'Great News' Buried

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Madison's Memorial

The second line of the Sept. 17 Style article on the restoration of President James Madison's home, "Va. House Fit for a President (Again)," was: "First of all, there's no Madison Memorial in Washington."

That, however, is incorrect. In 1980, the Library of Congress's James Madison Memorial Building opened on Capitol Hill. According to our archives, "The Madison Building serves both as the Library's third major structure and as this nation's official memorial to James Madison, the 'father' of the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights and the fourth president of the United States."

As a member of the Continental Congress, Madison was the first sponsor of the idea of a Library of Congress, and he was president when Thomas Jefferson donated his personal library, doubling the size of the Library of Congress. The library notes, "Like Jefferson, Madison was a man of books and an enlightened statesman who believed the power of knowledge was essential for individual liberty and democratic government."

Contrary to your article's comparison of Madison to the late comic Rodney Dangerfield, our nation's fourth president gets a lot of respect from those of us privileged to work in the building that bears his name.

-- Matt Raymond


The writer is director of communications for the Library of Congress.

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