Mr. Alessandri was Chief Librarian between 1890 and 1893. A Civil War between the Executive and Legislative Powers occurred in 1891; the President of the Republic José Manuel Balmaceda Fernández (1886-1891), was defeated. During this conflict, Chief Librarian Alessandri sided with the Legislative Power.
Four years later Mr. Alessandri would begin his political career as Representative for Curicó, the agricultural center of Chile; he would become President of Chile, first between 1920 and 1925, and again between 1932—1938. Thus, during the first ten years of the Library of Congress, two men who would later become Presidents of the Republic gave impulse to the creation of the Library, one of them were its second Director, and created its first collections of books and foreign publications.
Mr. Adolfo Labatut Bordes took over as Chief Librarian from Mr. Alessandri, and held that post between 1893 and 1931. On 18 May 1895, Mr. Labatut saw the Library consumed by an enormous fire that destroyed most of the Library’s holdings. With perseverance and unrelenting hard work, Mr. Labatut patiently took up the task of rebuilding the collections. The Library of Congress has a unique story of surviving wars, sunken ships, fires and earthquakes in its 120 years of history.
Mr. Labatut was also the first Chief Librarian to introduce a classification scheme and define the Library’s fundamental mission in his 1921 Annual Report: “It is necessary to bear in mind that this is a Library oriented mainly to legislative studies and, generally, studies in the social sciences”.
Mr. Labatut was succeeded by M. Jorge Ugarte Vial who was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on July 27, 1903, his father being a diplomat at the time. He researched his law thesis in the Library of the National Congress on the subject “El Comodato”. At the same time, he acted as advisor to the Committee for