1896
it contained, roughly estimated, 755,000 volumes of books, 250,000
pamphlets, 500,000 separate pieces of music, 25,000 maps, and 256,000
engravings, photographs, lithographs, etchings, photogravures, and
pictorial illustrations in general.

=The Old Quarters in the Capitol.=--For many years the Library had
been kept in the west front of the Capitol. Here there was provision
for perhaps 350,000 volumes. With the great increase, the old
quarters had long been utterly inadequate. The crypts in the basement
of the Capitol afforded room for storage, but the hundreds of
thousands of books, pieces of music, and engravings thus stored were
for the most part entirely inaccessible to the student--a serious
loss to the usefulness of the Library, in spite of the fact that, so
far as the books were concerned, only duplicates and such volumes as
were seldom called for were thus laid away. The copyright business
could be kept up to date only by the greatest effort. The rooms
regularly devoted to the Library were so small, and so over-crowded
with books, that there was almost no opportunity for quiet study,
while the ordinary official routine was carried on with the greatest
difficulty and inconvenience. That the Library should be able to keep
its doors open at all, much more that it should continue promptly to
furnish books to applicants, was a sufficient cause for wonder.

=The Agitation for a New Building.=--In his report for 1872, Mr.
Spofford first laid before Congress the necessity of a new building
for the accommodation of the Library. It was fourteen years, however,
before any decided action was taken in response to this appeal,
annually repeated, and twenty-five years before the present building
was finally ready for occupancy. During these fourteen years, to
quote Mr. Spofford, “various schemes for continuing the Library
within the Capitol were brought forward. One was to extend the west
front of the edifice one hundred feet, to hold the books; another, to
project the eastern front two hundred and fifty feet, thus making a
conglomerate building out of what is now a purely classic edifice; a
third, and more preposterous scheme, was to accommodate the Library
growth within the great inner concave of the dome, which was to
be literally honeycombed with books from the floor of the Rotunda
to the apex: a plan which would have given space for only twelve
years’ growth of the Library, besides increasing incalculably all
the difficulties of its administration. Every plan for enlarging the
Capitol would have provided for less than thirty years’ increase,
after which Congress would be confronted with the same problem again,
and forced to erect a new building after all the cost (estimated
at four millions of dollars) of such enlargement. At length a
commission of architects reported against disturbing the symmetry
of the Capitol, and that illusive spectre was laid to rest. Then
ensued difficulties and dissensions about a site, about plans, about
architects, and about cost. Some wanted to save money by planting a
building in the Botanic Garden, or on the Mall, sites which have been
twice under water in the last twenty years, from the overflow of the
Potomac River. Some wanted a plain storehouse of brick, after the
model of the Pension Building, but it was wisely concluded that one
such architectural monstrosity was enough for our Government.

“At length all differences between Senate and House were harmonized;
the act for a separate building received over two-thirds majority
in 1886; a site of ten acres was purchased on a plateau near the
Capitol for $585,000; work was begun on a large scale, but cut down
in 1888 to smaller dimensions, with a limitation of ultimate cost of
$4,000,000; restored in 1889 to the original size, and the limitation
of cost was raised to $5,500,000, in addition to sums heretofore
appropriated, thus providing for an ample and thoroughly equipped
edifice, with ultimate accommodations for four and one-half millions
of volumes.”



The first act of Congress providing for the construction of the
building was approved April 15, 1886. Its terms adopted the plan
submitted by Mr. John L. Smithmeyer; created a commission consisting
of the Secretary of the Interior, the Architect of the Capitol
Extension, and the Librarian of Congress, to have charge of and
carry forward the work; and selected the present site. The year 1886
was occupied in appraising and taking possession of the ground; the
next year in clearing the site, making the principal excavation for
the foundations, and laying the drainage system; and the year 1888
in laying one half of the concrete foundation footings on the plan
adopted by the act above mentioned. On October 2, 1888, a new act
of Congress was approved, repealing so much of the act of April
15, 1886, as provided for a commission and the construction of the
building according to the plan therein specified. This act placed the
work under the sole control and management of the Chief of Engineers
of the Army, Brigadier-General Thomas Lincoln Casey, requiring him to
report direct to Congress annually and to prepare general plans for
the entire construction of the building, subject to the approval of
the Secretary of War and the Secretary of the Interior, and within a
total cost of $4,000,000, exclusive of appropriations previously made.

The preparation of the new design was at once entered upon, using
the previous one of Mr. Smithmeyer as a basis by reducing its
dimensions and otherwise considerably modifying it to bring the
cost within the required limit. The new plans were completed and
submitted for approval to the Secretaries on November 23, 1888,
but no action was taken by them. At the same time this design,
together with another modification of the original, retaining the
full dimensions of the building, but modifying its ground-plan and
other architectural features, within and without, in many important
particulars, was placed before Congress. The cost of the building by
the latter design was estimated at $6,003,140, and the time for its
construction at eight years. Toward the close of the session Congress
again took up the subject of plans in connection with the sundry
civil appropriation bill and adopted the larger modified design
by the act approved March 2, 1889, directing that the building be
erected in accordance therewith, and at a total cost not to exceed
$5,500,000, exclusive of appropriations previously made. The amount
of the previous appropriations was $1,000,000, of which a balance
of $745,567.94 remained after the expenses of operations on the old
plan had all been defrayed. Thus the total limit of cost of the new
plan was fixed by law at $6,245,567.94. It may be added that none of
the plans, drawings, or designs made prior to General Casey’s taking
charge of the work were used, all having been new and different.

In the meantime many detailed plans of stonework for the exterior
walls, foundations, etc., had been prepared, and the working up of
the details of design and construction in general had been actively
going on in the drafting room, so that all was in readiness for the
prompt and vigorous commencement of operations, which took place on
the ground as soon as Congress had passed the act of March 2, 1889.

In the execution of the work General Casey had the entire responsible
charge under Congress from October 2, 1888, until his death, on March
25, 1896, and he also disbursed the funds during that period. He
held general supervision, gave general direction to all principal
proceedings, and maintained an intimate knowledge of the work
at all times, while performing the duties of his more absorbing
and important office of Chief of Engineers of the Army at the War
Department, to which he succeeded a few months before he was placed
in charge of the Library building by Congress. General Casey had been
connected with some of the most important pieces of construction ever
undertaken by the Government, including the erection of the State,
War and Navy Building and the completion of the Washington Monument.
The last was an especially difficult task, as it had been necessary
to strengthen the old foundations of the shaft before it was possible
to proceed with the work. In this delicate and hazardous undertaking,
as well as in the erection of the State, War and Navy Building, and
other works, General Casey had been assisted by Mr. Bernard R. Green,
C. E., whom he now appointed to be superintendent and engineer of
the construction of the new Library building, and put in full local
charge of the entire work.

To aid in designing the artistic features of the architecture--that
is, exclusive of arrangement, construction, utility, apparatus, and
the management of the business--Mr. Paul J. Pelz was employed under
the immediate direction of General Casey and Mr. Green. Mr. Pelz
had been in partnership with Mr. Smithmeyer in the production of
the original general plan and design. In this way the design of the
building, as it now appears in the main in the exterior and court
walls, the dome, the approaches to the west front, was evolved, Mr.
Pelz thereby fixing the plan and main proportions of the building.
In the spring of 1892 Mr. Pelz’s connection with the work ceased. At
that time the building had reached but little more than one-half its

In the fall of that year Mr. Edward Pearce Casey, of New York
City, was employed as architect and also as adviser and supervisor
in matters of art. His designs principally include all of the
most important interior architecture and enrichment in relief and
color. Mr. Casey continued as architect until the completion of the
building. On the death of General Casey, in March, 1896, he was
immediately succeeded by Mr. Green, under whose charge the building
was completed, in February, 1897, within the limit of time set by
Congress in 1888, and about $140,000 below the limit of cost--or, in
round numbers, for $6,360,000.

=General Decoration: Mr. Garnsey and Mr. Weinert.=--In addition to
those whose work has been described in the preceding paragraphs,
two other men remain to be mentioned in giving any general account
of the construction of the new building: Mr. Elmer E. Garnsey, who
was in charge, under the general supervision of the architect,
of the conventional color decoration of the interior, and Mr.
Albert Weinert, who, in the same way, was in charge of the stucco
ornamentation. Mr. Weinert was put at the head of a staff of
modellers, who executed on the spot the great variety of relief
arabesque and minor sculpture required in the comprehensive scheme
of stucco ornament adopted by Mr. Casey as a chief factor in the
decoration of the main halls and galleries throughout the building.
For the general color decoration of the building--which extends
into every room in the building, and includes the many elaborate
and beautiful arabesques which decorate the vaulting of the main
halls--Mr. Elmer E. Garnsey, who had been concerned in similar work
at the World’s Fair, the Boston Public Library, and the Carnegie
Library in Pittsburgh, was engaged. A large studio was fitted up
in the building and a staff of designers and fresco-painters was
organized. Mr. Edward J. Holslag was appointed foreman; Mr. William
A. Mackay and Mr. Frederick C. Martin were employed to carry out
on the walls the finer portions of the designs; and Mr. W. Mills
Thompson and Mr. Charles Caffin to make the finished cartoons from
the original sketches for the use of the fresco-painters. The latter
numbered about twenty-five, and the larger portion of them were kept
constantly busy for nearly a year and a half.

=The General Character of the Building.=--Of the splendid and
monumental building itself, it may be stated, before entering upon
a detailed description--and stated, too, with hardly any fear
of contradiction--that it is the most perfectly adapted for the
convenient use and storage of books of any large library in the
world. It is the largest, the costliest, and the safest. It is
absolutely fire-proof, not through any ingenious arrangement or
contrivance, but by the very quality of the materials of which it
is built--granite, brick, marble, iron, steel, and terra-cotta.
Wood floors are used in many of the rooms, but they are merely a
carpet of boards laid upon terra-cotta or brick vaults. It would be
impossible for the Library to burn down; a fire would nowhere have an
opportunity to spread. The great size of the building is perhaps best
appreciated from a statement of the amount of some of the materials
used in it: 409,000 cubic feet of granite, 500,000 enamelled brick,
22,000,000 red brick, 3,800 tons of steel and iron, and 73,000
barrels of cement. The draughting office turned out, during the
eight years that the Library was under construction, 1,600 plans and
drawings. Exclusive of the cellar, the total floor-space is 326,195
square feet, or nearly eight acres; and the whole number of windows
is about 2,165.

As a matter of “library economy,” the arrangement of the building is
of great interest. The problems to be solved were mostly new ones. In
a paper on the Library, read before the American Library Association,
Mr. Green said: “Its design was preceded by few or no good examples
of library architecture, and was therefore the outcome of theory and
deduction rather than the application of established principles.”
This task was not undertaken in any dogmatic way, however; “the
effort was,” as Mr. Green went on to say, “to plan on general rather
than particular principles, and afford the largest latitude for
expansion and re-arrangement in the use of the spaces.”

So far, however, as general interest is concerned, it is the
magnificent series of mural and sculptural decorations with which
the architecture is enriched that has contributed most to give
the Library its notable position among American public buildings.
Although a similarly comprehensive scheme of decoration was carried
out at the World’s Fair in Chicago, and afterwards in the new Public
Library in Boston, the Government itself had never before called
upon a representative number of American painters and sculptors
to help decorate, broadly and thoroughly, one of its great public
monuments. Commissions were here given to nearly fifty sculptors and
painters--all Americans--and their work, as shown throughout the
building, forms the most interesting record possible of the scope and
capabilities of American art.

It may be noted here, also, that, both inside and out, the Library
is, in the main, in the style of the Italian Renaissance--derived,
that is to say, from the architecture of the buildings erected in
Italy during the period (roughly speaking, the fifteenth century
or earlier) when the elements of classic art were revived and
re-combined in a _Renascence_, or _New Birth_, of the long-neglected
models of Greece and Rome.


The site of the Library originally comprised two city blocks,
containing seventy houses, with an extent, as has been said, of ten
acres. It is bounded by First, East Capitol, Second, and B Streets,
and forms a partial continuation of the band of parks which stretches
east from the Washington Monument, including the Agricultural
Grounds, the Smithsonian Grounds, Armory Square, the Public Gardens,
the Botanic Garden, and the Capitol Grounds. The general effect of
the grounds enclosing the Library is that of an extension of the
Capitol Grounds, the street separating the two, for example, being
treated, so far as possible, as a driveway through a park, and both
being enclosed by low or “dwarf” walls of the same height and design.


The Library faces exactly west. It is four hundred and seventy feet
long (from north to south), and three hundred and forty deep (from
west to east). It occupies, exclusive of approaches, three and
three-quarters acres.

The general disposition of the building may best be seen by a glance
at the ground plan given on the present page. The exterior walls are
thus seen to belong to a great rectangle, which encloses a cross
dividing the open space within into four courts, each one hundred
and fifty feet long by seventy-five or one hundred feet wide. At the
intersection of the arms of the cross is an octagon, serving as the
main reading room, and conspicuous by reason of its dome and lantern,
which, rising well above the walls of the Rectangle, are the first
feature of the building to attract the attention of the visitor.
The lantern is surmounted by a great blazing torch with a gilded
flame--the emblematic Torch of Learning--which marks the centre
and apex of the building, a hundred and ninety-five feet above the
ground. The dome and the domed roof of the lantern are sheathed with
copper, over which, with the exception of the ribs of the dome, left
dark to indicate their structural importance, is laid a coating of
gold leaf, twenty-three carats fine. The surface covered is so large
that one’s first thought is apt to be of the expense. As a matter of
fact, however, the total cost--including the gilding for the flame of
the torch--was less than $3,800. Since it will require to be renewed
much less frequently its use was considerably more economical than

=The Façades.=--The exterior walls of the Library are constructed
wholly of granite, quarried in Concord, New Hampshire. The stone is
a close-grained variety, so even and light in tone that when the
sun is shining upon it the effect is almost as brilliant as if a
white marble had been used. The massive buttresses which support the
Octagon at each of its eight corners, and so much of the Octagon wall
as is visible from the outside, are also granite, but of a different
quality, slightly darker in hue, and coming from quarries in Maryland.


The Library is in three stories: the basement story of fourteen feet;
the first story, or main library floor, of twenty-one feet; and the
second story of twenty-nine feet-making a height of sixty-four feet
for the three stories at the lowest point. Adding to this the base
at ground level, and the simply designed balustrade which surmounts
the whole, the total height is seventy-two feet above the ground.
Beneath the entire structure is a cellar, below the level of the
ground outside, but within opening upon the interior courts. The
granite of which the walls are constructed is rough, or “rock-faced,”
in the basement story; much more finely dressed in the story above;
and in the second story brought down to a perfectly smooth surface.
The windows in the basement are square-headed, as also on the library
floor, except along the west front, where they are arched, with
ornamental keystones. Throughout the second story they are again
square-headed, but with casings in relief, surmounted by pediments
alternately rounded and triangular, and, along the west front, railed
in at the bottom by false balustrades.

To prevent the monotony incident to a long, unrelieved facade, the
walls are projected at each of the four corners and in the centre
of the east and west sides, into pavilions, which, in addition to
being slightly higher than the rest of the rectangle--thus allowing
space for a low attic-story--are treated with greater richness
and elaboration of ornamental detail. The corners are set with
vermiculated granite blocks--blocks whose surface is worked into
“vermiculations” or “wormings.” The keystones of the window-arches in
the first story are sculptured with a series of heads illustrating
the chief ethnological types of mankind. Along the second-story
front runs a portico supported upon a row of twin columns, each a
single piece of granite, with finely carved Corinthian capitals.
The pedestals which support the columns are connected by granite
balustrades, so that the portico forms a single long balcony, with an
entrance through the windows which look out upon it.



Of all these pavilions the West, or Main Entrance, Pavilion, is
by far the largest as well as by far the most ornate. It is one
hundred and forty feet long, or almost a third the total length of
the building, and about seven feet higher than either of the other
five pavilions. At either end it is itself projected, or pavilioned.
The Main Entrance is through a porch of three arches, on the main
library floor. The approaches are extensive and imposing. A flight of
steps, constructed of granite from Troy, New Hampshire, ascends from
either side to a central landing, laid with flags of red Missouri
granite. Thence the stairway leads in a single flight to the Entrance
Porch, with space underneath for a _porte cochère_ in front of the
doors admitting to the basement. The central landing just spoken of
is protected by a high retaining wall which forms the background
for a splendid fountain by Mr. Roland Hinton Perry, ornamented with
a profusion of allegorical figures in bronze--the chief figure
representing Neptune enthroned in front of a grotto of the sea.

The posts of the granite railing of the steps support elaborate
bronze candelabra, bearing clusters of electric lamps for
illumination at night. The spandrels of the Entrance Porch--the
approximately triangular spaces flanking the three arches--are
ornamented with female figures sculptured in high relief in granite,
representing _Literature_, _Science_, and _Art_. They were modelled
by Mr. Bela L. Pratt. Above the main windows of the library floor is
a series of smaller, circular windows, which serve as a background
for a series of granite busts (the pedestals of which rest in the
pediments below) of men eminent in literature. There are nine in
all, seven along the front, and one at each end of the pavilion.
They are flanked by boldly sculptured figures of children, reclining
upon the sloping pediments, or, alternately, by massive garlands
of fruits. The keystones of the circular windows each support the
standing figure of a winged cherub, or genius, all sculptured from
a single design, and introduced as the accentuating feature of a
frieze of foliated ornament extending along the three sides of the
pavilion. Like the garlands and figures on the pediments, they were
modelled by Mr. William Boyd. At either end of the attic story Mr.
Boyd’s hand appears again in the sculptural embellishment of the
little porch--as one may perhaps call it--which looks out upon the
balcony formed by the granite railing. The rounded pediment contains
a group in granite consisting of the American eagle flanked by two
seated children. Each pediment is supported on the shoulders of two
conventional Atlases--“Atlantides” is the technical name--figures of
gigantic strength, so called because in the Greek and Roman mythology
Atlas was fabled as a giant supporting the vault of heaven by his
unaided strength.


A more particular description is required of the fountain, the
ethnological heads, the series of busts in the portico of the
Entrance Pavilion, and the spandrel figures ornamenting the Entrance

=Mr. Hinton Perry’s Fountain.=--Of Mr. Perry’s fountain, it may
be said at once that it is the most lavishly ornamental of any in
the country. It occupies a semicircular basin fifty feet broad,
containing a dozen bronze figures disposed to represent a scene--so
one may take it--in the court of Neptune, the classic god of the
sea. The granite wall of the terrace against which the fountain is
placed contains three deep niches, in the spandrels of which are four
dolphins sculptured in relief from models by Mr. Albert Weinert. The
niches themselves are treated with an evident suggestion of a grotto
worn by the sea, with a hint, also, at the formation of stalactites
by the constant dripping of water. In front of the central niche
Neptune is seated in a majestic attitude on a bank of rocks. He is
represented as an old man with a long flowing beard, but the lines
of his naked figure indicate the energy and great muscular strength
befitting the Ruler of the Deep. The figure is of colossal size;
it would be, that is, if standing, about twelve feet in height. On
either side of the bank lolls a figure of Triton, one of the minor
sea-gods, blowing a conch shell to summon the water-deities to the
throne of their sovereign. In front of each of the niches at the side
is a sea-nymph triumphantly bestriding an infuriated sea-horse, his
ears laid back and his fish’s tail writhing with anger on account
of a jet of water constantly thrown against his head. The basin is
crossed and re-crossed by similar jets, which furnish the whole flow
of water, and proceed from the mouths of sea-monsters in various
places throughout the fountain. There are seven of them in all. The
first is a serpent just showing itself above the water in front of
the bank on which Neptune is seated. Higher up, to the right and
left, two gigantic frogs lurk in crevices of the rocks; and floating
along the outer edge of the basin are four huge Florida turtles,
their heads raised a little above the water and their long fins
making as if swimming.



=The Ethnological Heads.=--The ethnological heads ornamenting
the keystones of the first-story pavilion windows offer as
interesting material for study as any of the decorations of the
Library. The series is unique in that it is the first instance of
a comprehensive attempt to make ethnological science contribute to
the architectural decoration of an important public building. It was
at first proposed to employ a more conventional kind of ornament,
such as the familiar Gorgons’ heads so often found in connection
with Renaissance architecture. The present idea was carried out
with the assistance of Professor Otis T. Mason, the Curator of the
Department of Ethnology in the National Museum for the last twelve
years. The heads, thirty-three in number, are about a foot and a
half in height, and were modelled, some by Mr. Boyd and others by
Mr. Henry J. Ellicott, after data accumulated by Professor Mason as
the result of some six months’ special study of the ethnological
collections in the possession of the National Museum--which contains,
indeed, practically all the material (books, photographs, carefully
verified measurements) necessary for such an undertaking. The large
collection of authentic, life-size models, chiefly of savage and
barbarous peoples, which the visitor may see in its exhibition halls,
is the most extensive in the country, and many of the heads on the
Library keystones are taken directly from these.


Taking into consideration the difficulty of obtaining the
more delicate differentiation of the features in a medium so
unsatisfactory, from its coarseness of texture, as granite, the
result of Professor Mason’s work is one of the most scientifically
accurate series of racial models ever made. Still another difficulty,
it may be added, lay in the fact that each head had to be made to fit
the keystone. Besides the necessity of uniform size, the architect
demanded also, as far as possible, a generally uniform shape, which
it was often very hard to give and still preserve the correct
proportions of the racial type. The face had to be more or less in
line with the block it ornamented, and, especially, the top of the
head had to follow, at least roughly, a certain specified curve.
This last point was met either by using or not using a head-dress,
whichever best met the difficulty. In one case the problem was
a little puzzling--that of the Plains Indian, with his upright
circlet of eagle’s feathers, which were bound to exceed the line,
if accurately copied. The difficulty was frankly met by laying the
feathers down nearly flat upon the head.


In preparing the models, accuracy was the chief thing considered.
Any attempt at dramatic or picturesque effect, except what was
natural to the type portrayed, was felt to be out of place. Each
head was subjected to the strict test of measurement--such as the
ratio of breadth to length and height, and the distance between the
eyes and between the cheek bones--this being the most valuable
criterion of racial differences. All portraiture was avoided, both
as being somewhat invidious and unscientifically personal, and, more
especially, because no one man can ever exemplify all the average
physical characteristics of his race. On the other hand, the heads
were never permitted to become merely ideal. It will be noticed that
all are those of men in the prime of life.


The list of the races, beginning at the north end of the Entrance
Pavilion, and thence continuing south and round the building to the
Northwest Pavilion, is as follows, each head being numbered for
convenience in following the order in which they occur: 1, Russian
Slav; 2, Blonde European; 3, Brunette European; 4, Modern Greek; 5,
Persian (Iranian); 6, Circassian; 7, Hindoo; 8, Hungarian (Magyar);
9, Semite, or Jew; 10, Arab (Bedouin); 11, Turk; 12, Modern Egyptian
(Hamite); 13, Abyssinian; 14, Malay; 15, Polynesian; 16, Australian;
17, Negrito (from Indian Archipelago); 18, Zulu (Bantu); 19, Papuan
(New Guinea); 20, Soudan Negro; 21, Akka (Dwarf African Negro); 22,
Fuegian; 23, Botocudo (from South America); 24, Pueblo Indian (as
the Zuñis of New Mexico); 25, Esquimaux; 26, Plains Indian (Sioux,
Cheyenne, Comanche); 27, Samoyede (Finnish inhabitant of Northern
Russia); 28, Corean; 29, Japanese; 30, Aino (from Northern Japan);
31, Burmese; 32, Thibetan; 33, Chinese.


It will be seen that the various races are grouped so far as
possible according to kinship. There is not, however, space--and
this is hardly the place--in which to explain the many points which
might be brought up in connection with this interesting series of
heads. For such information the reader is referred to any good
text-book on ethnology.[3] One or two special details, however,
may properly be mentioned. The selection of the Pueblo Indian, for
example, was a second choice. Professor Mason would have preferred
one of the ancient Peruvian Incas, but no satisfactory portrait
could be found to work on. The Thibetan is a Buddhist priest, as
indicated by his elaborate turban. The Chinese belongs to the
learned, or Mandarin class. The Russian with his fur cap is the
typical Slavic peasant. The Blonde European is of the educated German
type, dolichocephalic, or long-headed; the Brunette European is
the Roman type, brachycephalic, or broad-headed. The architect has
introduced a Greek fret on the turban of the Greek to symbolize the
importance of ancient Greek art. The Egyptian is the typical Cairo
camel-driver. The Corean wears the dress and hat of the courtier,
and the Turk also is depicted as a member of the upper classes.
The Hungarian wears the astrachan or lambswool cap of the peasant.
Many of the heads of savage or barbarous races are shown with their
peculiar ornaments--the Malay with his earrings, the Papuan with his
nose-plug, the Botocudo with studs of wood in his ears and lower lip,
and the Esquimaux with the labret or lip-plug of walrus ivory. The
face of the Polynesian, finally, is delicately incised with lines,
copied from a specimen of Maori (New Zealand) tattooing.



=The Portico Busts.=--The list of the men commemorated by the nine
busts in the portico is as follows: Demosthenes, Emerson, Irving,
Goethe, Franklin, Macaulay, Hawthorne, Scott, and Dante. The
_Demosthenes_, _Scott_, and _Dante_ were modelled by Mr. Herbert
Adams; the _Emerson_, _Irving_, and _Hawthorne_ by Mr. J. Scott
Hartley; and the _Goethe_, _Franklin_, and _Macaulay_ by Mr. F.
Wellington Ruckstuhl. The reader will see that so far as possible
with an odd number, the work of each sculptor is, so to say, in
balance--Mr. Ruckstuhl’s in the centre, flanked by Mr. Hartley’s,
and Mr. Adams’s at either end--thus avoiding any possible confusion
of style, and giving the artist all the advantage which comes from a
symmetrical disposition of his productions. There is, as a matter of
fact, very little diversity in the present series. Each bust is of
uniform height--about three feet, not reckoning the pedestal--with
a uniform background. The statue of Franklin, coming in the centre,
has, intentionally, a certain effect of pre-eminence. The sculptor
conceived him “as one of the greatest men of this country, and as a
writer and philosopher the patriarch, and therefore aimed to make him
dominate the rest.” A word should be said regarding the background of
the busts--the glass enclosed in the framing of the circular windows.
The effect, as always of a window, is dark, as granite would not have
been, thus throwing the busts, which are of the same material as the
walls, into sharp, strong relief.

[Illustration: COREAN. JAPANESE. AINO.]


=Mr. Pratt’s Spandrel Figures.=--The beautiful spandrel figures
of the Entrance Porch modelled by Mr. Bela L. Pratt are six in
number.[4] All are about life-size, and are shown leaning gracefully
against the curve of the arches. After what has been said of the
intractability of granite as a medium for any but the bolder
sorts of sculpture, it is not out of place to call attention to
the exceptional delicacy and refinement with which these figures
have been chiselled. They represent, as has been said, _Literature_
(the left hand arch), _Science_ (in the centre), and _Art_ (to
the right). In the background of each spandrel the sculptor has
introduced a branch of walnut, oak, laurel, or maple leaves. Of the
figures themselves, the two to the left stand respectively for the
contemplative and the productive sides of Literature--reflection and
composition. The one is writing upon a tablet, although for a moment
she turns aside as if in search of the fitting phrase; while the
other, at the right, with a hood over her head and a book held idly
in her hand, gazes out dreamily into the distance. Of the figures of
Science, the first holds the torch of knowledge, and the second, with
the celestial globe encircled by the signs of the zodiac in her arm,
looks upward, as if to observe the courses of the stars. Here, also,
it will be seen that something of the same distinction as in the
first arch is drawn between the abstract and the practical. In the
third group, the figure to the left represents Sculpture, and that to
the right, Painting. The latter busies herself with the palette and
brush. Sculpture, with a mallet in her hand, is studying a block of
marble in which she has already blocked out the head and features of
a bust--that of the poet Dante.


The three deep arches of the Entrance Porch terminate with three
massive bronze doors, covered with a design of rich sculptural
ornament in relief. Each is fourteen feet high to the top of the
arch, with an extreme width, including the framing, of seven and
a half feet, and a total weight of about three and a half tons.
The subject of the decoration is, in the central door, _The Art of
Printing_, modelled by Mr. Frederick Macmonnies; in the door to the
left, _Tradition_, by the late Olin L. Warner; and to the right,
_Writing_, begun by Mr. Warner, but left unfinished at his death (in
August, 1896), and completed by Mr. Herbert Adams. The three thus
indicate in a regular series--the sequence of which, of course, is
Tradition, Writing, and Printing--the successive and gradually more
perfect ways in which mankind has preserved its religion, history,
literature, and science. Each of the doors is double, with a tympanum
at the top closing the arch. The various portions of the design are
comprised in a high and rather narrow panel in each leaf, with small
panels above and below, and finally the large semicircular panel
occupying the tympanum above.

=Mr. Warner’s Bronze Doors.=--Mr. Warner’s first door, _Tradition_,
illustrates the method by which all knowledge was originally handed
down from generation to generation. The background of the panel in
the larger tympanum is a mountainous and cloudy landscape, conveying
admirably, says one critic[5], “a sense of prehistoric vastness and
solitude.” In the centre is a woman, the embodiment of the subject,
seated on a throne. Against her knee leans a little boy, whom she is
instructing in the deeds and worship of his fathers. The visitor will
not fail to notice the unusual expressiveness of the group--the boy
with eager, attentive face, and the woman holding his hand in one of
hers, and raising the other in a gesture of quiet but noble emphasis.
Seated on the ground, two on either side, and listening intently
to her words, are an American Indian, holding a couple of arrows
in his hand; a Norseman, with his winged steel cap; a prehistoric
man, with a stone axe lying by his side; and a shepherd with his
crook, standing for the nomadic, pastoral races. The four are typical
representatives of the primitive peoples whose entire lore was kept
alive by oral tradition. The face of the Indian is understood to be a
portrait of Chief Joseph, of the Nez Percés tribe, from a sketch made
from life by Mr. Warner in 1889.

Of the panels below, that to the left contains the figure of a
woman holding a lyre, and the other the figure of a warrior’s widow
clasping the helmet and sword of her dead husband to her breast. The
first represents _Imagination_, and the second _Memory_, the former
being the chief quality which distinguishes the nobler sorts of
traditional literature, as exemplified in the true epics, springing
from the folk-tales of the people, and the latter standing for that
heroic past with which it so constantly deals.


The same general arrangement of figures is followed in the second
door--the one representing _Writing_--as in the first. In the
tympanum of the door, a female figure is seated in the centre,
holding a pen in her hand and with a scroll spread open in her lap.
Beside her stand two little children, whom she is teaching to read
or write. To the right and left are four figures representing the
peoples who have had the most influence on the world through their
written memorials and literature--the Egyptian and the Jew to the
right, and the Christian and Greek to the left. The Jew and the
Christian are represented as kneeling, in allusion to the religious
influence which they have exerted. The former holds a staff in his
hand, and may be taken as one of the ancient Jewish patriarchs; the
latter bears a cross. The Greek has a lyre, for Poetry, and the
Egyptian holds a stylus in his hand.

The standing figures in the door proper are of women, and represent
Truth (on the right) and Research (on the left). Research holds the
torch of knowledge or learning, and Truth a mirror and a serpent, the
two signifying that in all literature, wisdom (of which the serpent
is the emblem) and careful observation (typified by the mirror, with
its accurate reflection of external objects) must be joined in order
to produce a consistent and truthful impression upon the reader. The
smaller panels below contain a design of conventional ornament with
cherubs or geniuses supporting a cartouche, on which the mirror or
serpent of the larger panels is repeated.

=Mr. Macmonnies’s Bronze Door.=--In Mr. Macmonnies’s design the
tympanum is occupied by a composition which he has entitled, _Minerva
Diffusing the Products of Typographical Art_. The Goddess of Learning
and Wisdom--a fit guardian to preside at the main portal of a great
library--is seated in the centre upon a low bench. On either side is
a winged genius, the messengers of the goddess, each carrying a load
of ponderous folios which she is dispatching as her gift to mankind.
To the right is her owl, perched solemnly on the bench on which she
is sitting. She wears the conventional helmet and breastplate--the
latter the Ægis, with its Medusa’s Head--of ancient art, but in
her wide, full skirt, with its leaf-figure pattern, the artist has
adopted a more modern motive. The Latin title of Mr. Macmonnies’s
subject, _Ars Typographica_, and various symbolical ornaments are
introduced in the background. To the left and right, enclosed in
a laurel wreath, are a Pegasus and a stork. The former stands, of
course, for the poetic inspiration which gives value to literature.
The stork, commonly symbolizing filial piety, may be taken here,
if one chooses, as typifying the faithful care of the inventors of
printing and their disciples in multiplying the product of that
inspiration. To the left, also, are an hour-glass, an inking-ball,
and a printer’s stick; and on the other side of the panel, an ancient


Each of the small panels in the upper portion of the doors below
is in the shape of a tympanum, and is occupied by a conventionally
decorative design composed of a wreath with floating ribbons,
enclosing a cartouche on which are inscribed the words “Honor to
Gutenberg”--the Inventor of Printing. Each of the upright panels
contains the figure of a young and beautiful woman, clad in a robe
of the same design as that worn by Minerva, and carrying two tall
flaming torches. The figure in the left-hand leaf represents _The
Humanities_, the soft contours of her face expressing the gentle
and generous liberalities of learning. Her companion stands for
_Intellect_, and the lines of her face are of a bolder and severer

[Illustration: (decorative archway)]



Entering by either of these three bronze doors, one passes
immediately through a deep arch into the Main Entrance Hall. It is
constructed of gleaming white Italian marble, and occupies very
nearly the whole of the Entrance Pavilion. By reason of a partial
division of the hall into stories and open corridors, and on
account of the splendor and variety of the decoration everywhere so
liberally applied, the eye is attracted to a number of points of
interest at once. The arrangement, however, is really simple and
well defined, as may be seen by looking at the plan on page 9. With
the exception of a portion of the attic story and of two or three
small rooms partitioned off in the southeast and northeast corners
of the first floor, the entire pavilion serves as a single lofty
and imposing hall. In the centre is a great well, the height of the
pavilion--seventy-five feet--enclosed in an arcade of two stories,
the arches of the first supported on heavy piers and of the second on
paired columns. The centre of the well is left clear; on either side,
north and south, is a massive marble staircase, richly ornamented
with sculpture. On the east side of the pavilion a broad passageway,
treated as a part of the general architectural scheme of the Entrance
Hall--though really an arm of the interior cross already referred
to--connects it with the Main Reading Room.

