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Ladies Library Association Tenth Anniversary History, 1876

M.L. D'Oodge
Rights Held By
Ladies Library Association of Ann Arbor
OCR Text

~ I N this Centenllial year of our National life, it is natural for all to look ' lmck :iml consi<lcr what steps forward our country has taken, what
~.u. I
~ prngre,;s it has made in matters either great or small. t seems,
therefore, appropriate that nur Association, wbich, as we hope, has contrib- 11ted its little mite t0 the great whole of effort and struggle to obtain some- thing l1igher and bettel', ,,ho11lclreview what has been a~omplished by it,
anti all the more appropl'iate is the retrospect, since in this year it celebrates its tenth anni\·ersary. Let us therefore, fur a few moments, trace its rise aml progress.
Ia 1801:ithe thought of those ladies who doubtless had long felt the need of some such orga11izatic>nas 0ms, became an established purpose, and tlu·ough the new1-papel's tl1ey ii;sned an invitation to all interested, to meet upon the lHth of 1farcb, iu the lecture room of the Presbyterian church, in order to CJl'galilze a Ladie:;' Lihrary Assuciation.
Tlte appvinte<l <lay of meeting pro\·ed unpleasant. but nevertheless a goodly 1111111berre::;punJed to the eaU. The leaders in the movement had already 111arnretlrheir plam;. :inJ a cunstitutio11 was presented, accepted :in<l_,,igned uy tltil'ty-th·e ladies, ,vlto also subscribed 8118.U0. .A Board of tifteen was appui11ted. with }fr::i. A. E. Kellogg as Presiuent. l'pon this first Board we ti11d the na111es(If two who have fajthfully sen·ed from then till now, Mrs. S. H. Douglass and 11:rs. .A. H. Rnnt. The next step taken, was to obtain 11 room. One snitahle was found in Hangsterfer's block, and engaged at a rental uf :350 a .rear. •
Early in April the infant society was regularly incorporated according to law. Books must now be bought and fornit11re for the new room, and for this mure money was needed. Some tableaux were therefore arranged for the e\·eniug-s of the 1Tth and l of .\.pril. aud so successful were the ladies in tllis. "'heir tirst eDCertainmem, that the net proceeJs amounted to :3135.
They now felt they had a home, for on :.\fay 21st it is re.corded that the .As- (9)

sociation '' met in the new and pleasant library room. .All seemed pleased and gratified at the neat and cheerful appearance of the room, and at the sight of library shelves, already half tilled with valuable b\,vks."
With so much to be done it is not wonderful that a debt was incurred, the only one, we believe, during theae ten years, and that only to the amount of $39.60. Immediate measures were taken to provide for it, and a straw- berry festival was the result, by which 859.60 were netted. The debt was thus scarcely more than paid, and it was very desirable, even necessary, to raise more money in some way. .Accordingly arrangements were made with Prof. Pease, of Ypsilanti, to give the Cantata of Queen Esther, sharing ex- pense and profit with the Association. From this third entertainment, which occurred in November, there resulted the sum of 8259.28, making, as the proceeds of entertainments dul'ing the first year, $4:53.28.
At the end of the year the infant Association felt that it had a fair start in the world. There were 79 members, 392 books, and the total receipts for the year had been $780.79. One donation of $50 had been received from Dr. Chase. 4-Jready social readings had been commenced, which proved both pleasant and profitable, though just what course was pursued is not recorded.
Its first birthday was celebrated by a gathering in the Congregational church, at which President Haven delivered an exceedingly interesting anni- versary address, full of good cheer and encouragement. Judge Cooley also made some happy remarks. Fifteen new subscribers gave their names. The Argus at this time, states that no Association in the State has in several years, accomplished what has been done in one.
With the new year, 1867, the Association took possession of its present room, which was made as attracti ,·e as circumstances would allow. The sec- ond year was one of qniet progress. Perhaps the most interesting event was a meeting in September, in the Cllapel ot' the Presbyterian church, to listen to an address on The Beautiful and the Usefnl, from Miss Mary Clark, whose name, so closely connected with our library, will certainly not soon be for- gotten, whose presence we yet miss here aml e,·erywhere. In this address a beautiful tribute was paid to the memory of ::Urs.Henry ·wells, who. earli- est of those first associated with the library, had passed to the better land, "a loss to the community to which she belonged, to the chn.rcll of which she
was a member, and above 11,llto her family. to whom she ~vasthe lonng .head." The beautiful words in ,vhich Miss Clark closes, find new applica- tion now that "he. too. i~ no longer with us: ••One by one .ire falling- from
our side, those whose eompauionship anti sympathy made the charm of life.

