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November 18, 1997

Plaque Honoring Sen. Justin Morrill Dedicated at Library of Congress In Jefferson Building's Great Hall

On Nov. 4, in association with events celebrating the centennial of the opening of its Thomas Jefferson Building to the public, Librarian of Congress James H. Billington unveiled a new plaque in the Library's Great Hall honoring the key role that Sen. Justin S. Morrill (1810-1898) of Vermont played in obtaining the Jefferson Building for the American public. All three members of Vermont's congressional delegation, Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, Sen. James M. Jeffords, and Rep. Bernard Sanders, spoke at the ceremony.

In his remarks, Dr. Billington noted that "Sen. Morrill, along with his colleague from Indiana, Sen. Daniel W. Voorhees [1827-1897], successfully steered the needed legislation through Congress and consistently supported Librarian of Congress Ainsworth Rand Spofford [1825-1908] for the 25 years it took to make the building a reality. Sen. Voorhees was honored with a plaque in 1956 and now, as we mark the Jefferson Building's centennial, it is time to acknowledge the work of Sen. Morrill."

The plaque was presented jointly by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress and its affiliate, the Vermont Center for the Book. The citation reads: "As a member of Congress for 43 years, a member of the Senate Committee on Buildings and Grounds, a member of the Joint Select Committee on Additional Accommodations for the Library, and a champion of education, [Justin S. Morrill] played a vital role in obtaining this library building for the American people."

The Center for the Book in the Library of Congress was established in 1977 to stimulate public interest in books, reading, and libraries, and to encourage the historical study of the role of books in shaping America. For information about the center and its activities, visit its site on the World Wide Web at:

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PR 97-1978
ISSN 0731-3527

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