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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 Architec-
ture, it should be added, are accompanied
by appropriate names comprising those
of cities, statues, and buildings in-
scribed both in the arabesques and in the
pendentives of certain of the domes.
For Architecture, the buildings commem-
morated are the Colosseum, the Taj
Mahal, the Parthenon, and the Pyramids ;
while the cities are those with whose fame
these four great monuments are connec-
ted Rome, Agra, Athens, and Gizeh.
The sculptures are the Farnese Bull, the
Laocoon, 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 stair-
case, 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 one of which Mr. Van
Ingen has represented Audubon, as a youth, sketching an eagle, and in the
other, a portrait of the historian William Hinckley Prescott. These paintings
have been substituted for two decorations that were put in these places when
the Library was completed, representing Milton's L Allegro and // Penseroso.
Other examples of Mr. Van Ingen's work are the decorations in The Pavilion
of the Seals see pages 94-97.




Inscriptions for McEwen's Greek
Heroes. (See page 102.) The inscrip-
tions for Mr. McEwen's paintings were
inadvertently omitted in connection with
the description on pages 102-105. For
convenience, therefore, they are given as
follows :

One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
TENNYSON, Ulysses.

A glorious company, the flower of men
To serve as model for the mighty world,
And be the fair beginning of a time.
TENNYSON, Idylls of the King, Guinevere.

To the souls of fire, I, Pallas Athena, give more
fire ; and to those who are manful, a might
more than man's.

CHARLES KINGSLEY, The Heroes, Perseus.

Ancient of days ! August Athena !
Where are thy men of might ? thy grand in soul ?
Gone glimmering through the dream of things
that were.

BYRON, Childe Harold's Pilgrimage,
Canto ii, Stanza 2.

Mr. Vedder's Mosaic Decoration. The wall of the landing of the stair-
case is occupied by an arched panel, fifteen and a half feet high and nine feet
wide, containing a marble mosaic by Mr. Elihu Vedder. 1 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 hold-
ing 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



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


still retains the JEgis, 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 di-
rected to an unfolded scroll which she holds in her left hand. On this is writ-
ten a list of various departments of learning, science, and art, such as Law, Sta-
tistics, Sociology, Botany, Bibliography, Mechanics, Philosophy, Zoology, 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 ^Egis
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 Me-
dusa, 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.


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

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 thiee 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 nat-
urally 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 hun-
dred 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 con-
nected 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 gal-
lery like that which the visitor has already en-
tered, 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

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 sup-
port 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 construc-
tion, 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 pre-
pares to join the lantern, the ribs terminate against a broad circular " collar,"
so called, containing a painted decoration by Mr. Edwin Rowland 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

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

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 above.

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, accord-
ing 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 floor.

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 Renais-
sance 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 resetted 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. Begin-




ning 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. Bart-
lett ; 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 locomo-
tive. History has a book in her hand,
and with an obvious symbolism holds up
a hand-glass so that it will reflect thing
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. Be-
side 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 down-
cast 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 sig-
nify 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 tri-
angle. 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 th ';
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. Anonymous. 1

Above the figure of History :

One God, one law, one element,

And one far-off divine event,

To which the whole creation moves.

Tennyson .
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. Bacon.

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. Hooker.

Above the figure of Science :

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

The Portrait Statues The sixteen bronze statues set along the balus-
trade 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 Ro-
tunda. The list of those who have been thus selected to stand as typical rep-
resentatives of human development and civilization is as follows : Under Re-
ligion, 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, New-
ton 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. PaulW. 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) ;

\ From a tract entitled Considerations on the East India Trade, 1701.


Solon, Mr. F. Wellington Ruckstuhl (the sculptor of the busts of Goethe, Ma-
caulay, 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 en-
trance 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

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