=The Vestibule.=--The arcades surrounding the well, or Staircase
Hall, as it would better be called, screen two stories of corridors.
The corridor which the visitor has now entered--the West Corridor, on
the library floor--serves as the general vestibule of the building,
and appropriately, therefore, is more sumptuously decorated than
any of the others. The most striking feature is a heavily panelled
ceiling, finished in white and gold--perhaps as fine an example of
gold ornamentation on a large scale as can be found in the country.
It is impressively rich and elegant without in the least overstepping
the line of modesty and good taste.

The corridor is bounded by piers of Italian marble ornamented with
pilasters. There are five piers on each side, those on the west
terminating the deep arches of the doors and windows, and one at
either end. It will be noticed that these piers, like all the others
on this floor, are wider than they are deep, so that the arches they
support are of varying depth--the narrow ones running from north
to south, and the deeper ones from east to west, invariably. This
difference of depth, both of the piers and of the arches, is apt to
be somewhat bewildering until one perceives the system on which it
is based, so that it may be well to add in this connection that the
same rule of broad and narrow, and the direction in which each kind
runs, holds good, also, of the corridors on the second floor, the
only variation being that paired columns, as has already been pointed
out, are substituted for piers.

=The Stucco Decoration of the Vestibule.=--Above the marble arches
of the Vestibule the wall with its ornamentation, and the whole of
the panelled ceiling, are of stucco. By the use of this material,
especially in connection with the gold, the architect has succeeded
in obtaining a warmer and softer tone of white than would have been
possible in marble.


Above each of the side piers are two white-and-gold consoles, or
brackets, which support the panelled and gilded beams of the ceiling.
In front of every console--and almost, but not quite, detached
from it--springs a figure of Minerva, left the natural white of
the stucco. The figures are about three feet in height, and were
executed from two different models, each the work of Mr. Herbert
Adams. They are skilfully composed in pairs: the first (the Minerva
of War) carrying in one hand a falchion or short, stout sword, and in
the other holding aloft the torch of learning; and the second (the
Minerva of Peace) bearing a globe and scroll--the former significant
of the universal scope of knowledge. Although thus differing, the
figures are of the same type; both wear the Ægis and the same kind of
casque, and both are clad in the same floating classic drapery.

Modelled in relief upon the wall between the two Minervas is a
splendid white-and-gold Greek altar, used as an electric light
standard. The bowl is lined with a circle of large leaves, from which
springs a group of nine lamps, suggesting, when lighted, a cluster
of some brilliant kind of fruit. Above the piers at either end of
the corridor is another altar, somewhat narrower and of a different
design, but used for the same purpose.

It should be noted that, for the most part, both in the ceiling
and on the walls, the gold has been dulled or softened in tone in
order to avoid any unpleasing glare or contrast with the white. This
effect, however, is regularly relieved by burnishing the accentuating
points in certain of the mouldings.

=The Marble Flooring.=--Before leaving the Vestibule, the visitor
may be interested to notice the design of the marble flooring. The
body of it is white Italian, with bands and geometric patterns of
brown Tennessee, and edgings of yellow mosaic. It will be seen at
once that the design is harmonious with the lines of the arcade and
the ceiling. These are not slavishly mimicked, but are developed,
varied, and extended. Sometimes a circle is used to draw together
two opposite arches; sometimes a square echoes the pattern of
the ceiling; lines of beaming--as they may be called in an easy
metaphor--connect opposite piers; and finally the boundaries of the
corridor are outlined in a broad border enclosing the whole. It has
been said that in hardly any other building in the country has so
much pains been taken by the architect to make the lines of his floor
designs consistent with those of the architecture and the general
decorative scheme. Throughout the Library, wherever marble or mosaic
is used for this purpose, the visitor will find this phase of the
ornamentation of the building of the highest interest and importance.

[Illustration: THE MAIN VESTIBULE.]

=The Staircase Hall.=--The floor of the Staircase Hall, into which
one passes next, is an excellent example of this point. Besides the
marble, the pattern contains a number of modelled and incised brass
inlays. The one in the centre is a large rayed disc, or conventional
sun, on which are noted the four cardinal points of the compass,
which coincide with the direction of the main axes of the Library.
The disc thus performs the same service for the building--only more
picturesquely and vividly--as an arrow-head cross for a chart or
plan. From the sun as a centre proceeds a great circular glory--or
“scale pattern,” as it is technically, and more descriptively,
called--of alternate red and yellow Italian marble, the former from
Verona and the latter from Sienna. Other inlays are arranged in a
hollow square, enclosing the sun as a centrepiece. Twelve represent
the signs of the zodiac; the others are in the form of rosettes,
in two patterns. They are embedded in blocks of dark red, richly
mottled, French marble, around which are borders of pure white
Italian marble.

=The Commemorative Arch.=--On the easterly side of the Staircase
Hall, on the way to the Reading Room, the regularity of the arcade
is interrupted by a portico of equal height, which does duty as a
sort of miniature triumphal arch, commemorating the erection of the
Library. The spandrels contain two sculptured figures in marble by
the late Olin L. Warner, the sculptor of the bronze doors previously
described. Along the frieze are the words LIBRARY OF CONGRESS,
inscribed in tall gilt letters. A second inscription, giving the
names of those concerned in the erection of the Library, is cut
upon the marble tablet which forms part of the parapet above. It is
flanked by lictors’ axes and eagles, sculptured in marble, and reads
as follows:

  APRIL 15 1886 OCTOBER 2 1888 AND MARCH 2 1889 BY
            CHIEF OF ENGINEERS U. S. A.

               PAUL J. PELZ ARCHITECT

=Mr. Warner’s Spandrel Figures.=--Mr. Warner’s figures in the
spandrels of this commemorative arch are life-size, and are entitled
_The Students_. Both figures--one in either spandrel--are represented
in an easy, but dignified and sculptural attitude, leaning on one arm
against the curve of the arch. That to the left is of a young man
seeking to acquire from books a knowledge of the experience of the
past. That to the right is an old man with flowing beard, absorbed
in meditation. He is no longer concerned so much with books as with
observation of life and with original reflection and thought. The
sculptor has thus naturally indicated the development of a scholar’s
mind, from youth to old age. As an ornament of the approach to the
Reading Room, the appropriateness of the figures is obvious.


Within the arch, the pier on either side is decorated with a bit of
relief work, consisting of the seal of the United States flanked by
sea-horses, by Mr. Philip Martiny. It is Mr. Martiny’s sculpture,
also, which ornaments the staircase, the coved ceiling, and the lower
spandrels of the Staircase Hall. With the exception of Mr. Warner’s
figures, just described, and of a series of cartouches and corner
eagles which occupy the spandrels of the second-story arcade--the
work of Mr. Weinert--Mr. Martiny has this central hall to himself, so
far as the sculpture is concerned.

=Mr. Martiny’s Staircase Figures.=--The spandrels in the first story
are unusually delicate and pretty. The design comprises wreaths of
roses and oak and laurel leaves, with oak or palm for a background.
It is in the staircases, however, that Mr. Martiny’s work is most
varied and elaborate. On the piers between which they descend into
the hall, he has sculptured a striking female head of the classic
type, with a garland below and a kind of foliated arabesque on
either side. Upon the newel post which terminates the railing of
each staircase is placed a bronze female figure upholding a torch
for electric lights. The two figures are somewhat taller than life,
measuring six and a half feet, or eight feet to the top of the torch,
and ten feet including the rounded bronze base on which they stand.
Each has a laurel wreath about her head, and is clad in classic


Halfway up the staircase is a sort of buttress, which serves as a
pedestal for a group representing, on the south side of the hall,
Africa and America, and on the other side, Europe and Asia. The
four continents are typified, very delightfully, by little boys,
about three feet high, seated by the side of a large marble globe,
on which appear the portions of the earth’s surface which they are
intended to personify. _America_ is an Indian, with a tall headdress
of feathers, a bow and arrow, and a wampum necklace. With one hand he
shades his eyes while he gazes intently into the distance, awaiting,
one may fancy, the coming of his conqueror, the white man. _Africa_
is a little negro, with a war-club and his savage necklace of wild
beasts’ claws. _Asia_ is a Mongolian, dressed in flowing silk
robes, the texture of which, as the visitor will notice, is very
perfectly indicated by arranging the folds of the marble so that
they receive the proper play of light and shade. In the background
is a sort of dragon-shaped jar of porcelain. _Europe_ is clad in
the conventional classic costume, and has a lyre and a book; and a
Doric column is introduced beside him--the three objects symbolizing,
specifically, Music, Literature, and Architecture, and, more broadly,
the pre-eminence of the Caucasian races in the arts of civilization
generally, just as the dragon-jar on the other side of the globe
stands for the admirable ceramic art of China and Japan; and, also,
as the wampum and bow of the Indian indicate his advance in culture
over the stage of evolution typified by the rude war-club and savage
necklace of the negro.

The balustrade of the top landing on either side is ornamented with
the figures of three children in relief representing certain of the
Fine Arts. In the south staircase, beginning at the left as one looks
up from the floor, are _Comedy_, _Poetry_, and _Tragedy_. The first
has a comic mask and the thyrsus or ivy-wreathed wand of Bacchus, to
whom the first comedies were dedicated. _Poetry_ has a scroll, and
_Tragedy_ the tragic mask. Opposite, the figures, taking them again
from left to right, represent _Painting_, with palette and brushes;
_Architecture_, with compasses and a scroll, and behind him the
pediment of a Greek temple; and _Sculpture_, modelling a statuette.


In the ascending railing of each staircase Mr. Martiny has introduced
a series of eight marble figures in high relief. These, also, are of
little boys, and represent various occupations, habits and pursuits
of modern life. The procession is bound together by a garland
hanging in heavy festoons, and beneath is a heavy laurel roll. In
the centre the series is interrupted by the group on the buttress
just described. At the bottom it begins quaintly with the figure of a
stork. Thence, on the south side of the hall, the list of subjects is
as follows: A Mechanician, with a cog-wheel, a pair of pincers, and a
crown of laurel, signifying the triumphs of invention; a Hunter, with
his gun, holding up by the ears a rabbit which he has just shot; an
infant Bacchanalian, with Bacchus’s ivy and panther skin, hilariously
holding a champagne glass in one hand; a Farmer, with a sickle and
a sheaf of wheat; a Fisherman, with rod and reel, taking from his
hook a fish which he has landed; a little Mars, polishing a helmet;
a Chemist, with a blow-pipe; and a Cook, with a pot smoking hot from
the fire.

In the north staircase are: A Gardener, with spade and rake; an
Entomologist, with a specimen-box slung over his shoulder, running to
catch a butterfly in his net; a Student, with a book in his hand and
a mortar-board cap on his head; a Printer, with types, a press, and a
type-case; a Musician, with a lyre by his side, studying the pages of
a music book; a Physician, grinding drugs in a mortar, with a retort
beside him, and the serpent sacred to medicine; an Electrician, with
a star of electric rays shining on his brow and a telephone receiver
at his ear; and lastly, an Astronomer, with a telescope, and a globe
encircled by the signs of the zodiac which he is measuring by the aid
of a pair of compasses.


=The Ceiling of the Staircase Hall.=--Beneath the second-story
cartouches on the east and west sides of the hall are tablets
inscribed in gilt letters with the names of the following authors:
Longfellow, Tennyson, Gibbon, Cooper, Scott, Hugo, Cervantes. A
single moulding in the marble cornice above is touched with gold, as
an introduction to the rich coloring and profuse use of gilding in
the coved ceiling which it supports. The cove itself is of stucco,
and is painted blue--the color of the sky, which it is intended to
suggest--with yellow penetrations. These penetrations are outlined by
a heavy gilt moulding, and give space for ten semicircular latticed
windows opening into the rooms of the attic story. In the centre of
each penetration is painted a white tablet supported by dolphins, and
bearing the name of some illustrious author--Dante, Homer, Milton,
Bacon, Aristotle, Goethe, Shakespeare, Molière, Moses, and Herodotus.
In each corner of the cove are two female half-figures, as they are
called, supporting a cartouche, on which are a lamp and a book, the
conventional symbols of learning. The figures and cartouche are of
stucco, and were modelled by Mr. Martiny. Around them the cove is
sprinkled with stars. Higher up are the figures of flying geniuses,
two in each corner, painted by Mr. Frederick C. Martin, of Mr.
Garnsey’s staff.

Between the penetrations, the curve of the cove is carried upon
heavy gilt ribs, richly ornamented with bands of fruit. In the
spandrel-shaped spaces thus formed on either side, Mr. Martin
has painted another series of geniuses, which, by reason of the
symbolical objects which accompany them, reflect very pleasantly the
intention of Mr. Martiny’s sculpture in the staircases below. The
significance of most of the things they bear is obvious. Beginning at
the southwest corner, and going to the right, the list is as follows:
a pair of Pan’s pipes; a pair of cymbals; a caduceus, or Mercury’s
staff; a bow and arrows; a shepherd’s crook and pipes; a tambourine;
a palette and brushes; a torch; a clay statuette and a sculptor’s
tool; a bundle of books; a triangle; a second pair of pipes; a lyre;
a palm branch and wreath (the rewards of success); a trumpet; a
guitar; a compass and block of paper (for Architecture); a censer
(for Religion); another torch; and a scythe and hour-glass--the
attributes of Father Time.

The ceiling proper rests upon a white stylobate supported on the
cove. It is divided by heavy beams, elaborately panelled, and
ornamented with a profusion of gilding, and contains six large
skylights, the design of which is a scale pattern, chiefly in blues
and yellows, recalling the arrangement in the marble flooring beneath.

=First Floor Corridors: the Mosaic Vaults.=--The North, South, and
East Corridors on the first floor of the Entrance Hall are panelled
in Italian marble to the height of eleven feet, and have floors of
white, blue, and brown (Italian, Vermont, and Tennessee) marble,
and beautiful vaulted ceilings of marble mosaic. These last will
immediately attract the attention of the visitor. The working
cartoons were made by Mr. Herman T. Schladermundt from preliminary
designs by Mr. Casey as architect. The body of the design is in a
light, warm grayish tone, relieved by richly ornamental bands of
brown which follow pretty closely the architectural lines of the
vaulting--springing from pier to pier or outlining the penetrations
and pendentives. In all three corridors tablets bearing the names
of distinguished men are introduced as a part of the ornament, and
in the East Corridor are a number of discs, about eighteen inches
in diameter, on which are depicted “trophies,” as they are called,
emblematic of various arts and sciences, each being made up of a
group of representative objects such as the visitor has seen used to
distinguish the subjects of Mr. Martiny’s staircase figures.

The method of making and setting such a mosaic ceiling is interesting
enough to be described. The artist’s cartoon is made full size and
in the exact colors desired. The design, color and all, is carefully
transferred by sections to thicker paper, which is then covered
with a coating of thin glue. On this the workman carefully fits his
material, laying each stone smooth side down. The ceiling itself is
covered with a layer of cement, to which the mosaic is applied. The
paper is then soaked off, and the design pounded in as evenly as
possible, pointed off, and oiled. As the visitor may see, however, it
is not polished, like a mosaic floor, but is left a little rough in
order to give full value to the texture of the stone.

At the east end of the North and South Corridors is a large
semi-elliptical tympanum, twenty-two feet long. Along the walls are
smaller tympanums, below the penetrations of the vault. At the west
end, over the arch of the window, is a semicircular border. These
spaces are occupied by a series of paintings--in the North Corridor
by Mr. Charles Sprague Pearce, and in the South Corridor by Mr. H. O.
Walker. Like most of the special mural decorations in the Library,
they are executed in oils on canvas, which is afterwards affixed to
the wall by a composition of whitelead.

=Mr. Pearce’s Paintings.=--Mr. Pearce’s decorations are seven in
number. The subject of the large tympanum at the east end is _The
Family_.[6] The smaller panels along the north wall, taking them
from left to right, are entitled _Religion_, _Labor_, _Study_, and
_Recreation_. The single painting on the south side of the corridor,
occurring opposite the panel of _Recreation_, represents _Rest_. The
broad, arched border at the west end contains two female figures
floating in the air and holding between them a large scroll on which
is inscribed the sentence, from Confucius: “Give instruction unto
those who cannot procure it for themselves.”


The series, as seen by the list of titles just given, illustrates
the main phases of a pleasant and well-ordered life. The whole
represents the kind of idyllic existence so often imagined by the
poets--showing a people living in an Arcadian country in a state of
primitive simplicity, but possessing the arts and habits of a refined
cultivation. This life is very well summed up in the first of Mr.
Pearce’s paintings--that representing _The Family_. The subject is
the return of the head of the household to his family, after a day
spent in hunting. He stands in the centre, his bow not yet unstrung,
receiving a welcome home. His aged mother, with her hands clasped
over the head of her staff, looks up from the rock on which she
is sitting, and the gray-bearded father lays aside the scroll in
which he has been reading. The hunter’s little girl has hold of his
garment, and his wife holds out his baby son. An older daughter leans
her elbow against a tree. The scene is in the open air, at the mouth
of a cave, with a view beyond into a wooded valley bounded by high

The smaller tympanums illustrate the simple occupations and
relaxations of such an existence as is here depicted. _Recreation_
shows two girls in a glade of the forest playing upon a pipe and a
tambourine. In the panel of _Study_, a girl, sitting with her younger
companion on a great rock, is instructing her with the aid of a book
and compasses and paper. _Labor_ is represented by two young men
working in the fields. One is removing the stump of a tree, and the
other is turning over the newly cleared soil to fit it for planting.
In _Religion_, a young man and a girl are kneeling before a blazing
altar constructed of two stones, one set upon the other. In _Rest_,
two young women are sitting quietly beside a pool, where they have
come with their earthen jars for water.

The penetrations in the vault of Mr. Pearce’s corridor contain the
names of men distinguished for their work in furthering the cause of
education: Froebel, Pestalozzi, Comenius, Ascham, Howe, Gallaudet,
Mann, Arnold, Spencer. It is of some interest to note that among the
hundreds of names inscribed in the Library only three are those of
men still living. Herbert Spencer, the last-named in the list just
given, is one, and the other two are Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas
A. Edison.


=Mr. Walker’s Paintings.=--The general subject of Mr. Walker’s
decorations is _Lyric Poetry_. Like Mr. Pearce’s, in the
corresponding position, the painting in the large tympanum at the
east end of the corridor sums up in a general way the subject of
the whole series. The scene is a wood, with a vista beyond into a
wide and open champagne. Down the centre a brook comes tumbling and
splashing over its rocky bed. Although wild, and thus suggestive,
perhaps, of the inspiration of poetry, the landscape purposely
has, as a whole, a touch of artfulness, hinting therefore at the
formalities of metre and rhyme. The titles of the figures which enter
into the composition--all, with one exception, those of women--are
named in the conventional border with which the artist has enclosed
his painting. The figure standing boldly forward in the centre
represents Lyric Poetry. She is crowned with a wreath of laurel, and
is touching the strings of a lyre. The feelings which most commonly
inspire her song are personified on either side. To her left are
Pathos, looking upward, as if calling on Heaven to allay her grief;
Truth, a beautiful nude woman (the Naked Truth) standing securely
upright, and seeming by her gesture to exhort the central figure not
to exceed the bounds of natural feeling; and in the corner of the
tympanum, Devotion, sitting absorbed in contemplation. On the other
side of the panel are Passion, with an eager look, and her arms
thrown out in a movement at once graceful and enraptured; Beauty,
sitting calmly self-contained; and Mirth, the naked figure of a
little boy, inviting her to join his play.

For the smaller tympanums, Mr. Walker has taken single youthful male
figures suggested by various poems by English and American poets--on
the south side of the corridor, Tennyson, Keats, Wordsworth, and
Emerson, and on the north side, Milton and Shakespeare. Although
not always from lyrics, the general spirit of the scene selected is
invariably lyrical. The first painting shows Ganymede upon the back
of the eagle--the form taken by Jupiter when he brought the boy from
his earthly home to be the cup-bearer of the gods. The lines referred
to are in Tennyson’s _Palace of Art_:--

            Flushed Ganymede, his rosy thigh
        Half-buried in the Eagle’s down,
      Sole as a flying star shot thro’ the sky
        Above the pillar’d town.

The next panel represents Endymion, in Keats’s poem of that name,
lying asleep on Mount Latmos, with his lover, Diana, the Moon,
shining down upon him. The painter, however, had no special passage
of the poem in mind.


The third panel is based on Wordsworth’s lines beginning, “There was
a Boy.” A boy is seated by the side of a lake the surface of which
reflects the stars:--

      There was a Boy; ye knew him well, ye cliffs
      And islands of Winander!--many a time,
      At evening, when the earliest stars began
      To move along the edges of the hills,
      Rising or setting, would he stand alone,
      Beneath the trees, or by the glimmering lake;
      And there, with fingers interwoven, both hands
      Pressed closely palm to palm and to his mouth
      Uplifted, he, as through an instrument,
      Blew mimic hootings to the silent owls,
      That they might answer him....
      Then, sometimes, in that silence, while he hung
      Listening, a gentle shock of mild surprise
      Has carried far into his heart the voice
      Of mountain-torrents; or the visible scene
      Would enter unawares into his mind
      With all its solemn imagery, its rocks,
      Its woods, and that uncertain heaven received
      Into the bosom of the steady lake.

For Emerson, Mr. Walker has selected the poem of _Uriel_,
representing the angel retired in scorn from his companions, on
account of the anger with which they have received his proposition:--

      Line in nature is not found;
      Unit and universe are round;
      In vain produced, all rays return;
      Evil will bless, and ice will burn.

[Illustration: GANYMEDE.--H. O. WALKER.]

In the selection of this subject, Mr. Walker has commemorated Emerson
in a very interesting personal way--for the poem was written soon
after the famous Phi Beta Kappa oration of 1838, and is understood to
voice Emerson’s feelings regarding the storm of opposition which that
address had called forth.

Milton is represented by a scene out of the masque of _Comus_--the
vile enchanter Comus (in the guise of a shepherd) entranced at
hearing the song of the Lady. The words which he speaks in the poem,
and which Mr. Walker seeks to illustrate in his painting, are as

      Can any mortal mixture of earth’s mould
      Breathe such divine enchanting ravishment?

In Shakespeare, the artist has gone to _Venus and Adonis_, showing
the dead body of Adonis, killed by the boar, lying naked in the
forest. The painting refers to no particular lines in the poem.

The broad border at the west end is occupied by an idyllic summer
landscape containing three seated female figures and a youth--the two
figures to the left, one of them caressing a lamb, representing the
more joyful moods of lyric poetry, and the other two its more solemn
feelings. At the top is a streamer, with the words, from Wordsworth:--

      The Poets, who on earth have made us heirs
      Of truth and pure delight by heavenly lays!

In the mosaic of the vault are the names of lyric poets, six
Americans occupying the penetrations on the north side: Longfellow,
Lowell, Whittier, Bryant, Whitman, Poe; and the following English and
foreign or ancient lyrists along the centre of the vault and in the
south penetrations: Browning, Shelley, Byron, Musset, Hugo, Heine,
Theocritus, Pindar, Anacreon, Sappho, Catullus, Horace, Petrarch,

[Illustration: LYRIC POETRY.--BY H. O. WALKER.]

=Mr. Alexander’s Paintings.=--In the East Corridor are six tympanums
of the same size as the smaller panels of Mr. Walker and Mr.
Pearce, by Mr. John W. Alexander, illustrating _The Evolution of
the Book_. The subjects are, at the south end, _The Cairn_, _Oral
Tradition_, and _Egyptian Hieroglyphics_; and at the north end,
_Picture Writing_, _The Manuscript Book_, and _The Printing Press_.
In the first of these, a company of primitive men, clad in skins,
are raising a heap of stones on the seashore, perhaps as a memorial
of some dead comrade, or to commemorate some fortunate event, or,
perhaps, merely as a record to let others know the stages of their
journey. In the second panel, an Arabian story-teller stands relating
his marvellous tales in the centre of a circle of seated Arabs. The
third shows a scaffolding swung in front of the portal of a newly
erected Egyptian temple. A young Egyptian workman is cutting a
hieroglyphic inscription over the door, while an Egyptian girl, his
sweetheart, sits watching the work beside him. _Picture Writing_
represents a young American Indian, with a rudely shaped saucer of
red paint beside him, depicting some favorite story of his tribe
upon a dressed and smoothed deer-skin. An Indian girl lies near him,
attentively following every stroke of his brush. The next panel
gives the interior of a convent cell, with a monk, seated in the
feeble light of a small window, laboriously illuminating in bright
colors the pages of a great folio book. The last of the series shows
Gutenberg, the inventor of printing, in his office: the master, with
his assistant beside him, examining a proof-sheet, and discussing
the principle of his great invention. To the right is an apprentice,
swaying upon the handle-bar of the rude press.

=Mosaic Decorations of the East Corridor.=--The various trophies
already spoken of as ornamenting the mosaic of the vault of the
East Corridor are ten in number, each occurring in one of the
pendentives, at the ends and along the sides. Below each are the
names of two Americans (only those actually born in the United States
being included) eminent in the art or science typified. The list of
trophies, with the names, is as follows: Architecture (the capital
of an Ionic column, with a mallet and chisel), Latrobe and Walter;
Natural Philosophy (a crucible and pair of balances, etc.), Cooke and
Silliman; Music (a lyre, flute, horn, and music-sheet), Mason and
Gottschalk; Painting (a sketch-book, palette, and brushes), Stuart
and Allston; Sculpture (the torso of a statue), Powers and Crawford;
Astronomy (a celestial globe), Bond and Rittenhouse; Engineering
(including an anchor, protractor, level, etc.), Francis and Stevens;
Poetry (a youth bestriding Pegasus), Emerson and Holmes; Natural
Science (a microscope and a sea-horse), Say and Dana; Mathematics (a
compass and counting-frame), Peirce and Bowditch. In the vault proper
is inscribed a list of names of Americans distinguished in the three
learned professions: under Medicine, Cross, Wood, McDowell, Rush,
Warren; under Theology, Brooks, Edwards, Mather, Channing, Beecher;
and under Law, Curtis, Webster, Hamilton, Kent, Pinkney, Shaw, Taney,
Marshall, Story, and Gibson.


From the East Corridor, entrance to the basement may be had through
a little lobby with a domed mosaic ceiling under either of the main
staircases. At the north end of the corridor is the Librarian’s Room,
and at the south end are a toilet-room for ladies and a cloak-room.
The little lobby of the latter is especially bright and attractive,
with deep, velvety red walls, a high arabesque frieze, and ceiling
decorations of lyres and a disc containing a large honeysuckle

=The Librarian’s Room.=--The Librarian’s Room is one of the most
beautifully finished of any in the Library. It is divided into two
by a broad, open arch, leaving the office proper on one side, and a
smaller, more private office, with a gallery above, on the other.
The fittings are in oak, with oak bookcases. The windows look out
upon the Northwest Court. The gallery has a groined ceiling, and
over the main office is a shallow dome, with stucco ornamentation
in low relief by Mr. Weinert. Standing in a ring around a central
disc are the figures of Grecian girls, from two slightly differing
models, holding a continuous garland. Other ornaments are gilded
tablets and square or hexagonal panels, bearing an owl, a book, or
an antique lamp. The central disc is occupied by a painting by Mr.
Edward J. Holslag, already spoken of as the foreman of Mr. Garnsey’s
staff, representing _Letters_--the seated figure of a beautiful woman
holding a scroll in her hand and accompanied by a child with a torch.
The following Latin sentence is inscribed in a streamer: _Litera
scripta manet_.


In the pendentives of the dome, Mr. Weinert has modelled a figure,
about two feet in height, of a boy holding a palm-branch and blowing
a trumpet. Like the ring of girls in the dome, the figures are of
an alternating design. Above each is a circular panel with the
half-length figure of a woman, painted by Mr. Holslag. The four
decorations are intended to supplement, in a general way, the idea of
Mr. Holslag’s ceiling disc; one of the figures, for example, holds a
book, another a lute (for the musical quality of literature), and so
on. Each painting contains a Latin inscription, as follows:--_Liber
dilectatio animae_; _Efficiunt clarum studio_; _Dulces ante omnia
Musae_; _In tenebris lux_.

The color scheme adopted for the room is chiefly green. A green tinge
is used in the dome to emphasize the outline of the ornament, and
green, on a blue ground, predominates in the arabesques contained
in the tympanums below. The design of these last--where complete,
that is, for the tympanums are variously intercepted by door- and
window-arches--is a pleasant little study of the evolution of the
poet. At the bottom, a little boy is playing a pastoral tune on his
oaten pipe; above, two little trumpeters blare at him to join them in
the joy of battle; and at the top, a fourth child, the full-fledged
bard, sits astride his modern hobby-horse. The centre of the
decoration shows either a Pegasus or a Pandora, the latter opening
the famous box containing all the ills which plague mankind, and only
Hope for a blessing.

=The Lobbies of the Rotunda.=--Beyond the East Corridor, and
separated from it by an arcade, is the broad passageway leading to
the Reading Room. The entrance for visitors, however, is by way of
the second story, the doors on the library floor being open only
to those desiring to consult books. The passageway is divided by a
second arcade into two transverse lobbies. The ceiling of each is
vaulted, with a mosaic design of much the same pattern as those in
the corridors already described.

The second lobby is the immediate vestibule of the Reading Room,
and contains the two main passenger elevators, one at either end.
They start at the basement and ascend to the attic story, where,
among other rooms, are a commodious and well-equipped kitchen and
restaurant for the use of visitors and students, and the attendants
in the Library.

=Mr. Vedder’s Paintings.=--The lobby contains five tympanums, of
the same size as Mr. Alexander’s, which are filled by a series of
paintings by Mr. Elihu Vedder, illustrating, in a single word,
_Government_. Small as it is, the little lobby offers the painter
one of the most significant opportunities in the whole interior;
work here placed, in an apartment of the Library which serves at
once as elevator-hall and as vestibule to the Main Reading Room,
can hardly fail to attract the attention of everyone passing
through the building. It could not be more conspicuous anywhere
outside the central Reading Room, and the selection of such a
subject as Government is therefore peculiarly appropriate. In
every sort of library the fundamental thing is the advancement of
learning--illustrated in the Reading Room dome, as the visitor will
see later--but in a library supported by the nation the idea of
government certainly comes next in importance.


The painting in the central tympanum, over the door leading into
the Reading Room, is entitled simply _Government_. It represents
the abstract conception of a republic as the ideal state, ideally
presented. The other tympanums explain the practical working of
government, and the results which follow a corrupt or a virtuous
rule. The figures in these four tympanums are therefore appropriately
conceived somewhat more realistically. The decoration to the left of
the central tympanum illustrates _Corrupt Legislation_, leading to
_Anarchy_, as shown in the tympanum at the end of the lobby, over the
elevator. Similarly, on the other side, _Good Administration_ leads
to _Peace and Prosperity_. In all five, the composition consists of a
central female figure, representing the essential idea of the design,
attended by two other figures which supplement and confirm this idea.

In the first painting, _Government_, the central figure is that
of a grave and mature woman sitting on a marble seat or throne,
which is supported on posts whose shape is intended to recall the
antique voting-urn--a symbol which recurs, either by suggestion or
actually, in each of the other four tympanums. The meaning is, of
course, that a democratic form of government depends for its safety
upon the maintenance of a pure and inviolate ballot. The throne is
extended on either side into a bench, which rests, at each end, upon
a couchant lion, with a mooring-ring in his mouth, signifying that
the ship of state must be moored to strength. The goddess--for so,
perhaps, she is to be considered--is crowned with a wreath, and
holds in her left hand a golden sceptre (the Golden Rule), by which
the artist means to point out that no permanent good can accrue to a
government by injuring another. With her right hand she supports a
tablet inscribed with the words, from Lincoln’s Gettysburg address,
“A government of the people, by the people, for the people.” To the
right and left stand winged youths or geniuses, the first holding a
bridle, which stands for the restraining influence of order, and the
other with a sword with which to defend the State in time of danger,
or, if one chooses, the sword of justice--it may be taken either way.
The background of the group is the thick foliage of an oak tree,
emblematic of strength and stability.

[Illustration: MUSIC.--BY EDWARD J. HOLSLAG.]

In the second panel, _Corrupt Legislation_ is represented by a
woman with a beautiful but depraved face sitting in an abandoned
attitude on a throne the arms of which are cornucopias overflowing
with the coin which is the revenue of the State. But this revenue
is represented not as flowing outward, for the use and good of the
people, but all directed toward the woman herself. The artist’s
idea was that when revenue is so abundant, as here depicted, that
it greatly exceeds the needs of government, then government becomes
a temptation to all kinds of corrupt practices. The path in front
of the throne is disused and overgrown with weeds, showing that
under such a corrupt government the people have abandoned a direct
approach to Justice. With her right hand, the woman waves away, with
a contemptuous gesture, a poorly clad girl--representing Labor--who
comes, showing her empty distaff and spindle, in search of the work
which should be hers by right, but which she cannot obtain under
a government inattentive to the wrongs of the people. In her left
hand the woman holds a sliding scale--used as being more easily
susceptible of fraud than a pair of balances, and the proper emblem
therefore of the sort of justice in which she deals. A rich man is
placing in it a bag of gold; he sits confidently beside her, secure
of her favors in return for his bribe. At his feet are other bags of
gold and a strong box, together with an overturned voting-urn filled
with ballots, signifying his corrupt control of the very sources
of power. In his lap he holds the book of Law, which he is skilled
to pervert to his own ends. In the background are his factories,
the smoke of their chimneys testifying to his prosperity. On the
other side the factories are smokeless and idle, showing a strike or
shut-down; and the earthen jar in which the savings of Labor have
been hoarded lies broken at her feet.

The logical conclusion of such government is _Anarchy_. She is
represented entirely nude, raving upon the ruins of the civilization
she has destroyed. In one hand she holds the wine cup which makes
mad, and in the other the incendiary torch, formed of the scroll
of learning. Serpents twist in her dishevelled hair, and she
tramples upon a scroll, a lyre, a Bible, and a book--the symbols,
respectively, of Learning, Art, Religion, and Law. Beneath her feet
are the dislocated portions of an arch. To the right, Violence,
his eyes turned to gaze upon the cup of madness, is prying out the
corner-stone of a temple. To the left, Ignorance, a female figure,
with dull, brutish face, is using a surveyor’s staff to precipitate
the wreckage of civilization into the chasm which opens in the
foreground. Beyond, lying in an uncultivated field, are a broken
mill-wheel and a millstone. But the end of such violence is clearly
indicated; no sooner shall the corner-stone be pried from the wall
than the temple will fall and crush the destroyers; and beside the
great block on which Anarchy has placed her foot lies a bomb, with
a lighted fuse attached. Such a condition, says the painting, must
inevitably contain the seeds of its own destruction.


