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Out Of The Old

Out Of The Old image
Parent Issue
Day
14
Month
December
Year
1883
Copyright
Public Domain
OCR Text

The nierry peals of bells Wednesday evening from the bell tower of the new library building indicated that soraething unusual was going on, and the crowds hurrying to University Hall proved it. At 7 p. m. standard time there were gathered together over two thousand people glad to celébrate one of the University's gala days occasioned by the completion of the new library building. The platform was occupied by the Choral Union and the follownig gentlemen: Pres. J. B. Angel 1, Rt. Rev. Bishop Harris, Gov. Begole, Ex.-Gov. Jerome, Regents Duffleld and Shearer, Justin Winsor and R. C. Davis. Regent Shearer in reporting on behalf of the Committee on Buildings and Grounds, referred to the memorial in half of a library building, presented to the Board of Regenta by the University library committee on January 12, 1881, followed on February 25, by the legislature's appropriation for the building, the acceptance of the design of Ware & Van Brunt, of Boston, on August 22, and the contract with Mr. Appleyard on September 7. Though there were many retarding influences, in the opinión of the committee the various works in the building are so far superior to any heretofoie done for the University tliat the delay can well be overlooked. Ex-Regent Climic, as superintendent, rendered inminable service In nis oyersight of the building. The detailed statement of account with the appropriation for the library building is as below : Total appropriation $100,000 00 James Appleyard, contract price andextras 80,187 32 Services of architect and estlmatlngexperu 2,89fl fil Prellmlnary and prlze designs a50 00 Huperlntendlug expenses 2.B73 00 Prlnting and staüonery 184 60 Kurniture 1,547 13 Gas tixtuivs 1041 oo Connecting mains for sewer and steara 418 20 (Iradlng and walk 4.Ï5 25 Work not entirely tinlshed, at eost 746 89 Total $1W),OUO 00 President Angelí, speaking for the Board of Kegents, accepted the building, praising and thanking the committoe, the architects, the oontractor, the superintendent of construction, and the State legislature, all of whom combired in making this, the flnest structure belongiug to the University. The library of the University is the fountain of its intellectual power. Here in the library halls the revered masters of science and philosophy center around to sit with us as guides, inspirers and f riends. Fitting it is that the house dedicated to such purposes should 1)e the best that the muniilcence of a {rreat and enlightened and gene rous State COUld furnish. Now that a secure building is ereeted it seems not unnecessary to hope that the library and gallery of art tnay both have a rapid growth, as works of great value would now be secure in a iire-proof ediflce. Touching upon the desirableness of a large library as well as to hare a collection set apart for a circulating library for the students, and the size of the bookroom, the speaker referred to the semi-centeunial of the University's found[og and expressed a hope thut at that time - eight years henee- the library would have so growii as to necessitate enlarged iu:irters. Theaddressof tbe librarían, Mr. Da vis, contained miicli of interest pertaining to the library and was heartily received. Tlie speaker recognized three well-defined periods in the history of the University, the iirst beginning in 1817 and closing in 1821, the second extendlng from 1821 to 1837. The pcriod of to-ilay is that f rom 1837. Very little was said concerning books and libraries by clironiclers of the 91-lier perlods. In 1809 Mr. C. U. Trowbride, of Detroit, sent out to the University a parcel contiinlng eleve volumes of miscellaneous books. Krom a letter seut by this gentlemen to Mr. Ten Brook, the librarían at that time, we leara that the package oï books referred to was exhumed i'roiii the dark corners of his house, and were all that remained of the few books that teil into his hands as secretary of the Board of Trustees of the then existing Universityof Michigan at Detroit. This is all that is known of books md libraries down to 1837. From 1837, however, information is both abiindant and definite. The first officer appointed by the first Board of Regents was a librarían, the Rev. Henry Colclazer. One of the first purchases made was a copy of that now rare work, "Audubon's Birds," for which the sum of $970. was paid. This was in February 1838. 