Olli' turn will come by and by. All have some good to do while the sun shines; when the shadows lengthen the time is short, evening finds us with failing powers, night comes when work ceases."
During this year a strawberry festival was held, and on Monday evening, November 4th, an entertainment was given in the Unitarian church, consist- ing of music, and of very artistic recitations by Miss Pierce, of Grand Rap- ids. Unfortunately, in a pecuniary point of view, the entertainment was a failure, as only one dollar was actually cleared, though through the generos- ity of :Miss Pierce, the 850 due her was given to the ladies.
The social readings were continued, and during the third year they seemed to increase in interest. Original papers were read on Home Amusements., the poet Spencer's writings, distinguished Women and their Influence on Society. At one meeting a· discussion was carried on, the subject being, "Was the French revolution a blessing to France ?" Both sides were ably maintained. Original conundrums were presented, and anonymous letters, with sometimes a pretty poem introduced. At one of the meetings Dr. Douglass read an in- teresting paper on Ventilation, illustrated by beautiful experiments in elec- tricity.
The needs of the Association were so deeply felt, that in this· third year a printed circular was issued, " setting forth the claims and benefits of a li- brary, and soliciting more general patronage." Probably as the result of this appeal, a donation of $10 was made by Mr. Cole, and an offer from him to be one of twenty to give this sum annually. Unfortunately, only two of the other nineteen appear to have been found, though his letter was published in the papers, that others would do likewise.
On Wednesday evening, April 7th. 1 69, "one of the pleasautest social gath- erings or· the season,·· oo quote the Argus, ·' was the reunion of the Ladies' Library Association, in the lecture room of the Presbyterian church," held for the purpose of iucreasing the interest of the public in the good work. Three hundred were present. Brief, happy addresses were made by President Haven, Judge Cooley and Prof. Adams. An original poem by a member of the Association, was read. "The ladies were in their happiest mood, their guests were made at home, the tables were bountifully spread and beautifully decora.ted, and all enjoyed themseh-es to the best of their inclinations." Above all the ladies were made happy by a second donation of 850 from Dr. Chase, of $25 from Mrs. Henry Parsons, of A.shtabula Ohio, and of :35from .some friend, whose name is not recorded. X1>wonder that the results of this meeting were considered ~·ery encouraving, and tha& the ladies entered upon

the fourth year with good hope. Again in this new year, Miss Clark deliv- ered an address in the lecture room of the Presbyterian church, this time upon "The Sea, and what it contains." •Sea mosses and other nautical curi- osities ,vere exhibited, and the evening was one of great profit and pleasure.
In the social readings we find stilT more original productions, poems, ro- mances, critiques and letters. Topics were also selected to be conversed upon, as China and the Chinese, Gardens, beginning with the Garden of Eden, then the famons ones of Ahasuems, of Solomon, the hanging Gardens of Baby- lon, the Garden of Gethsemane, improvements in the arts, etc., etc.
:Mrs. Kellogg held the office of President in a most able manner, until April, 1870, when there was an equal number of votes for her and for :Mrs. Cooley. Mrs. Kellogg gave the casting vote, and thus placed Mrs. Cooley in the chair. The year was marked by no event of importance.
.A.t the social readings the Literary Contribution Box, in which were dropped articles, anonymous or otherwise, as suited the writer's pleasure, and which was opened by some one appointed for the purpose, who read the ar- ticles at the following meeting, proved a great success, and many delightful evenings :we recorded. The number of members, of readers, and of books slowly but steadily increased.
In the following April, 1871, l\frs. Adams became President. On the eve- nings of Tnesday and Wednesday, December 5th and 6th, the pantomime of the ":Mistletoe Bough," and tableaux of ·' Cinderella and the Glass Slipper," were given in the Opera House. The weather was unfavorable and the au- dience small, so that, instead of the 8500 which it is stated ought to have been cleared, since the entel'tainment was beautiful and enjoyable, only 89! were netted.
Durino, all these years names ha,.e been prominent of those who are no longer here1 ns they have either gone elsewhere to reside, or have been re- JDo\·edby death. In this year the Association loses two of its most acti,e and valuable members. 1n September, Mrs. Kellogg, one of the founders of the library, and .President fvr four years,
" Ooe wbo for every good,
Ready in bright or darker days,
H:itb first and last and always stood. Now saw the parting of tbe waya."
These words are taken from 'Miss Porter's poem, ·' The Parting of the \Vays," which was written upon the departure of :l(rs. Kellog~.
~t the close of die year. }Lu·ch :?0th. another pa,,se<lfrom the circle. but she to the better land. We tind recorded by :he Secretary, :Mrs. Hunt:

