Librarian's Response to War

ON Sunday, December 7, 1941, Archie and Ada MacLeish drove out to Harewood, the Achesons' place in Sandy Spring, Maryland. The two couples took a walk, cleared some brush for a bonfire, and enjoyed a picnic lunch in the woods. Early in the afternoon, the MacLeishes left so that Archie could keep an appointment in Washington. Fifteen minutes later he hurried back with the news he had heard on the car radio. The Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor. Dean put away his tools, and both men sped back to their jo bs in the capital. The weekend - the long weekend between wars - was over.

Within two weeks the Library of Congress completed a calculated removal of its most valuable books and manuscripts to fireproof buildings. The project moved quickly because MacLeish had instituted contingency plans nine months before. The Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Gutenberg Bible, the Stradivarius instruments, and the Magna Carta traveled in hermetically sealed containers to the vaults at Fort Knox, Kentucky. About seventy thousand volumes were carried in twen ty-nine truckloads to three different sites....

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