2700 volumes received in Ann Arbor In December 1840 from Dr. Asa Gray, who had been buying largely in the' book-markets of Europe, constitute the foundation of the library. Shortly alter the accession of Dr. Tappan to the cliancellorship in 1852, through the generosity of citizens of Ann Arbor, soine 1200 volumes were added to the collection. In 1836 the books were for the first time properly shelved, so that they could be used daily, in what is now the north win" of University Hall. The position of libra" rian now became one to which were attached arduous duties and grave responsibilities. The ei ection of the law building in 1863 provided better accommodations for the collection, where, after its removal, the books remained until their transfer a' few days since to the new building. In 1870 the library received the first important gift. Thiswasthe entire library (4,000 volumes and 0,000 pamphlets) of Cari II. Rau, Professor of Political Economy in the University of Heidelburg. It wasboughtand presented to the university by tlie;ilon. Philo Parsons of Detroit. Fiom 1856 to 1877 the average annual inerease was aboutSOO volumes, and in June of the latter year Jthe lihrarian reported the entire eollection to consist of 23,000 volumes and 8,000 pamphlets. 1S77 was an epochyearin thehistoryofthe library. Special appropriations tram theState,and private gifts to the library began in that year. The McMillan Shakespeare Library of 2,500 volumes, and 2,000 volumes presented to the School of Political Science through Prof. 0. K. Adams, by sonie unknown person, come to band last year. Since 1877 the average annual increase has been about 3000 volumes, and there are upon the shelves to-day 40,000 volumes. ..wi nuio uic iiururiaa s siory ot tne ïncrease of the library in extent. Concerning its usefulness he said that until 1856 it was, tbe greater part of the time, a circulating Jibrary, open once aeek forthe delivery of books,but when the books weie shelved, in connection with a readingroom. their gieatest usefulness vas;devéloped. A card catalogue of the authors represented in thelibrary, and of tbe subjects treated by them, was begun by Mr. Ten Brook. Statistics of the use of the books by readers within the limita of the reading-room, and by members of the faculties at their homes, show that in 1869-'7O, 45,000 volumes were used; in 187G'7, 48'000 volnme?, and in lSSa-, 95,000 volumes. From this point to-tbe close we quote Mr. Davis's words in his appeal for an increase of the volumes of the library : This completes the liistory of the library and brines me to the limit that was set for me; butl should bc wanting in the instincts of a librarían if I let this occasion pass without one word of appeal, of solicitation, fora department of the University that is Very dear to me, and that possesses for all an interest that no other one department can ever possess. We need more books here to help the student answer the questions of his professors, and, also, tahelp him answer other questions which no lips utter, and no fingers write, but which come thronging to him from within and without as the boundaries of his knowledge widen. A great Hbrary, rich in all literature, and in all science, is needed in this wide Northwest to which the Wterateur and the 3cientist may resort with areasonable certainty of flndlng what thev want. Ihis needs no argumentation-no nmplihcation. The reato of great librarles iñ tlus country are few. Away to the east s Boston.with Cambridge hard bv, there U one, and the best; Xew York is two; I,iíadelphm, three; Washington, al these are all, and they are all distan! from us. Why may not Ami Arbor become five and ín :one oollectlon meet the wants of the students under tuition here, and of Independent workers elsewhere, whose convenience will be best served by comi"R here? Here is a nucleus. Here are secure accomniodations. Here are ffuardiins. Here are meifitted by nature and by training to guide the growth of such a library.and make it symmetrical .AU that is needed is that the present liberality of tU State shall continue, and that Instances of private muniflcence, like those I have nuuied, shall be of frequent occurrence. Shall it not be so ? It is a good thlng for a man to do to urovide the means whereby hia fellow man may become wiser. The noblest thing in all human performance is to make men better One way to make the in butler is to make them wiaer to make them wiser. Rev. George Duffield, D. D., followed the Librarían with the Dedicatory Ode, taking as his title the motto cut upon the largest of the peal of library bells. The ode, of considerable length, isvritten in the scholarly marnier of the author and was well received. We are sorry that laok of space precludes our pnblishing it. Justin Winsor, Librarían of Harvard College, gave a scholarly address on books in general. We give the following extracts to indícate the ideas advanced: "With very rare exceptions not a book has been published since the invention of printing without its use in some way. The next best thing to finding a book helpful is tosatisfy yourseif it is nothelpful. Nothing is more true than thatcomparatively few books add awch to our store of kuowledge. Most books are indeed a digest made with more or less skill of other books, liut they go to make up the class of useful as distinct trom original books, and they have a certain adaptability in one direction or another which is the excuse