On the other side of the central tympanum, _Good Administration_
sits holding in her right hand a pair of scales evenly poised, and
with her left laid upon a shield, quartered to represent the even
balance of parties and classes which should obtain in a well ordered
democracy; on this shield are emblazoned, as emblems of a just
government, the weight, scales, and rule. The frame of her chair
is an arch, a form of construction in which every stone performs
an equal service--in which no shirking can exist--and therefore
peculiarly appropriate to typify the equal part which all should take
in a democratic form of government. On the right is a youth who casts
his ballot into an urn. He carries some books under his arm, showing
that education should be the basis of the suffrage. To the left is
another voting-urn, into which a young girl is winnowing wheat, so
that the good grains fall into its mouth while the chaff is scattered
by the wind--an action symbolical of the care with which a people
should choose its public servants. In the background is a field of
wheat, a last touch in this picture of intelligence and virtue, and,
in itself, symbolical of prosperous and careful toil.

In the last panel, that of _Peace and Prosperity_, the central figure
is crowned with olive, the emblem of peace, and holds in her hands
olive-wreaths to be bestowed as the reward of excellence. On either
side is a youth, the one to her right typifying the Arts, and the
other, Agriculture. The former sits upon an amphora or jar, and is
engaged in decorating a piece of pottery; behind him is a lyre, for
Music, and in the distance a little Grecian temple, for Architecture.
The other is planting a sapling,--an act suggestive of a tranquil,
just, and permanent government, under which alone one could plant
with any hope of enjoying the shade and fruit of after years. The
background of the picture is a well-wooded and fertile landscape,
introduced for much the same purpose as the wheat-field in the
preceding tympanum.

[Illustration: ANARCHY.--BY ELIHU VEDDER.]

Still another piece of symbolism is expressed in this interesting
series of pictures by the trees, their foliage forming the background
against which the central figure is placed. The oak in the central
panel has been spoken of. In the design representing _Peace and
Prosperity_, an olive-tree typifies not only Peace but Spring; in the
next panel, that of _Good Administration_, the tree is the fig, and
the season summer; in that of _Corrupt Legislation_, the autumnal
vine, hinting at a too abundant luxury, and with its falling leaves
presaging decay; and in that of _Anarchy_, bare branches and Winter.

=The Second Floor Corridors.=--Returning again to the Entrance
Hall proper, the visitor may most conveniently continue his tour
of the Library by ascending the Grand Staircase to the beautifully
decorated corridors of the second-story arcade, on his way to the
public galleries of the Main Reading Room. The corridors are arranged
like those which the visitor has already passed through on the
first floor, but their greater height and the brighter tone of the
decoration give an effect of considerably greater spaciousness.

=The Decoration of the Vaults.=--The floors of the corridors are
laid in mosaic of varying patterns. The ceilings are uniformly a
barrel vault, with pendentives--the same, that is, as those of the
North, East, and South Corridors below. The vaults are covered with
a painted decoration of Renaissance ornament which for variety and
interest is hardly surpassed anywhere else in the building. The
decorative scheme which has been adopted was planned throughout
by Mr. Casey, and elaborated, especially in the matter of color,
and carried into effect, by Mr. Garnsey, working under Mr. Casey’s
direction. In addition, each corridor contains, as a distinctive
accent of color and design, a series of paintings by a specially
commissioned artist--in the West Corridor by Mr. Walter Shirlaw,
in the North Corridor by Mr. Robert Reid, in the East Corridor by
Mr. George R. Barse, Jr., and in the South Corridor by Mr. Frank W.
Benson. In the side corridors, also, at the west end, the arch of
the vault is spanned by a broad band of stucco ornament containing a
series of octagonal coffers, ornamented in relief by Mr. Hinton Perry.

The decoration is varied, of course, from corridor to corridor,
in order to prevent any monotony of impression, but the main
principles on which it is based are everywhere the same. Thus the
color scheme--which was suggested in part by the beautiful Library
in Sienna--comprises in every corridor blue in the pendentives,
golden yellow in the penetrations, and a grayish white in the body
of the vault. The only exception to this rule is in the West and
East Corridors, which are terminated by double arches instead of
ending directly upon a wall. Here the end penetrations are red and
the pendentive yellow. The others remain as before. The delineation
of the spaces is at bottom very simple, and though more elaborate,
a good deal like that already noted in describing the mosaic in the
lower corridors. The penetrations are outlined by a bright colored
border, on which, where the lines converge to a point at the top,
rests a border of greater width, enclosing the entire vault in a
single great rectangle. This, in turn, is divided into compartments
by bands of ornament, varying in number according to the requirements
of the decoration, but always occurring immediately over the columns
of the arcade. These bands, coming where they do, perform a vital
service for the decoration in continually reminding the visitor, if
only by a painted arabesque, of the importance of the arch in such
a piece of construction as a vault. In the spaces between them are
garlands and wreaths, and panels for paintings and inscriptions--the
whole making part of one great arabesque, which is as easily
intelligible and coherent as it is various, but which would have been
bewildering in its wealth of ornament and color if it had not been
for the fundamental service performed by these various bands and
borders and broad masses of color.

The penetrations and pendentives are richly embellished with a
great variety of ornament, both conventional and otherwise. The
treatment differs in different corridors, however, on account of the
varying relative position of the paired columns which support the
arcade--from which results first a series of wide and then a series
of narrow pendentives. Where the former occur--in the West and East
Corridors--they are ornamented with the decorations of Mr. Shirlaw
and Mr. Barse; while the narrower pendentives on the north and south
carry simple medallions and tablets, and Mr. Reid’s and Mr. Benson’s
paintings find place in the arabesque of the ceiling vault and in
circular frames along the wall beneath. The balance is restored,
however, by introducing a series of medallions, corresponding to Mr.
Benson’s and Mr. Reid’s, though smaller and of less importance, in
the vaults east and west, and by ornamenting the penetrations in the
side corridors with greater richness and elaboration.


=The Printers’ Marks.=--The most interesting decoration of the
penetrations, however, is a series of “Printers’ Marks” which is
continued through all four corridors. Altogether there are fifty-six
of them--sixteen in each of the side corridors, ten in the West
Corridor, and fourteen in the East Corridor. They are painted in
black outline, and are of a sufficient size, averaging about a foot
and a half in height, to be easily made out from the floor. By a
printer’s mark, it should be explained, is meant the engraved device
which the old printers used in the title-page or colophon of their
books, partly as a kind of informal trade-mark guarding against
counterfeited editions, and partly as a personal emblem, such as a
publisher of good standing would like to see on a long list of worthy
books. For this latter reason, and in order to be able to add an
interesting piece of ornament to the title-page, the mark has been
revived of late years by a considerable number of modern publishing
and printing houses.

Very often, as the visitor will see, the printer’s mark is, in its
way, a really beautiful piece of design; many have an interest as
being associated with the reputation of a famous printer like Caxton,
or Aldus, or Elzevir; while others depend mainly for their point
upon some special symbolical meaning, very frequently taking the
form of an illustrated pun. Thus, in the West Corridor, the mark of
Lotter--which means “vagrant” in German--is a mendicant supplicating
alms. In the South Corridor, the mark of Geoffroy Tory commemorates
the death of his little daughter--the broken vase, with a book
symbolizing the literary studies of which she had been fond.

There is no necessity, however, of describing the marks in detail,
for, with the exception of two or three American examples, they were
all taken from Mr. William Roberts’s _Printers’ Marks_ (London,
1893), in which they are illustrated and explained. Those thought
best adapted for decorative effect were chosen throughout, although
the marks of as many of the better known printers as possible were
included. Occasionally a border or a motto was omitted, but in the
main Mr. Roberts’s engravings were pretty exactly copied. In the West
Corridor the marks are mostly those of German printers; in the South
Corridor, French; in the East Corridor, Italian and Spanish; in the
North Corridor, English and Scottish and American.[7]

=Mr. Hinton Perry’s Bas-Reliefs.=--Mr. Perry’s bas-reliefs, at the
west end of the north and south vaults, have already been referred
to. They are four in number, and measure three feet eight inches from
one side to another. Taken as a series they represent what may be
called, for lack of a better title, _Ancient Prophetic Inspiration_.
The chief figure in each is a sibyl or priestess--Greek, Roman,
Persian, Scandinavian--in the act of delivering the prophetic
warnings which have been revealed to her in the rapture of a divine
frenzy. She is regarded as the mouthpiece of the god, and therefore
as the fountain of religion, wisdom, literature, art, and success
in war--all of which are typified, in one panel or another, in the
figures of her auditors.


Beginning in the South Corridor, the first panel shows the Cumæan
or Roman Sibyl. She is represented, in accordance with the ancient
histories, as an old and withered hag, whose inspiration comes from
an infernal, rather than a celestial source. Two figures, as in
all the panels, complete Mr. Perry’s group, one male and the other
female. The first is clad in the splendid armor of a Roman general;
the woman is nude, and stands for Roman Art and Literature. At her
feet is a box of manuscripts, and she takes in one hand an end of the
long scroll (representing one of the Sibylline Books, so famous in
Roman history) which the Priestess holds in her lap. The panel on the
other side of the arch represents a Scandinavian Vala or Wise Woman,
with streaming hair and a wolf-skin over her head and shoulders.
She typifies, in her bold gesture and excited gaze, the barbaric
inspiration of the Northern nations. To the left is the figure of a
Norse warrior, and to the right a naked woman lies stretched upon the
ground, personifying the vigorous life and fecundity of genius of the

In the North Corridor, the subjects of Mr. Perry’s two decorations
are Greek and Persian Inspiration. The former is represented by the
Priestess of the world-renowned Oracle of Apollo at Delphi. She is
seated upon a tripod, placed above a mysterious opening in the earth,
from which the sacred fumes rise to intoxicate the Priestess, and
fill her with the spirit of prophecy. On one side of the panel, an
old man, standing for Greek science and philosophy, takes down her
words on a tablet; on the other is a nude female figure, personifying
Greek art and literature. In the second panel, that of Persia,
the face of the Sibyl is veiled, to signify the occult wisdom of
the East. A man prostrates himself at her feet in a fervor of
religious devotion, and a woman, nearly nude, stands listening in the
background. With her voluptuous figure and her ornaments of pearl and
gold--a fillet, anklets, armlets, and necklace--she represents the
luxuriance and sensuousness of Eastern art and poetry.


=Mr. Shirlaw’s Paintings.=--The subjects of Mr. Shirlaw’s figures
in the vault of the West Corridor are, on the west, beginning at
the left: _Zoölogy_, _Physics_, _Mathematics_, and _Geology_; and
on the east, again beginning at the left: _Archæology_, _Botany_,
_Astronomy_, and _Chemistry_. Each science is represented by a
female figure about seven and a half feet in height. The figures are
especially interesting, aside from their artistic merit, for the
variety of symbolism by which every science is distinguished from
the others, and for the subtlety with which much of this symbolism
is expressed. Not only is each accompanied by various appropriate
objects, but the lines of the drapery, the expression of the face
and body, and the color itself are, wherever practicable, made to
subserve the idea of the science represented. Thus the predominant
colors used in the figure of _Chemistry_--purple, blue, and red--are
the ones which occur most often in chemical experimenting. In the
pendentive of _Geology_, Mr. Shirlaw employs principally purple and
orange; the former is the ruling color in many of the more common
rock formations when seen in the mass and naturally; and the latter
is the color of the ordinary lichens one finds on boulders and
ledges. In the matter of line, again, the visitor will notice a very
marked difference between the abrupt, broken line used in the drapery
of _Archæology_, and the moving, flowing line in that of _Physics_.
In both cases it will be found that the line is in very complete
sympathy with the character of the science depicted. The method
of archæology is largely excavation carried on among sculptural
and architectural fragments. The swirling drapery of _Physics_ is
suggestive of flame and heat.

_Zoölogy_ is represented with a lion seated beside her, her hands
clasping his mane. She is the huntress and student of wild life, and
her body is powerfully developed, like an Amazon’s. She is clad in
the pelt of an animal, the head forming her cap, and in buskins of
skin. She stands on a rocky piece of ground, like a desert. The chief
colors employed in the pendentive are the typical animal colors,
browns and yellows.

_Physics_ stands on an electric globe, from which emanate rays of
light. She carries a torch in her left hand, and she holds up an end
of her drapery in her right in such a way that it seems to start from
the flame and flow in sympathy with it over her whole body, so that
it conveys the idea of the unceasing motion of fire. The same colors
as those used in the pendentive of _Geology_, purple and orange, are
used here also, but in this case standing, of course, for the colors
of flame.


_Mathematics_, the exact science, is represented as almost entirely
nude,--like “the Naked Truth” of Mr. Walker’s tympanum on the floor
below. Her right foot is on a stone block inscribed with the conic
sections, and on a shield which she holds are various geometrical
figures. Her scanty drapery is appropriately disposed in the severest

_Geology_, a sculpturesque figure, stands squarely and firmly upon
a mountain top, beyond which is seen the setting sun. A fold of her
drapery forms a receptacle for the specimens she has gathered. In her
left hand is a globe, and in her right a fossil shell. Her hair is
confined by a head-dress of bars of silver and gold. The embroidered
pattern of her garment has a suggestion of fossil forms and of the
little lizards which are found among the rocks.

_Archæology_ is clad in the Roman costume, and wears the helmet of
Minerva; the helmet is wreathed with olive, the emblem of peace,
which was sacred to Minerva, and is here used with special reference
to the peaceful character of the science, which can pursue its labors
only in an orderly society. The figure stands on a block of stone,
the surface of which is carved to represent a scroll, the ancient
form of book. A vase, copied from the manufacture of the Zuñi Indians
of New Mexico, stands beside her. In her right hand she holds a large
book, the pages of which she examines with the aid of a magnifying
glass in order to spell out its half obliterated text. Around her
neck is coiled a chameleon, whose changing hues are intended to
symbolize the varying nature of the theories she propounds.

The countenance of _Botany_ is expressive of a joyous sympathy with
nature. She stands on the pad of a water-lily, engaged in analyzing
its flower, the long stem of which coils gracefully about her body to
the water. Her drapery flows and breaks as a half-opened flower might
arrange itself.

_Astronomy_ holds a lens, such as is used in a telescope, in her
right hand, and in her left the globe of Saturn surrounded by its
rings--selected as being perhaps the best known and most easily
distinguished of all the planets. She stands on the sphere of the
earth, beyond which, to the left, is the quarter moon. The lines of
her drapery with their slow curves are suggestive, in a way, of the
orbits of the heavenly bodies. They flow in long lines, enveloping
her figure in the strength which proceeds from complete harmony.

_Chemistry_ is shown with her left foot placed upon a piece of
chemical apparatus and holding in her right hand a glass retort, in
which she is distilling a liquid. The necessary heat, manifested by
the ascending vapor which curls about the vessel, is from the mouth
of the serpent--the emblem of fecundity and life, breathing the
element of life, fire. The serpent is coiled about an hour-glass,
which is significant of the exact measurement of time necessary in
chemical experiments. The face of the figure is more worn, on account
of the anxious nature of her employment, than would comport with
the character of an out-of-door science like Botany or Zoölogy.
She is draped somewhat in the eastern manner, like a sibyl, thus
recalling the occult character ascribed to the science during the
Middle Ages--when it was called alchemy--and, for that matter, the
marvellousness of its results in the laboratories of to-day. A snake
wound as a fillet about her hair still further emphasizes this mystic

At either end of the corridor is a tablet bearing a list of names of
men distinguished in the sciences which Mr. Shirlaw has depicted;
at the north end: Cuvier, the Zoölogist; Linnæus, the Botanist;
Schliemann, the Archæologist; and Copernicus, the Astronomer; at the
south end: La Grange, the Mathematician; Lavoisier, the Chemist;
Rumford, the Physicist; and Lyell, the Geologist. In the penetrations
on either side of these two lists of names are the following
appropriate inscriptions:--

      The first creature of God was the light of sense; the last was
      the light of reason.

      The Light shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehendeth not.
          _John_ 1, 5.

      All are but parts of one stupendous whole,
      Whose body Nature is, and God the soul.

      In nature all is useful, all is beautiful.

Along the centre of the vault, three medallions by Mr. William B.
Van Ingen represent respectively _Sculpture_, _Architecture_, and
_Painting_. In each the art is represented by a female figure engaged
either in chiselling the features of a bust (that of Washington),
drawing the plan of a building, or painting at an easel.

[Illustration: TOUCH.--BY ROBERT REID.]

=Mr. Reid’s Paintings.=--Passing to the North Corridor, the attention
is at once attracted to the brilliant coloring of Mr. Reid’s
decorations in the vault and along the north wall. The former are
five in number, and represent the _Five Senses_. They are octagonal
in form, measuring within an inch of six feet and a half across. The
order of the subjects, beginning at the westerly end, is _Taste_,
_Sight_, _Smell_, _Hearing_, _Touch_. In each the sense suggested
is represented by a beautiful young woman, more of the modern than
the antique type of beauty, and clad in drapery which recalls
contemporary fashions rather than the classic conventions which are
usually followed by artists in their treatment of ideal subjects.
Being painted upon a ceiling, so that the visitor is required to
look directly upward in order to study them, the figures, though, in
a sense, represented as seated, are rather to be imagined as poised
in the air, without any special reference to the law of gravitation.
They are shown as supported upon cloud-banks, and the backgrounds of
the panels are sky and clouds.

The suggestion of the subject is as simply as it is ingeniously and
unconventionally conveyed. A large portion of this suggestion must be
looked for, of course, in the expression of the face and the attitude
as well as in the action of the figures. _Taste_ is shown drinking
from a shell. She is surrounded by foliage, and a vine grows beside
her laden with bunches of ripe grapes. She wears flowers in her hair,
and the idea throughout may perhaps be taken as that of the autumnal
feast of the wine-press. _Sight_ is looking at her reflection in a
handglass, and smiling with pleasure at the evidence of her beauty.
A splendid peacock, the emblem of beauty and pride in beauty, is
introduced beside her. _Smell_ is represented seated beside a bank of
lilies and roses. From this mass of flowers she has selected a great
white rose, which she presses to her nose. _Hearing_ holds a large
sea-shell to her ear, and dreamily listens to its roaring. _Touch_
is delightedly observing a butterfly which has alighted on her bare
outstretched arm--the touch of its tiny feet as it walks over her
flesh imparting an unaccustomed sensation to her nerves. A setter
dog, which she has just ceased from caressing, lies asleep behind her.

Mr. Reid’s subjects in the four circular panels along the wall are
entitled, in order from left to right: _Wisdom_, _Understanding_,
_Knowledge_, and _Philosophy_. Each is represented by a half-length
seated female figure--more solidly painted, but of much the same type
as the figures representing _The Senses_--holding a scroll, book, or
tablet. In the panel of _Philosophy_, a Greek temple is seen in the
background, emblematic of the Greek origin of philosophy.

[Illustration: HEARING.--BY ROBERT REID.]

Alternating with Mr. Reid’s ceiling paintings, is a series of
rectangular panels, in which are depicted, in low tones of color and
in a style somewhat suggestive of a classic bas-relief, a number of
ancient out-door athletic contests. Beginning at the west end of the
vault, the first of these represents a group of young men throwing
the discus. Then come _Wrestling_ and _Running_. In the fourth panel,
the athletes are being rubbed down by attendants, to clear them of
the sweat and heat of the conflict; and in the fifth, the successful
contestants are kneeling to receive the crown of victory at the hands
of a woman seated on a dais. The last picture represents the return
home, a tripping company of youths and maidens crowned with garlands.

The visitor will remember what was said concerning the special
enrichment of the penetrations in the side corridors for the sake
of compensating in a way for the absence of such decorations as
Mr. Shirlaw’s in the pendentives. In the present instance, this
enrichment takes the form of dragons and swans, which serve as
“supporters” of the panels containing the printers’ marks.

In the pendentives, tablets for inscriptions alternate with
medallions containing trophies of various trades and sciences. The
list of the latter, beginning at the left over the north wall,
is as follows: Geometry, represented by a compass, a protractor,
and a scroll, cone, and cylinder; Meteorology, the barometer,
thermometer, and anemometer; Forestry, a growing tree, and an axe
and pruning-knife; Navigation, the chronometer, log, rope, rudder,
and compass; Mechanics, the lever, wedge, and pulley-block; and
Transportation, with a piston, propeller, driving-wheel, and
locomotive head-light.

The inscriptions are from Adelaide A. Procter’s poem, _Unexpressed_,
and are as follows:--

      Dwells within the soul of every Artist
      More than all his effort can express.

      No great Thinker ever lived and taught you
      All the wonder that his soul received.

      No true painter ever set on canvas
      All the glorious vision he conceived.

      No musician....
      But be sure he heard, and strove to render,
      Feeble echoes of celestial strains.

      Love and Art united
      Are twin mysteries, different yet the same.

      Love may strive, but vain is the endeavor
      All its boundless riches to unfold.

      Art and Love speak; and their words must be
      Like sighings of illimitable forests.

The only other decoration which there is space to mention is the
broad, semicircular border which follows the line of the vault on
the wall at either end of the corridor. At the east end, this border
is ornamented with a bright-colored arabesque, mainly in violet and
greens, with a medallion in the centre bearing a map of the Western
Hemisphere. At the west end, the border is plainer, with five
semicircular or circular tablets, two of which are ornamented with
the obverse and reverse respectively of the Great Seal of the United
States. The other three carry the following inscriptions:--

      Order is Heaven’s first law.

      Memory is the treasurer and guardian of all things.

      Beauty is the creator of the universe.

=Mr. Barse’s Paintings.=--In the East Corridor, the pendentive
figures of Mr. Barse represent, beginning on the east side, at
the north end: _Lyric Poetry_ (entitled by the artist, _Lyrica_),
_Tragedy_, _Comedy_, and _History_; and on the west, again beginning
at the north, _Love Poetry_ (_Erotica_), _Tradition_, _Fancy_, and
_Romance_. The subject of the entire series, therefore, may be called
simply _Literature_. The figures, as the visitor will perceive, need
but little explanation. All are those of women clad in graceful,
classic robes, represented throughout as seated, and depicted with
little attempt at dramatic expression or action. _Lyric Poetry_
is playing on the lyre. _Tragedy_ and _Comedy_ have a tragic and
comic mask respectively, and _Comedy_ a tambourine. _History_ has
a scroll and palm-branch, and an ancient book-box for scrolls, such
as was used by the Romans, is set at her feet. _Romance_ has a pen
and a scroll. _Fancy_ clasps her hands, and gazes upward with a rapt
expression on her face. _Tradition_ wears the Ægis, and holds a
statue of the winged goddess of Victory in her hand--both introduced
as symbols of antiquity. _Erotica_ is writing on a tablet.

Along the centre of the vault, occupying a similar position to the
medallions in the opposite corridor, is another series of three
paintings, executed by Mr. William A. Mackay, which represent _The
Life of Man_. One will best understand the meaning of the paintings
by first reading the inscriptions which are placed immediately above
and below each medallion. On one side they refer to the ancient
allegory of the Three Fates, Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos--the first
of whom spun, the second wove, and the third cut, the Thread of
Life--and are as follows:--

      For a web begun God sends thread.
          _Old Proverb._

      The web of life ... is of a mingled yarn, good and ill together.
          _All’s Well that Ends Well._

      Comes the blind Fury with th’ abhorred shears
      And slits the thin-spun life.

On the other side the inscriptions, which compare the life of a man
to the life of a tree, are taken from Cardinal Wolsey’s speech in
_Henry VIII_:--

      This is the state of man: to-day he puts forth
      The tender leaves of hopes.

                      To-morrow blossoms.
      And bears his blushing honors thick upon him.

      The third day comes a frost, ...
      And ... nips his root,
      And then he falls.

Accordingly, in the present series, the first medallion shows a woman
(Clotho) with her distaff and a baby lying in her lap. The sun is
rising above the horizon, a sapling begins to put out its branches,
and near by is a little spring. In the next picture, Lachesis has a
loom and shuttle. The spring has grown into a river, and the mature
man bears in his hand a basket of fruit gathered from the abundance
of the full-grown tree, while the sun in the heavens marks the high
noon of life. In the last medallion the sun is setting, the tree has
fallen in ruin on the ground, and the stream has dried up. The man,
grown old and crippled, faints by the roadside, and Atropos opens her
fatal shears to sever the thread of his existence.

At each end of the corridor is a tablet containing the names of
eminent American printers, and men who have contributed to the
improvement of American printing machinery. At the north these names
are: Green, Daye, Franklin, Thomas, Bradford; and at the south,
Clymer, Adams, Gordon, Hoe, Bruce.

=Mr. Benson’s Paintings.=--Mr. Benson’s decorations in the vault of
the South Corridor and along the wall below are of the same size
and shape as those of Mr. Reid in the North Corridor. The arabesque
ornament of the ceiling is so arranged, however, as to allow space
for only three instead of five of these hexagonal panels. The subject
of the paintings they contain is _The Graces_--Aglaia (at the east),
Thalia (in the centre) and Euphrosyne (at the north).

[Illustration: COMEDY. BY GEORGE R. BARSH, JR.]

The three figures are almost invariably represented in a group, in
both ancient and modern art. Taken together, they stand, of course,
for beauty and graciousness, and typify, also, the agreeable arts and
occupations. In separating them, Mr. Benson has considered Aglaia
as the patroness of Husbandry; Thalia as representing Music; and
Euphrosyne, Beauty. The first, therefore, has a shepherd’s crook,
the second a lyre, and the last is looking at her reflection in a
hand-mirror. All are shown sitting in the midst of a pleasant summer
landscape, with trees and water and fertile meadows.

For the four circular panels Mr. Benson has chosen as his subject
_The Seasons_. Each is represented by a beautiful half-length
figure of a young woman, with no attempt, however, at any elaborate
symbolism to distinguish the season which she typifies. Such
distinction as the painter has chosen to indicate is to be sought
rather in the character of the faces, or in the warmer or colder
coloring of the whole panel--in a word, in the general artistic

At either end of the vault is a rectangular panel painted in the same
style as those depicting the ancient games in the North Corridor,
but in this case representing the modern sports of _Football_ and
_Baseball_. The former, occurring at the east end of the vault, is
a more or less realistic picture of a “scrimmage.” The latter is
more conventionalized, showing single figures, like the pitcher and
catcher, in the attitude of play, and others with bats, masks, and

Instead of the swans and dragons of the North Corridor, the printers’
marks in the penetrations of the present corridor are supported
between the figures of mermen and fauns, and mermaids and nymphs, the
male figures, with their suggestion of greater decorative strength,
occurring at the ends of the corridor, and the nymphs and mermaids
alternating between. Altogether there are thirty-two figures, each
painted by Mr. Frederick C. Martin.

On the pendentives, the series of trophies begun in the North
Corridor is continued, giving place, as before, in every other
pendentive, to a tablet bearing an inscription. Beginning on the
south side, at the east end, the trophies are as follows: Printing,
with a stick, inking-ball, and type-case; Pottery, three jugs
of different kinds of clay; Glass-making, three glass vases of
different shapes; Carpentry, a saw, bit, hammer, and right angle;
Smithery, the anvil, pincers, hammer, bolt, and nut; Masonry, a
trowel, square, plumb, and mortar-board.

The following are the eight inscriptions:--

      Studies perfect nature and are perfected by experience.

      Dreams, books, are each a world; and books, we know,
      Are a substantial world, both pure and good.

      Learning is but an adjunct to ourself.
          _Love’s Labor’s Lost._

      A little learning is a dangerous thing;
      Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring.

                  The universal cause
      Acts to one end, but acts by various laws.

      Vain, very vain, [the] weary search to find
      That bliss which only centres in the mind.

      Creation’s heir, the world, the world is mine!

      The fault ... is not in our stars,
      But in ourselves, that we are underlings.
          _Shakespeare (Julius Cæsar)._

The semicircular borders at either end are practically the same in
color and design as in the North Corridor. At the east end, the
Eastern is substituted for the Western Hemisphere, and at the west
end, a caduceus and a lictor’s axe for the United States Seal. The
accompanying inscriptions are as follows:

      Man raises but time weighs.
          _Modern Greek Proverb._

      Beneath the rule of men entirely great,
      The pen is mightier than the sword.
          _Bulwer Lytton._

      The noblest motive is the public good.

=The Decoration of the Walls.=--The decoration of the vaults of the
four corridors is distinctly Renaissance in character; the walls
beneath, however, are colored and decorated in accordance with a
Pompeiian motive. It may seem at first thought illogical thus to
join two styles so remote from each other in point of time, but it
must be remembered that, in both art and literature, the Renaissance
was literally, as has been pointed out, the _new birth_ of Greek
and Roman forms, in the course of which the Italian painters adapted
to their use and subdued to their style the sort of wall decoration
which we know as Pompeiian, from the discovery of so many examples
of it in the excavations at Pompeii. The two styles, as used in
conjunction in the Library of Congress, not only in these corridors
but throughout the building, are perfectly harmonious in color and
design; from the explanation just given the visitor will see that
they have long ago been brought into a historical unity as well,
through the conventions established by the great and authoritative
school of the Renaissance artists.

[Illustration: AGLAIA.--BY F. W. BENSON.]

=Mr. Maynard’s Pompeiian Panels.=--The frequent occurrence of
windows, doors, and pilasters cuts the wall into narrow spaces,
which, at the north and south, are colored a plain olive, and at
the east and west the familiar rich Pompeiian red, ornamented with
simple arabesques and, at the ends, with female figures representing
_The Virtues_, by Mr. George Willoughby Maynard. There are eight of
these figures in all, two in each corner of the hall. Each figure is
about five and a half feet high, clad in floating classic drapery,
and represented to the spectator as appearing before him in the air,
without a support or background other than the deep red of the wall.
The style of the paintings is Pompeiian; the general tone is somewhat
like that of marble, although touched with color so as to remove any
comparison with the marble framing.

Beginning at the left in each case, the names and order of the
Virtues are as follows: At the northeast corner, _Fortitude_ and
_Justice_; at the southeast corner, _Patriotism_ and _Courage_; at
the southwest corner, _Temperance_ and _Prudence_; at the northwest
corner, _Industry_ and _Concord_. The number of virtues to be
represented was determined beforehand, of course, by the number of
spaces at the disposal of the painter. The selection, therefore, was
necessarily somewhat arbitrary.

Each figure is shown with certain characteristic attributes. In the
case of _Industry_, _Courage_, and _Patriotism_, Mr. Maynard has
himself selected these attributes; in the other five figures he has
followed the usual conventions.

[Illustration: SPRING.--BY F. W. BENSON.]

_Fortitude_ is shown fully armed--the mace in her right hand and the
buckler on her arm, and protected by cuirass, casque, and greaves.
She is thus represented as ready for any emergency--living in
continual expectation of danger, and constantly prepared to meet
it. _Justice_ holds the globe in her right hand, signifying the
extent of her sway. She holds a naked sword upright, signifying the
terribleness of her punishment. _Patriotism_ is feeding an eagle, the
emblem of America, from a golden bowl--an action which symbolizes
the high nourishment with which the Virtue sustains the spirit of
the country. _Courage_ is represented as armed hastily with the
buckler, casque, and sword--not, like _Fortitude_, continually on
guard, but snatching up her arms in the presence of an unforeseen
danger. _Temperance_--figured as the classic rather than the modern
virtue--holds an antique pitcher in her right hand, from which a
stream of some liquor, whether wine or water, descends into the bowl
she holds in her left. Her buoyancy and air of health betoken her
moderation of living. _Prudence_ looks in a hand-glass to discover
any danger which may assail her from behind. In her right hand she
holds a serpent--the emblem of wisdom. _Industry_ draws the flax from
a distaff, the end of which is stuck in her girdle, and twists it
into thread, to be wound upon the spindle which hangs at her side.
_Concord_--the Roman goddess Concordia--illustrates the blessings of
peace. In her right hand she bears an olive-branch, and in her left
she carries a cornucopia filled with wheat.

=The Inscriptions along the Walls.=--Before taking leave of the
corridors of the Entrance Hall, one more feature of the decoration
requires notice, namely the twenty-nine inscriptions occupying the
gilt tablets below the stucco frames which surround the circular
windows and the wall-paintings of Mr. Benson and Mr. Reid. They are
as follows:--

      Too low they build who build beneath the stars.

      There is but one temple in the Universe and that is the Body of

      Beholding the bright countenance of Truth in the quiet and still
      air of delightful studies.

      The true university of these days is a collection of books.

      Nature is the art of God.
          _Sir Thomas Browne._

      There is no work of genius which has not been the delight of

      It is the mind that makes the man, and our vigor is in our
      immortal soul.

      They are never alone that are accompanied by noble thoughts.

            Man is one world and has
      Another to attend him.

            Tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
      Sermons in stones, and good in everything.
          _As You Like It._

      The true Shekinah is man.

      Only the actions of the just
      Smell sweet and blossom in the dust.

      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 youth.

      The chief glory of every people arises from its authors.
          _Dr. Johnson._

      There is only one good, namely knowledge, and one only evil,
      namely ignorance.
          _Diogenes Laertius._

      Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers.

      Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with
      all thy getting get understanding.
          _Proverbs iv, 7._

                        Ignorance is the curse of God,
      Knowledge the wing wherewith we fly to heaven.
          _2 Henry IV._

      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.

      Reading maketh a full man, conference a ready man, and writing
      an exact man.

      Science is organized knowledge.
          _Herbert Spencer._

      Beauty is truth, truth beauty.


The vaulting of the broad passageway leading to the Reading Room
consists of a series of six small domes, the ornamentation of which
is similar, in its more modest way, to that of the vaulted corridors
which the visitor has just left. The colors are light and bright,
and the three different patterns employed consist mainly of garlands
and ribbons, and of simple bands of color radiating from a central
medallion. Swans, eagles, or owls are introduced both in the domes
and as the ornament of the pendentives, and eagles occur between
the double consoles which receive the weight of the domes upon the
east wall. In the medallions just referred to are various objects
symbolizing the Fine Arts--tragic and comic masks, for Acting; a
lyre, for Music; a block of marble, half shaped into a bust, and
sculptors’ tools, for Sculpture; a lamp, scrolls, and an open book,
for Literature; and the capital of an Ionic column, a triangle, and
some sheets of parchment, for Architecture.


The trophies of Sculpture and Architecture, it should be added,
are accompanied by appropriate names--comprising those of cities,
statues, and buildings--inscribed both in the arabesques and in the
pendentives of certain of the domes. For Architecture, the buildings
commemorated are the Colosseum, the Taj Mahal, the Parthenon, and
the Pyramids; while the cities are those with whose fame these
four great monuments are connected--Rome, Agra, Athens, and Gizeh.
The sculptures are the Farnese Bull, the Laocoön, the Niobe, and
the Parthenon Pediment, and in the bordering arabesques are the
names of the four divinities often taken as the subject of ancient
statuary--Venus, Apollo, Hercules, and Zeus.

