I Cannot Live Without Books.  Probably every librarian knows this quote by Thomas Jefferson. The other fact most librarians know about Thomas Jefferson, is that he donated his library collection to Congress, to replace the books which were lost when the British burned the Capitol.  Not only, did Jefferson provide the foundation of what is now the Library of Congress’ collection, his cataloging system provided the basis of the Library of Congress classification system.

When Jefferson sold his collection to the library, he included a copy of his personal library’s catalog. The original catalog was lost, Jefferson later asked his secretary to recreate the catalog, this manuscript was also lost until 1917, when it was found in a library in Georgia.  The Library of Congress has published this edition  and it is now available online.   http://catdir.loc.gov/catdir/toc/becites/main/ jefferson/88607928.html

This publication is of value because it provides the catalog of Jefferson’s collection, but also the background information about how Jefferson collected the material and devised his classification system. 

* The information in this post originally appeared in the blog Government Book Talk http://govbooktalk.gpo.gov/2010/10/25/a-bibliophile%e2%80%99s-delight/ 

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