‘There is, in fact, no subject to which a Member of Congress may not have occasion to refer.” Thomas Jefferson penned these words on Sept. 21, 1814, just weeks after British troops had set fire to the U.S. Capitol, reducing its library to ashes. Jefferson had compiled a personal library over 50 years and was now exploring selling much of it to the government to replace Congress’s — and the nation’s — loss. Lest anyone think the books’ range too broad for politicians, Jefferson argued, “I do not know that it contains any branch of science which Congress would wish to exclude from their collection.” Two centuries later, a series of exhibitions illustrates the extent to which the Library of Congress has embraced Jefferson’s philosophy. After shows that highlighted American, Armenian and Hebraic books, we now have A Thousand Years of the Persian Book.
Read More: The World as Scripted in Persia