John Adams Building History

In 1928 the Librarian of Congress, Herbert Putnam, urged Congress to authorize construction of an annex to relieve the potential space shortage that was sure to affect the thirty-one-year-old main building. Despite stack space that was added in 1910 and 1927, the prospect of running out of room in the near future was real. On June 13, 1930, $6,500,000 was appropriated to build the annex Putnam had requested. The funds were also used to build a tunnel to connect it to the main building and to make an addition to the east front of the old building for a rare book room. An additional appropriation in 1935 brought the total authorization to $8,226,457. David Lynn, the Architect of the Capitol, commissioned the Washington architectural firm of Pierson & Wilson to design the building, with Alexander Buel Trowbridge as consulting architect. The contract stipulated completion by June 24, 1938, but the building was not ready for occupancy until December 2. The move of the Card Division started on December 12, and it opened its doors to the public in the new building on January 3, 1939. In 1976 the annex was named for Thomas Jefferson, but was changed in 1980 to honor John Adams.