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Library in the West Wing
Smithsonian Institution, neg. 60739.
In preparation for the books of the library, which were installed in March of 1850, the perimeter of the room was fitted up with large cases. Prints, acquired from George Perkins Marsh, an early Regent and Representative to Congress from Vermont, were treated not as works of art but as illustrations of the history of engraving.
Representing another aspect of printing, they were displayed in the West Wing with the books of the library. High above the floor hung scenes of Indian life and portraits painted by John Mix Stanley. This unusual placement had been necessary by the lack of wall space in the building, which was still under construction when the paintings arrived in 1852.