PAGE #4 .......... CONT. ............ %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% Contents - Preface - Library of Congress - Collections Buildings - Librarians - Further Reading - Concordance LIBRARIANS OF CONGRESS The office of Librarian of Congress, like the Library of Congress itself, has been shaped by tradition, politics, and strong personalities. Although the Library of Congress was established in 1800, the office of Librarian was not created until 1802. This 1802 law stipulated that the Librarian of Congress had no formal role in the appointment process until 1897, when the Senate gained the privilege of confirming the president's selection. No special qualifications are prescribed by law for the job of Librarian of Congress. Nor is a term of office specified, even though in the twentieth century the precedent seems to have been established that a Librarian of Congress is appointed for life. The office of the Librarian of Congress carried little formal authority until 1897, when the same law that gave the Senate the power to approve a president's nomination of the Librarian gave the Librarian sole responsibility for making the institution's rules and regulations and appointing its staff. John J. Beckley (1802-1807) On January 29, 1802, Pres. Thomas Jefferson appointed the Clerk of the House of Representatives, his political ally John J. Beckley, to serve concurrently as the first Librarian of Congress. Beckley was born in England on August 4, 1757, and was sent to Virginia eleven years later to work as a scribe for a mercantile firm. He was the first Clerk of the house of Representatives, as well as the first Librarian of Congress. His salary as Librarian could not exceed two dollars a day. John Beckley died on April 8, 1807. His son Alfred inherited a large tract of unsettled land in what today is West Virginia and built the first house in a village that became the city of Beckley, named so by Alfred to honor his father. Patrick Magruder (1807-1815) After Beckley's death, President Jefferson considered separating the offices of Clerk of the House of Representatives and Librarian of Congress, but he did not. On November 7, 1807, Jefferson appointed Patrick Magruder, a Washington newspaperman former congressman who had been named clerk of the House ten days earlier, to serve concurrently as Librarian of Congress. Magruder was born in 1768 at "Locust Grove," the family estate in Montgomery County, Maryland. On August 24, 1814, the British captured Washington and burned the U.S. Capitol, including the Library of Congress, which was in the Capitol's north wing. After a congressional investigation about the loss of the Library and the use of Library funds, on January 28, 1815, Magruder resigned his position of Clerk of the House of Representatives and by inference, the office of Librarian of Congress. Patrick Magruder died on December 24, 1819.