"The silent angel who claims all seasons as his O\\rn, has been among ns. 3frs. Sybil Lawrence, a beloved member of the Board nearly four years, has fallen asleep and rests from her labors. \Vith warm heart and ready hands, "';th jndgment clear and far-reaching, she was ever found where duty called, and by her cheerfol presence animated and encouraged every effort for ad- vancing the interest of this canse. As one after another of those who started with us fall from the ranks, let us with united energy pursue our work un- ti1-in"'ly,till others take it up where we lay it down." Resolutions were passed by the Association. A poem written by :Miss Porter, and a beantifnl memorial notice by }Iiss Clark were read at the amrnal meeting, the first one at which :Mrs. Lawrence bad not been present.
In July, 1872, hy far the largest sum ever presented the ladies, was re- cei,·ed. A surplus of $1.010. remaining in the hands of the committee for relief of the Michigan sufterers, from the fires of that year, one-half of the suqJlns, $505. was given to the library. $350. were added to the $50. placed at interest the year before, and the whole was re-invested at 10 per cent. in- terest, as the nucleus of an endowment fund.
In January, a very attractive entertainment was given at the house of Dr. Douglass, from which $50. was recei,·ed. This, with the donation and the or- dinary yearly receipts. rendered the total for the year, $89 .56, which was the largest sum ever received by the library in twelve months.
From the very beginning in 1 66, until April, 1873, the position of Sec- retary was most ably tille<l by :Mrs. A. H. Hunt. .A.t this annual meeting, however. she retired from this post only to take another, that of President, )fr,;. ·.Adams declining to sen·e louger. To the retiring President a Yery halldsu111e tribute was in the shape of pre."l.mble and resolution, pre- :;ented by Miss Clark. In his year :dso. .he .\.:osociation lost its valuable Treasmer, Mrs. Gilmore. who had heltl the vftice -,ince 1 67, and who from the first had hcell a nrn:;t efficient member of the 13oard. Of her fine recita- tions at the sucial reaJi11gs, frequent mention is ruade.
In this year ,mother entertn,inment. consi:oting of an exhibition of the magic lantern and of the farce of ••Pillicocldy," was given at Dr. Don~lass', from which 871. are recei,·ed, and in the following year, on February 3d, 1875, a second dramatic entertainment at Mr. Israel Hall's brings ;361. to the .Asso- ciation.
Onr re,·iew has brought ns to the year jnst closed, a year in which we
trnst some progress has been made, thong-h it may have been quiet and nn- (10)

observed. Of the status of the library itself, we shall obtain the clearest idea from the Librarian's repo1·t. which is as follows :
Number of books in library April, 1875..................... 1,-171 " " " .. " 1876..................... l,63R An increase of. ........................................... 165
Kumber books purchased. .................................. H3 " " donated. .................................... 12 " magazines taken. .................................... 7 " " bound. ................................... 13 " members drawing books.... .......................... 168
Increase over last year. .................................... 13 Number books drawn clming vear ........................... 3,630 Increase over last year .... .'.. ~.............................. 1.112 Number drawn in A., miscellaneons ......................... 2!)7
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" B.,art. ................................. 25 " C.,travels. .............................. 130 " D., history. .............................. 140 " E., biography. ........................... 16-1 " F., p~etry. ................. .............. -10 " G., routh's department. .................. 225 " H., standard fiction. ..................... 255 " I., miscellaneous fiction ................... l.5.'50 " J., magazines............................ 77-1
Comparing this with the report of last year, we find that the same nt11n- be1·of books-165, has been added each year, but last year 90 were purchased instead of H3 this year, and -11 presented instead of 12.
Since the first year so many books have never been added, save in 1873, when the increase was 167, nor have so many ever been drawn, save in 1 73, when the number was 3665, 3.'5more than this year. There are also more readers now than ever before, except in 1873 and 187-1.when there were 1 3 and 1 2 respectively, H and 15 more than now.
Of the books purchased during the year, about oue-half have been works of fiction, and some of these stories of a day. "\Vhile there is a mnch greater demand for such books than for those of a more solid character, it is a seri- ous question how far it is best to pander to the popular taste. In laying the foundations of a library which, as we trust, is to last for all time, it seems desirable to purchase, so far as possible, standard works. Limited too, as we are for means, can we afford to expend much for books for which, af- ter a year or two there is no more demand~ Though hjstories, scientific works and biographies are for the most part uncalled for, yet we are proud to ha\-e them on our sheh·es. that the few \\"ho prefer knowledge to mere