=Mr. Van Ingen’s Paintings.=--In the centre of the passage a marble
staircase, dividing to the right and left at a landing halfway up,
leads to the gallery of the Reading Room. Beneath, on either side,
is a little bay, giving access to the elevators. In the decoration
of the ceiling the effect aimed at is that of an arbor, with a vine,
climbing over a trellis, painted against a sunny yellow background.
Each contains a small tympanum, in which Mr. Van Ingen has suggested
the subjects of Milton’s well-known companion poems, _L’Allegro_
and _Il Penseroso_--Mirth, and Melancholy or Thoughtfulness. The
decorations are not illustrations, as the word is usually understood,
like some of Mr. Walker’s panels, already described; they have no
reference to any particular scene or incident in the poems, but are
intended as an interpretation of their general spirit and meaning.
In the first, _Il Penseroso_, the time of year is autumn; in the
other it is spring. Similarly, in _L’Allegro_ the landscape is shown
in morning light, while in _Il Penseroso_ the time is evening. The
latter panel is in the bay to the north of the staircase. A single
figure, that of a beautiful woman with dark hair and soft, pensive
eyes, is shown at half length, leaning her head upon her hand in an
attitude and with an expression of deep contemplation. _L’Allegro_
is represented by a young woman, light-haired and sparkling with
laughter, who is playing under the trees with two little children.

In the pendentives of the bays are inscribed portions of the two
poems illustrated. The lines from _L’Allegro_ are as follows:--

      ... Come, thou Goddess fair and free,
      In heaven yclept Euphrosyne,
      And by men heart-easing Mirth;

             *       *       *       *       *

      Haste thee, Nymph, and bring with thee
      Jest, and youthful Jollity,
      Quips and cranks and wanton wiles,
      Nods and becks and wreathèd smiles,
      Such as hang on Hebe’s cheek,
      And love to live in dimple sleek.

The lines from _Il Penseroso_ are:--

      Hail! thou Goddess, sage and holy!
      Hail, divinest Melancholy!

             *       *       *       *       *

      Come; but keep thy wonted state,
      With even step, and musing gait,
      And looks commercing with the skies,
      Thy rapt soul sitting in thine eyes:
      There, held in holy passion still,
      Forget thyself to marble....


=Mr. Vedder’s Mosaic Decoration.=--The wall of the landing of the
staircase is occupied by an arched panel, fifteen and a half feet
high and nine feet wide, containing a marble mosaic by Mr. Elihu
Vedder.[8] The artist has chosen for his subject Minerva, her armor
partly laid aside, appearing as the guardian of civilization. She is
the Minerva of Peace, but Mr. Vedder indicates that the prosperity
which she now cherishes has been attained only through just and
righteous war, whether waged against a foreign enemy or against the
forces of disorder and corruption within. Beside her is a little
statue of Victory, such as the Greeks were accustomed to erect in
commemoration of their success in battle. The figure is that of a
winged woman standing on a globe, and holding out the laurel-wreath
and palm-branch to the victors. In the sky the clouds of disaster
and discouragement are rolled away and about to disappear, while
the sun of reappearing prosperity sends its rays into every quarter
of the land. Although her shield and helmet have been laid upon the
ground, the Goddess still retains the Ægis, and holds, in one hand,
like a staff, her long, two-headed spear, showing that she never
relaxes her vigilance against the enemies of the country which she
protects. For the present, however, her attention is all directed
to an unfolded scroll which she holds in her left hand. On this is
written a list of various departments of learning, science, and art,
such as Law, Statistics, Sociology, Botany, Bibliography, Mechanics,
Philosophy, Zoölogy, etc. To the left of Minerva is the owl, perched
upon the post of a low parapet. Olive trees, symbolizing peace, grow
in the field beyond. The armor of the Goddess is carefully studied
from ancient sculptures. The character of the Ægis can here be more
easily made out than in any of the other representations of Minerva
to be found in the building. Traditionally a cape of goat-skin, the
Greek artists finally came to overlay it with metal scales, like
scale-armor. The border is composed of twisting serpents. The head
of the Gorgon Medusa, which forms the central ornament, is used also
as the decoration of the large shield lying in the foreground of the
picture. The helmet is decorated with a pair of rams’ heads. Mr.
Vedder’s whole design is surrounded by a border containing, on either
side, a conventionalized laurel-tree displayed like a vine.

[Illustration: L’ALLEGRO.--BY W. B. VAN INGEN.]


Entering by either of the doors at the head of the staircase, the
visitor at once steps out upon an embayed gallery, affording a
spacious and uninterrupted view of the great domed Reading Room, or
Rotunda, which, in every sense, is the central and most important
portion of the Library. As such, it is marked by a magnificence of
architecture and decoration nowhere else to be found in the building.
Outside, from whatever direction one approaches, the gilded dome
which forms its outer shell is the first thing to catch the eye; and
the golden flame of the torch which surmounts the lantern indicates
to the passer-by at once the central and the highest point of
the whole structure. Within, richer materials have been used, and
decoration has been more freely employed than in any other part of
the Library. Sculpture and paintings, rare marbles, and a broad
scheme of color and of ornamentation in stucco relief unite with a
lofty architectural design to form what is one of the most notable
interiors in the country.

=The Importance of the Rotunda.=--The detailed description of the
Rotunda may be deferred a little, however, in order to explain its
relation to the rest of the building, and, especially, the reason
for its central position. Besides accumulating books and providing
the student with proper accommodations for his work--such as good
light and convenient chairs and tables--it is the business of every
well managed library to supply its readers with the books they desire
in the shortest possible time and with the least possible amount
of friction. A well digested catalogue is the first requisite; the
second is that the books should be stored in a place as closely
accessible to the reading room as may be. In a small library this
is a simple matter; the same room will be sufficient for both books
and readers. When the number of volumes increases it is necessary to
shelve them in a compact system of bookcases called a “stack”--or,
as in the Library of Congress, in a series of stacks--which must
occupy a portion of the building by itself. The reading room and the
stacks being thus separated, it is still the aim of the architect
to place them in such a way as to retain as far as possible the
practical convenience of the smaller library, where every reader
is almost within reaching distance of every book. This end is most
easily attained by adopting what is called the “central system” of
library construction, which is the system followed in the Library of
Congress. It has already been seen that the building is in the form
of a cross enclosed within a rectangle, thus allowing space for four
courts for light and air. At the intersections of the arms of the
cross is the Rotunda, the main entrance to which is through the west
arm of the cross. The other three arms are occupied by the stacks;
the East Stack, directly opposite, is the second short arm; the North
and South Stacks, each the same length, are the two long arms. It
is obvious that by this arrangement the books can be more easily
reached than in any other way. The axes of the stacks are continued
radii of the Rotunda, and, so far as the ground plan is concerned,
the shortest way from any part of the cross to the Distributing Desk
which the visitor sees below in the centre of the room is always
along a straight line. This Distributing Desk, of course, being in
the exact centre of everything, is the vital point, the kernel, of
the whole arrangement. No part of the stack, it will be noted, is far
enough away from it to delay the transmission of a book unreasonably,
as might very well be the case if the three stacks were in one.
Moreover, by the use of a mechanical contrivance, which will be
explained later, even this distance is in effect very greatly reduced.


Another thing may well be noted in this connection although it
has already been referred to in the preliminary description of
the building--and that is, the comparative unimportance, from the
standpoint of the real requirements of the Library, of the great
Rectangle which encloses the stacks and the Rotunda, and necessarily
appears from the street to be the main portion of the building. It
contains rooms which, at present, are very convenient for clerical
work or as art galleries and special reading rooms, and which may in
time be necessary to accommodate an overflow of books; but it must
steadily be borne in mind that the Rotunda and the stacks contain
the real life of the institution. They are the only really essential
and vital portion of the building; without them, there could hardly
be a library; and by themselves they would be sufficient for almost
every present need.

=The General Arrangement.=--The character of the Rotunda is warm and
rich in ornament as befits a room where people remain to read. It is
naturally not so formal as the Rotunda of the Capitol. The height of
the room from the floor to the top of the dome, where it converges
upon the lantern, is one hundred and twenty-five feet, and from the
floor to the crown of the domed ceiling of the lantern itself, one
hundred and sixty feet. This latter point, however, is quite shut off
from the view of a person standing in the gallery and can be seen
only from a position near the centre of the room. The ground plan
of the room is octagonal in shape, measuring one hundred feet from
one side to another. Eight massive clustered piers, each set some
ten feet forward from a corner of the octagon, support a series of
heavy arches running entirely round the room. These piers serve, as
it were, to stake out the limit of the Reading Room proper; between
them are marble screens arcaded in two stories, and behind they are
connected with the outer wall by partitions which divide the octagon
into eight bays or alcoves, each fourteen feet deep and thirty wide.
In each alcove, at the height of the screen, is a gallery like
that which the visitor has already entered, one connecting with
another, through doors pierced in the partition walls, so as to
form a continuous promenade--as it may be called, considering its
purpose--in which the sightseer may walk without fear of disturbing
the readers below.

[Illustration: LAW. BY PAUL W. BARTLETT.]

The alcoves are arched and enclose great semi-circular windows filled
with stained glass, which furnish the greater part of the light
needed for the room. The arches springing from the piers support a
heavy circular entablature, immediately above which is the dome,
arched in the line of an exact circle and supported upon eight ribs
dividing it into eight sections or compartments. The ribs are the
essential feature of the dome construction, and continue naturally
the line of support of the great piers which are the ultimate support
of the whole interior--a fact which is more clearly brought out to
the eye by paired consoles or brackets introduced in the entablature
between the two and seeming to carry the weight from one to the other.

The surface of the dome is of stucco, attached to a framework of
iron and steel filled in with terra cotta, and richly ornamented
with coffers and with a very elaborate arabesque of figures in
relief. At the top, where the dome prepares to join the lantern,
the ribs terminate against a broad circular “collar,” so called,
containing a painted decoration by Mr. Edwin Howland Blashfield.
Finally comes the lantern, thirty-five feet in height, and pierced
by eight windows, recalling the octagonal arrangement with which the
construction began. The shallow dome which covers the lantern is
ornamented with a second painting by Mr. Blashfield, summing up the
idea of his decoration in the collar.

At the risk of some tediousness, perhaps, but thinking that
afterwards the connection between the decoration and the architecture
would be more clearly understood, the writer has given this general
description of the Rotunda, in order that the visitor might
immediately see what portion of the whole was essential and what
not essential; what was “structural” and vital, in other words, and
what not. It will have been observed that we have, on the outside,
an octagon supporting a shallow dome, on which rests the lantern.
Well within this is an octagonal arrangement of piers carrying a much
steeper dome. Alcoves occupy the space between the inner and outer
octagons. Between the two domes--the inner shell and the outer--is
vacancy. The whole exterior--walls, dome, and lantern--the partitions
back of the piers, and the connecting screens: all could be torn away
and the inner dome still remain secure on its eight massive piers.


The piers are constructed of brick, veneered with marble from Numidia
in Africa, curiously mottled and in color a sort of dusky red. The
high base on which the pier rests is sheathed with a chocolate brown
variety of the familiar close-grained Tennessee marble. The height of
the piers, including base and capital, is forty-four feet.

The screens are built solidly of marble from Sienna, Italy, which
encloses in its rich black veining almost every variety of yellow,
from cream color to dark topaz. Like the piers, the screens are
erected upon a Tennessee marble base, in this case, however, very
much lower--four feet to the other’s eleven. The arcading of the
screens is in two stories, the first of three and the second of seven
arches. At the top of each screen the gallery is railed in by a heavy
balustrade--still of the same Sienna marble--connected with which are
two marble pedestals which bear bronze statues of illustrious men.
The screens are alike on every side of the octagon but two, the west
and the east--the former the entrance from the Staircase Hall, and
the latter affording a way through to the east side of the building.
In both instances, therefore, the central arch is accentuated by
free standing columns. In the second story of the west screen, also,
still another modification has been made in order to allow space
for a large clock--the three middle arches giving place to a rich
architectural setting ornamented with bronze statuary.

=The Alcoves.=--The alcoves behind the screens are in two stories,
like the arcading, and are intended to contain a collection of the
most necessary standard books on all important topics. The entrance
from the floor of the Reading Room is through the central arch
of the screen. One may pass through doors in the partitions from
one alcove to another, on either floor; and by means of a winding
staircase inside each of the piers one may go up or down, not only
from story to story, but, on the one hand, into the basement below,
and, on the other, to the space between the inner and the outer dome

Altogether, the alcoves have a capacity, with their present shelving,
of 130,000 volumes. The cases are of iron, and similar in a general
way to those in the large stacks, to be described later; but they are
built against the walls, according to the older method of library
arrangement, and with very little attempt to combine them in a real
stack system, properly so called. The upper shelves in the lower
story are reached from a small iron gallery; in the second story a
step-ladder must be used--the only instance in the whole building
where a book-shelf cannot be reached by a person standing on the


In front of each of the great piers of the Rotunda is an engaged
column, so called because it is not quite clear of the mass behind
it, which serves as the ultimate support of a statue placed between
the arches upholding the dome. In height, base, and capital, it is
the same as the pier with which it is connected, and, like it, is
sheathed in Numidian marble, but not so dark in tone, since the
burden resting on the column includes no part of the dome, and is
therefore much lighter than that borne by the pier.

The engaged columns, however, join with the piers to carry an
elaborate entablature some seven feet in height, which, finding
its way in and out of the alcoves from pier to pier, completely
encompasses the room. The color of the entablature, which is entirely
of stucco, is a cream or ivory white, like the dome, touched
sparingly with gold. The mouldings, which are of the usual Greek
patterns employed in Renaissance architecture, are very rich and
heavy. The topmost member of the cornice is boldly projected upon
a series of modillions, the soffits between being ornamented with
rosetted coffers--gilt on a blue ground. The frieze is enriched with
an arabesque of Renaissance ornament in relief, including antique
urns and lamps; garlands enclosing tablets; and winged half-figures.
The general design of the frieze, as of all such work in the Library,
is by Mr. Casey as architect; the individual figures, however, were
modelled by Mr. Weinert.

=The Symbolical Statues.=--The eight statues set upon the entablature
over the engaged columns represent eight characteristic features of
civilized life and thought. From the floor to the plinth or base on
which they stand is a distance of fifty-eight feet; each is ten and
a half feet, or, including the plinth, eleven feet high. All are of
plaster, toned an ivory white to match the general tone of the stucco
decoration throughout the room, and are effectively placed against
the plain red pendentives of the dome as a background. The title of
each is inscribed in gilt letters in a tablet in the frieze below.
Beginning with the figure directly to the right as one enters the
west gallery of the Rotunda, the order is as follows: _Religion_,
modelled by Mr. Theodore Baur; _Commerce_, by Mr. John Flanagan;
_History_, by Mr. Daniel C. French; _Art_, by a French artist, Mr.
Dozzi, after sketches by Mr. Augustus St. Gaudens; _Philosophy_, by
Mr. Bela L. Pratt, who modelled the granite spandrels of the Main
Entrance; _Poetry_, by Mr. J. Q. A. Ward; _Law_, by Mr. Paul W.
Bartlett; and _Science_, by Mr. John Donoghue.


Nearly all bear some appropriate and distinguishing object.
_Religion_ holds a flower in her hand, seeming to draw from it the
lesson of a God revealed in Nature. _Commerce_, crowned with a wreath
of the peaceful olive, holds in her right hand a model of a Yankee
schooner, and in her left a miniature locomotive. _History_ has a
book in her hand, and with an obvious symbolism holds up a hand-glass
so that it will reflect things behind her. _Art_ is unlike the other
figures in being represented as nearly nude. She is crowned with
laurel, and bears a model of the Parthenon. Beside her is a low
tree, in the branches of which are hung a sculptor’s mallet and the
palette and brush of the painter. _Philosophy_ is a grave figure with
downcast eyes, carrying a book in her hand. The garment of _Poetry_
falls in severe lines, which suggest the epic and the more serious
forms of the drama, rather than the lighter aspects of the Muse.
_Law_ has a scroll in her hand; a fold of her robe is drawn over her
head to signify the solemnity of her mission; and beside her is the
stone Tablet of the Law. _Science_ holds in her left hand a globe of
the earth, surmounted by a triangle. In her right hand is a mirror,
not, like _History’s_, turned backward, but held forward so that all
may perceive the image of Truth.

Above each statue the pendentive of the dome is occupied by a group
in plaster, sculptured by Mr. Martiny, consisting of two winged
geniuses, modelled as if half flying, half supported on the curve
of the arches, and holding between them a large tablet carrying an
inscription in gilt letters. Above the tablet is a pair of crossed
palm-branches (meaning peace), and below are the lamp and open book
symbolical of learning, these last being surrounded by an oak-wreath,
typifying strength--the whole group thus signifying the power and
beneficence of wisdom.

The inscriptions were selected by President Eliot of Harvard
University, who several years before had furnished the memorable
sentences carved upon the Water Gate at the World’s Fair in Chicago.
Each is appropriate to the subject of the statue below it.

Thus, above the figure of _Religion_ are the words:--

      What doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love
      mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?
          _Micah_ vi, 8.

Above the figure of _Commerce_:--

      We taste the spices of Arabia yet never feel the scorching sun
      which brings them forth.

Above the figure of _History_:--

      One God, one law, one element,
      And one far-off divine event,
      To which the whole creation moves.

Above the figure of _Art_:--

      As one lamp lights another, nor grows less,
      So nobleness enkindleth nobleness.

Above the figure of _Philosophy_:--

      The inquiry, knowledge, and belief of truth is the sovereign good
      of human nature.

Above the figure of _Poetry_:--

      Hither, as to their fountain, other stars
      Repairing, in their golden urns draw light.

Above the figure of _Law_:--

      Of law there can be no less acknowledged than that her voice is
      the harmony of the world.

Above the figure of _Science_:--

      The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth
      his handiwork.
          _Psalms_ xix, 1.

=The Portrait Statues.=--The sixteen bronze statues set along the
balustrade of the galleries represent men illustrious in the various
forms of thought and activity typified in the figures just described.
The arrangement of the statues is in pairs, each pair flanking one
of the eight great piers of the Rotunda. The list of those who have
been thus selected to stand as typical representatives of human
development and civilization is as follows: Under _Religion_, Moses
and St. Paul; _Commerce_, Columbus and Robert Fulton; _History_,
Herodotus and Gibbon; _Art_, Michael Angelo (a single figure, but
standing at once for Architecture, Sculpture, and Painting) and
Beethoven; _Philosophy_, Plato and Lord Bacon; _Poetry_, Homer and
Shakespeare; _Law_, Solon and Chancellor Kent (the author of the
well-known _Commentaries_); _Science_, Newton and Professor Joseph
Henry. The sculptors were: of the _Moses_ and _Gibbon_, Mr. Charles
H. Niehaus; _St. Paul_, Mr. John Donoghue (the sculptor of the
figure of _Science_); _Columbus_ and _Michael Angelo_, Mr. Paul W.
Bartlett (who modelled the figure of _Law_); _Fulton_, Mr. Edward C.
Potter; _Herodotus_, Mr. Daniel C. French (_History_); _Beethoven_,
Mr. Theodore Baur (_Religion_); _Plato_ and _Bacon_, Mr. John J.
Boyle; _Homer_, Mr. Louis St. Gaudens; _Shakespeare_, Mr. Frederick
Macmonnies (who did the central doors at the Main Entrance);
_Solon_, Mr. F. Wellington Ruckstuhl (the sculptor of the busts of
Goethe, Macaulay, and Franklin, in the Entrance Portico); _Kent_, Mr.
George Bissell; _Newton_, Mr. C. E. Dallin; and _Henry_, Mr. Herbert
Adams, whom the visitor already knows for his work in connection with
Mr. Warner on the bronze entrance doors, as well as for his little
figures of Minerva in the Main Vestibule.

Of these figures, two, the _Moses_ and _St. Paul_, are ideal, though
modelled, in a general way, according to conventions long established
in Christian art. The _Solon_ is an original study, although, of
course, aiming to be entirely Greek in spirit and costume. The
_Homer_ follows an ancient ideal bust. The _Herodotus_ and _Plato_
are studied from original Greek sculptures. The features of the
other ten are taken from portraits from life, and the costumes are
accurately copied from contemporary fashions.


The _Moses_ of Mr. Niehaus holds the Table of the Law, and, like
Michael Angelo’s famous figure, is horned--a curious convention
which crept into art from an ancient mistranslation of a passage in
Exodus. The _St. Paul_ is a bearded figure, one hand on the hilt of a
great two-edged sword, and the other holding a scroll. Mr. Ruckstuhl
has conceived his _Solon_ as the typical law-giver of the ancient
world. He is represented as stepping forward, clothed in all the
power of the state, to announce at a solemn gathering of the people
the supremacy of Law over Force. A fold of his garment is drawn
over his head with a certain priestly suggestion, as if the laws he
proclaimed were of divine origin. He holds aloft, in his left hand,
a scroll bearing the Greek words _OI NOMOI_, which, though meaning
simply “The Law,” were understood as referring especially to Solon’s
enactments. His right hand rests upon a sheathed and inverted sword,
which is wreathed with laurel. The idea is that law has supplanted
force, but that force is always ready to carry out the mandates
of the law. _Homer_ is represented with a staff in his hand and a
wreath of laurel crowning his head. Mr. French represents _Herodotus_
as a traveller, searching the known world for the materials of
his histories. His garments are girt up, he bears a long staff in
one hand, and shades his eyes with a scroll as he gazes into the
distance to discover his destination. The _Fulton_ carries a model
of a steamboat, and the _Henry_ an electro-magnet, for discoveries
in electrical science. The _Beethoven_ shows the composer with his
hand uplifted as if to beat the measure of the harmony which has
suddenly come into his mind--so suddenly that in the eagerness of his
movement he has pulled the pocket of his greatcoat inside out. Mr.
Macmonnies’s _Shakespeare_ is a somewhat novel study, so far as the
head is concerned; it is a composite of the portrait in the first
collected edition of the Plays and of the Stratford bust. The figure
of _Kent_ wears the judicial ermine; he carries in one hand the
manuscript of his _Commentaries_, and holds a pen in the other. Of
the other figures, some, like the _Gibbon_, carry a book or pen; but
in most instances the sculptor has sought merely to give his subject
an appropriately noble and contemplative attitude and expression,
without trying to introduce any special symbol of his work.

=Mr. Flanagan’s Clock.=[10]--Still another piece of sculpture--the
group ornamenting the great clock over the entrance to the
Rotunda--remains to be spoken of before passing on to a description
of the dome and Mr. Blashfield’s decorations. It is the work of Mr.
John Flanagan, the sculptor of the figure of _Commerce_, and, taken
altogether, is one of the most sumptuous and magnificent pieces of
decoration in the Library. The clock itself is constructed of various
brilliantly colored precious marbles, and is set against a background
of mosaic, on which are displayed, encircling the clock, the signs of
the zodiac, in bronze. Above is a life-size figure, executed in high
relief in bronze, of Father Time, striding forward scythe in hand. To
the left and right are the figures of maidens with children, also in
bronze, representing the Seasons. The dial of the clock is about four
feet in diameter; in the centre is a gilt glory, or “sunburst.” The
hands, which are also gilded, are jewelled with semi-precious stones.


Including, of course, Mr. Weinert’s and Mr. Martiny’s work, it
will be seen that no less than nineteen American sculptors have
contributed to the decoration of the Rotunda. Considering the
room--just for the moment, and for the sake of the special point
of view--merely as a Gallery of Statuary, it will be seen how
important and representative a collection of American sculpture
has been brought together. The choosing of the sculptors to be
commissioned, and of the work to be assigned to each--not only here
but throughout the Library--were necessarily matters of very careful
consideration. To aid in this work, General Casey secured the advice
of the President of the National Sculpture Society (the authoritative
organization in such matters), then as now Mr. J. Q. A. Ward, who
associated with him as a committee two others of the most prominent
members of the Society. This committee went into the question very
thoroughly, and as a result recommended the sculptors for the
Entrance Portico, the bronze entrance doors, the Commemorative Arch
in the Staircase Hall, and the Rotunda. Their advice was accepted
_in toto_, with the result, barring a few changes made necessary by
subsequent circumstances, that the visitor has now seen.


=The Lighting of the Rotunda.=--The soffits of the arches upholding
the dome are ornamented with a row of plain coffers; the larger
arches which roof the alcoves within, carry a triple row of more
elaborate coffers, each with a gilt rosette. The windows of
stained glass, already spoken of as enclosed by these arches, are
semicircular in form and measure thirty-two feet across at the
base. They furnish the greater part of the light needed for the
illumination of the room. No shadows are cast in any direction. Being
so high above the floor, the light from them is much more effective
than if they were nearer the level of the reader’s eye. They are
better even than skylights, and with none of the disadvantages of
skylights. Other sources of light are the various little windows
pierced in the four walls of the Octagon which face the interior
courts; and, above, the eight windows of the Lantern. It has been
said that no reading room in the world is so well lighted--so
steadily, abundantly and uniformly, whether on the brightest or the
darkest day. Mr. Blashfield’s paintings in the dome, for example, can
hardly be said to receive direct light from a single window in the
room, but for all that, so perfectly is the light diffused, they are
as easily made out as any decorations in the building.

In the evening, the light, which is furnished entirely by electric
lamps, is quite as perfect in its way as in the daytime. In the
second story of the arcading of the marble screens, a brass rod
runs between the capitals of each arch, supporting in the centre
a brass star of eight points, each point an electric lamp of
thirty-two-candle power. With seven of these in each screen (except
the west, where Mr. Flanagan’s clock leaves room for only four), and
eight screens, one has a total of four hundred and twenty-four lamps
thus used. Above the cornice of the second entablature is a great
ring containing three hundred and eight more. Similarly, a line of
fifty lamps occurs at the bottom of each of the semicircular windows,
making four hundred in all; and in the eye of the lantern, so placed,
however, that the lamps themselves are invisible, is a second ring
numbering forty-six. On the floor, the reading desks are equipped,
altogether, with sixty-eight bronze standards, each bearing three
lamps, or two hundred and four in all. Add the number, seventy-six,
which serve to light the Distributing Desk and the lower story of
the alcoves, and the result is a grand total of fourteen hundred and
fifty-eight, and a total candle-power of upwards of forty thousand.
When the current is turned on and all these lamps are lit, the
Rotunda presents a spectacle of light and shadow worth going far to


=The Semicircular Windows.=--It is calculated that, by putting
stained glass in the eight semicircular windows, the amount of light
admitted has been diminished almost exactly one-eighth; in other
words, the result is the same as if one of the eight had been quite
closed up. The loss, of course, is hardly appreciated in a room
sufficiently supplied with light from such a number of sources.

The windows are double, with about four inches between the two
sashes. The glass used for the outside is plain, but of different
degrees of translucency, according as it is necessary to prevent
the entrance of direct sunshine, which, if admitted, would be
disagreeable to the occupant of the room and would distort the
desirable even effect of the stained glass within. Thus, in the east
and west, ribbed skylight glass is used; in the southeast, south, and
southwest, ribbed and ground glass; while on the other three sides,
where the sun never comes, the glass is left perfectly clear.

The cartoons for the stained glass were made by Mr. Schladermundt,
after designs prepared by the architect, Mr. Casey. The ground is a
crackled white, leaded throughout into small, square panes. In order
to give an effect of boldness and strength, the windows are divided
vertically by heavy iron bars. The design is surrounded by a richly
colored border of laurel, combined with rosettes and Roman fasces.
At the top, in the middle of each window, is the great seal of the
United States, four feet high, surmounted by the American eagle,
whose outstretched wings measure eight feet from tip to tip. To the
right and left, following the curve of the window, are the seals of
the States and Territories, three on a side, or six in each window,
so that forty-eight--excluding only Alaska and Indian Territory--are
contained in the eight windows. Torches alternate with the seals, and
the fasces are introduced at the bottom.

The name of the State or Territory is inscribed above each seal,
with the date of the year in which it was admitted to the Union, or
organized under a territorial form of government. The seals occur
in the order of their dates, the series beginning with the Thirteen
Original States--which start in the easterly window in the order in
which they signed the Constitution--and continuing around the room
to the three Territories of New Mexico, Arizona, and Oklahoma. Taken
all in all they form one of the most interesting decorations in the
Library, for the reason that the artist has succeeded in making a
harmonious whole out of a very heterogeneous collection of designs.
The originals, of course, were separately drawn, often by persons
unacquainted with heraldry, and never with any particular thought of
fitting them into a single series like the present. The result is
that these originals show the greatest diversity of treatment. The
key, so to speak, is continually changing. Sometimes, for example,
a figure introduced in the foreground is dwarfed by an altogether
disproportionate background, while in other cases the figure
overpowers everything else; copied exactly, any heraldic or artistic
unity of effect would be entirely lacking. Accordingly, after getting
together a complete collection of the seals--in every instance
an authentic impression of the original obtained from the State
secretary--Mr. Schladermundt re-drew, and often almost redesigned
his material to bring it into accordance with his decorative scheme.
Just what it was that Mr. Schladermundt undertook to do may best
be seen in the accompanying engravings of the Seal of Kansas, the
first giving the seal as used on official papers, the second copied
from Mr. Schladermundt’s cartoon. It will be seen that the spirit of
the seal and its heraldic intention are the same in both. The only
difference is that in Mr. Schladermundt’s design certain changes of
proportion have been made to make the seal harmonize with the style
to which the artist wished to have all his designs adhere. In many
cases, particularly in the seals of the Thirteen Original States, the
original has hardly been changed at all. In the seal of the State of
Washington, indeed, which consists merely of a portrait of Washington
himself, Mr. Schladermundt has unobtrusively added the Washington
arms in the upper corner of the design, in order to suggest the
desirable heraldic conventionality more fully; occasionally, too, it
has been necessary to omit certain minor details as being unsuited to
the breadth of treatment necessary in stained glass--but, as a rule,
Mr. Schladermundt has followed very carefully the specifications
contained in the authoritative legislative enactments.


=The Dome.=--A vertical section of the dome of the Rotunda would show
an exact half circle, with a diameter of one hundred feet. As has
been said before, the dome is of stucco, applied to a framework of
iron and steel, filled in with terra cotta. Although, as previously
described, it appears to rest upon the deep upper entablature, it
really springs immediately from the eight arches resting upon the
great piers. The entablature, as will be seen on a close inspection,
bears no part in the construction. It is projected so far forward
from the dome that one may easily walk between the two.

The entablature is about seven feet high, with a richly moulded
architrave and a heavy projecting cornice. The ground of the frieze
is gilt, with a relief ornament in white of eagles standing upon
hemispheres and holding in their beaks a heavy garland of laurel.
Over the north, south, east, and west arches, are two female
figures--the work of Mr. Philip Martiny--represented as seated upon
the architrave moulding and supporting a heavy cartouche--another
instance of the emphasis which the architect has so often placed upon
the four main axes of the building.


=The Stucco Ornamentation.=--The dome is so simply planned that
a description of its main features may be given in a very brief
space. The surface is filled with a system of square coffers. The
ornamentation of the body of the dome is in arabesque. The eight
ribs which mark off the dome into compartments are each divided into
two by a band of gilded ornament resembling a guilloche. The coffers
diminish in size from four and a half feet square at the bottom to
two and a half feet at the top. The total number of coffers is three
hundred and twenty--or forty in each compartment, and also in each
horizontal row, and eight in each vertical row. The ground of the
coffers is blue, the sky-color, as if one were really looking out
into the open air--and therefore the color traditionally used in
coffering. To give sparkle and brilliancy, many shades and kinds of
blue are used, the darker and heavier at the bottom, and the lighter
and airier toward the top. The transition is so gradual and natural
that the eye does not perceive any definite change, but only a
generally increased vividness. The border mouldings of the coffers
are cream-colored--old ivory is the usual term--strongly touched with
gold, and in the centre of each is a great gold rosette.

Although the purpose of the dome arabesque is primarily to give an
agreeable impression of light and shade, the individual figures
of which it is composed are nearly as interesting a study as the
general effect of the whole. The variety of the figures is almost
bewildering--lions’ heads, sea-horses, dolphins, urns, cartouches,
griffins, shells, storks, caryatides, tridents, eagles, cherubs,
half-figures, geniuses--altogether something like forty-five
principal type-designs, interwoven with very many smaller but no
less beautiful pieces of ornament. All are adapted from Renaissance
models of the best and purest period, and are combined with the
utmost spirit and harmony in an arabesque whose every portion has
equal artistic value. No single figure catches the eye; broad
horizontal and vertical bands of decoration, gradually diminishing as
they approach the top, encircle and ascend the dome, each with its
particular “note” of arrangement and design, but all cunningly united
to form an indisputable whole, everywhere balanced and restrained.

[Illustration: DETAIL OF THE DOME.]

It may be of interest to the visitor to learn that one of the
most novel and ingenious pieces of engineering connected with the
construction of the Library was a so-called “travelling” or rotary
scaffold, devised by Mr. Green for the use of the workmen employed on
the stucco decorations of the dome. It may be likened to a huge pair
of steps, ascending from the upper entablature to the lantern. Its
upper end thrust against an iron pintle secured to beams laid across
the eye of the lantern, and was steadied at the bottom by a pair of
flanged wheels, which travelled on a track in the entablature, so
that the whole apparatus could be traversed entirely round the room.
The various stages or landings were adjusted to fit the concave of
the dome, with the result that the accuracy of the curve could be
tested with almost mathematical exactness. At one time two of these
scaffolds were swung to the same pintle.

=Mr. Blashfield’s Paintings.=--The position of Mr. Blashfield’s
decorations in the Collar and Lantern of the dome is the noblest and
most inspiring in the Library. They are literally and obviously the
crowning glory of the building, and put the final touch of completion
on the whole decorative scheme of the interior. The visitor will
see how, without them, not a painting in the building would seem to
remain solidly and easily in its place, for they occupy not only the
highest, but the exact central point of the Library, to which, in a
sense, every other is merely relative.

As was hinted in the description of Mr. Vedder’s paintings, Mr.
Blashfield was almost necessarily drawn to select some such subject
as he has here chosen--the Evolution of Civilization, the records of
which it is the function of a great library to gather and preserve.

The ceiling of the Lantern is sky and air, against which, as a
background, floats the beautiful female figure representing the
Human Understanding, lifting her veil and looking upward from
Finite Intellectual Achievement (typified in the circle of figures
in the collar) to that which is beyond; in a word, Intellectual
Progress looking upward and forward. She is attended by two cherubs,
or geniuses; one holds the book of wisdom and knowledge, the other
seems, by his gesture, to be encouraging those beneath to persist in
their struggle towards perfection.

