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United States Military Academy Library

Jefferson Hall Tour Guide

Points of Interest

Thomas Sully's Portraits of James Monroe, Jonathan Williams, and Thomas Jefferson

On the south wall of the Haig Room hang Thomas Sully's portraits of James Monroe, Jonathan Williams, and Thomas Jefferson. The paintings are part of the library's long history. They originally hung in the library that was located in the Academy building until a fire in 1838. Thomas Sully's son, Alfred, was a cadet who described the event in a letter to his father dated March 12, 1838:


" ... Perhaps you did not hear of the great conflagration we had here last February 19th. It was discovered about two o'clock in the morning by a Cadet who smelt the smoke, and looking about saw the fire breaking out in the fencing room, he immediately went to the Barracks and gave the alarm; the place was soon crowded with Cadets, Officers, soldiers, etc. The Cadets were the only ones who were bold enough to go into the library with the exception of lieut. Alvord, for which the Corps deserved much credit, as well as for their love of the fine arts, for the general cry when they arrived there was "save the pictures" which they did with little injury. They let them fall as well as they could out of the windows. The Monroe stretching frame was broken, and he was scratched a little, but not in the face; as to the rest they all got off very safely."


Next, head down the stairs or take the elevator to the 5th floor and go to the 5th Floor tab of this guide.

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