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National Library of Medicine: records relating to the construction of a new medical library 1882-1959
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Historical Note

In the 1870s the Surgeon General's library occupied space in Ford's theater in Washington, D.C. Beginning in 1872 library officials began seeking legislative funding and approval for a proper building. Concerted efforts during the 1880s won approval for a new building at 7th and Independence, which was occupied in 1887. In the 1910s, having outgrown this facility, the library began requesting another new building. These attempts failed until 1938, when a new Armed Forces Medical Library building was finally approved by Congress. Over the next several years, however, funding failed to be appropriated and no action was taken. In 1956 legislation incorporated the Armed Forces Medical Library under the Public Health Service into the newly- created National Library of Medicine. Construction for a new building began in 1959 on the NIH campus in Bethesda, MD.