Bicentennical Home
Gifts to the Nation
- Library of Congress

For a list of Gifts to the Nation already made, Link to funded gifts.
For a list of International Gifts to the Nation already made, Link to funded gifts.

National Collections, Endowed Chairs, Endowed Curatorships, and National Focal Points of Scholarship

For nearly 200 years, the Library of Congress has collected and preserved our nation's cultural heritage. Its collection of more than 119 million items represents America's "creative legacy," and ranges from books, maps, and manuscripts to photographs, motion pictures, and music. Copyright deposits have been a major source for acquiring materials. The Library has also received a significant portion of its unparalleled collections as special gifts from donors, collectors, and Americans who aspire to ensure the national heritage is available for generations to come.

Without the generosity of such benefactors, the Library would not have such treasures as the diaries of Orville and Wilbur Wright, the music of George and Ira Gershwin, Irving Berlin, and Leonard Bernstein, the outstanding Stern Collection of Abraham Lincoln materials, or the Rosenwald Collection of rare illustrated books from as far back as the fifteenth century.

For the Bicentennial Gifts to the Nation program, Library curators identified additional materials that belong in the collections of "America's Library," where they will be preserved and accessible to all. Gifts to the Nation provides both the opportunity to support the acquisition of these important cultural legacies, and, through endowed chairs, curatorships, and national focal points of scholarship, the scholars and curators who bring our national treasures to life.

A very special undertaking was the effort to rebuild the original core of the Library--Thomas Jefferson's vast and diverse personal collection--which he sold to Congress after the British burned the U.S. Capitol, including the Library of Congress, in 1814. Tragically, in 1851, nearly two-thirds of Jefferson's library was destroyed in another Capitol fire. Jefferson believed that there was "no subject to which a member of Congress may not have the occasion to refer," and reconstructing his wide-ranging collection, the scope of which is reflected in the current Library of Congress holdings, providing new insights into the mind of one of our nation's greatest thinkers and reinforcing the Jeffersonian principle upon which the Library of Congress was built--that free access to information and knowledge is one of the cornerstones of democracy.

For more information about the Library's original collection and its reconstruction, visit Library of Congress Announces Worldwide Search for Lost Books of Thomas Jefferson or Reconstructing the Foundation: The Jefferson Collection in the Library Congress. The Bicentennial exhibition, Thomas Jefferson, which featured, for the first time ever, the display of the reconstructed Jefferson library, may be viewed online.

To enhance the research opportunities at the Library, the Bicentennial celebration also included giving opportunities for Endowed Chairs, Endowed Curatorships, and National Focal Points of Scholarship. Support for these programs ensures that experts from diverse fields of study use and write about the Library's collections as well as provide advice on collection policies for future acquisitions. For information on Gifts to the Nation, contact Mr. Winston Tabb, Associate Librarian for Library Services, at (202) 707-6240 (, or Norma Baker, Director of the Development Office, at (202) 707-2777.



-About the Bicentennial-Commemorative Items
-Local Legacies
Music -Special Programs
-Gifts to the Nation
-America's Library
Funded Gifts to the Nation
International Gifts to the Nation
-Library Home