What similarities do alligators, Adam Smith, and Robinson Crusoe share?

The Commerce Research Library, located in the Herbert C. Hoover Building in Washington, DC, is a valuable resource for Department of Commerce employees. It offers access to databases, books, training opportunities, and presentations to support their work. The Library’s historic Reading Room is a beautiful and welcoming space for quiet work and events. While primarily serving the HCHB, the Library also provides select resources to all Commerce staff.

One of the most significant items in the Library’s collection is a first edition of Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations. Published in 1776, this book is considered one of the most influential works on economics. Interestingly, the Dublin edition of this book has a unique story. In the eighteenth century, Ireland had no copyright law, allowing Dublin book sellers to sell cheap, pirated editions of British books. This edition of The Wealth of Nations is a testament to this thriving business.

The Library also serves as the cultural heart of the Department of Commerce, preserving its history. In 1932, during a time of pay cuts, furloughs, and dismissals, the Library was home to a group of alligators that had been let loose in the Herbert Hoover Building. This incident kept Commerce staff on their toes.

In addition to its collection of economic literature, the Library also houses the oldest item in its collection: The Complete English Tradesman by Daniel Defoe. While Defoe is best known for his novels, he primarily earned a living as an economic pamphleteer and business consultant. This manual on business management, published in 1737, is a testament to his expertise in the field.

The Commerce Research Library is just one of the many reasons why the Department of Commerce is an attractive place to work. To learn more about the Office of the General Counsel and employment opportunities within the Department, visit their website or submit a resume. The Library, with its valuable resources and rich history, is a true asset to the Department of Commerce.  

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