The decoration of the collar consists of a ring of twelve seated
figures, male and female, ranged against a wall of mosaic patterning.
They are of colossal size, measuring, as they sit, about ten feet
in height. They represent the twelve countries, or epochs, which
have contributed most to the development of present-day civilization
in this country. Beside each is a tablet, decorated with palms,
on which is inscribed the name of the country typified, and below
this, on a continuous banderole or streamer, is the name of some
chief or typical contribution of that country to the sum of human
excellence. The figures follow each other in chronological order,
beginning, appropriately enough, at the East, the East being the
cradle of civilization. The list is as follows: _Egypt_, typifying
Written Records; _Judea_, Religion; _Greece_, Philosophy; _Rome_,
Administration; _Islam_, Physics; _The Middle Ages_, Modern
Languages; _Italy_, the Fine Arts; _Germany_, the Art of Printing;
_Spain_, Discovery; _England_, Literature; _France_, Emancipation;
and _America_, Science.

[Illustration: BACON. BY JOHN J. BOYLE.]

Each figure is winged, as representing an ideal, but the wings, which
overlap each other regularly throughout, serve mainly to unite the
composition in a continuous whole, and in no case have been allowed
to hamper the artist in his effort to make each figure the picture of
a living, breathing man or woman. Four of the twelve figures, it will
be observed, stand out more conspicuously than the rest on account
of the lighter tone of their drapery--_Egypt_, _Rome_, _Italy_,
and _England_. They occupy respectively the east, south, west, and
north points in the decoration, and furnish another instance of the
stress that has been laid, throughout the Library, upon the four
cardinal points of the compass which govern the axial lines of the
building, and which in turn have been enriched and dignified in
the final decorative scheme of the interior. Each of these axial
figures is painted in a more rigid attitude than those beside it,
and forms, as will be noticed, the centre of a triad, or group of
three, each of the flanking figures leaning more or less obviously
toward it. It should be noted that there was no intention on the
part of the painter to magnify the importance of the four figures
thus represented over any of the others. The emphasis of color is
solely for decorative purposes. The arrangement being chronological,
Mr. Blashfield was unable to exercise much control over the order
in which each figure should occur, and still retain his original
selection of countries.

_Egypt_ is represented by a male figure clad in the waistcloth and
cap with lappets so familiar in the ancient monuments. The idea of
Written Records is brought out by the tablet he supports with his
left hand, on which is inscribed in hieroglyphics the cartouche or
personal seal of Mena, the first recorded Egyptian king; and by the
case of books at his feet, which is filled with manuscript rolls
of papyrus, the Egyptian paper. Besides the idea of Writing and
Recording, Mr. Blashfield brings out the fact that the Egyptians were
among the first who held the doctrine of the immortality of the soul.
The figure holds in the right hand the Tau, or cross with a ring
head, the emblem of life both in this world and beyond it; and on the
tablet behind his feet is the winged ball, the more familiar symbol
of the same idea.

_Judea_ is shown as a woman lifting her hands in an ecstatic prayer
to Jehovah. The over-garment which she wears falls partly away, and
discloses the ephod, which was a vestment worn by the high priests,
ornamented with a jewelled breastplate and with onyx shoulder clasps
set in gold, on which were engraved the names of the Twelve Tribes of
Israel. On the face of a stone pillar set beside her is inscribed,
in Hebrew characters, the injunction, as found in Leviticus, xix,
18: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself--a sentence selected as
being perhaps the noblest single text contributed by the Jewish race
to the system of modern morality. In her lap is a scroll, containing,
presumably, a portion of the Scriptures; and at her feet is a censer,
typical of the Hebrew ritualism.


The figure of _Greece_ is distinctly suggestive, so far as attitude
and drapery are concerned, of one of the beautiful little Tanagra
figures of terra-cotta--so called from the ancient Greek town in
which they were first discovered--which are so familiar to students
of Greek art. A bronze lamp is set beside her, and in her lap
is a scroll--the emblems of wisdom. Her head is crowned with a
diadem--possibly with a reference to the City of the Violet Crown,
Athens, the Mother of Philosophy.

_Rome_, the second axial figure, wears the armor of a centurion, or
captain in a legion. A lion’s skin, the mark of a standard-bearer,
is thrown over him, the head covering the top of his casque. The
whole conception is that of the just but inexorable administration
of Rome founded upon the power of its arms. One foot is planted upon
the lower drum of a marble column, signifying stability. His right
arm rests upon the fasces, or bundle of rods, the typical emblem of
the Roman power and rule. In his right hand he holds the baton of

_Islam_ is an Arab, standing for the Moorish race which introduced
into Europe not only an improved science of Physics, as here used
by Mr. Blashfield in its older and less restricted sense--but
of mathematics and astronomy also. His foots rests upon a glass
retort, and he is turning over the leaves of a book of mathematical

By the term _Middle Ages_, represented by the female figure which
comes next in the decoration, is usually understood the epoch
beginning with the dissolution of the Western Roman Empire in 455
and ending with the discovery of America in 1492. No single country
is here indicated, for Europe was throughout that period in a state
of flux, so to say, in the movement of which the principal modern
languages were finally evolved from the Latin and Teutonic tongues.
But it was an epoch notable for many other things, also. The figure
typifying the epoch is distinguished by an expression at once grave
and passionate, and has a sword, casque and cuirass, emblematic of
the great institution of Chivalry; a model of a cathedral, standing
for Gothic Architecture, which was brought to its greatest perfection
in these thousand years; and a papal tiara and the keys of St. Peter,
signifying mediæval devotion and the power of the Church.


The next figure, _Italy_--the Italy of the Renaissance--is shown with
symbols of four of the Fine Arts which she represents--Painting,
Sculpture, Architecture, and Music. She holds a palette in her left
hand, and with the brush in her right seems about to lay another
stroke of color on her canvas. To her left is a statuette after
Michael Angelo’s celebrated _David_, in Florence. At her feet is a
Renaissance capital; and leaning against the wall a violin, at once
the typical musical instrument and that in the manufacture of which
the Italians peculiarly excelled.

_Germany_ is the printer, turning from his press--a hand-press,
accurately copied from early models--to examine the proof-sheet he
has just pulled. His right foot is placed upon a pile of sheets
already corrected, and a roller for inking lies convenient to his

_Spain_ is the sixteenth century Spanish adventurer. He wears a steel
morion on his head, and is clad in a leathern jerkin. Holding the
tiller of a ship in his right hand, he seems to be watching for land
to appear in the sea. Beside him is a globe of the earth, and at his
feet a model of a caravel, the sort of ship in which Columbus sailed
on his voyages, is introduced.

_England_ wears the ruff and full sleeves of the time of
Elizabeth--the era when English Literature, both poetry and prose,
was at its highest. She is crowned with laurel--the reward of
literature--and bears in her lap an open book of Shakespeare’s
Plays--the right-hand page with a facsimile of the title-page of the
first edition of _A Midsummer Night’s Dream_, dated 1600.


_France_, standing for Emancipation and the great revolutionary
upheaval of the eighteenth century, is dressed in a characteristic
garb of the First Republic--a jacket with lapels, a tricolor scarf,
and a liberty-cap with a tricolor cockade. She sits on a cannon and
carries a drum, a bugle, and a sword--emblems of her military crusade
in behalf of liberty. In her left hand she displays a scroll bearing
the words “Les Droits de l’Homme,” the famous Declaration of the
Rights of Man adopted by the French Assembly in 1789.

The twelfth and last figure, bringing us once more round to the east,
is that of _America_--represented as an engineer, in the garb of the
machine-shop, sitting lost in thought over a problem of mechanics he
has encountered. He leans his chin upon the palm of one hand, while
the other holds the scientific book which he has been consulting.
In front of him is an electric dynamo--recalling the part which the
United States has taken in the advancement of electrical science.

On the base of the dynamo, Mr. Blashfield has signed his work in an
inscription which recalls also the name of the artist who assisted
him in laying it upon the plaster: “These decorations were designed
and executed by Edwin Howland Blashfield, assisted by Arthur Reginald

The visitor will perhaps have been a little perplexed by the familiar
appearance of some of the faces in Mr. Blashfield’s decoration. It
is an interesting fact that in several cases Mr. Blashfield has
introduced a resemblance, more or less distinct, to the features of
some real person in order to give greater variety, and, above all,
greater vitality to his figures. The persons chosen were selected
because the character of their features seemed to him peculiarly
suited to the type which he wished to represent. In the case of
Abraham Lincoln--the figure of _America_--and of General Casey--the
_Germany_--the choice was fitting for other reasons. Among the female
figures, _The Middle Ages_ is Mrs. De Navarro (Mary Anderson), and
_England_, Miss Ellen Terry. The faces of _Italy_ and _Spain_ are
from sketches made from Miss Amy Rose, a young sculptor in New York,
and Mr. William Bailey Faxon, the painter, respectively. _France_
suggests the features of the artist’s wife. Throughout, however,
it must be remembered that, to use Mr. Blashfield’s own words, “no
portraiture has been attempted, but only characterization.”

[Illustration: HENRY. BY HERBERT ADAMS.]

=The Rotunda Color Scheme.=--One can hardly leave this description of
the decoration of the Rotunda without a word respecting the general
color scheme. Beginning with the brown, red, and yellow marbles at
the base, one ends with the pure whites and bright greens and violets
of Mr. Blashfield’s final decoration. The difference between these
two extremes has been bridged over by the use of harmonizing colors
on the walls and in the dome. The Pompeiian red of the alcove walls
and the pendentives is suggested by the Numidian marble of the piers.
A touch of brown on the wall below the semicircular windows echoes
the brown Tennessee base, and the yellow predominant in the alcove
arches above derives from the Sienna screens. These last, again, in
their lightest portions, strike the key for the “old ivory”--the
delicate gray yellow--which, either deeper or lighter, is always the
ruling tone of the entablature, the dome, and the sculptural figures
in plaster. The coffers of the dome, one will notice by looking
closely, are defined by a narrow band of yellow or red--yellow
throughout one whole compartment, and red in the next. The former
carries up (more markedly than in the ivory-toned stucco) the color
of the screens; the latter the color of the piers. The blue ground,
moreover, and the yellow stripe create together, whether one will or
not, an impression of green upon the eye, because green is compounded
of blue and yellow; and the blue and the red, in turn, create an
impression of violet, for a similar reason. Thus, the visitor,
glancing up to the decorations of the collar, is already prepared
for Mr. Blashfield’s two dominating tones. The white is expected as
the natural result of a color scheme which has been steadily growing
lighter from the beginning, and, after being used in Mr. Blashfield’s
painting, it is at last appropriately employed almost solely in the
lantern which crowns the whole Rotunda. Finally, considering the room
as a whole, it will be noted that the profuse use of gold throughout
the dome and lantern is not only legitimately suggested by the Sienna
marble, but of itself helps to keep the various colors--in marble or
stucco--in what may be called a more complete “state of solution”
than would otherwise have been possible. By attracting attention to
itself, it softens the contrasts between the other colors.

The floor of the Rotunda is a kind of mosaic, known as _terrazzo_,
ornamented with great concentric bands of Tennessee marble.
_Terrazzo_, sometimes called “chip mosaic” or “granito,” is made by
sprinkling a layer of small pieces of marble upon a bed of Portland
cement, rolling it all down so that the pieces are thoroughly
embedded, and, after it is dry, rubbing it down smooth with
sandstone. When carefully prepared, it makes an especially durable

[Illustration: NEWTON. BY C. E. DALLIN.]

=Provision for Readers.=--The reading desks are arranged in three
circles, surrounding the Distributing Desk as a centre. Each row
contains eight desks, leaving room between for aisles radiating from
the central desk. They are constructed of dark, heavy mahogany, and
are supported on iron standards with gratings admitting warm or fresh
air, for heating and ventilation. The inmost row is a combination of
reading-tables, settees, and standing writing-desks, with shelves
for reference books,--encyclopædias, dictionaries, directories,
atlases, etc.,--of which there is a very full selection. The outer
rows are double-faced, and arranged exclusively for persons reading
and studying. Allowing each a space of four feet, the desks are
capable of seating altogether two hundred and forty-six readers.
Including the alcoves, which, on account of the number of separate
spaces they contain, are well adapted to the use of special students,
particularly those desiring to turn over a large number of books at
one time, the total number of readers that can be accommodated in the
Rotunda is two hundred and eighty-nine.

The Distributing Desk is surrounded by a circular counter for
attendants, and for delivering and receiving books, and cases
containing a card catalogue of the Library, arranged alphabetically
in shallow drawers according to the subject, author, and title. It
has been the policy of the Library from the beginning, moreover, to
issue its catalogue in printed volumes, new editions being prepared
as the old ones became obsolete on account of fresh accessions. Of
late years, however, the Library has grown so enormously that the
annual appropriations of Congress have not been sufficient to warrant
this undertaking. The latest volumes were published in 1881, and
carried the catalogue only through the letter “C.”

Within the enclosures formed by these various desks and cabinets is a
small elevator for bringing books by the truck-load from the basement
story. The Distributing Desk itself is built of mahogany, ornamented
with panelling and carving. On the east side it consists of a high
station for the use of the Superintendent--the officer in charge
in the Rotunda--who is thus able to keep in touch with everything
doing in the room. On the other side is a cabinet containing the
terminus of the system of book-carrying apparatus connecting the
Reading Room and Stacks, and in the centre is a stairway leading
to the basement. Along the front of the desk, also, is a row of
twenty-four pneumatic tubes for the transmission of messages, either
in cylindrical pouches, as in the case of the written applications
which those desiring to draw books are required to make out, or
verbally, by means of a mouth-piece with which each tube is equipped.
Nine tubes go to the North Stack and nine to the South Stack, or one
for every floor. Four go to the East Stack, or one to every other
floor. An attendant for any portion of the stack system can thus be
reached at a moment’s notice. Of the other two tubes, one goes to the
Librarian’s Room and the other connects with the Capitol.

Each tube is numbered, and is operated by pressing a button, the
action of which indicates, also, when the pouch is delivered at the
other end. Each tube terminates in a separate bronze case or box,
which is heavily cushioned, and closed by self-shutting glass doors
in order to prevent noise. The tube enters at the bottom, and the
pouch is thrown against a curved “hood,” so called, which guides it
to one side so that it may not fall back into the mouth of the tube.

[Illustration: KENT. BY GEORGE E. BISSELL.]

=The Book-Carrying Apparatus.=--The main features of the
book-carrying apparatus were suggested by Mr. Green, although worked
out with the assistance of ingenious mechanics. The apparatus is in
two parts, each separately operated, the first of which connects with
the North Stack and the second with the South Stack. The East Stack
is so much less extensive than the other two that it was thought more
economical to rely solely upon the services of the attendants for
the delivery and return of the books it contained. Each section of
the apparatus (north or south) consists of a pair of endless chains
kept continuously in motion, at the rate of about one hundred feet a
minute, by means of power furnished by an electric dynamo. These two
chains run from the terminal cabinet to the basement; thence on a
level to the stacks; and from there directly up a small well to the
top floor, where they turn and descend.

The cable carries eighteen trays, distributed at regular intervals.
Each tray is capable of carrying a volume the size of the ordinary
quarto, (say eleven inches by ten, and four inches thick), or its
equivalent in smaller volumes. Larger books must be carried by hand
down the elevator with which each stack is provided. The tray is
of brass, made in the form of a hooked comb, the ends of the teeth
being left free. The terminal cabinet and all the stack stories are
provided with toothed slides, the teeth of which engage with those
of the trays, and rake off or deliver the books, as the case may be.
If one bends and slightly opens the fingers of both hands, and then
draws the fingers of one through those of the other, the general
principle of the arrangement will immediately be seen. The tray,
however, can receive books only when going up, and can deliver them
only when coming down. When a book is received by a slide it falls
into a padded basket, ready to be taken to its place on the shelves
or delivered to the reader. When the attendant desires to deliver a
book to the Rotunda, he places it on the slide, and sets the latter
so that it will be ready to meet the first tray which arrives. In
returning books, the officer at the Distributing Desk must set a
little lever on a dial at the number of the stack for which the book
is intended. When the tray approaches the proper floor, the slide is
automatically pushed out to receive the load.

[Illustration: FULTON. BY EDWARD C. POTTER.]

=Connection with the Capitol.=--It is calculated that, by means of
the pneumatic tubes and the book-carrying apparatus, it will require
no more than six or seven minutes to bring a book from the stacks,
from the time it is first called for. Valuable, however, as is
the use of machinery in connecting widely distant portions of the
Library, it is even more important as a factor in bringing together
the Library itself and the Capitol, where hardly an hour passes,
during a session of Congress, but some member desires to draw books
for immediate use in debate or committee work. The distance between
the two buildings is about a quarter of a mile (twelve hundred and
seventy-five feet). This is covered by a tunnel having at one end a
terminus in the basement almost immediately beneath the Distributing
Desk, and at the other end in a room in the Capitol about midway
between the Senate and House of Representatives. The tunnel is built
of brick, is perfectly dry, and about six feet high and four feet
wide, or just large enough for a man to enter and make any needed
repairs. An endless cable, kept moving by a similar force to that
which supplies the apparatus connecting with the stacks, carries
two trays back and forth between the terminals, receiving and
delivering books by the same arrangement of teeth as has just been
described. The trays are much larger, however, than the others, and
are capable of containing the largest volumes, such as bound volumes
of newspapers. The speed at which the cable runs is about six hundred
feet a minute, delivering a book at the Capitol within three minutes
after it has left the Library. In addition to the book-carrier, the
tunnel contains the pneumatic tube already spoken of, and the wires
of private telephones connecting the two Houses of Congress with
the Distributing Desk. So quickly can a message be sent and a book
returned, that it is said that a Congressman can get the volumes he
desires in less time than it would have taken him when the Library
occupied its old quarters in the Capitol itself.


From the point of view of library equipment and management, however,
the three great book-stacks radiating from the Rotunda are the
most interesting and remarkable feature of the building. They were
entirely planned by Mr. Bernard R. Green, the engineer in charge
of the construction of the Library. The word “planned,” indeed, is
hardly adequate; “invented” would be nearer the exact fact. The
idea of a book-stack, as distinguished from a mere arrangement of
bookcases, is so new that such examples as were in existence when Mr.
Green entered upon the work were imperfect in many very important

[Illustration: PLATO. BY JOHN J. BOYLE.]

The root purpose of a book-stack, of course, is to make it capable
of holding the greatest number of volumes in the smallest possible
space--always, however, bearing in mind that every book must be
perfectly accessible and so placed that it can be easily and quickly
handled. The space being limited and the number of volumes large, the
old way of arranging cases along the walls, even when the wall space
is materially increased by dividing a room into alcoves, has to be
abandoned in favor of a more compact system. The modern substitute is
to erect the cases in stories, or tiers, with corridors and passages
only large enough to give convenient access to the books. Throughout,
the aim of the builder is to dispose of every inch of space as
economically as possible. Of the three stacks in the Library of
Congress, those to the north and south are, as the visitor has seen,
the largest, each having a length of one hundred and twelve feet
against thirty for the East Stack. All three are of the same width,
however--forty-five feet--and the same height--sixty-three feet. The
method of construction is the same throughout, and each is absolutely
fireproof, the only materials used being steel, iron, brick, glass,
and marble. Few things which can be destroyed by fire at all are
more difficult to burn than books, and a fire in the stacks, even
if carefully nursed by an incendiary, could hardly do more than a
trifling injury.

=Arrangement and Construction.=--The stacks are divided into nine
tiers, each tier being seven feet high, and into an equal number of
stories the same distance apart. This distance was adopted in order
that the books on the highest shelf of a tier might not be beyond the
convenient reach of a man of average height, or so far away that he
could not easily read their titles. By the present arrangement every
book can be handled or its title read without effort.

The stacks begin at the basement story, which is fourteen feet below
the level of the floor of the Rotunda. They are sixty-three feet in
height--the sum, that is, of the nine seven-foot stories--and are
topped by an iron covering, so that any water which might by accident
come through the roof would be shed without harming the books. The
construction of the shelving is entirely of steel and iron. The unit
of construction, as it may be technically called, is a steel column
erected on a firm foundation and extending the height of the stack.
There are over three hundred of them in each of the two large stacks.
At the bottom of every tier above the basement is a horizontal
framework of steel bars, running between the columns, the length
and width of the stack, and securely anchored to the walls. These
cross-pieces perform a double service: they brace the upright columns
and prevent them from bending under the weight they bear, and they
are supports on which to lay the decks. The cases, that is, do not
rest on the flooring, but the flooring on the general system of the
cases. It may be added that with the strong and simple framing that
is used the stacks might very well have been carried a dozen stories
higher without materially increasing the size of the columns.

The ranges--by which is meant the cases for books--are of iron,
divided into six compartments by partitions bolted to the columns.
They are double-faced, each side being a foot deep, and have no
backs. On the front edge of each partition are blunt teeth, and near
the back edge is a vertical row of horns, both serving to hold the
shelves in place. The ranges are at right angles with the wall, so
that there is no opportunity for the occurrence of what are called
“dead angles”--waste spaces in which it is impossible to put books.


The ranges are nineteen and a quarter feet long, and in both of the
larger stacks are forty-two in number, twenty-one on each side of
the stack, leaving a corridor between every story the length of the
gallery. Between them are aisles three feet four inches wide. Near
the middle of the stack a couple of ranges are omitted to give room
for staircases up and down, an elevator well, large enough to carry
an attendant and a truck-load of books; and the shaft or well for the
book-carriage service.

The decks themselves are of white marble, two and a half feet wide
in the aisles and five and a half in the corridors, set in an iron
frame. This leaves a five-inch slit on either side, between it and
the range. The space is too narrow and too close to the range for
anyone to step through, and in order that any small article may
not roll off, the deck is protected by a raised edge. It would, of
course, be possible, though difficult, to drop a book down the slit,
in which case, however, it would be very sure to lodge long before
it struck the basement floor. If found necessary, any such accident
could be prevented by protecting the opening with a wire netting. The
advantages of an open space are many, however: attendants may speak
to one another from deck to deck without the trouble of going to the
stairways; light is diffused through it; and it keeps the books on
the lower shelves from damage, either by being carelessly struck by
the foot or one of the wheeled trucks used to carry books from the
shelves to the elevator well.

=Ventilation and Heating.=--Especially, by allowing a free
circulation of air, these desk-slits help to heat and ventilate the
stacks. Ventilation is especially important. Books require pure
air almost as much as human beings do; if they do not get it they
grow “musty,” and gradually decay. As will have been seen, the
whole structure of the stack is open; nothing is closed, even the
partitions in the ranges being made in the form of gratings. The
system of ventilation and heating is one and the same, and both
require the freest circulation of air. Air is taken into the cellar
through the windows looking out into the court-yards, first, however,
passing through filters of cotton cloth to exclude all dust; after
being warmed it ascends through gratings to the roof, where it
passes out through ventilating flues. In this way the temperature is
everywhere kept very nearly even. Electric fans are ready for use in
case of any sluggishness in the circulation, and in summer are also
used for sending cooled air into the stack.

=The Shelving.=--The shelves themselves are open, being composed
of parallel strips of steel with a narrow space between. The total
number of shelves in the three stacks is sixty-nine thousand two
hundred. Each is one foot wide and thirty-eight inches long,
with a total length of forty and a half miles. They are capable
of sustaining a weight of forty pounds a square foot--more than
will ever be required of them--with practically no deflection.
Nevertheless, though so much stiffer, they are as light as the
ordinary board shelf of the same size. They can be easily and quickly
adjusted at any height, without the need of pegs or loose screws.
Once in place they cannot slip or tip, and being made in a uniform
size (with some small exceptions for certain irregular spaces around
stairways, etc.), every shelf is available for use anywhere. There
are no rough edges or projections on which a book can wear, and the
parallel strips of steel are rounded and highly polished by means
of the Bower-Barff process of coating with magnetic oxide of iron,
so that the surface is as smooth as glass--which not only helps to
preserve the books, but can offer no lodgement for dust or insects.
The open spaces, also, afford an opportunity for using a workable
book-brace, specially devised by Mr. Green.

Furthermore, the shelves can be removed from any compartment as
desired, and space thus made for a table, a cabinet, or a desk, as
needed; or an extra corridor can be at once opened for any distance.
Then again, in case of the extra large books, sufficient space may be
made by placing the shelves of both sides of the range on a level.


=Lighting.=--No point was more carefully studied in the construction
of the stacks than the lighting. Preliminary plans requiring an
immense amount of labor were made, showing the amount of direct
sunlight which any portion of the three arms would receive at any
hour of the day, any month in the year. Skylights along the line of
the corridors help light the upper tiers. The walls are honeycombed
with windows from top to bottom. In the north and south stacks there
are no less than three hundred and sixty. They occur at the ends of
the passageways between the ranges, being placed at the intersections
of the decks, so that each may diffuse direct light into two tiers
at once. In this way there can be no perceptible difference in the
amount of light cast into the upper and lower portions of the tiers.
At the end of each passageway the window is fitted with a seat for
the use of the readers admitted to the stacks, or attendants. Ground
glass is employed for the windows on the east side of the south
stack, where the sunlight is so abundant and continuous that it
would be inconvenient if admitted, besides being likely to cause the
bindings of the books to fade; everywhere else the clear open plates
invite the entrance of all the illumination which can be obtained.
Each window consists of a single piece of polished plate glass three
feet wide, and permanently sealed, so that no dust or moisture can
ever penetrate it. In order to wash the glass from the outside the
wall is fitted at convenient intervals with skeleton galleries.
The courts themselves give an abundance of full, bright light; and
that none of it may be wasted, and in order that it may be evenly
distributed through the tiers, both at the bottom and top of the
stacks, the walls of the courts are constructed of yellow enamelled
brick, which makes an admirable reflector, on rainy as well as on
sunny days. Inside, the marble decks are highly polished, so that
they, too, serve as efficient reflectors, casting the light which
they receive into every nook and cranny of the stack. Evenings, the
light is furnished by incandescent lamps, with which the passages and
corridors are abundantly equipped, and here again the polished decks
serve a most useful purpose in diffusing the brilliant illumination
throughout the whole system of shelving. Altogether, it may be very
confidently stated that no great collection of books was ever before
so thoroughly and conveniently lighted, whether in the day or at


Before leaving the Rotunda it should be added that it is possible
to ascend into the Lantern by taking either of the winding iron
staircases in the piers on the left and right of the west gallery.
The staircases in all the piers carry one up into the space between
the two shells of the dome, where it will be necessary from time to
time for workmen to go in order to paint the iron framing and thus
preserve it from rust and decay, but only these two are open to the
public. On the way up one has a chance to observe the interesting
construction of the dome; and in the Lantern, which is left
unfinished except in the portions seen from below, one may look over
the parapet and down into the Rotunda.

By taking the staircase to the right, moreover--to the right as one
originally enters the gallery from the Entrance Hall, that is--one
reaches a door through which one may pass out to a little gallery
encircling the Rotunda in the open air and affording a beautiful view
of Washington and the surrounding country.

Or, if one chooses to defer this little expedition, it is possible to
make the trip without retracing one’s steps by taking the elevator
on the first story of the Entrance Hall and getting out on the attic
floor, from which one may enter either of the two stairways just


In going through the various galleries and pavilions of the Rectangle
it is perhaps more logical to begin on the library floor, but
supposing the visitor to be about to leave the Rotunda by the way
in which he has come, it will save a little time to take the second
story first. Both are alike, so far as the arrangement of rooms is
concerned, except that on the first story one leaves the Entrance
Hall by a narrow corridor, while above one enters the galleries
directly. The arrangement is very simple, as will be seen by looking
at the plan of the building. The pavilions are connected by long
galleries, two on the west and east sides, where the Rectangle is
interrupted by the centre pavilions, and one each on the north
and south sides. The corner pavilions of both floors contain
octagonal-shaped rooms, which, in the second story, have domed
ceilings and mosaic floors, and are richly embellished with paintings
and sculpture and relief decoration in stucco. The East Pavilion
contains a small staircase and a good sized but plainly finished room
on both stories.

The rooms on the second story are intended for the most part as
exhibition halls for the display of works of art which have come into
the possession of the Library through the operation of the copyright
law, or of books and manuscripts of special interest on account of
their rarity and curiosity. One room, for example, is intended to
contain a collection of early printed books and, in general, such
volumes as best illustrate the history of printing; another room is
for books relating to the early history of America. The North Gallery
is the Map Room; the South Gallery is the Print Room, for engravings,
lithographs, etchings, photographs, etc., illustrating the progress
and development of the reproductive arts.


There is space here to speak only of the more richly decorated of
these rooms--the corner pavilions and the two galleries on the west
side. The others, as the visitor will see in walking through them,
require no special description. The walls are decorated in broad
masses of plain color, with deep friezes of simple but interesting
patterns. The decoration varies from room to room, but all are
united in a single intelligent harmony of color. Each contains a
long skylight surrounded by a stucco border left plain in most
of the galleries, but in the Print Room enriched by coffering
decorated with gilt “cherubs’ wings.” The skylights are ornamented
with a simple design of stained glass. The chief colors employed are
purple and pale green and yellow, and the design includes the names
of men distinguished in American history and in art, letters, and


The chief decorations of the gallery into which one goes from the
South Corridor of the Entrance Hall are two large tympanums by Mr.
Kenyon Cox, one at each end of the room over the triple doors by
which one enters or leaves. For the rest, the room is lighted, like
the other galleries, on both sides, so that one may look out toward
the Capitol, or, on the east, into one of the interior courts.
The ceiling is an elliptical barrel vault, rising to a height of
twenty-nine feet. It is set with square coffers in blue and gold,
and divided by double ribs which spring from the paired pilasters.
Between the pilasters a bright-colored arabesque is introduced, in
which blue is the prevailing color. It is continued in the ceiling by
an arabesque in relief, the most conspicuous features of which are
seated cherubs, and medallions with the letters “C. L.”--standing
for “Congressional Library.” The floor is Vermont, Italian, and
Georgia marble, laid in square panels, so as to reflect, in a way,
the pattern of the coffers in the ceiling above.

=Mr. Cox’s Paintings.=--Mr. Cox’s tympanums are thirty-four feet
long and nine and a half feet high. At the south end of the room
the subject of the decoration is _The Sciences_, and at the north
end, _The Arts_. The panels are similar in composition, occupying
as they do exactly corresponding positions. On each the design is
drawn together by a low marble balustrade, at the centre of which
is a semicircular recess enclosing a kind of throne or high marble
seat. At either end of the recess, so as to come directly over a
pilaster occurring between the doors, is a post bearing a tripod on
which incense is burning. The effect is to carry the lines of the
architecture below up into the painting.

[Illustration: THE ARTS.--BY KENYON COX.]

In the panel of _The Arts_, the central throne is occupied by
the figure of Poetry, represented as a young and beautiful woman
crowned with laurel and bearing an antique lyre. She is seated in an
attitude of immediate inspiration, the fold of her garment blowing
in the wind, her left hand raised from the chord which she has just
struck upon the lyre, and her lips parted in a burst of song. On
the steps of her throne are two little geniuses, one writing down
her words on a tablet, and the other raising his arms in sympathy
as he joins in the rhythmical swing of her song. The first may be
taken as personifying the more strictly literary and reflective
side of poetry, and the other as standing for its feeling for
harmony and music, or, in general, the lyrical element in poetry.
In the left-hand portion of the decoration are Architecture and
Music, and to the right, Sculpture and Painting--all typified by
female figures bearing some appropriate object identifying the art
which they represent. Architecture is conceived as the sternest
and most dignified of the arts, as shown by her expression of
proud abstraction and the severe lines of her drapery. She holds
a miniature marble column, and her head is crowned with a circlet
of battlements. Music is playing upon a violin, and looking the
while upon the pages of a great music-book which a kneeling genius
holds open before her. Beside her is a violoncello. Sculpture holds
a statuette of a nude female figure, and talks with Painting, who
has a palette and brushes. The latter, as representing the gentler
and more luxurious art, is shown partly nude, and leaning her head
affectionately upon the shoulder of her companion. In the corner of
the picture are a vase and two large plates in different styles of
decorated pottery--standing for the minor decorative arts.

[Illustration: SPRING.--BY BELA L. PRATT.]

In the tympanum of _The Sciences_ the central figure is Astronomy.
She holds a pair of compasses, and leans forward on her throne to
make measurements upon the celestial globe which a genius holds up
before her. Another genius to the right looks through a telescope.
To the left of the panel are Physics and Mathematics. Physics holds
an instrument designed to show the law of the balance of different
weights at different distances from the point of support. Mathematics
has an abacus, or counting-frame, with which she is instructing a
little genius in the elements of figures. The beads of the abacus are
so placed that they give the date, “1896”--the year the picture was
painted. Beside her, in the extreme left-hand corner, are various
figures illustrating plane and solid geometry. The former kind are
so arranged, as the visitor will see by looking carefully, that they
form all the letters of the artist’s name--KENYON COX. On the other
side of the throne are Botany, bearing a young oak tree, and wearing
a green and white figured gown; and Zoölogy, a nude figure holding
out her hand to caress a magnificent peacock perched on the coping
of the balustrade. In the corner are a shell and various kinds of
minerals, for Conchology, Mineralogy, Geology, and so forth.

On tablets over the doors and windows are the names of men
distinguished in Science and Art. Those representing Art are Wagner,
Mozart, Homer, Milton, Raphael, Rubens, Vitruvius, Mansard, Phidias,
and Michael Angelo. The Scientists are Leibnitz, Galileo, Aristotle,
Ptolemy, Dalton, Hipparchus, Herschel, Kepler, La Marck, and


The Southwest Pavilion--or the Pavilion of the Discoverers, as it may
better be called, from the subject of the paintings with which it is
ornamented--opens immediately from the Southwest Gallery. The domed
ceiling is richly coffered and profusely ornamented with gilding,
except for a large central space in the form of a disc, which
contains a painted decoration. Below the dome are four tympanums,
also occupied by paintings. The walls are ornamented with paired
pilasters, bearing a narrow frieze decorated with lions’ heads and
festoons of garlands.

