Brian Johnson's 11 oz. rocks glass commemorates Thomas Jefferson's 1815 sale to Congress of his personal 6,487-volume library, collected on two continents over 50 years. Anyone with that many books qualifies as a serious bibliophile, so why did he do that? Because, dear reader, on the evening of August 24, 1814, British forces set fire to the unfinished United States Capitol, destroying the Congressional Library. Jefferson offered Congress a deal: his book collection, the largest and most comprehensive in the US at the time, for a price. After some controversy, Congress OK'd it.
The handwriting and signature on the glass, facsimiles of Jefferson's own, are from a letter he sent to John Adams after the tenth and final book-laden wagon left Monticello for Washington. "I cannot live without books," he wrote. The letter's original wax seal is replicated in red, giving the glass a pop of color. As for Jefferson, Congress paid him $23,950 for his books, part of which he spent to buy more. Made in Virginville, Pennsylvania.