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Capitol Builder: The Shorthand Journals of Montgomery C. Meigs, 1853-1859, 1861

Meigs, Montgomery C. ; Wolff, Wendy (ed.)

ISBN 10: 0160508134 / ISBN 13: 9780160508134
Published by GPO, Washington DC, 2001
Condition: As New Hardcover
From Old Book Shop of Bordentown (ABAA, ILAB) (Bordentown, NJ, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

As new, unused example in slightly rubbed dust jacket. Maroon hardcovers stamped in gilt. 882 pp. with index. Massive volume issued as part of the project to commemorate the bicentennial of the U.S, Capitol, a documentary treasure long inaccessible to readers due to the fact that the journals wrer written in Pittman shorthand. Meigs was a captain in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers who, in 1853, was assigned by Secretary of War Jefferson Davis to supervise the construction of an extension to the U.S. Capitol, a task that later led to his responsibility for building the famed dome. His diaries naturally include much engineering data, decisions and activities but also include payroll and contract costs; he later expanded his entries to discuss his social and family life as well as events in Washington and the world. (PLEASE NOTE: DUE TO SIZE AND WEIGHT, ADDITIONAL SHIPPING CHARGES WILL APPLY ON EXPEDITED AND/OR INTERNATIONAL ORDERS. Also, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Alibrisand Borders orders wil ONLY SHIP VIA MEDIA MAIL.). Bookseller Inventory # E6513B

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Capitol Builder: The Shorthand Journals of ...

Publisher: GPO, Washington DC

Publication Date: 2001

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:As New

Dust Jacket Condition: near fine

Edition: First edition

About this title


For nearly 150 years, a documentary treasure of great potential value to the study of the American history was available only to those few readers familiar with the archaic shorthand system of Sir Isaac Pitman. Now, that formidable code has been deciphered to provide to a wide audience rich new information about politics and life in mid-nineteenth-century Washington, D.C. In March 1853, Secretary of War Jefferson Davis assigned U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Captain Montgomery C. Meigs (1816-1892) to supervise construction of an extension to the United States Capitol. This project was designed to provide spacious new quarters for the House and Senate, whose chambers had become increasingly overcrowded as new states entered the Union. Several years later, Meigs also gained responsibility for building the current Capitol dome. A talented administrator, an accomplished engineer, and an astute observer of his times, Meigs kept careful records including diaries, journals, notebooks, and drawings. At the heart of this collection are Meigs' shorthand journals. Displaying an engineer's appreciation for structural order and efficiency, Meigs enthusiastically embraced Pitman's newly devised system of phonetic shorthand. Starting with his journal entry for May 17, 1853, and continuing through the nearly seven years he served as supervising engineer for the Capitol extension, Meigs relied on Pitman shorthand to record his daily musing. Initially, Meigs used the journal to note decisions and activities related to his official duties. Early entries, for example, detailed the arrival of supplies, such as brick and stone, and the number of workmen employed on each aspect of the construction.

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