Libraries: For Well-Read Presidents

When she got to the White House in 1850, ex-Schoolmarm Abigail Fillmore was shocked to find not even a Bible in the place. Pausing only to put in the mansion's first bathtub, the new First Lady installed its first library. But in succeeding years, people kept pinching White House books. Herbert Hoover found the shelves bare. Booksellers chipped in to make up the loss, but Harry Truman scoffed that his own collection upstairs outnumbered the official one downstairs. The Kennedys, soon after arrival, resolved to put in "a working library for the present President and all the Presidents to come."


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