=Mr. Pratt’s Bas-Reliefs.=--In the pendentives is a series of four
large circular plaques in relief, representing _The Seasons_. The
series, which is repeated in each of the other three pavilions, is
the work of Mr. Bela L. Pratt. _Spring_ is the figure of a girl
sowing the seed, her garment blown into graceful swirls by the early
winds of March. _Summer_ is a maturer figure, sitting, quiet and
thoughtful, in a field of poppies. _Autumn_ is a mother nursing
a baby. An older child--a little boy--stands beside her, and the
abundance and fruitfulness of the season are still further typified
in the ripe bunches of grapes which hang from the vine. _Winter_
is an old woman gathering faggots for the hearth. Behind her is a
leafless tree, on which is perched an owl. A garland appropriate to
the season hangs over each of the four plaques--fruits for _Spring_
and _Summer_, grains for _Autumn_, and oak leaves and acorns for


=Mr. Maynard’s Paintings.=--The paintings in the tympanums and the
disc are the work of Mr. George W. Maynard, whose panels in the
Main Entrance Hall have already been described. In the tympanums
the sequence of Mr. Maynard’s subjects begins on the east side
and continues to the right, as follows: _Adventure_, _Discovery_,
_Conquest_, _Civilization_--the bold roving spirit of _Adventure_
leading to _Discovery_, which in turn results in _Conquest_, bringing
at last a settled occupation of the land and final _Civilization_.
In the disc of the ceiling, Mr. Maynard has depicted the four
qualities most appropriate to these four stages of a country’s
development--Courage, Valor, Fortitude, and Achievement.

Since the tympanums are the same in shape and of the same size,
measuring each thirty-one feet by six, and since all stand in the
same relation toward the whole room, Mr. Maynard has followed
throughout a single method of arrangement. Each tympanum is over
three doors or three windows, as the case may be. In accordance,
therefore, with this exactly balanced architectural scheme, a
pyramidal group of three female figures--pyramidal because any
other form would have looked top-heavy--is placed above the central
opening. Balancing or, so to say, subsidiary figures, which, if only
from their position at the diminishing ends of the tympanum, are
necessarily of less importance, are placed over the doors or windows
to the side. Thus the decoration is poised in complete accordance
with the disposition of the wall which it crowns. The figures at the
ends, it will be noticed, are of two sorts, mermaids and emblazoned
shields; but since they alternate in pairs from tympanum to tympanum,
the shields occurring in the east and west and the mermaids in the
north and south, this variety serves very well to accentuate the
unity of the composition of the four paintings. The ornament, also,
is the same in its more important features: the throne in the centre,
flanked by cornucopias; the arabesque border with its dolphins,
suggestive of seafaring; and the lists of names of discoverers and
colonizers which occupy the spaces to the right and left of the
central group, and serve to draw together the whole composition.

It would be well if the visitor were to hold in mind these points,
for in the two following pavilions on this floor, where the
conditions governing the painter are exactly the same as in the
present room, it will be seen that the artists employed have followed
in their work the same orderly and logical plan of arrangement which
Mr. Maynard has here adopted.

In the first tympanum, Adventure, seated on her throne, holds in her
right hand a drawn sword, in instant readiness for the combat; her
left hand rests upon an upright caduceus, the emblem of Mercury,
the god of the traveller, merchant, and thief, and fit, therefore,
to be the patron of the restless adventurers who sailed westward in
the sixteenth century, impelled as well by a desire for booty as for
legitimate trade. To the right and left are seated female figures,
representing respectively Spanish and English adventure--the two
countries which furnished America with the largest part of its early
buccaneers and adventurers. Like the central figure, the two are
clad in rich and elaborate armor, accurately copied, as is that in
the other tympanums, from authentic sixteenth-century models. The
figure to the left, typifying England, holds a cutlass in her right
hand, while her left hand buries itself in a heap of pieces-of-eight,
the pirate and buccaneering coin _par excellence_. The companion
figure to the right holds a battle-axe in her right hand, and in
her left one of the little figurines, or miniature idols of gold,
which the Spaniards in Peru sought so eagerly, and with so much
cruelty, to secure from the natives. At either side of the throne is
a shield, on which an old Norse Viking ship, propelled by oars and
sail, is depicted. At either end of the tympanum is a shield, that
to the right bearing the arms of Spain, and that to the left those
of England. On the Spanish side of the decoration is the following
list of names of Spanish adventurers: Diaz, Narvaez, Coello, Cabeza,
Verrazano, Bastidas. On the other side is the English list: Drake,
Cavendish, Raleigh, Smith, Frobisher, Gilbert. Each group of names
is surmounted by the heraldic form of the naval crown, ornamented
with alternate sterns and squaresails of ships, which was given by
the Romans to a successful naval commander, or to the sailor who
first boarded an enemy’s ship. In either corner of the tympanum still
another emblem of sea-power, the trident, is introduced.


In the second tympanum, Discovery, crowned with a laurel wreath of
gold and wearing a leather jerkin, sits on her throne, holding a
ship’s rudder in her right hand, and with her left upon a globe of
the earth, which is supported on her knee. The rude map of America,
which appears on it, is copied from a portion of a mappemonde, or
chart of the world, which was discovered a few years ago in England,
and which has been ascribed to Leonardo da Vinci. It dates from the
second decade of the sixteenth century.[12] The two seated figures
to the right and left are clad in armor; the first holds a sword
and “Jacob’s staff,” or cross staff, a device used by the early
navigators instead of a quadrant or sextant to determine the altitude
of the sun and stars. The figure to the left, with paddle and chart,
points towards the distance with outstretched arm, and turns to her
companions to beckon them onwards. The two shields at the foot of
the throne bear an astrolabe, an obsolete instrument used for the
same purpose as the cross staff. At either end of the tympanum, a
mermaid, with a seashell for cap, and with seaweed twined about her
body, invites the voyagers with strings of pearls and coral. Lists of
names occur at the left and right, surmounted, as before, with the
naval crown. The first list is: Solis, Orellana, Van Horn, Oieda,
Columbus, Pinzon; the second, Cabot, Magellan, Hudson, Behring,
Vespucius, Balboa.

In the third tympanum, that of _Conquest_, the idea expressed in
the central group is that of the proud tranquillity which follows
triumph in battle. The figures carry the insignia of victory. The one
seated upon the throne has pushed back her casque and lets her left
hand hang idly over the crosspiece of the sword. But there is still
danger of a renewal of the struggle; the right hand rests clenched
upon an arm of the throne, the armor has not yet been laid aside, and
the sword not yet sheathed. The figures to the left and right are
in a like attitude of readiness, though they carry in addition to
their swords the emblems of peace--the first, representing Southern
Conquests, a sheaf of palms; and the second, representing Northern
Conquests, chaplets of oak-leaves, which wreathe her casque and
sword. The two shields bear a heraldic representation of the Pillars
of Hercules, with the motto _Ne plus ultra_ twined about them, and
between them, in the distance, the setting sun--perhaps an ironical
allusion to the ancient idea which set the limits of the earth
at the Straits of Gibraltar, or perhaps simply an adaptation and
extension of it to the new conditions of knowledge. At the ends of
the tympanum the arms of England and Spain are again introduced, as
significant of the general division of North and South America into
English and Spanish territory. The names to the left are: Pizarro,
Alvarado, Almagro, Hutten, Frontenac, De Soto; to the right, Cortes,
Standish, Winslow, Phipps, Velasquez, De Leon. Over each group is the
battlemented mural crown given by the Romans to the soldier who first
succeeded in planting a standard upon the wall of a besieged city.

The fourth tympanum, _Civilization_, is the flowering of the other
three. The armor has been laid aside, and the three figures in the
centre are clad simply in classic garments. Civilization, crowned
with laurel and seated on her throne, holds up the torch of learning,
or enlightenment, and displays the opened page of a book--an idea
which is repeated in the lamp and book which compose the device on
the two shields below. To the left is _Agriculture_, crowned with
wheat, and holding a scythe and a sheaf of wheat. To the right is
_Manufactures_ with distaff and spindle, twisting the thread. The
mermaids at the ends of the decoration hold up, one an ear of corn,
and the other a branch of the cotton-plant bearing both the flower
and the boll--the two chief products respectively of the northern and
the southern portions of our country. The names are: to the left,
Eliot, Calvert, Marquette, Joliet, Ogelthorpe, Las Casas; and to the
right, Penn, Winthrop, Motolinia, Yeardley, La Salle. Over each list
is a wreath of laurel.

Mr. Maynard has represented in the ceiling the four qualities most
pertinent to the character of his four tympanums. All four are shown
as female figures, displayed against a background of arabesque.
The first, Courage--a brute, animal courage--is clad in a coat of
coarse scale-armor, over which a lion’s skin is drawn, the head of
the beast serving her for a cap. She is armed with a war-club and
a shield. The next, Valor, is a nobler figure, more beautiful and
wearing more beautiful armor. Her right hand holds a sword, and her
left is pressed to her breast. The third, Fortitude, is unarmed.
In her left arm she carries an architectural column, the emblem of
stability. Achievement, the last, is clad in armor, but is without
offensive weapon. She wears a laurel crown, and in her left hand
she carries the Roman standard, surmounted by its eagle and laurel
wreath, the symbol of a strong and just government. In the order
named, therefore, it will readily be seen how these figures may be
said to typify the successive tympanums of _Adventure_, _Discovery_,
_Conquest_, and _Civilization_.


In the same way that the room decorated by Mr. Maynard has been
called the Pavilion of the Discoverers, so the Southeast Pavilion
may be called the Pavilion of the Elements, from the subject of the
paintings ornamenting the tympanums and the disc. The tympanums are
by Mr. Robert L. Dodge, and the disc by Mr. Garnsey and Mr. Dodge
working in conjunction, the former making the ornamental design and
the latter designing and carrying out the figure-work.

=Mr. R. L. Dodge’s Paintings.=--Each of the four tympanums is devoted
to a single Element: the east tympanum to _Earth_, the north to
_Air_, the west to _Fire_, and the south to _Water_. The composition,
which is very simple, is uniform throughout. In the middle of the
tympanum is a group of three figures typifying the subject of the
decoration--the central figure standing and the other two seated. The
latter are of women, but to prevent monotony, the standing figures
are alternately male and female--male in the tympanums of _Earth_ and
_Fire_, and female in those of _Air_ and _Water_. The central figure
holds up in either hand an end of a heavy garland of flowers, which,
stretching in a single festoon to the extremity of the tympanum, is
there caught up by a little boy or genius. In the middle of each half
of the picture, and in each tympanum the same on both sides, is an
ornamental bronze column flanked on either hand by a bronze standard
or tripod, all three united by floating streamers or ribands into a
single group, and each serving as a pedestal on which to place some
emblems of the Element represented.

In the tympanum of _Earth_ the idea is the fertility and
bounteousness of the soil. In the central group the figure to the
right leans her arm upon an amphora or ancient wine-jar, and holds
in her hand a rose. The figure to the left is that of a reaper, with
a wreath of grains on her head and a bundle of wheat by her side,
and holding in her hand a sickle. The geniuses at the ends of the
decoration are dancing for jollity. The background is a smiling and
luxuriant summer landscape, the fruits of which, the peach, the plum,
the pear, the grape and the rest, are displayed in the great garlands
which the central figure holds up with outstretched arms. The bronze
columns support baskets of fruit, and on the accompanying standards
are perched magnificent peacocks. The border of the decoration
includes masks, urns and lions, the last emblematic of the subject of
the decoration.

The central figure in the decoration typifying _Air_ stands upon
a bank of clouds; she is winged, and a large star blazes on her
forehead. Of the figures to her right and left, the first is
winged and the second carries the caduceus. The festoons are of
morning glories, upheld at the further ends by flying geniuses.
The background is sky and clouds. The central standards carry
astrolabes, as being the typical astronomical instrument of a few
centuries ago, and eagles are perched on those to the side. In the
border, winged griffins are substituted for lions.

The background of the third tympanum, _Fire_, is a mountainous and
volcanic region, its peaks touched with lurid light from constant
eruptions. The festoons are composed of sunflowers, and the seated
figures in the centre carry each a flaming torch. The columns to the
right and left bear flaming globes, while the flanking standards
support the fiery nest of the phœnix--the bird which was fabled by
the ancients to live, sole of its species, five hundred years, at the
end of which time it repaired to the desert and built a funeral pyre,
in the flames of which it was consumed. From its ashes as a nest a
new phœnix arose, as here depicted. In the border of the decoration
are salamanders, which, according to the old superstition, lived in
the midst of fire.

In the last tympanum, _Water_, the central figure, clad in green,
holds festoons of seaweed and water-lilies--flowers, buds and pads.
On either side is a mermaid, one of them with a seashell. The
background is the open sea. The standards are in the form of rostral
columns (such as the Romans erected in honor of their victorious
admirals) ornamented with garlands of laurel and the beaks and sterns
of captured ships. On top is set a galley, with oars and sails. Over
each of the standards to the side hovers a sea gull. The geniuses at
the end of the picture have tails like mermaids, and in the border
are dolphins.

The disc of the ceiling repeats in another form the general idea of
the decorations of the tympanums. In the centre is the sun, across
which the sun-god, Apollo, drives his four-horse chariot. The sun,
however, is still the sun, and not a yellow background; the dusky
picture outlined against it is to be taken as a vision, so to say, of
its attributes.

Around the sun as a centre, is painted a chain of alternate
medallions and cartouches--four of each, or eight in all--which
typify the Four Elements represented in the tympanums below. A
medallion and a cartouche are devoted to each. The former sort are
painted so as to suggest a cameo design. The first of them, which
occurs, like the other three, on the side nearest the tympanum of the
corresponding subject, typifies _Earth_, a female figure reclined
amidst a summer landscape. In her hand is a scythe, and behind her is
a plow, standing in the midst of a wheat field. _Water_ is a mermaid
riding off a rocky shore on the back of a dolphin. In her hand she
holds an oar. _Fire_ is a woman watching the smoke which floats away
from the flame of a little brazier at her side. Behind her is a
tripod on which incense is burning. In the distance is Mt. Vesuvius,
sending out a steady cloud of smoke, and in the plain beneath are the
ruins of Pompeii. _Air_ is a female figure clad in flowing drapery,
and floating among the clouds on the outstretched wings of an eagle.

The cartouches are more simply designed. That of _Earth_ contains a
tortoise, on the back of which, according to the Hindoo mythology,
the earth is ultimately supported. _Air_ is typified by a swan;
_Fire_, by a lamp; and _Water_ by two intertwined dolphins. Finally
the whole decoration is surrounded by a broad band of arabesque
ornament, in which are placed the signs of the Zodiac.


The third of the second-story pavilions is the Pavilion of the Seals,
at the northeast corner of the building. The walls in this room,
it may be noted, are treated differently from those of the other
three pavilions. Instead of the frieze and the paired pilasters, one
has wall-surfaces covered with gilding and ornamented with painted
laurel-bands arranged in regular patterns recalling the designs of
the parterres of an old-fashioned garden.

[Illustration: FIRE.--BY R. L. DODGE.]


The paintings in the tympanums are by Mr. W. B. Van Ingen, and
illustrate the seals of the various Executive Departments of the
United States Government. The disc of the domed ceiling was designed
by Mr. Garnsey, and shows the Great Seal of the United States
surrounded by allegorical emblems.

=Mr. Van Ingen’s Paintings.=--As in the previous pavilions on
this floor, the general arrangement of the decoration is the same
in all four tympanums. In each the artist has introduced a low
terrace or wall of masonry running from end to end, thus serving
both to ballast the picture, as it were, and to bind its parts more
strongly together. A recess in the centre of the terrace allows
space for a circular tablet, painted to represent wood, about six
feet in diameter, or nearly the height of the tympanum. On this are
inscribed, as if in raised letters, one or more quotations from
the writings or speeches of great American statesmen. These were
selected by the Librarian, Mr. Spofford, mainly for their general
patriotic application, but, of course, as far as possible with some
special reference to the subject of the decoration. The border of
each tablet, as of the decoration itself, is a band of laurel-leaves,
suggested by the laurel-roll which outlines the disc of the ceiling.

On either side of the tablet is a female figure, seated against the
terrace, personifying a Department of the Government, in token of
which she supports a shield or cartouche on which the seal of that
Department is conspicuously displayed. The visitor will notice that
these figures (in this respect like Mr. Reid’s in the Entrance Hall)
illustrate the American type of woman, and wear modern gowns and not
conventional Greek or Roman drapery.

The two figures and the tablet between form the necessary central
pyramidal composition. For a limit and balance to the decoration the
artist has painted, at either end, a cypress-tree and, in all but
one of the tympanums, one or two nude children or geniuses, usually
engaged in some action which shall be useful in explaining the
purport of the picture, the meaning of which is still further brought
out, in most cases, by introducing into the background a well known
monument or building, or some conventional object, suggestive of the
functions of the Department represented.

The west tympanum is devoted to the Department of the Treasury and
the Department of State; the north tympanum to the Department of
Justice and the Post-Office Department; the east tympanum to the
Departments of Agriculture and the Interior; and the south tympanum
to the War and Navy Departments.

Half a tympanum is devoted to each. The Department of the
Treasury--to begin with the one first named in the above list--is
sufficiently indicated by the introduction of the Treasury Building
in the background. Two children are playing on the parapet, one
of them with his foot on a strong-box. The background of the
other portion of the tympanum--illustrating the Department of
State--exhibits the dome and west front of the Capitol and, to the
right, the Washington Monument. The vital thing about a nation--that
which it is the first business of a Department of State to help
preserve--is its independence. The Monument may be taken, therefore,
as standing for the establishment of that independence, and the
Capitol for its maintenance. A dog, typical of fidelity, lies in the
foreground. The cypress trees, it may be noted before passing to the
next tympanum, are introduced purely for their decorative effect, and
are without any symbolical meaning. In all the decorations they are
set in jars copied from Zuñi originals in the National Museum.

In the north tympanum, the figure of Justice is clad in ermine. On
the terrace is a high bronze standard, carrying a pair of evenly
balanced scales. The genius at the left holds a measuring rod,
for exact justice. In the other half of the painting, devoted
to the Post-Office Department, the genius is represented with a
pair of compasses marking out mail routes on a globe. Mercury was
the Messenger of the Gods, according to classic mythology, and a
bronze statue of him with his winged sandals, staff, and cap, is
appropriately set upon the stone terrace to typify the dispatch and
celerity of the Department.


Agriculture, in the next tympanum, is symbolized solely in the
fertile and well cultivated landscape which forms the background of
her portion of the decoration. The chief duty of the Department of
the Interior--to protect and control the Indians--is indicated in the
background of the other half of the picture by a representation of
the curious method of burial, if one may use the word, which prevails
among certain of the western tribes--the body, lashed to a few poles
for a bier, being laid away in the branches of a tree.

In the last tympanum, that of War and the Navy, the terrace is nicked
and shattered by the bullets of the enemy. The figure to the left,
representing the Department of War, holds a regulation army sword,
and the figure to the right a naval sword. To the left the two
children are engaged in combat; one is falling, stained with blood,
while the other presses upon him with a falchion, or Roman sword. The
corresponding composition to the right is much the same; the chief
difference being the trident which the victor aims at his opponent’s
breast. War is accompanied by a Roman standard adapted to an American
use by altering the old initials “S.P.Q.R.”--“The Senate and People
of Rome”--to “U.S.A.” In the background is Bunker Hill Monument in
Boston. On the other side are the masts of the recently constructed
battleship _Indiana_, and a rostral column of the same sort as those
used in the tympanum representing _Water_ in the Pavilion of the
Elements, but in this case copied exactly from the one erected in
honor of Commodore Decatur and afterwards removed to Annapolis, where
it is now. The inscriptions on the tablets in the four tympanums may
most conveniently be inserted here. In the west tympanum, that of the
State and Treasury Departments, the quotations are as follows:--

      ’Tis our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliance with
      any portion of the foreign world.--WASHINGTON.

      Let our object be our country, our whole country, and nothing but
      our country.--WEBSTER.

      Thank God I also am an American.--WEBSTER.

In the north tympanum:--

      Equal and exact justice to all men, of whatever state or
      persuasion, religious or political: peace, commerce and
      honest friendship with all nations--entangling alliance with
      none.--THOMAS JEFFERSON.

In the west tympanum:--

      The agricultural interest of the country is connected with every
      other, and superior in importance to them all.--ANDREW JACKSON.

      Let us have peace.--U. S. GRANT.

In the south tympanum:--

      The aggregate happiness of society is, or ought to be, the end of
      all government.--WASHINGTON.

      To be prepared for war is one of the most effective means of
      preserving peace.--WASHINGTON.

=Mr. Garnsey’s Ceiling Painting.=--The disc of the dome contains
one of the most interesting and ingeniously arranged of the purely
conventional decorations which ornament the Library. In the centre
is the great seal of the United States, which puts the final touch
of significance upon the series of paintings in the tympanums.
Surrounding it is a circular band containing forty-eight stars, one
for each State and Territory. On the diagonal axes of the room are
four medallions containing heads symbolizing the Four Winds--North,
South, East and West--each blowing a gale from his mouth, as in
the classical representations. They stand, of course, for the four
great natural divisions of the country. Below each medallion is
a garland of fruits or grains, festooned from bunches of eagles’
feathers which spring from the central panel of the decoration, and
indicating the nature of the products of each section. The garland
under the medallion of the North Wind, for example, is composed of
apples, pears, peaches, and similar fruits; that under the East Wind,
of various vegetables and berries; under the West Wind, grains,
as wheat, oats, and maize; and under the South Wind, bananas,
pomegranates, oranges, lemons, and so forth.

Other emblematic objects introduced into the decoration are lyres,
each flanked on either side by a horn of plenty filled with fruits;
and flaming torches, set between a pair of dolphins. There are
thus two sorts of groups, each of which occurs four times in the
decoration in accordance with the standard fixed by the four
medallions of the Winds. The four different objects depicted signify
four of the great interests of the country--the lyre, the Fine Arts;
the cornucopia, Agriculture; the torch, Learning and Education; and
the dolphin, Maritime Commerce. Finally the composition is united
by American flags festooned from the lyres to the garlands of fruit
which underhang the medallions of the Winds. And around the whole
is a narrow border, on which are inscribed the following words from
Lincoln’s Gettysburg address, used also, in part, by Mr. Vedder in
his decorations in the Entrance Hall:--

      That this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom;
      that government of the people, by the people, for the people,
      shall not perish from the earth.


The entablature and paired pilasters which decorate the walls of the
two pavilions to the south, are resumed in the Northwest Pavilion, or
Pavilion of Art and Science, if one choose to name it, as the three
corresponding rooms on this floor were named, from the subject of the
paintings which it contains.

=Mr. W. de L. Dodge’s Paintings.=--These paintings, both in the
tympanums and in the ceiling disc, are the work of Mr. William de
Leftwich Dodge. The subjects are as follows: in the west tympanum,
_Literature_; north tympanum, _Music_; east tympanum, _Science_;
south tympanum, _Art_; and in the ceiling disc, _Ambition_,
considered as the incentive of all human effort, whether in art,
science, or affairs. Comparing them with the other decorations in the
Library, the visitor will be struck with the unusually large number
of figures which Mr. Dodge has introduced into his canvases, all, of
course, helping to illustrate some phase of the subject under which
they are grouped. Throughout, however, the meaning is unusually
clear, the special significance of every figure being indicated
either by some expressive attitude or action, or by the introduction
of some appropriate and typical object.

_Literature_ shows a varied group of male and female figures sitting
or standing. The scene is along the steps of an old Greek temple.
The God of Letters--or Apollo, if one wishes--sits in the foreground
holding an open book. Behind him is a company of maidens reading in
an ancient scroll, which they unroll from hand to hand. To the right,
a woman is instructing two children in the rudiments of learning.
Comedy, a nude and easy figure, is looking at the ludicrous features
of a comic mask, and Tragedy stands in an attitude of recitation,
lifting her arms in an emphasizing gesture. In the corner is a little
boy working over an ancient hand-press. To the left a poet sits with
his head bowed in thought, perhaps in despair that his verses have
not received their due meed of applause; but Fame stands behind him
holding out the wreath of laurel with which, after many years, she
means to crown him. Further on is another poet, who, as he reclines
half dreaming on the ground, is suddenly inspired with the rapture of
the Muse. In the corner is a bust of Homer, with a pile of books for

In _Music_, Apollo, as the God of Song and Harmony, is seated in the
centre of a long marble bench playing upon a lyre. Other figures,
variously disposed throughout the panel, play upon a number of
different musical instruments, illustrating at once the development
and present scope of the art. One plays a violin, two others
are blowing trumpets, a fourth has the double pipes, another a
mandolin--and so on.

The central figure of _Science_--the background of which is again
the columns and marble steps of a temple--is a winged female figure
descending through the air to crown the inventor of the phonograph,
who kneels on the steps before her with a simple electrical
instrument beside him. More broadly considered, the group typifies
the triumphs of modern electrical science, summed up indeed, in the
invention of the phonograph, but including as well the electric
telegraph and the telephone. To the right is a man holding the
model of a propeller steamship, and further on a husbandman with
his team of horses, gathering the fruits of Agriculture. To the
left is a table, on which are set two alembics for Physics, and
around which is gathered a group of scientists, one holding a human
skull, which forms the subject of their discussion. The group may
be taken to represent the various medical and surgical sciences,
such as Physiology, Anatomy, and so forth. Further to the left is a
figure looking at a kite lying on the ground--a reminder of Benjamin
Franklin’s famous electrical experiment with the kite and the key.
In the background is a little camp-fire over which a tea-kettle is
suspended, for Watt’s celebrated discovery of the power of steam.

_Art_ shows a student sketching a nude model. Behind him is his
instructor criticizing his work. Sculpture is symbolized to the left,
and, to the right, a young woman is painting a design upon a great
Greek vase. Behind her are the capitals of a number of the more
familiar orders of Architecture, as the Egyptian and the Doric.

In the painting of _Ambition_ in the ceiling, the scene is supposed
to be the top of a high mountain, but only the marble terrace
which marks the summit is actually visible in the painting. Here
is gathered a group which has toiled along a weary path up the
mountain side to comparative success; but none is satisfied. Above
them, the Unattainable Ideal, a figure holding aloft in mockery the
palm branch of complete achievement, rides through the air on a
great winged horse. In front is Fame, grasping the horse’s bridle
with one hand, and turning to those below to sound a derisive note
on her trumpet. The figures on the mountain top are involved in
a scene of mad confusion; some for the moment are distracted by
crime or lust, or cynical contempt, but most reach out their arms
in ineffectual eagerness to attain the glorious vision above them.
They have leapt to the top of the terrace in their fierce desire to
gain the slightest advantage. To the left, a murderer shrinks back
in horror from the body of the miser whom he has just slain; as he
starts away, aghast at his crime, he topples over a flaming tripod
which had been set on a post of the terrace. Conspicuous figures in
the mad struggle for success are a warrior, with sword, greaves, and
helmet, and a sculptor, bearing a statuette of the Venus of Milo. In
front of them is the seated figure of a poet, with a bandage over his
eyes to indicate the abstraction and ideality of his thought. Further
on, a man flings out both arms in a mad appeal, and on the moment is
grasped in the arms of a woman, who drags him back to the level of
her own baseness. A jester, one of Shakespeare’s fools, in his cap
and parti-colored coat, stands near by, holding a bauble surmounted
by a skull in one hand, and a statuette of Victory in the other. That
fame comes only after death, and that the promptings of personal
ambition are but a hollow mockery, is the moral that he preaches.


From Mr. Dodge’s Pavilion, one goes into the Northwest Gallery, which
leads directly into the Main Entrance Hall once more. In dimensions,
arrangement, and general architectural scheme it corresponds to the
Southwest Gallery, with which the visitor began his tour through the
Rectangle. The prevailing color, however, is red, and not blue, both
in the walls and in the coffers of the vaulted ceiling.

=Mr. Melchers’s Paintings.=--At either end, occupying the same
position as Mr. Cox’s decorations, and of the same size and shape, is
a painting by Mr. Gari Melchers, illustrating, at the north, _War_,
and at the south, _Peace_. The same subjects, it is interesting to
note, and as many readers will remember, were chosen by Mr. Melchers
for his decorations at the World’s Fair in Chicago. The present
paintings may be taken, therefore, as representing the development
and completion of a favorite idea of the artist.

In the panel of _War_, the scene represented is that of a chieftain
of some primitive tribe returning home with his clansmen across
a desolate tract of open country from a successful battle. He
is crowned with a wreath of laurel, and sits proudly astride a
magnificent white horse. A second horseman rides beside him, and
another a little behind. Three men carry a roughly constructed bier
on which they are bringing home the dead body of a warrior for burial
in his native soil. In the right-hand corner a woman kneels to care
for a wounded man who has just sunk exhausted to the ground. Behind,
a trumpeter sounds his horn, exulting in this dearly bought victory.
To the left two foot-soldiers carry shields emblazoned with devices
of primitive heraldry. One of them holds in a leash two straining
bloodhounds, eager for their kennels, and leading the way toward home.

Mr. Melchers’s other painting, _Peace_, represents an early religious
procession. The inhabitants of some little village, perhaps in
prehistoric Greece, have come to the border of a grove bearing the
image of their tutelar goddess, a small seated figure set on a little
platform covered with an embroidered cloth. The procession has
halted, and the priest is reading from a paper which he holds in his
hand, containing, very likely, a blessing in the name of the goddess
upon the fields and orchards of the villagers. Various objects, one
of them the model of a ship, are carried in the procession to be
offered up as memorials in the temple of the goddess, and in the rear
a boy leads to the sacrifice a bull wreathed with garlands.

The following names--forming a list of the world’s most famous
generals and admirals--are inscribed in tablets above the doors and
windows of the gallery: Cyrus, Alexander, Hannibal, Cæsar, Charles
Martel, William the Conqueror, Frederick the Great, Charlemagne,
Eugene, Marlborough, Napoleon, Wellington, Nelson, Washington,
Jackson, Scott, Grant, Farragut, Sherman, and Sheridan.

[Illustration: WAR.--BY GARI MELCHERS.]


The only rooms on the first story of the Rectangle which require a
special description are the galleries and pavilions stretching from
the Main Entrance Hall along the west front of the building. As has
been said before, entrance to these is through two corridors, leading
to the north and south. The corridors look out upon the interior
courts; the floors are of mosaic, and the walls are painted in
simple tones of color with pilasters of Vermont marble polished to
a peculiarly soft and waxy surface. The ceiling is a succession of
small domes in white and gold. In the centre of each is a large gilt
rosette. Around it are hexagonal coffers, or panels ornamented with
painted figures. The broad arches between are decorated with coffers
and panels in relief, and, finally, the tympanums beneath the domes
(one at either end of the corridor, and seven along the west wall)
are occupied with panels representing, in the corridor to the south,
which the visitor is now supposed to have entered, _The Greek Heroes_.

=Mr. McEwen’s Paintings.=--The series is the work of Mr. Walter
McEwen. The special subjects are incidents, as related in Greek
mythology, in the lives of the following heroes, taking the paintings
in order from north to south: _Paris_, _Jason_, _Bellerophon_,
_Orpheus_, _Perseus_, _Prometheus_, _Theseus_, _Achilles_, and

Paris, son of Priam, King of Troy, was brought up as a shepherd
on Mt. Ida. When a dispute arose among the three goddesses, Juno,
Minerva and Venus, as to who should possess a golden apple inscribed
“To the Fairest,” which Eris (Strife) had flung in the midst of an
assembly of the deities, Paris was selected by Jupiter to decide
their quarrel. He awarded the apple to Venus, who promised him the
most beautiful woman in the world to be his bride. Hearing of the
charms of Helen, wife of Menelaus, King of Sparta, Paris sailed
to Greece, and by the aid of Venus carried her away to Troy--thus
provoking the expedition of the Grecian chiefs, and the ten years’
siege of Troy. Mr. McEwen’s painting shows Paris at the court of
Sparta, conversing with Menelaus, while Helen sits listening beside
her husband.


Pelias, King of Iolchos in Thessaly, was warned by the oracle to
beware of his nephew Jason. He therefore sent him in search of the
Golden Fleece. This had belonged to a ram which had miraculously
carried Phryxus and Helle, a brother and sister in danger of their
lives through the cruelty of a stepmother, across the sea to Colchis.
Here, when the ram died, Phryxus hung up its fleece in the grove of
Mars, where it was guarded by a sleepless dragon. Jason accepted the
quest, and is here shown inviting the Grecian heroes to join in the
voyage which he is to make to Colchis in the ship Argo--to enroll
themselves in the famous band of the “Argonauts.”

The third painting shows Bellerophon receiving from Minerva a golden
bridle with which he may guide the winged horse, Pegasus. The hero
had incurred the dislike of his kinsman, Proteus, King of Argos, who
sent him with a sealed message to Iobates, King of Lycia. The message
desired Iobates to cause Bellerophon to be slain. Being unwilling
to do this directly, Iobates sent him to encounter the Chimæra, a
horrible monster, part lion, part goat, and part serpent, which
was devastating his domains, and which had overpowered all who had
ventured to attack it. By the help of Minerva and the winged horse,
Bellerophon was successful.

Orpheus, who charmed with his song the rocks, the trees, the wild
beasts, and even the infernal powers, incurred the wrath of Bacchus,
whose divinity he refused to worship. Bacchus therefore inflamed his
priestesses, the Mœnads, or Bacchantes, against the poet, who was
slain, as here represented by Mr. McEwen, in one of their orgies.

Perseus was the son of Jupiter and Danaë. Danaë’s father had heard
that his daughter’s son would be the cause of his death. He therefore
set the mother and child afloat in the sea in a chest, which was
safely cast upon the island of Seriphos, the ruler of which was
Polydectes. By the time Perseus had grown to manhood, Polydectes had
fallen madly in love with Danaë, and, fearing lest Perseus should
be a bar to his passion, he ordered him to cut off the head of
the Gorgon Medusa, whose face turned to stone everyone who looked
upon it. Assisted by Minerva, Perseus succeeded in his adventure.
Returning to Seriphos he found Danaë persecuted by Polydectes, and,
appearing at the palace of the king while he and his court were
sitting at dinner, he drew the head of Medusa from his wallet and
turned the whole company into stone.


Prometheus is represented as warning his brother Epimetheus not to
accept Pandora from the gods. Prometheus, who, with his brother, was
the first of mankind, had outwitted Jupiter in the matter of offering
sacrifices; Jupiter, in return, had withheld fire from earth.
Prometheus, however, secured it by stealth from heaven, and Jupiter
in revenge formed Pandora, the first woman, and sent her to become
the bride of Epimetheus. Epimetheus disregarded his brother’s advice
and took Pandora and with her the fatal box, which, when opened,
let loose a cloud of evils to torment, with only delusive Hope to
console, mankind.