amusement, may not find us wanting in what is of ~eal and la:sting ~-alue. Only by iuspiring •a taste for such reading can we hope to elevate the intel- lectual standard of the public.
In May, a supplement to the catalogue was printed, and later in the year, the need being felt for more shelf room, was supplied. The books _have been carefully bandied during the year, and are found in good condition. Several efforts h:ive been made to increase the funds of the Association.
On ~fay 12th, the comedy '' Among the .Breakers," was given at the Opera Honse. [t was admirably acted and gave great pleasure to all who witne~sed it, but the proceeds would donbtless have been hrger bad not the Board al_ most nnanimonsly deemed it best to reduce the price of admission to thirty- five cents, which step they afterward equally unanimously regretted. Shortly after, a spelling match was held at the Union School hall, iu which, however, but little interest was manifested. At the -:1:thof Jttly celebration the ladies opened a lemonade booth on Court House Square. If hard and disagreeable work deserves reward, certainly a large sum should have been theirs, but the result was otherwise, and the smallest sum save one, ever made by the Asso- ciation, was the result of perhaps the most unpleasant task ever undertaken by them. Once more, in the late fall they brought themselves before the public, when Prof. Watson kindly consented to lecture for them upon bis visit to Egypt. The lecture was one of great interest, and was worthy of a much larger audience.
Upon the evening of February 29th, a benefit was given the Association by the Garrick Club. Two amusing comedies, "lei on pade Frangaise," and " \Vho Speaks First," were admirably acted, and the handsome sum of $90. was presented to the ladies. For this mo:it liberal gift from a club on which they had no claims. they feel J.eeply grateful.
As in the beginning, so now it is Mdently hoped that before many years our library can be placed upon such a footing that it shall not be necessary to eke out its small income by repeated public entertainments, which always involve great e:-..-penditureof time and labor, often but poorly remw1erated. In these years of business depression, it seems not best to make any decided effort toward securing that for which we hope; meantime we can but work on, making each year a little headway.
In the fall the social readings were resumed, and have been regularly held once a month. Unusual interest has been manifested in them. Several of Shakespeare's pbys have been read in such a manner as to b1·ing out bean-

ties in the great dramatist, which, perhaps, might have escaped one reading them alone.
Again om report must close with an " In Memoriam." Twice during the year we have been called to mourn the departure of those intimately con- nected with the Association. On June 30th, Miss Mary Clark, so long ac-
tive in this, and in every good work, passed away. "She opeued her mouth with wisdom, and in her tongue was the law of kindness. She rests from her labors and her works do follow her."
When the Association was first organized, Miss Sarah Barry was appointed Librarian. At the end of a few months she reaigned the position to the re- gret of all. In April, 1871, she was re-elected and accepted. She ever dis- charged her duties in a most faithful and courteous manner, until in No- vember, 1875, in consequence of ill health, she again resigned, and in Janu- ary, she, too, passed to her rest.
In conclusion, may we not express the belief that during these first ten years, the ladies have accomplished, if not what they would, at least what they could, and may we not hope that during the second decade still greater possibilities will op~n before them, which they smely will not fail to improve
to the utmost.
The following note from the writer of the above sketch, was received with it:
ANN ARBOR, May 2, 1876. MRS. A. F. B1XBT-.D«w Madam: A.t our meeting yesterday, it was decided to co--0perate
1n the scheme of se.nding the histories of the several Ladies' Library Associations of the State to Philadelphia.
At our recent tenth annual meeting, I ·reRd a report, tracillg the rue and progress of our Association from the beginning. Thia report ie, naturally, not in all respects just what it would have been. bad it been written with a view to its being sent to the Centennial. However, as the ladies had already desired it to be printed a.a it is, and aa furthermore it will save much labor, it was deemed best to send it as our history.
Hoping that the book will be in all respects a snccess, I am, yours respectfully, )fRs. M. L. D'OooB,
~retary L. L. A.