The War Department Library was started by Secretary of War Pickering as his reference library. A regular system of acquiring books on military affairs from Europe was later established at the direction of President John Adams, a program revitalized by Secretary of War Joel Poinsett in the late 1830s. The Library was transferred to the Army War College Library in Washington in the early 20th century and again passed on to the Military History Institute as the core of its rare book collection. Most of the items listed in the register are still in the Institute's holdings and do not circulate. 97 leaves ; 41 cm.