Library of a President

 “ ... it’s essential to read what they read. You then begin to understand not just their vocabulary, but how they thought ... ” David McCullough UMW Centennial Founders Day Convocation, 14 March 2008   As author David McCullough reminds us, the contents of a library serve as an unparalleled window into the minds of those we seek to understand.  It is nearly impossible to look at James Monroe, a consummate public servant, and not consider what motivated, informed and guided him during his five decades of service to his country.  Historians and bibliophiles alike naturally turn his bookshelves for answers to these and other questions.   By 1823, Monroe had assembled a significant library of approximately 3,000 books.  This number likely did not include his substantial collection of pamphlets, a hugely popular medium for making shorter, often political, publications available at a more affordable cost as compared to books.  He acquired books throughout his … [Read more...]