Although many early U.S. presidents were avid readers and book collectors - George Washington, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson, to name a few - they usually brought their own books to the White House and removed them at the end of their terms. Finally in 1850, Abigail and Millard Fillmore established the first official White House collection. The library that President and First Lady Fillmore assembled reflects not only their preoccupations and interests, but also those of a number of mid-nineteenth-century Americans. This catalogue of the first White House collection not only reveals much about the first family that established it and the age in which it was assembled, but also provides insight into American library history, reading history, and book trade and distribution networks. Aside from the editor, the contributors are William Allman, Elizabeth Thacker-Estrada, and Sean Wilentz.
Catherine M. Parisian is Assistant Professor of English at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.