Proceedings at the Opening of the Library
of the University of Pennsylvania,
7th of February 1891.

THE rapid growth which, during the last few years, has marked the history of this University and made these years memorable did not fail to affect and stimulate the Library. The large and lofty room in The University Building, amply sufficient for the Library's needs ten years ago, became quite inadequate. Valuable gifts of books could not be even unpacked, but had to be stored by the thousand in garret or cellar. Enlarged accommodations became, therefore, not a matter of choice, but of necessity, of urgent necessity. It was accordingly decided by the Trustees to erect a building which, while supplying the needs of a Library for a century to come, would afford accommodations also, temporarily at all events, for the fast-growing collections of American, Assyrian, and Egyptian Archaeology.

Aware that such a building, with its varied and extremely valuable collections, could not but greatly enhance the attractions of the neighborhood, should these collections be thrown open to the public, the PROVOST, whose vigilant foresight his fellow-trustees always take pleasure in extolling, applied to the City, as authorized by the Trustees, for the conveyance to The University of a tract of land adjoining our property, which would prove valuable for educational purposes in the near future.

The City Councils, whose unfailing interest in the welfare of The University we wish here gratefully to acknowledge, responded at once to this application by authorizing the City to sell and convey to The University all that certain tract of land Situate on the southwest corner of Thirty-sixth Street and Woodland Avenue (248 feet on Woodland Avenue, 115 feet to Spruce Street, 183 feet on Spruce to Thirty-sixth Street, 238 feet on Thirty-sixth Street), "to have and to hold the said lot to the said Trustees, for the use of the said University for its authorized educational purposes, subject, also, to the following conditions : That the said land shall never be alienated by the Trustees of The University of Pennsylvania without the consent of the City; and, further, that no buildings other than such as shall be essential to the educational system of The University shall be erected thereon ; and, further, that the said Trustees will erect and maintain a fire-proof library building and provide means to maintain it as a Free Library of Reference open to the entire community, and that work thereon shall be begun within four months from the date of conveyance. --inance, twenty-first of March, 1888.

Without delay, plans for the New Library Building were at once prepared by Mr. FRANK FURNESS, Of the firm of Furness & Evans, and on the fifteenth of October, in the same year, the corner-stone was laid with full Masonic rites by the Officers of "the Right Worshipful Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Pennsylvania," many of whose officers a century ago held positions of trust and influence in the government of The University.

The building, whereof the corner-stone was thus auspiciously laid, is divided into two portions, the main building and the book-stack. The main building is 140 feet by 80, with a tower over the main entrance 95 feet high. The book-stack is 96 feet by 110, and capable of holding about 500,000 books; it is in three stories, each story about eight feet high. The entire roof, from wall to wall, is of glass, and the space below the construction of the roof is ceiled over with sash glazed with ground glass, hereby providing air chambers over the whole inclosure. The floors are of translucent glass. Owing to the slope of the land, the cellar under the stack forms a large, light room, wherein are stored the maps, etc. This book-stack is heated by, steam in winter; and in summer by opening the pivoted panels directly under the glazed sash, the free circulation of air renders the atmosphere as cool as it is out of doors, if not cooler.

The two-feet-thick brick wall separating the book-stack from the main building is pierced by iron doors. On the first floor these doors open into the Distributing Room (19 x 40 separated from the main hall by a desk, where applications for books are made and books returned.

Standing in the main hall, and facing this desk, on the left is the Librarian's Room (10 x 16).

One of the most admirable arrangements of the Library, second only to the faultless book-stack, is the Cataloguing Room. It extends along the east side of the main hall (60 x 16). At one end, the Librarian's Room opens into it; at the other, books are received from the side entrance on Thirty-fourth Street. On one side, the entire wall, unbroken by windows, is shelved for books, and on the other are the drawers for the card catalogue. A skylight, running the whole length, throws all the light there is into it. The drawers for the catalogue will hold 1,000,000 cards, and space is reserved to double that number when necessary.

At the side entrance on Thirty-fourth Street, books are received, unpacked and taken at once into the Bindery, under the Cataloguing Room, or to the latter by an elevator.