of their being. Furthermore a book raay have a curious psychologlcal interest, independent of any iddition to kiiowledge which it may convey, as representing type of mind, local peenliarities.a race structure,whieh as one of a mass becomes of some importance in the study of rniud. It is always duugerous to say a book. is of noyalue for it is impossible to say what current epheinereal publication may become of cardinal interest. "I am sometimes, from my observatious, forced to a conviction of the narrowing influences of special studies, in that theyarc ipt to usc the vrong cud ol the teleseope In vieuïng other attaininents. It is nosmall part of i librarla ii'i dutv to niüke a ooDQterpoise in radi etwei and to defend on general principies all sorts of studies. It is foil and counterfoil in study whicli make lts object seem p-ilpable and graspable. The most costly nuggetsofour English libraries to-day are the little sixpénny play books of Elizabeth's time, when countless thousanda perished with the readingand whose survivors are the chance waifs vvhieh lmve run the gauntlet of all sorts of vicissitudes. It is to-day the rule of Bodleian, thè British museum and the other great libraries of Europe to reject nothing, haring longago learned the folly of discriminatiou. I ani gl;id to gay that our chief Amencai: libraries follow the sume rule. Counting by volumes it may be safe to answer that in the last 250 years therc have been put upon the world au ajrgregate of not far from 10,000,000 books, trash included, and of them seareely more than a fifth part can be found in any one library, and probably very much less than all can be found comblned in all the great libraries of the world. Takins 300 for the average edition, which I tuink is low, will give an aggregate of 8,000 million volumes issucd since the inveution of printing, and I doubt II there is iu the United States in the public or private libraries 15,000 volumes, or one-half of one percent, of the grand total. This is a striking estímate of the . inadequacy of public collections of all sorts to preserve the world's Uterature. It is a significant fact that not a single library in the world is perfect enoiigh to satisfv any considerable numberof ent speeialists. I have had to do with some of the best general librarles in thls country, and yet 1 liave never attempted an exhaustive investigation of a singJe subject tlüit I ilid nut tl u tl niyselt' at a loss both for the books wliicli have been and the books whieh have not been written. With librarles in most ways too narrow and conlined, we are (breed in every direct ion to take niattcTs at second hand, not to spcak of what we miss altogethcr. Libraries like those of London, Paris and St. Petersburg are not the creation of a lifetime, and it is hardly more than that since we in tliis country set seriously to work to amass large collections of books, and yet within a year a Spanish scholar engaged on a history of Cohinibus has found it important to cross the ocean to explore our libraries. "Bibliography is becoining, and it is essential that it should be so, a far less pecial attainment tlian it used to be It is in fact a study fast becoming necessary to every scholar, who without it may be lost in a wilderness of books.'' The speaker elosed with a glowing tribute to Antonio Panizzi and his labors in behalf of the British museum. At the conclusión of these exercises the umieu guesis visueu ana inspeciea me new building. It was brilliantly lighted, and among those present were noticed many alumni and distinguished guests froni a distance. As some of tlictn we mention, Dr. Nathaniel West, Bishop Marris. Regents Duffield, Sliearer, Van Rlper and Walker, ex-Congressman Edwin Willets, Gov. Begole, ex Gov. Jerome, ez-Jadge Isaac Marston, Cols. Withington and Shoemaker, Dr. Samuel Duffleld, V. J. Baxter, T. R. Chase, J. AL Arnold, Prof. Wells, H. R. Gass, H. Pralick, Silas Parmer. The book room and thegallery were all tlirown open to the guests, and a chance was given for a full inspection of the building in all its parts. One curious feature has been discovered about tlie circular gallery abovethe reading room, and that is that it is a perfect whisperinií gallery, wherein one can be heard whispering at a distance of 150 feet. This is a very unusual tbing and only comes by chance. We know of no other in this country and, indeed, of only two in Burope, j. e., one in St. Paol'i in London and another in an old temple near Xaples. The room just vacated by the genera library will be calcimined, reuovated and thoroughly cleaned preparatory to receiving the law library now on the second floor. The room occupiad by the latter will be simüarly treated, to be used as a quiz room. The tables in the present law library will be removed into the Nydia room in the north wlng, where tliey will ' be used in conncction with the student's readlng room.

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Ann Arbor Courier
Old News