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Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), Founding Father and third President of the United States, was a book-lover. Throughout his life, books were vital to Jefferson’s education and well-being. When his family home burned in 1770, he mourned the loss of his books. While he was U.S. minister to France during the American Revolution, Jefferson acquired thousands of books for his library at Monticello. During the War of 1812, the British burned the nation’s Capitol and the Library of Congress (1814). By that time, Jefferson had the largest collection of books in the United States, some 9,000 to 10,000 volumes. He offered to sell his library to Congress to replace the volumes destroyed by the British. In 1815, Congress purchased 6,487 volumes of Jefferson’s library for $23,950, price based on measurements of the sizes of the books. Upon hearing that Congress had approved the purchase of his library, Jefferson asked bookseller Thomas Milligan to supervise the packing and transportation of the books to Washington. Although the broad scope of his library was cause for criticism of the purchase, Jefferson argued “there is in fact no subject which a member of Congress may not have occasion to refer.” Another fire on Christmas Eve in 1851 destroyed nearly two thirds of the 6,487 volumes Congress had purchased from Jefferson. After the sale of his library to Congress, Jefferson proclaimed he “could not live without books” and began a second collection of several thousand books, which were sold at auction in 1829 to satisfy his creditors.