Theseus is directed by Minerva to leave Ariadne, who sleeps beside
him, and proceed to Athens alone. Athens had been compelled for years
to send an annual tribute of youths and maidens to Minos, king of
Crete, to be devoured by the Minotaur, a savage monster, half bull,
half man, who was confined in a Labyrinth. Theseus voluntarily
sailed on the tribute-ship, and reaching Crete gained the love
of the daughter of Minos, Ariadne, by whose aid he was enabled,
after slaying the Minotaur, to find his way out of the Labyrinth.
Returning, he bore Ariadne away with him, but deserted her at the
island of Naxos, as here depicted, at the command of Minerva. There
she was found by Bacchus, who made her his bride.


Achilles, disguised as a maiden, and living among the women of the
court of Lycomedes, king of Scyros, is discovered by Ulysses. Thetis,
the mother of Achilles, had been forewarned that her son would die
an early death, as it turned out afterwards that he did, being slain
by Paris before the walls of Troy. She therefore dipped him, while
still an infant, in the River Styx. He was thus made invulnerable in
every part of his body except his heel, by which his mother had held
him, and which therefore remained unaffected by the sacred water.
To make assurance doubly sure, Thetis sent him to Lycomedes to be
reared as a maiden, far from the dangers of war. When the Greeks
were arming for the siege of Troy, the oracle informed them that
without Achilles the city could never be taken. The crafty Ulysses
was therefore sent in search of him. He arrived at the court of
Lycomedes disguised as a pedler, bearing in his basket weapons of war
and feminine trinkets. Showing these among the women, all were eager
to examine the ornaments; Achilles clutched at the sword and shield,
thus discovering himself immediately to the keen eye of Ulysses.

Hercules was sold as a slave by Mercury to Omphale, Queen of Lydia.
They became enamored of each other, and Hercules, to please her, wore
female garments, and spun among the female slaves. The artist here
exhibits him aiding the queen in her task.


Mr. McEwen’s corridor opens directly into a richly decorated gallery,
serving as a special reading room for members of the House of
Representatives. No apartment in the Library is more lavishly and
sumptuously ornamented. The floor is dark quartered oak; the walls
have a dado of heavy oak panelling about eleven feet high; and the
deep window-arches are finished entirely in the same material. Above
the dado the walls are hung with olive green silk. The ceiling is
beamed and panelled, and is finished in gold and colors, with painted
decorations in the panels, and encrusted conventional ornament in
cream white along the beams. Over the three doors are carved oak
tympanums, by Mr. Charles H. Niehaus, comprising two different
designs--the first a central cartouche bearing an owl, and supported
on either side by the figure of a seated youth; the other, the
American eagle flanked by two cherubs. At either end of the room is
a magnificent mantel of Sienna marble. Over the fireplace is a large
mosaic panel by Mr. Frederick Dielman, representing, at one end
of the room, _Law_, and at the other, _History_. Above is a heavy
cornice, supported on beautiful columns of Pavannazzo marble, the
general color of which is gray instead of yellow, but with a system
of veining which agrees very well with that of the Sienna. In the
centre of the cornice is a small cartouche, of green onyx in the
mantel to the south, and of labradorite, or Labrador spar, in the
other, the latter stone being remarkable for its exquisite gradations
of deep peacock-blue, continually changing with the light and the
point from which it is seen.


=Mr. Dielman’s Mosaics.=--Mr. Dielman’s mosaic panels are of the
same size and shape, each being seven and a half feet wide and
three feet seven inches high. They were executed in Venice, which
for generations has been celebrated for the delicacy, accurate
coloring, and nicety of fitting, of its mosaics. The process and
methods used in this work are much the same as in the ordinary
sorts of mosaic--such as would be required for a ceiling, for
example--although, of course, the pieces, or _tesseræ_, must be
fitted with much greater care and patience, so that every piece may
take its place in a perfect gradation of color. The work of the
painter consisted in making full size cartoons in the exact colors
desired in the mosaic; from these the Italian workmen prepared the
finished panels, and sent them to this country ready to be put in
place. The cartoons, however, were necessarily painted as much as
possible in simple outlines and shades of color, for, although the
Italian shops are said to have at their command enamels of no less
than twenty-five thousand different tints, it would be obviously
impossible with such a material to reproduce exactly every variation
of tone and line of which the brush is capable. Certain refinements
of technique, therefore, and more especially the vagueness of color
which is often so desirable in the painted canvas, must be avoided in
a cartoon made for such a purpose as Mr. Dielman’s.


The mosaic at the north end of the room represents _Law_, typified
by a young and beautiful woman seated on a massive marble throne and
holding in one hand a sword with which to chastise the guilty, and
in the other a palm branch with which to reward the meritorious. Her
head is surrounded by a glory, and she wears on her breast the Ægis
of Minerva to signify that she is clad in the armor of righteousness
and wisdom. On the steps of her throne are the scales of Justice and
the book of Law, and a pair of white doves emblematic of mercy. The
visitor will notice that Mr. Dielman’s conception of Law includes the
conventional typification of Justice, but at the same time slightly
differs from it. The reason is that he has wished to indicate not
only the judicial but the legislative side of Law; hence the freer
air of command, and, in particular, the outdoor landscape of woods
and hills, signifying a less restricted authority than that of the
courtroom. Such a typical symbol of Justice as the scales is less
conspicuously introduced, and the usual globe is entirely omitted.

To the left of the central throne are three figures representing, as
one may see by the names in the streamer above them, respectively
Industry, Peace, and Truth, the friends and supporters of Law; while
to the left Mr. Dielman introduces three other figures typifying
Fraud, Discord and Violence, the enemies of Law. Industry and
Violence are represented as male figures; the other four as female.
Very appropriately, the first group seems to be advancing unafraid
toward the throne of the Goddess; while the figures to the right
shrink terrified from her presence. The emblems which distinguish
the various figures are easily understood: Industry with a wheel
and hammer; Peace with an olive-branch and crown of olive; Truth
with the lilies; Fraud, represented as a withered hag; Discord, with
disordered hair and garment, and holding a pair of knotted serpents;
and Violence, in a steel cap with the blazing torch lying on the
ground before him.


Mr. Dielman’s second panel represents _History_. The titular figure,
that of a woman of great charm and beauty, stands in the centre
holding a pen and a book. On either side are marble tablets bearing
the names of great historians--Herodotus, Thucydides, Polybius,
Livy, Tacitus, Baeda, Comines, Hume, Gibbon, Niebuhr, Guizot, Ranke,
Bancroft, Motley. At the foot of one tablet is a laurel wreath,
for peace, and on the other side an oak wreath, for war--the twin
topics of history--each accompanied by a palm branch, the general
reward of success. On either side of the panel extends a marble bench
on which are seated two female figures representing Mythology and
Tradition, the predecessors of history. Mythology, the expounder
of the ancient tales of the gods and heroes, stands for theories
of the system of the universe, in token of which she holds in her
right hand a globe of the earth. Beside her is a sphinx--the female
sphinx of the Greeks, not the male sphinx of Egypt--suggesting the
eternally insoluble Riddle of the World. At the other end of the
panel, Tradition, an aged granddame, relates her oldwives’ tales to
the boy who sits listening before her. The figure represents the
whole body of mediæval legend and folk-tale. Reminders of a past age
are brought out in the distaff she holds in her lap, the Romanesque
capital on which the boy sits, the harp he holds in his hand--with
its reference to the wandering minstrel of the Middle Ages and his
store of tales--and in the shield, very likely the text of the story
which is being told, which leans against the tablet.

In the background of the panel, seeming to float amidst the clouds,
are three ancient buildings, an Egyptian pyramid, a Greek temple, and
a Roman amphitheatre--signifying the three nations of antiquity in
which History was most highly developed.

=Mr. Gutherz’s Paintings.=--Along the centre of the ceiling are seven
panels containing decorations by Mr. Carl Gutherz, representing _The
Spectrum of Light_. Each of the seven colors shown in the spectrum is
typified by a central figure standing for some phase of achievement,
human or divine. Other features of the panel are two cherubs in
each corner, representing arts or sciences, and a series of eight
escutcheons, one with the title of the decoration, and the other
containing the seals of the various States, the whole being combined
in a single arabesque pattern by an elaborate design of scroll


The order of the subjects begins in the centre and goes first north
and then south from that point. The color of the centre panel is
_Yellow_, and the subject _The Creation of Light_. The Divine
Intelligence, sitting enthroned in the midst of Space, and enveloped
in mist and clouds, utters the words, “Let there be Light.” The
corner figures represent Physics, Metaphysics, Psychology, and

The second color is _Orange_, and the subject _The Light of
Excellence_, suggested to the artist by Longfellow’s poem,
_Excelsior_. A spirit stands midway on a pyramid of steps (signifying
Progress), which is lost in the unknown distance. She beckons to
man to join her on the heights where she is standing, and holds
in one hand the wreath which crowns every effort for Excellence.
In the corner, the cherubs typify Architecture and Sculpture;
Transportation; the Phonograph and Telephone; and Invention and

The third panel is _Red_, representing _The Light of Poetry_. Poetry,
mounted upon Pegasus, holds a torch in one hand and with the other
reaches toward that light of the ideal for which he must always
strive, but which he can never attain. In the background half-seen
figures represent the afterglow of Tradition and Mythology. The
corner groups stand for Tragedy and Comedy; Lyric Poetry; Pastoral
Poetry; and Fable.

_Violet_, the fourth color, is symbolized as _The Light of State_.
The United States being regarded as the highest form of government
yet achieved, its emblems are selected as the best expression of
the ideal State. This being the case, _Violet_ was the color under
which, according to the conception of the artist, the United States
might best be represented, since violet results from the union of
the American colors, Red, White, and Blue. The figure is that of
Columbia, with a shield emblazoned with the United States flag, and
carrying a staff surmounted by a liberty-cap, while the American
eagle hovers above her shoulder. The cherubs in the corners represent
the Suffrage, Justice, Liberty, and Equality.

The next subject is _Green_, or _The Light of Research_. The central
figure is the Spirit of the Lens, which in the telescope and the
microscope reveals to the scientist the secrets of the universe. She
is surrounded by the sea, with its myriad forms of life furnishing
her with the material for her investigations. The cherubs in one
corner have a microscope. In another, they represent Chemistry; in
the third Archæology (Egyptology deciphering the hieroglyphics); and
in the fourth, Mineralogy--all selected as being especially concerned
with original investigation and research.

_Blue_ is _The Light of Truth_. The Spirit of Truth crushes the
dragon of Ignorance and Falsehood under foot, and reaches to heaven
for a ray of light with which to inflict the final wound. The blue
of the background is the blue of daylight,--light from darkness. The
cherubs hold the level, the plumb, and the Bible, each considered as
an agent in indicating the presence of a universal law.

The last panel represents _Indigo_ as _The Light of Science_. The
figure represents Astronomy, who is guided by the soul (figured as
a butterfly fluttering above her head) to explore the movement of
the stars. The cherubs represent various phases of astronomical
study. One of the figures, for example, explains the theory of
mathematics, showing on the fingers of the hand that _one_ is the
unit of everything; a second looks through a telescope; and others
are studying books and making calculations.


At the end of the corridor leading to the House Reading Room, is
a little lobby, from which one enters the Southwest Pavilion, or
Senate Reading Room, reserved for the use of members of the Senate.
The little lobby itself is one of the most beautiful examples of
pure architectural design to be found in the Library. The walls
are of Vermont marble--the same as in the corridor--panelled with
Sienna marble. The moulded ceiling is finished entirely in gold,
with a central rosette, surrounded by coffers and conventional Greek
mouldings, one of which, a rather elaborate fret, is laid upon a
ground of deep red. The whole effect of the decoration, taken in
connection with the low light which prevails, is remarkably fine--a
combination of great richness with soberness and refinement.

The Senate Reading Room is finished in much the same style as the
House Reading Room, but with less elaboration of ornament. On the
whole, the effect, though quieter, is perhaps more restful and
satisfying. A toilet room, leading from the lobby just spoken of,
cuts off a portion of the pavilion, but allows space above for a low
gallery enclosed by a delicately carved balustrade of Sienna marble.
Below, the oak dado is ornamented with delicate inlaid arabesques of
white mahogany. Above the dado the walls are covered with figured
red silk. In the southwest corner is a fireplace of Sienna marble,
with a sculptured panel of the same material by Mr. Herbert Adams.
The design shows an eagle with arrows in his claws, and an American
shield supported by flying cherubs. The doorhead tympanum is of oak,
like those in the House Reading Room, and contains a carved panel,
also by Mr. Adams, with a heraldic shield bearing the monogram, “U.
S. A.,” and supported by mermaids. The gold ceiling contains six
square panels, each containing four graceful female figures holding
garlands in their hands--the work of Mr. William A. Mackay.


The corridor leading to the north from the Main Entrance Hall
is, as has been said, similar in design to that opening into the
Congressional Reading Rooms. The design of the floor and ornament
upon the arches is somewhat different, however. The tympanums which
it contains are ornamented by a series of paintings, by Mr. Edward
Simmons, representing the nine _Muses_.

=Mr. Simmons’s Paintings.=--The Muses, according to the Greek
mythology, were the goddesses of the various departments of Art,
Poetry, and Science. Apollo, the God of Song, was their father, and
Mnemosyne (Memory) their mother. Their names, given in the order in
which they occur in Mr. Simmons’s series, beginning at the south end
of the corridor, were as follows: Melpomene, Clio, Thalia, Enterpe,
Terpsichore, Erato, Polyhymnia, Urania, and Calliope. Melpomene was
the Muse of Tragedy; Clio, of History; Thalia, of Comedy and Bucolic
Poetry; Enterpe, of Lyric Song; Terpsichon, of Dancing; Erato, of
Erotic Poetry; Polyhymnia, of Sacred Song; Urania, of Astronomy; and
Calliope, of Epic Poetry.


In Mr. Simmons’s panels, each of the Muses is shown as a seated
figure. On either side a laurel wreath is displayed, as the general
symbol of intellectual pursuits, and the background is diversified
by curving lines of smoke proceeding from the flame of a torch or
a censer--thus signifying the inspiration of Art and Poetry. In
several of the tympanums the Muse is accompanied by little geniuses
who serve to bring out the special character of the central figure.
In the panel devoted to Thalia the genius is a satyr, with goat’s
legs, and carrying a pair of Pan’s pipes. The Muse playfully catches
him in a fold of her garment--the whole suggesting the rustic
sportiveness of the early Greek Comedy. Certain of the panels, also,
contain various distinguishing objects. Melpomene, for example, is
accompanied by a tragic mask; Clio by a helmet, for the warlike
exploits recorded by History; Thalia, by a comic mask; Urania by a
celestial globe. Terpsichore is represented as if swaying to the
music of the dance, and is striking a pair of cymbals. Erato is nude,
and bears a rose--the flower of love--in her hand. Polyhymnia holds
an open book in her lap. One of the geniuses in the tympanum of
Calliope holds a scroll, and the other some peacock’s feathers--the
latter symbolical, perhaps, of the dignity and beauty of the Epic.


Of the two rooms leading from this corridor--the Northwest Gallery
and the Northwest Pavilion--the first is decorated in a cheerful
spring-like green ornamented with garlands, and the Pavilion in a
deep Pompeiian red with medallions containing figures of dancing
girls, by Mr. R. L. Dodge, and conventional ornaments adapted from
Pompeiian designs. In the six window bays, also, is the series of the
signs of the zodiac, designed by Mr. Thompson.

The various galleries and pavilions on this floor, excepting, of
course, the Congressional Reading Rooms, are designed to accommodate
the clerical and cataloguing work of the Library and the Copyright
Department, or to furnish room for special collections of books.
There is every reason to hope that in time many valuable private
libraries throughout the country will find their permanent home in
some one of these apartments, given or bequeathed by their owners to
the Nation, and preserved for all time in convenient, well lighted
and fireproof rooms as a memorial to the liberality of their donors.
Already one such collection has been received, presented several
years ago to the Library by the late Dr. J. M. Toner of Washington.
It is kept by itself in the Northeast Pavilion. The most remarkable
feature is its Washington letters, gathered either in the original or
in copies, during a period of many years.


The basement of the Library, which may be reached through the doors
under the staircases in the Main Entrance Hall, is arranged in the
same way as the first and second stories, except that the whole floor
is connected by a series of corridors which extend entirely round the

The walls of the West Pavilion are sheathed in a dado of white
Italian marble about ten feet high, above which is a vaulted ceiling
ornamented with a bright, open arabesque in green, blue, and yellow
on a cream-colored ground. The corridors have dados of American
marbles, usually dark in color, as Lake Champlain or Tennessee. For
the walls and vaults, plain colors harmonizing with the marble and
set off with simple arabesques and borders, have been used. The
effect is well worth the attention of the visitor--the rich tones of
the marble and the brighter coloring of the walls and vaults framing
a long vista seen through a succession of low, narrow arches.

[Illustration: (decorative archway)]





It is interesting to note that the ground plan of the new Library
of Congress was suggested by that of the British Museum. There,
however, the central reading room was placed inside the quadrangle as
an afterthought. Building on this, as well as on the architectural
experience of other libraries, our own Library has had the advantage
of organic growth. Every part is related to the whole, and practical
and æsthetic requirements are logically and naturally fulfilled.

These requirements were: an imposing edifice, with plenty of
well-lighted rooms; facilities for the storing of books; and ample
space for the reading and general public. With one exception the
exterior of the building indicates the character and relative
importance of the interior divisions. That exception is the
book-stacks, radiating from the sides of the Rotunda or central
reading room. But their position is in completely natural relation
to the rest, and by being hidden from the outside, they could be
made just what they pretend to be, viz. huge book-shelves of iron,
bricks, and marble, well lighted and ventilated. Their construction
is æsthetically perfect, and yet without injury to the façades.

The latter, albeit severe and lacking the indefinable artistic spirit
of the Capitol, are grand and imposing. The ground floor, resting
on a continuous plinth, is constructed of huge blocks, quarry or
rock-faced, with bold joints and square lights. The masonry of the
first story is fine pointed with vermicular or coral-like quoins at
the angles of the pavilions. In the second story, the _bel étage_,
the face of the granite is smooth; the windows are framed with
pilasters and surmounted with pediments; the pavilions are emphasized
by porticoes resting on Corinthian columns. The horizontal mouldings
are boldly accentuated and carefully graduated, terminating in a
modillioned cornice surmounted by a balustrade. The shadow effects
are strong and tender, and the set-back of each floor well marked.

While the exterior of the building represents a single thought and
one engrossing individuality, the interior reveals a complexity of
thought and a variety of distinct personal influences, due to the
parts played by the sculptors and painters. Yet there is no lack of
homogeneousness. The architect has balanced the individual notes by
the breadth and force with which he has treated the purely decorative
parts of his scheme. His effects are massed. Sumptuous expanses of
mosaic, or painted surfaces, or stuccoed vaults, compel our attention
and divide our interest with the special objects of beauty. The
spectator’s mind is not bewildered by a jumble of elaboration, but
passes quietly from one impression to another. On entering the
Entrance Hall, for instance, marble is beneath our feet and on all
sides of us. The impression is instantaneous, irresistible, and
entirely undistracted. In the adjoining halls, the prevailing theme
is varied by the colors of the marble mosaic vaults, which assert
their own beauty at the same time that they modestly bring the
painted compositions of the tympanums into color-relation with the
grey-white marble walls.

Upstairs, in the corridors beyond the arcades, the marble impression
is prolonged in the mosaic floors, delicate in their play of color,
and splendid in their very spaciousness. But the main impression is
still that of painted ornament. In the adjacent galleries marble is
continued in the floors, but the chief architectural interest here
is in the stucco work. It is true we are attracted by the painted
lunette at the end, but simultaneously we feel how superbly framed
it is by the vista of vaulted ceiling. The importance of the four
pavilions is emphasized by painted compositions, but here again an
equipoise of interest is maintained by the mosaic floors, and the
beautiful lines of the stucco, which weave the octagon of walls
into the circle of the vault. Beneath the great central dome of the
Rotunda all these forces are massed with excellent judgment. The
dome itself rests upon massive columns of Numidian marble connected
by two tiers of arcades of Sienna marble; mounts up in successive
gradations of stucco, from bold accentuation to tender elaboration,
till it melts into the calm of Mr. Blashfield’s painting and ends in
the dreamy spirituality of his figure in the cupola.

In the little corridors to the north and south of the Entrance
Hall the architect has epitomized his methods. They are miniature
_éditions de luxe_, in which arch and vault, marble, stucco, mosaic,
and pictures are blended with the daintiness of an Elzevir.


Including under Sculpture the plastic, carved, and bronze work, it
will be convenient to consider the sculpture of the Rotunda by itself
and apart from that of the rest of the building, for it consists
mainly of statues linked together by a common thread of thought,
while elsewhere the motive is solely decorative.

One of the prominent features of the Entrance Hall is the balustrade
of the staircase, executed by Mr. Martiny. The coil of babies and
garlands is irresistibly fascinating. Bold in line and generous
in massing of light and shade, as befits the grandeur of the
construction, the design has, besides, much daintiness of detail.
Joined to an exquisite fancy, playful without grotesqueness, are
a fluency and certainty of technique in the best sense French. In
somewhat the same vein is Mr. Adams’s tympanum over the Senate
Reading Room door. The main masses have an exuberance, boldly
contrasting with the delicate details that overspread the entire
panel. The modelling and lines are so excellently adjusted that the
animation of the laughing faces seems to circulate to the very tips
of the tails. In Mr. Perry’s _Sibyls_ the balance between the filled
and empty spaces and the simple force of the beautiful lines and
masses are admirable. The thought embodied is equally admirable. The
sculptor has chosen the four races to which we immediately owe our
modern civilization, and pictured each Sibyl as the personification
of the special quality or genius of that race: Religion, Beauty,
Order, Progress. Conspicuous in the four pavilions are Mr. Pratt’s
_Seasons_. The composition of each is simple and united, while the
circle is well filled with an embroidery of light and shade. In
_Winter_, for example, the design converges towards the patiently
folded hands; in _Autumn_ it revolves around the infant; we note
the circling solicitude of the mother, centering on the baby at her

In the Rotunda, the statues embody the basic elements of
civilization, and some of its noblest exponents; a theme beautifully
appropriate to the soaring edifice. Primarily, however, the statues
have an architectural purpose; the larger ones to prolong the
lines of the columns and emphasize the spring of the arches, the
smaller to break the level of the balustrade with a series of upward
accents. The sculptors have not been as one in interpreting this
obligation, for their work varies from monumental simplicity to
extreme characterization. Mr. Pratt’s _Philosophy_ is grandly simple
and reposeful. A little intricacy of drapery upon the bosom serves to
isolate the bowed head and give more severity to the unbroken folds
below. By a calm immobility, also, Mr. Bissell, Mr. Boyle, and Mr.
Dallin have secured impressiveness in their statues of _Kent_, of
_Bacon_, and of _Newton_. Much the same, too, may be said of Mr. St.
Gaudens’s _Art_.

In Mr. Donoghue’s _Science_ the repose is re-inforced with movement.
The strong masses of drapery on one side contrast with the supple
line along the right of the figure, and with the placidly extended
hands. The hands conform to the spread of the arches, while the whole
figure prolongs the columns. Symbolically, it suggests the combined
restlessness and contemplation of Science.

In this brief analysis we must include in one group Mr. Niehaus’s
_Moses_ and _Gibbon_, Mr. French’s _Herodotus_, and Mr. Potter’s
_Fulton_. All of them are rich in characterization, extremely
picturesque, and yet sober and controlled in contour. We shall
find examples of exquisite technique in modelling in Mr. French’s
_History_, Mr. St. Gaudens’s _Homer_, and Mr. Macmonnies’s
_Shakespeare_. In Mr. Ruckstuhl’s _Solon_ and Mr. Bauer’s _Religion_
and _Beethoven_ characterization seems the foremost thought.

Mr. Macmonnies’s door is very noble, with increased richness and
emphasis in the lunette. In thus giving a sense of greater elevation
and dignity by lifting the eye upwards, it is interesting to note how
he has adopted a form of composition similar to that introduced by
Mr. Vedder for the same purpose over the entrance to the Rotunda. The
main composition is a square, modelled in such bold relief that the
attention is immediately arrested and directed upwards. Yet there is
no sense of emptiness in the accessory portions of the lunette, which
are richly encrusted with ornament. To assist this elevation the
figures in the panels are in low relief, broadly and simply treated.
But the comparatively emphatic folds of the drapery on each side
strengthen the figures, while the torches seem as a bold frame to the
design, with pronounced accent at the four corners.

Somewhat similar must have been the motive of Mr. Warner. He has
made the interest of his doors ascend, but on reaching the top has
spread it throughout the lunette. In the latter the balance of raised
and hollow parts, and the mingled repetition and contrast in the
direction of his lines are admirable.


The general painted decoration, as carried out for the architect by
Mr. Garnsey, is always loyal to the architecture, and yet asserts
the essential and peculiar value of color. First and foremost the
constructional value of color is fully realized. In the central
Reading Room, for instance, not only have the white walls and stucco
been brought into color harmony with the rich red and yellow of the
Numidian and Sienna marbles, but the tints have been so distributed
and their strength graduated in relation to the spaces they cover,
that a strictly structural fabric of color has been constructed
in and around the architectural edifice. The grand suite of rooms
running round the entire second story is a charming example of color
sequence. The keynote is yellow, the most joyous of all colors--the
hue of sunshine. The note is struck positively in the four pavilions,
where the yellow has been carried as far as possible in the two
directions of red or blue. These positive colors are connected by
the tertiary tints in the intervening rooms, where the walls are
dull yellow or olive, relieved by red and green in the frieze. In
the room on the north side the painter has suffused the olive-green
with a neutralized bloom of the complementary violet, thus securing a
harmony of opposition as well as of similarity. In the central room
on the east side, the scheme for a brief space swings to blue, with
yellow in the frieze, and the more important rooms on the west side
echo some of the brilliancy of the adjacent stair-hall. To name but
one other phase of this work in which the decorator has worked so
well for the architect, the emotional value of color or its quality
of expression is exhibited in numerous instances. Above the high
oak wainscot of the Librarian’s Room, the panels are a deep blue,
enamelled with subdued arabesques. Age seems to have dimmed them.
There is a patina of green rust upon the ivory ceiling, the tender
touch of time upon the owls and lamps, that hints at the antiquity
of thought. Compare with this the robustness of the design of the
ceiling in the Pavilion of the Seals. The first impression is of a
turbulence of gorgeous clouds veiled in a golden haze. Gradually the
details of form and color grow, and we discover an elaborate harmony
in which the great Seal of the United States and the American flag,
are predominating features.

Of the special paintings which complete and accentuate this great
general scheme of architecture, Mr. Blashfield’s occupy the most
important position.[13] The problem was a conflicting one. The
space demanded a noble theme and stately treatment, conforming to
the monumental majesty of the structure, and yet responding to
the tenderness and airiness of the cobweb of arabesque. It was
necessary to continue and also to conclude the converging ribs; to
solidify and also to disperse them; to create a design subordinate
to the architecture and yet completing it and dominating it. His
treatment is geometrical. Four figures crown the axial spaces,
conspicuously white, full fronted, self-contained, emphasizing the
spaciousness and symmetry of the structure, and symbolizing the four
basic constituents of civilization. Each of these is supported by a
figure to the right and left, which are so subtly posed that they
prolong the converging lines of the ribs of the dome. While the eye
is thus continually carried up, it is diverted horizontally by the
interlacing lines of the limbs, the necklace of recurring banderoles
and cartouches, and finally by the majestic sweep of wings, the
sculpturesque simplicity of which merges the painting into the
architecture above. To this wreath of form the artist has imparted
a suffused bloom, tenderly iridescent; giving quiet distinction to
each figure and a satisfying harmony to the whole composition. His
intellectuality reveals itself, not only in the technical solution
of his problem, but also in the depth and comprehensiveness with
which he has interpreted his theme. It matters not which figures
one selects; all are beautiful and richly suggestive. Compare the
representation of Religion and of Philosophy; the yearning of the one
for outside strength and light with the calm, passionless scrutiny
of the other; or the dreamy transcendentalism of _Islam_, and his
rounded limbs, with the square strenuous determination of the young
giant, _America_. This composition, however, is not a circle, the
recognized geometrical symbol of eternal completeness, but a concave
ring whose lines converge toward a centre outside of and above
itself. That centre is the figure in the Lantern, representing that
Higher Wisdom to which the wisest are always striving to attain. This
concave ring represents Civilization, which, kept in perfect balance
by the harmony of the various elements of human life, spins easily
and surely upon its axis. This is the greatest good of all; but it is
impossible to maintain Civilization without Progress; it must forever
speed upward to the Higher Wisdom.

Mr. Pearce’s panels in the north corridor are notable examples of
decorative color. The positive tints are clear and fresh against
soft backgrounds of secondary greens and violets. The composition,
except in the panel of _The Standard-Bearers_, leans to the pictorial
rather than to the decorative method. Perhaps _Labor_ and _Religion_
combine the two methods most happily. In the former the lines of the
limbs repeat and relieve each other most agreeably. There is enough
sameness of movement to emphasize the sharing of toil, sufficient
difference to suggest individual effort. There is a suggestive
contrast in _Religion_ between the man’s awe and the woman’s placid
confidence. He recognizes the mystery, she the comfort of fire. A
germ of the love of the beautiful is shown in the choice for an altar
of the curious stone which they have propped up so unstably, and yet
with so much affectionate care.

In the east corridor, Mr. Alexander’s six panels are to be taken as
so many fragments cut from the picture of the ages. They are terse
and vigorous; they compel our interest. The figures are dramatic,
in the true sense that they are doing something simple and natural,
while their local surroundings, like the old chorus, interpret the
significance--in some cases, from the standpoint of to-day, the
insignificance--of the act. For, by the exercise of keen imagination,
and through the resources of his technique, the artist has rendered
with pathetic vividness the dumbness and isolation of early man and
the unresponsiveness of his surroundings. With the skill of an expert
dramatist, he has developed the growing permanence of the record, and
the widening of the circle of influence, and led up to the climax
when the written speech of one becomes the property of all.

In Mr. Walker’s panels, Nature and not Humanity is the inspiration.
In his largest panel, she is exhibited in the unrestraint of stream
and rock and verdure. Yet she is represented in Mr. Walker’s
paintings not so much for her own sake as for the inspiration which
she lends to the mind of the poet. It is Nature viewed through the
medium of the imagination--Nature refined by the alchemy of human

In the opposite panel, man’s relation to Nature is introduced; in
a suggestion of the old idyllic, pastoral life, with a hint, too,
on one side of the panel, of man’s creative genius, the stately
edifice into which, working upon Nature’s plan, he has built his
own personality. The scheme is completed by the smaller panels in
which the artist has suggested the various moods of lyric poetry, as
illustrated by the special genius of Shakespeare, Milton, Tennyson,
Emerson, Keats, and Wordsworth.

Mr. Vedder, in his _Government_ series, has played upon a simple
scale of low-toned reds, blues, greens, and yellows, thus responding
in his work to the mosaic and marble which surround it. Each
composition has a separate geometrical motive, built up by the
distribution of the colors, the balance or contrast of light and
dark, the flow of the lines, and, not least, by the arrangement of
the spaces. The central panel succeeds completely in its twofold
purpose of giving dignity and height to the entrance, and of
expressing the solidity and elevation of Government. The use of line
is throughout remarkable. In the panels of _Good Administration_
and _Peace and Prosperity_ the lines of direction are downward from
the zenith. In the former, these lines fall in tenderly embracing
curves; in the latter they widen out and form that strongest of all
structures, a broad-based pyramid. In _Corrupt Legislation_, the
eye is first arrested by the tilted leg and slovenly slipper, and
follows down to the money-bag. We know it all: the shamelessness,
shiftlessness, and corruption. It is a compression of multiplied
experience into one illuminating flash. The direction of the picture
is diagonal, and the masses of form and color purposely accentuate
its lop-sidedness. Yet the picture seems evenly balanced, for the
simplicity and distinctness of the standing figure attracts one’s
eye from the intentional confusion of the opposite side. In the
spaces one will notice the harsh gashes made by the chimneys, and
the unpleasant parallelism of the smoke wreaths, so suggestive of
the dead monotony of sordid lives. The triumph of ordered disorder
is reached in the panel of _Anarchy_, which is based on a reversal
of geometric methods. The masses of dark and light tumble diagonally
across the picture towards the desolate space with the broken wheel.
The spaces at the top are shattered and splintered as if by an
explosion. But most remarkable is the jagged space near the centre.
It is as if a shot had ploughed its way through the chaos and allowed
a glimpse of the void beyond.

Mr. Vedder’s _Minerva_ recognizes at once the strong points and the
limitations of mosaic. The design itself is a mosaic in which the
full and empty spaces, and the light and darker portions, and the
embroidery of lines, together form a rich brocade. Sumptuousness is
added by contrasting the smooth outlines of the one side with the
intricate elaboration of the other. It is very interesting to note
how the spear ties together the lighter portions, and prevents the
strong figure from being too sharply silhouetted.

Around the statuesque simplicity of Mr. Shirlaw’s _Sciences_
flows a sinuous play of lines, and their broad masses of color
reflect the surrounding tints, so that these panels are more than
punctuations; they are at once the focus-points and distributing
centres of the whole corridor. There is a geometrical plan apparent
in the building-up of the figures. Often the main lines intersect
diagonally, and one is tranquil, the other energetic; there are
centres of repose and of movement to which these lines converge;
and these are also the points of main interest in the symbolism of
the picture. In _Mathematics_, for instance, the line of the nude
position, suggesting the naked accuracy of figures, leads up to the
calm, frank face; while the more intricate line of the drapery winds
across diagonally, and merges in the convolutions of the scroll,
with its hint of abstruse calculations. The arrangement of the
draperies, indeed, is invariably worthy of close attention. Compare
the stem-like lines and petal-shaped folds which cling to the form of
_Botany_, with the successive eddies that circle round _Astronomy_.

In Mr. Reid’s panels the sensitive vibration of color and the
luxurious lines eloquently express the delight of the Senses. But
there is no note of decadence. There is so much decision in the
drawing, free expansion in the masses of form and color, and such
energy in the flashing color of the drapery, that we feel in these
beautiful women, not the enervation of pampered senses, but merely
a moment’s pleased suspension of activity. This is least noticeable
in the elegant deliberation of _Taste_; it is finished to a delicate
point in the exquisite conception of _Touch_. This is a picture of
an instant of arrested energy, shown in the forward lean of the
body, and the momentary stillness of the outstretched arm on which
the butterfly has alighted. In a moment the insect will be gone, the
limbs will relax and vibrate again with active life. Throughout, it
is enjoyment of the senses, not abandonment to them, that the artist
has depicted.

