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Jefferson Statue

History


The U.S. Military Academy dates its founding from an Act of Congress of March 16, 1802; but the lineage of the library for officer education at West Point begins even earlier. On June 20, 1777, a resolution in the Journals of the Continental Congress includes provisions for a book collection in support of a proposed military education program. This resolution to form a Corps of Invalids, which subsequently located at West Point, set the stage for both the U.S. Military Academy and, more directly, its library. When the Corps of Invalids was dissolved and eventually replaced by a Corps of Artillerists and Engineers, which included the first cadets among its ranks, the establishing legislation again provided for the "necessary books" to support the education of officers at West Point, as did the subsequent legislation establishing the Military Academy in 1802.

The established importance of books in the development of military officers made the library an integral part of the fabric of the Military Academy as it continued to grow and develop at West Point. With the passage of time and the growth of the collections, the library occupied a series of increasingly large and grand facilities culminating in the beautiful Jefferson Hall Library and Learning Center opened in the summer of 2008. As grand as Jefferson Hall is, it could not contain the full bounty of the library's vast collections and an annex in Bartlett Hall North (the former USMA Library building) will begin storing the library's extensive special collections and archives in summer 2013.