HOLOGRAPHIC LETTER BY THE FOURTH LIBRARIAN OF CONGRESS. John Silva Meehan.

HOLOGRAPHIC LETTER BY THE FOURTH LIBRARIAN OF CONGRESS

1829. An autograph letter signed (ALS) by John Meehan, the fourth American appointed to the post of Librarian of Congress. The letter was written to United States Senator Samuel Smith of Maryland seeking advice about the requisite bond associated with his position. Meehan, a New York-born printer, was appointed to his post by President Andrew Jackson. He served from 1829 until 1861 for no less than nine U.S. presidents. According to the Library of Congress, Meehan was a passive "gentleman of amiable manners" who loyally and efficiently carried out the duties expected of him by a Congress that viewed the Library primarily as its own reference desk. In particular, from 1846 until he was replaced in 1861, Meehan carried out the wishes of a strong-willed chairman of the Joint Committee on the Library, Senator James A. Pearce of Maryland, who felt that the Library of Congress had a limited role to play and resisted all efforts to make the Library a national institution. It was also during Meehan’s tenure that a disastrous library fire destroyed two-thirds of the institution’s 55,000 books, including about two-thirds of Thomas Jefferson’s personal library. In this June 1, 1829 letter, Meehan seeks advice on obtaining a bond: "The present librarian is under bond in the sum of two thousand dollars, himself and two others (one of whom has been dead for several years) being security; and his bond, alho’ purporting on its face to be approved by the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House, has not the certificate of those gentleman attached to it." Meehan proposes that the securities for the bond be provided by him; General Green, the editor of The Telegraph; Dr. William Jones, postmaster of the city; John W. Timonton; and the Reverend O.B. Brown. It wasn’t until 1972 that the statute requiring those who served to obtain a bond was finally repealed. The letter was folded for mailing. Some general toning and light wear; otherwise very good. Very good. Item #72106

Price: $300.00

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