As the birthday of President Abraham Lincoln draws near it’s a good time to uplift the services of Terre Haute denizen John Gould Stephenson. Stephenson was chosen by President Lincoln to be librarian of Congress, beginning in May of 1861. At that time, the Library of Congress was located on the first floor of the Capitol Building.
Mike McCormick, Vigo County historian, wrote of the interesting life of Stephenson in an ad sponsored by Terre Haute First National (Financial) Bank, Wabash Valley Profiles: A series of tributes to hometown people and events that have shaped our history.
Stephenson was at the helm of the library until Dec. 31, 1864. During that time 13,000 books were added to the collection. In an interesting historical tidbit, it was Stephenson who asked Congress to remove the bread ovens in the Capitol basement because of the damage to the books that was created by soot!
To learn more about Stephenson and his contributions to the nation, click here. Be sure to celebrate our 16th president’s birthday on Feb. 12.