The Thomas Jefferson Building: A Virtual Tour of the Library of Congress

The Exterior of the Jefferson Building

Depicted above are examples of the series of ethnological heads found
around the exterior of the Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress

As you leave the Jefferson Building, be sure to take note of the series of ethnological heads (33 in all) that ornament the keystones of the first-story windows all around the building. They were modeled on a collection of life-size heads of different ethnic races, from Arab to Zulu, at the Smithsonian Institution.

The nine great men commemorated by the busts across the portico of the front entrance pavilion at the second-story level are each silhouetted in front of a round window. They were selected by Librarian Ainsworth Rand Spofford and are, from left to right as you stand in front of the building: Demosthenes, Emerson, Irving, Goethe, Franklin, Macaulay, Hawthorne, Scott and Dante. They were carved by Herbert Adams, Jonathan Scott Hartley and Frederick W. Ruckstull.

Finally, in front of the building, pay a last homage to King Neptune, the Roman god of the sea and the brother of Minerva, and his court in the Neptune Fountain, which was sculpted by Roland Hinton Perry.

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