What may be called the debonair quality of Mr. Barse’s figures is
very noticeable. It is due not only to the purity of type, and to
the tenderness and simplicity of the coloring, laid on so flatly in
two or at most three tones; but mainly to the sensitive elaboration
of line. The figures are of ample proportion, and the draperies
voluminous, but the artist’s appreciation of the value of line in
mural decoration does not stop with the broad effects. He weaves into
his draperies a diaper of delicate folds, each of which counts. In
this way, by contrasting the smooth portions with the comparative
intricacy of others, he gives to his figures, notwithstanding their
simplicity, a certain richness, a quiet assertiveness, and a most
agreeable refinement.

The striking contrast of dark and light in Mr. Benson’s panels gives
them decorative distinction; a nearer view reveals the emotional
tenderness of detail. The white figures, graciously delicate in
drawing and color, are silhouetted against a dark background,
brocaded with a bold design, and lustrous with interpenetrating
tints. The originality of conception in the four _Seasons_ is
interesting. They are the four seasons of human feeling: the
Springtime of anticipation; the Summer of possession; the Autumn, not
of harvest, but of waning joyousness; the Winter of accepted loss.
Yet hope and youth remain, and the beauty deepened by experience in
the last face is an earnest of still another spring and summer, which
shall be fuller, richer, and more precious.

Mr. Cox’s paintings in the Southwest Gallery exhibit a strong sense
of responsibility to the aims and limits of mural decoration. The
method he has adopted is to carry the surrounding architecture up
into his pictures and melt it into a canopy of sky. Before this he
has suspended, in the case of _Science_, a delicate arabesque, as
it were, of line and color accentuated by three important masses.
Everything that could interfere with the flatness of his decoration
has been rigidly eliminated. It is _to_ the wall and not beyond it
that he would direct our attention. The architectural features are
only faintly depicted, and the foliage breaks up the background
without introducing another plane. But it is in the figures that
the artist’s mastery over his restrictions is most complete. With
practically no recourse to light and shade, but relying solely on
drawing and the handling of a few tones, he has given form and
substance to his figures. The work throughout reveals clearness of
purpose and certainty of accomplishment.

The decorations by Mr. Maynard, in the Pavilion of the Discoverers,
strike a distinctly independent note. The starting-point of the
scheme is the honor-roll of illustrious men toward whom the central
composition stands as a sort of coat-of-arms, symbolically expressing
the principle which links the names into a common family. The
treatment, in fact, is heraldic, and subtly suggests the mediæval
chivalry out of which the various movements grew. This formal
character is assisted by the symmetrical distribution of the colors.
Virility of mind and method characterizes every detail of the
compositions. Compare, for instance, the panels of _Discovery_ and
_Adventure_. Energy, assertion, and full-blooded life characterize
all the figures. The aims and animating impulse which especially
distinguish the Discoverer are expressed in the eager, generous
movement of one of the flanking figures, and in the strong calm and
steadfastness of the other, shown, for example, in the self-restraint
of the sword-arm. In _Adventure_, on the other hand, the roystering
abandon of the figures, the easy carriage of the sword, epitomize the
Adventurer’s sordid purpose and unscrupulous methods.

Mr. Maynard’s figures in the Staircase Hall (the _Virtues_) are
dignified and elegant. Though they are so many vivid interludes
to the repose of the architecture, and are instinct with buoyant
vitality, yet, by their coloring, sensitive refinement, and noble
proportions, they echo the surrounding marble.

Mr. R. L. Dodge has adopted a similar composition to Mr. Maynard’s in
the Southeast Pavilion, in his designs symbolizing the four natural
elements. The color schemes are in a light key. The backgrounds, to
which the panels are most indebted for their decorative value, have
a considerable poetic quality. Their intention is clear, and its
expression agreeably fanciful. The names in the tablet below have an
interesting significance, recording the Greek personification of the
characteristics of the elements. The majesty of ocean, for instance,
was embodied in Poseidon; Proteus personified its quality of assuming
any shape; Galatea, its surpassing beauty.

In the next pavilion--the Pavilion of the Seals--Mr. Van Ingen has
attacked his problem from the standpoint of color. The treatment of
the subject is formal, for which, however, the artist has abundant
warrant in tradition. The soul is infused into it by color. In
the density and richness of the tones, the sumptuous texture of
the surfaces, he has embodied the abstract idea of the solidity,
grandeur, and delicate complexity of well-ordered government.
The color schemes vary. In _Post-Office_ and _Justice_, there
is a diffusion of motive. Rose and violet penetrate the panel,
playing with each other and affecting the other colors with subtle
variations. In _Treasury_, however, the blue-green impression, which
swims over the whole, is brought into a depth of tone in the woman’s
dress; while in _War_ there is a crispness of color throughout in
quick accord with the alertness of the figure and the flash of her
robes. These panels are essentially a painter’s vision, expressed
through a painter’s special medium.

Mr. W. L. Dodge, in the Pavilion of Art and Science, has grappled
with his problem in a big way; exhibiting an eager acceptance
of difficulty, and a resolute choice of intricate interest. For
instance, he has arranged the light to fall upon his figures at short
range, so that, instead of a simple scheme of light and shade, there
is a multiplicity of unexpected effects. This purpose has expanded
under the influence of the various subjects. The panels of _Art_ and
_Music_ are crowded with sensations. We feel that here the painter is
consciously and unconsciously reproducing the sensations of his Art
life. In _Literature_, however, he has emerged into a more impersonal
atmosphere. In _Science_ the reproduction of sensations even more
clearly yields to the creation of thought. Lastly, the ceiling is
the climax of this growing artistic and intellectual effort. Here
the problem is at its biggest, and the technical solution most
successful. It is not by this or that accident of professional
attainment that Mr. Dodge wins us here. It is because we feel that
here the technique finally becomes the handmaid of real creative

In Mr. Melchers’s _War_ and _Peace_, it is not beauty, in the popular
acceptation of the term, that attracts us. Our interest is seized
by their masterful character, held by their strong technique, and
confirmed by their deep human significance. The brush-work is simple
and sure, applied with breadth and in few tones, imitating the manner
of frescoes in the old manner, painted rapidly while the plaster was
still damp. Everything counts, and the artist’s thought is brought
close to us. The composition varies with the subjects. In _Peace_,
Mr. Melchers has relied on smooth masses balanced athwart a pleasing
leafy background. Movement is suspended. _War_, however, shows the
vigorous construction of moving forms: solid masses and a tangle of
gnarled limbs displayed naked against a harsh landscape. We have
muscular and mental tension. We see only the horror and hideousness
of war, and none of its pomp and circumstance. Laurel, indeed,
crowns the leader’s head, but his son is stretched a corpse upon the
rude bier. One man blows a trumpet, but none of the dogged faces
kindles. Only the hounds show eagerness, and they are straining at
the leash to get home. The religious procession is in its way just as
strong. It is entirely unsentimental. These simple folk are entering
naturally into what is merely a part of their life and thought.

A great deal of the charm of Mr. McEwen’s panels is due to the
landscapes, which are instinct with poetical imagination. The artist
has given them an atmosphere which sets them back in the past,
when the world was in its youth and full of promise rather than
fulfilment. In the episodes selected, it is not the heyday of heroic
achievement that he has commemorated, but the first impulses, such
as those of Jason and Paris, or the reverses and inadequate results
of human effort as illustrated in the other heroes. Stripped of its
glamor, this is perhaps the true story of heroism in all ages.

Mr. Gutherz in his seven panels on the ceiling of the House Reading
Room, has symbolized Light in its physical and metaphysical aspects.
The starting-point of the scheme is the central panel--“Let there
be light”--and the others follow in prismatic sequence. He has not
painted the clearness of light, but its subtle play upon various
surfaces. For example, from the central figure, “whose face no man
hath seen and lived,” radiates a pale saffron glow, struggling
through the formless void of primeval chaos, and piercing it with
stars and splinters of light. In the next panel of _Progress_ light
is burnishing the dry atmosphere of an eastern sky; while in that of
_Research_ it acts and re-acts upon the particles of deep water, and
spends itself in a soft suffused luminousness.

Mr. Dielman has adopted in his _History_ an almost sculptural
design; in _Law_ rather a pictorial. In the latter the group on
the spectator’s right is an especially attractive portion of the
composition. In the case of the centre figure, it is well worthy of
notice how the flexible lines on one side woo the figures, while on
the other the drapery as well as the figure of Fraud slinks away from
the hard line of the sword and the strong angle of the arm.

Mr. Simmons’s _Muses_ exhibit a certain restless power, tempered by
the sensibility of drawing and color. The first impression is of a
vivid blue or red spot. The note is at once daring and original and
in time irresistibly persuasive. For these panels are daring, not
only in color but in the treatment of the subject. The painter has
infused into the old Greek conception some of the intricacy of modern
thought, without, however, losing the classic character. Observe, for
instance, his representation of Tragedy. Greek tragedy was concerned
with facts, the sin and the vengeance, not with psychological
considerations. The actor’s mask covered even his face. But in the
panel before us is a suggestion of the whole perplexing problem of
human sin and suffering. Or note the conception of Calliope, with
the hands uplifted like Aaron’s, partly in supplication, partly in
encouragement, and with the shadow across those pitying eyes; it
would be unintelligible but for the _Inferno_ or _Paradise Lost_.
In the thought and execution we feel a certain quality of what one
may be allowed to call, perhaps, _diablerie_. Sometimes it becomes
palpable to sight, as in the pale yellow flame in the panel of
Polyhymnia. It is something more than technique--it is a spark struck
out of the artist’s personal consciousness.

A few words in conclusion upon the significance of this Library.
The union of sculpture and painting with architecture has always
marked the brilliant period of a country, not only in arts and
sciences, but in material and social advancement. The movement in
this country, begun by Richardson and John la Farge, in Trinity
Church, Boston, has been steadily fostered by our leading architects,
gained an immense impulse at the World’s Fair, was endorsed by the
Trustees of the Boston Public Library, and may now in the Library of
Congress be said to have received the sanction of Government. It is
a pre-eminently democratic movement, for art so directed becomes an
idealized embodiment of the national life, and is brought within the
reach of millions. And the benefit will react upon Art itself, since
her domain is thereby widened, her opportunities increased, and an
incentive supplied to higher and nobler work. Studied in connection
with the great buildings of Europe, this Library, representing the
various aims and methods of so many men, working from different
points of view towards the same purpose, will afford an opportunity
for analysis and comparison that should yield rich fruit. One may
even venture to predict that, properly used, it will lead to that
artistic ideal, the formation of a distinctively American School of
Mural Painting. A school, founded upon the methods of the past; but
differing in its animating impulse; no longer catering, as in the
Italian Renaissance, to the cultivated caprice of a few powerful
patrons, or reflecting an age when faith and civic virtues had waned,
but broadening out to express the aspirations of a self-governing
People, who profess belief in Religion, Country, Home, Themselves,
and Humanity at large.

[Illustration: (decorative archway)]






The uses of a great national collection of books are so manifold
and far-reaching that it is difficult to sum them up in any
succinct statement. The Library at Washington, steadily growing
for generations, was founded primarily for the use and reference
of Congress. As the library of our national legislature, whose
responsible labors cover the wide field of domestic welfare and
foreign relations; it should contain all that can contribute to their
service and information. This being its primary function, and a great
and comprehensive library having been thus gathered, a far wider
field of usefulness is found in opening its treasures freely to the
public. Gathered as it has been by appropriations of public money,
supplemented for more than a quarter of a century by the steady
acquisitions coming in under copyright law, it has become to a degree
the representative of American science, and the conservatory of the
Nation’s literature. As the only Government library of comprehensive
range, every year of its existence should be marked by incessant
progress toward completeness in every department. In the new and
splendid home for the Nation’s books provided by the far-sighted
liberality of Congress, readers whose pursuits are endlessly varied
should be assured of finding the best literature of all lands. It is
a fact pregnant with meaning that the nations which possess the most
extensive libraries maintain the foremost rank in civilization.

The universality of its range and of its usefulness should not lead
any to overlook the fact that it is, first of all, the Library of
Congress. Here, at the political capital of the country, the Senators
and Representatives who are responsible for the legislation of
seventy millions of people are assembled. In dealing with the wide
range of interests involved, there is almost no knowledge which may
not at some time be wanted, or which can come amiss. Here are settled
or modified the principles of the internal economy and foreign policy
of the Nation. Here resort the innumerable promoters of local, or
individual, or corporate, or State, or Territorial, or National, or
foreign interests, all of whose propositions are to be examined,
weighed, and brought to the test of reason, precedent, justice, and
facts of record. Here are apportioned those expenditures of public
money which carry on the Government and tend to the development of
the country. Here questions of internal revenue and tariff taxation,
public land policy, the pension system, patents, copyrights, postal
service, agriculture, education, Indian policy, internal commerce,
immigration and naturalization, the fisheries, merchant shipping, the
army, the navy, the coast survey, the civil service, the public debt,
the whole financial system, and the people’s measure of value, are
discussed and settled. In the vast and complicated system involved
in a government so complex as the American, where State rights and
Federal supremacy are constantly brought in question, Congress and
its Committees are taxed with responsibilities which demand the
widest political, historical, and judicial knowledge. Only a library
of completely encyclopædic range, filled with books and periodicals
which illustrate every subject, and throw light upon the history and
policy of every nation, is adequate to equip them for their work.

In like manner, the Supreme Court and the other courts of the United
States, established at the Seat of Government, the Interstate
Commerce Commission, and the tribunals frequently created to consider
and report upon questions of national or international importance,
require and receive the constant aid of the rich assemblage of
authorities here gathered. It was found that more than two-thirds of
the books relating to Venezuela and its border-countries of South
America, needed for reference by the Venezuelan Commission, were in
the Library of Congress.

Not less important and valuable is the service rendered by this
Library to all the Departments and Bureaus of the Government.
Questions frequently arise requiring investigations so broad and
extensive as to overtax the stores of even the largest library to
supply all the information sought for.

To a National Library which is, in some degree, the intellectual
centre of a great capital, resort numberless seekers after books and
information. Here is found the busy journalist, turning over files
of forgotten, but carefully preserved newspapers, to ascertain or to
verify facts, dates, or opinions. Here the Senator or Representative
seeks and finds precedents and illustrations, authorities and legal
decisions, parliamentary history and the experience of nations, to
embody in his reports, or apt citations and poetic gems to adorn his
speeches. Hither come the students of history, American and foreign,
assured of finding the chronicles that illustrate every period, early
or recent, in whatever language. Here are found devotees of art,
studying the manuals or the histories of painting and sculpture, or
the engraved galleries of Europe, for examples of the beautiful.
Hither come the architect, the mechanic and the engineer, in search
of designs, of models, or of patents, or of some book which contains
the last word in electrical science. Here, too, come professional men
of every class, lawyers after leading cases, clergymen investigating
commentaries or religious homilies, physicians reading medical or
surgical or hygienic treatises, teachers and professors striving to
add to their learning. The readers in the wide and attractive fields
of literature are still more numerous than those who pursue the
graver walks of science. Here, the vast number and variety of works
of fiction have their full quota of absorbed readers. The enthusiasts
of poetry and drama follow close upon, and the student of biography
finds no end of memoirs that are equally full of entertainment and
instruction. Essays and criticism enlist the attention of many,
while many more find their delight in the perusal of voyages and
travels. Here the eager student of metaphysics or moral science
feeds his intellect upon the great masters of human thought, and
the man ambitious of great reforms busies himself over the books
on social science. Here comes the student of natural science in
quest of botany, zoölogy, or the other kingdoms of nature, and the
politician searches after the arguments and the history of parties.
Here the zealous grubber after facts of genealogy burrows among
endless tables of family births, deaths, and marriages, and the ever
present investigator of heraldry traces the blazonry of crests and
coats-of-arms. Here frequent the feminine searchers after costumes,
fanciful or historical, and here the lovers of music resort to feed
their sense of harmony upon the scores of the great composers. The
student of oratory revels in the masterpieces of ancient or modern
eloquence, and the lover of classic lore luxuriates in the pages of
Greek or Roman poets, philosophers, or historians. The law of nations
(that undiscoverable science) engages the baffled researches of some,
while many others pursue, through a world of controversial writings,
the knotty problems of finance. Some readers visit the Library for
prolonged and serious and fruitful investigation--others for only
momentary purpose to verify a quotation, or to settle a wager about
the origin, the meaning, or the orthography of a word. Many books
have been written, and many more have been edited or corrected, by
the aid of the copious stores of every great library.

To respond adequately to all these and countless more demands upon
its intellectual resources, a National Library must clearly be one
of universal range. This comprehensive aim for the National Library
will appear still more important when it is considered that it is,
in effect, the only really representative library of the nation.
Not that other collections (and many of them, let us hope) are not
equally far-reaching in their scope and their aim at completeness;
but the Government Library being the only one endowed with the
full copyright production of the country, its law of growth is
necessarily in advance of that of other collections, however well
endowed--provided only that adequate care be taken by Congress for
its proper increase in other directions. The copyright law brings
into it, year by year, virtually the entire intellectual product of
the nation so far as protected by copyright; as well as a steadily
increasing share (since the extension of the area of copyright
protection through the international provisions of the act of 1891)
of the works of foreign authors. Thus the National Library acquires
a great store of publications which the other libraries do without,
from lack of means, or of room, or of disposition to purchase.

It is easy to say that the greater part of the books and periodicals
thus acquired are trash; but it is to be considered that very
substantial reasons can be urged why one library should preserve
the entire product of the American press, irrespective of intrinsic
value. First, every nation should have, at its capital city, all the
books that its authors have produced, in perpetual evidence of its
literary history and progress--or retrogression, as the case may be.
Secondly, this complete assemblage of our literature in the Library
of the Government (that is, of the whole people) is an inestimable
boon to authors and publishers, many of whose books, after years
have elapsed, may owe to such a collection their sole chance of
preservation. Thirdly, it is a most valuable aid to would-be writers
to have access to all the works that have been published in the
special field they seek to cultivate. Fourthly, one comprehensive
library--inclusive and not exclusive--should exist, because all other
libraries must be in a greater or less degree exclusive. Fifthly,
all American books should be preserved as models--even if many
of them are models to be avoided. One learns as much frequently
from the failures of others, as from their successes. Sixthly, it
is already provided by law (and very wisely), that all copyright
publications of whatever character, shall be deposited in the Library
of Congress, and the Nation is as much bound to conserve these
things, in evidence of copyright, as to preserve the models in the
Patent Office, in evidence of patent right. Seventhly, there is no
standard of selection or of exclusion that could be adopted which
would stand against the fact of the endlessly varying judgments of
different men, or even of the same men at different periods. What is
pronounced trash to-day may have an unexpected value hereafter, and
the unconsidered trifles of the press of the nineteenth century may
prove highly curious and interesting to the twentieth, as examples of
what the ancestors of the men of that day wrote and thought about.

Of course it should be one of the foremost aims of our National
Library to secure all books, pamphlets, maps and periodicals relating
to our own country. Everything that can illustrate the discovery,
settlement, history, biography, natural history, or resources of
America should be gathered. The already rich collection of Americana
comprises a large share of the earlier works respecting America,
nearly all of which are now rare, as well as of the early printed
books of the various American presses, and many published in places
where no books are now printed. Assiduous pains have been taken to
increase these collections from auctions and from sale catalogues in
this country and in Europe.

Another function of the Library of the Nation is to furnish a
repository for special collections of books, manuscripts, and
memorials, which may be dedicated by their donors to public use. Now,
for the first time, the Government of the United States is placed in
a position where it can receive and preserve in a fitting manner,
in a noble fireproof edifice, of ample proportions, such gifts of
private libraries, etc., as any of its citizens may present. One such
donation, from a public-spirited citizen of Washington, the late Dr.
J. M. Toner, has already been presented and accepted by Congress.
It is to be expected that the example will be followed by other
collectors of private libraries, who feel a natural reluctance that
their collections of special value, costing years of time and much
money to assemble, should be scattered abroad after they have ceased
to enjoy them, leaving no memorial behind.

In this connection it should be noted that the National Library
furnishes the most obvious and appropriate repository for special
collections of manuscripts. When organized into departments, the
systematic collection, arrangement, and preservation of manuscripts,
with calendars both alphabetical and chronological, open to public
use, will form one of the cardinal objects to be kept in view. This
too long-neglected field, though zealously cultivated by the leading
historical societies of the country, has had no proper recognition
at the hands of the American Government. While the manuscript papers
of four American Presidents have been purchased, because offered
to Congress by their heirs, no attempt to obtain and preserve
those of the other Presidents has been made, nor has any fund been
devoted by Congress to secure the papers of other public men. All
the principal nations of Europe, and even the Dominion of Canada,
have an archivist, or custodian of manuscripts, responsible for
keeping, indexing, and increasing these collections, whose importance
as original documents illustrating the history and biography of
the nation can hardly be overrated. To avail of all opportunities
offered for securing such manuscript collections, and to seek out
others, thus preserving for posterity unique and valuable historical
materials which would otherwise remain in private hands, subject to
constant diminution or destruction, should be one cardinal function
of the National Library. Many such would be freely given by their
owners, if assured of permanent care and preservation in that

The acquisition and preservation of pamphlet and periodical
literature should be sedulously cultivated by National Libraries.
No fact is more familiar to students than the rapid disappearance
of these ephemeral but often valuable publications. The chances of
procuring any desired pamphlet a few months after its publication are
incalculably smaller than those of securing copies of any book. Hence
the importance of adding them to the one representative library of
the Nation while they are yet fresh and procurable. As this species
of literature is seldom protected by copyright, the greater portion
of the pamphlets of any period must remain unrepresented in the
Government Library unless their authors will take the trouble, by
wise forethought, to send copies of their productions to Washington.
Of the great value of pamphlets, as exponents of the thought of the
time, and the questions which agitate the public mind, expressed
frequently in condensed and forcible style, there can be no question.

Of the periodical literature, in its vast extent and variety, now
including, in the United States alone, more than twenty thousand
different publications, a National Library should acquire and
preserve the more important portions. These, in the absence of any
possibility of providing room for all, may be held to embrace (1)
All American reviews and magazines, with a selection of the leading
English and European ones. (2) The daily newspapers of the larger
cities of the country, and a few, at least, of the principal journals
of England and the Continent, not forgetting the American republics,
and Canada. (3) Two, at least, of the most widely circulated journals
of each State and Territory in the Union, representing each political
party. This has been the established policy of the Library for thirty
years past, and the bound files of these periodicals constitute one
of the most largely used portions of the Library. Only by keeping
up full sets of the notable serials, whether literary, political,
religious, historical, scientific, legal, medical, technical,
agricultural, economic, etc., can the Library answer the just demands
of the national legislature and of the public. In whatever direction
American libraries may be inferior to those of other and older
nations, they are (at least in the larger collections) well equipped
with the literature of periodicals. The materials thus furnished to
the politician, the historical writer, or the student of literature,
are of great and incalculable value. A National Library is not for
one generation alone, but for all time. So much the more important
is its function of handing down to the readers and students of the
future a full and authentic mirror of each age in its progressive
growth, to be found most vividly in the pages of the daily and
weekly journals, and the magazines and reviews of every class. These
periodicals furnish the best impress of the times which can be
derived from any single source. Stored up in a permanent fireproof
repository, they are ever ready to be drawn upon by those who know
how to use them.

One little known and imperfectly understood function of the National
Library is to furnish evidence of literary property to all who are
interested in copyrights. This is rendered possible through the
removal to Washington, by the copyright act of 1870, of all original
records of copyright, previously scattered in more than forty
different offices throughout the various States. The registry of
copyrights having been transferred to the Librarian of Congress,
at the same time, and continued ever since, it is easy to follow
out the record of any individual copyright, and thus to trace
questions concerning literary property for more than a century.
This facility is of great value to publishers and authors, in the
various negotiations constantly being made in questions of renewal
of the terms of copyrights expiring, or in suits at law seeking to
establish or to invalidate copyrights by litigation, or to prevent
infringement. Incident to this, it is a part of the function of the
Library to produce any copyright book, or other publication in its
possession, for inspection by whom ever it may concern.

An incidental benefit of the Library is found in its rich
accumulation of works of the fine arts. These include, besides the
multitude of illustrations and galleries to be found in books,
hundreds of thousands of examples of graphic art, many of them
costly and valuable, acquired by copyright. Arranged in classes, in
the spacious art-gallery provided, they form a most instructive and
entertaining exhibit of the progress of the arts of design.

Of the numerous and beautiful works of art embraced in the decoration
of the Library building, full account is taken elsewhere in the
present volume. Suffice it to say here, that readers and frequenters
of the Library who are surrounded with such architectural and
artistic attractions, will find rich suggestions on every hand, as
they pursue their several aims. What more inspiring adjuncts to study
or contemplation can exist than the sumptuous marble arches, the
statues of illustrious authors, the graphic paintings and sculptured
emblems illustrative of science, literature, and art, and the many
inscriptions drawn from the writings of the great scholars of the
world? The stately Library building with its precious contents thus
contributes not only to the public intelligence, but also to elevate
and to refine the public taste.

While every consideration favors the most liberal hours of
frequentation and use of the collection, it is manifestly not a
proper function of a National Library to furnish a circulating
library for the people of the city in which it is located. All
experience proves that a great library of reference cannot be made
a library of general circulation without destroying its function
as a reference library. Every frequenter of the National Library
has a right to expect that the books it contains will be found when
called for. This is impossible if a large portion of them are out
in circulation. Nor can this be met by the claim that duplicates
would enable the Library to loan freely. There are no more than
enough duplicates to meet the uses of members of Congress who have
the legal privilege of drawing books. Moreover, the few who would
be convenienced by the loaning out of the books would be favored
only to the inconvenience of the many, who would find very many of
them continually absent from the shelves. The greatest good of the
greatest number would thus be unjustly sacrificed.

The suggestion has been made that one of the two copies of books
received by copyright might be utilized for the purposes of
circulation. This is conclusively met by the fact that the copyright
deposits are a trust under the law, like the models in the Patent
Office, and while one copy may properly be kept in the Library, for
the use of Congress and for public reference, the other should be
sedulously preserved in the copyright archives. All comers, however,
have free enjoyment of the benefits of this great Library within its
attractive walls, and are welcomed by its liberal management to share
its literary, scientific, and artistic treasures.


[1] Those allowed to take books from the building are: the
President; Vice-President; Senators, Representatives, and Delegates
in Congress; Cabinet Officials; the Justices, Reporter, and Clerk
of the Supreme Court; the Judges and Clerks of the Courts of
the United States in the District of Columbia; representatives
in Washington of foreign governments; the Solicitor General and
Assistant Attorneys-General; the Secretary of the Senate; the Clerk
of the House of Representatives; the Solicitor of the Treasury; the
Disbursing Agent of the Committee on the Library; former Presidents
of the United States; the Chaplains of the two Houses of Congress;
the Secretary and Regents of the Smithsonian Institution; the Members
and Secretary of the Interstate Commerce Commission; and the Chief
of Engineers of the Army. No one, however, not even these officials,
may take away any manuscript or map, or any book of special value and
rarity. Books are delivered to the order of any of the persons having
the special privileges of the Library, but only for their own use.
They have no authority to give an order in favor of another person.
Previous to the erection of the new building, one of the rules of
the Library had permitted the Librarian, at his discretion, to issue
books to the public generally, for home use, on the deposit of a sum
of money sufficient to cover the value of the volume applied for, but
this provision was found to be an embarrassment and has since been

[2] The list of the previous Librarians of Congress, with the dates
when they were appointed, is as follows: John Beckley, 1802; Patrick
Magruder, 1807; George Watterston, 1815; John S. Meehan, 1829; John
G. Stephenson, 1861.

[3] Such as _Races and Peoples_, by Dr. Daniel G. Brinton.

[4] The three groups are reproduced as headpieces to the three
portions of this Handbook: the first, representing _Literature_, to
introduce the present general description; that representing _Art_,
over Mr. Caffin’s essay; and the third, representing _Science_, over
Mr. Spofford’s.

[5] Mr. W. C. Brownell, in _Scribner’s Monthly_.

[6] The panel of _The Family_ is shown in the view of the North
Corridor, given on the opposite page. The border referred to a few
lines below is reproduced in the Handbook on Page 21, as a heading to
the present description of the Main Entrance Hall.

[7] The following is the list, beginning, in each corridor, at the
left-hand end of the outer wall. The dates appended to the names
are from Mr. Roberts’s book: West Corridor--Wolfgang Koepfel 1523;
Fust and Schoeffer, 1457; Craft Mueller, 1536-62; Conrad Baumgarten,
1503-5; Jacobus Pfortzheim, 1488-1518; Cratander, 1519; Valentin
Kobian, 1532-42; Martin Schott, 1498; Melchior Lotter, 1491-1536;
Theodosius and Josias Rihel, 1535-1639. South Corridor--Rutger
Velpius (Flemish), 1553-1614; F. Estienne, 1525; Simon de Colines,
1520; François Regnault, early part of the sixteenth century; Simon
Vostre, 1488-1528; Sebastien Nivelle, latter part of the sixteenth
century; M. Morin, 1484-1518; Sebastien Gryphe, second quarter of the
sixteenth century; André Wéchel, 1535; Geoffroy Tory, 1524; Guillaume
Chandière, 1564; Pierre Le Rouge, 1488; Mathurin Breuille, 1562-83;
Etienne Dolet, 1540; Jehan Treschel, 1493; Jehan Petit, 1525. East
Corridor--Paul and Anthony Meietos (Italian), 1570; Gian Giacomo de
Leguano (Italian), 1503-33; Juan Rosenbach (Spanish), 1493-1526;
Andrea Torresano (Italian), 1481-1540; Valentin Fernandez (Spanish),
1501; Christopher Plantin (Flemish), 1557; Daniel Elzevir (Dutch, the
mark of the Sage), 1617-1625; the Brothers Sabio (Italian), early
part of the sixteenth century; Melchior Sessa (Italian), sixteenth
century; Ottaviano Scotto (Italian), 1480-1520; Giammaria Rizzardi
(Italian), latter part of the eighteenth century; Filippo de Ginuta
(Italian), 1515; Lucantonio de Giunta (Italian), 1500; Aldus Manutius
(Italian), 1502. North Corridor--D. Appleton & Co.; the DeVinne
Press; Charles Scribner’s Sons; Harper & Brothers; Houghton, Mifflin
& Co. (the Riverside Press); the Century Co.; J. B. Lippincott Co.;
Dodd, Mead & Co.; William Caxton, 1489; Richard Grafton, 1537-72;
Thomas Vautrollier (Edinburgh and London), 1556-1605; John Day,
1546-84; William Jaggard, 1595-1624; A. Arbuthnot (Edinburgh),
1580; Andrew Hester, 1550; Richard Pynson, 1493-1527. Of the marks
in this last corridor, those on the north are of American houses,
all contemporary, and on the south, of early English and Scottish
printers and publishers.

[8] The original cartoon for this mosaic is reproduced as the
frontispiece of this Handbook.

[9] From a tract entitled _Considerations on the East India Trade_,

[10] The accompanying illustration of Mr. Flanagan’s clock is taken
from a preliminary sketch in clay.

[11] In the South Gallery, or Print Room, the names are those of the
Signers of the Declaration of Independence. In the Southeast Gallery,
those of Inventors: Gutenberg, Daguerre, Schwartz, Montgolfier,
Watt, Cooper, Stevens, Newcomen, Trevithick, Hargreaves, Corliss,
Arkwright, Jacquard, Fitch, Fuller, Wood, Wheatstone, Whitney,
Morse, Vail, Goodyear, Ericsson, Hoe, McCormick, Howe, Bessemer,
Westinghouse, Edison, and Bell.

Architects and Engineers are commemorated in the Northeast Gallery;
Ictinus, Vitruvius, Anthemius, Palladio, Vignola, Sansovino,
Bramante, Brunelleschi, Michael Angelo, Lescot, Duc, Delorme-Labrust,
Mansard, Bulfinch, Wren, Jones, Walter, Richardson, Hunt, Archimedes,
Stephenson, Smeaton, Vauban, Lavally, Jarvis, Eads, Schwedler,
Roebling, and Barnard.

In the Map Room (North Gallery) the list is miscellaneous, including
Theologians, Physicians, Jurists, Scientists, Musicians, Sculptors,
and Painters: Lycurgus, Coke, Justinian, Blackstone, Montesquieu,
Marshall, Story, Hippocrates, Avicenna, Harvey, Paracelsus, Jenner,
Hahnemann, St. Augustine, Bowditch, Chrysostom, St. Bernard, Bossuet,
Pascal, Edwards, Channing, Euclid, Pythagoras, Pliny, Copernicus,
Darwin, Humboldt, Agassiz, Faraday, Mendelssohn, Mozart, Haydn,
Bach, Liszt, Wagner, Phidias, Apelles, Da Vinci, Giotto, Perugino,
Raphael, Titian, Guido Reni, Correggio, Dürer, Pallissy, Thorwaldsen,
Rembrandt, Rubens, Van Dyck, Murillo, Holbein.

[12] For a description of this map, see Justin Winsor’s _Narrative
and Critical History of America_, Boston, 1886, Vol. 2, p. 124; or
_Harper’s Monthly_ for December, 1882.

[13] The order in which the various paintings in the Library are
treated in the present essay is substantially the same as in the
preceding portion of the Handbook.


  Obvious typographical errors and punctuation errors have been
  corrected after careful comparison with other occurrences within
  the text and consultation of external sources.

  Six occurrances of ‘Michael Angelo’ have been left unchanged (not
  changed to Michaelangelo).

  Except for those changes noted below, all misspellings in the text,
  and inconsistent or archaic usage, have been retained: for example,
  fire-proof, fireproof; hand-glass, handglass; sea-shell, seashell;
  atheistical; vermiculated; Hindoo; Corean; falchion; lyrists;
  ideality; pedler; undistracted; blazonry.

  Pg 7: ‘Library in Pittsburg’ replaced by ‘Library in Pittsburgh’.
  Pg 23: ‘those of the achitecture’ replaced by ‘those of the
  Pg 35: ‘by door-and’ replaced by ‘by door- and’.
  Pg 40: ‘rests a a border’ replaced by ‘rests a border’.
  Pg 50: ‘is a rectagular’ replaced by ‘is a rectangular’.
  Pg 55: ‘buildings commemmorated’ replaced by ‘buildings commemorated’.
  Pg 55: ‘a small tympanun’ replaced by ‘a small tympanum’.
  Pg 63: ‘will reflect thing’ replaced by ‘will reflect things’.
  Pg 66: The anchor for Footnote [10] was missing and has been inserted
         after the heading =Mr. Flanagan’s Clock.=
  Pg 69: ‘unobstrusively added’ replaced by ‘unobtrusively added’.
  Pg 82: ‘require the freeest’ replaced by ‘require the freest’.
  Pg 112: ‘of the genuises’ replaced by ‘of the geniuses’.

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