The Main Hall (96 x 40) is divided by pillars, supporting two arches, into two Reading Rooms, the northern devoted to silent work; around it are ranged six alcoves, each capable of holding 2,000 books, which may be either books on some special subject, or books temporarily placed there for seminary purposes.

Above this northern Reading Room, in the second story, is the spacious Museum of American Archaeology. Also in the second and third stories, over the Distributing Room, are the Assyrian Collection, the Egyptian Collection and the Sommerville Gems.

The cost of the building is $200,000.

The building was sufficiently finished during the summer of 1890 to receive books, and the Library in University Building was removed to it during the College vacation. When the term began on the first of October, everything connected with it was in order, and the students were at once admitted to all its privileges. Great praise is due to the Librarian, Mr. KEEN, and his assistants, for the zeal and energy thus displayed in this arduous task. It was deemed advisable, before the formal public opening, to test by actual experience the working capability of the, building in all its departments. Accordingly, it was on trial for over four months, and as in all that time the most exacting criticism could find no flaw nor suggest the most trivial improvement, the building was pronounced perfect, and formally declared open on Saturday, the seventh of February, 1891, with the following simple ceremonies:

At two o'clock P.M., the building, with all its departments, was opened to the public; at three o'clock, the PROVOST, Mr. C. C. HARRISON (Chairman of the Finance Committee), Bishop WHITAKER, Mr. TALCOTT WILLIAMS, Mr. KEEN (Librarian), and Mr. HORACE HOWARD FURNESS (Chairman of the Library Committee), ascended a low platform in the southeast corner of the Main Hall. The Provost at once introduced Mr. FURNESS, who spoke as follows:

It is my pleasant duty, here and now, to resign the office held for so many months, and, as a representative of the Library and of the Building Committees, to hand over to you, Mr. Provost, for public dedication, this spacious Library, the result, on our part, of earnest thought.

It is hardly necessary that I should enter with any minuteness into the dry details of our stewardship-you have our vouchers all around you; but let me merely refer to some details wherein we think we have a right to take pride.

Let me premise, however, that at the very outset of our task in devising plans for the future building we were deeply impressed with the necessity of such a mastery of all the details of library management as only a librarian could know, and we therefore invoked the aid of those eminent librarians, Mr. JUSTIN WINSOR, of Harvard College, and Mr. MELVIL DEWEY, then of Columbia College, to both of whom be here publicly tendered our most grateful thanks for their generous interest and for the unstinted gift to us of the fruits of their ripe experience. Thus instructed in all a library's needs, and aided by the thoughtful suggestions of our own excellent librarian, Mr. KEEN, our architect, whom it does not beseem me to praise, and who needs no praise of mine, proceeded at once to give to these needs a form and habitation; and you have the result before you, wherein every door and window, gallery and alcove are placed and devised with sole reference to the one dominant idea of a LIBRARY -a library to be freely and commodiously used by the public, by the professors and by the students, and as indestructible withal as elemental clay and iron and glass can make any structure reared by mortal hands.

Here, in this spacious, lofty Reading Room, on the side opposite the generous, hospitable fire-place, we have the multitudinous drawers, containing the Card Catalogue, free to the examination of all. (In this Catalogue, let me add in parenthesis, we have adopted "the Dewey System.") Behind the long countters containing these drawers, and secluded by curtains, the never-ending work of cataloguing is carried on, and, since the cataloguers have immediate access to these drawers (the drawers can be opened on their side as well as on the side of the public), there is in this the simple and excellent arrangement a great economy of time and of labor. At the head of this room stands the desk where books are asked for, given out, and returned. Inasmuch as all these needs involve more or less noise, this Reading Room is divided at its lower half by two arches, beyond which absolute silence reigns, or is supposed to reign. But how is it possible that the process of intellectual mastication by voracious students is to be performed without noise? The champing of intellectual teeth and the smacking of intellectual lips over tidbits of knowledge must accompany a healthy hunger for learning, and both of these processes involve noise. This, I am confident, is the interpretation of Horace's" soft whisperings from the corner," the lentus susurrus ab angulo. Is it not always heard where our students congregate to study? Around the lower silent semicircle are ranged the alcoves, six in number, each capable of holding over two thousand books, and behind whose heavy curtains the solitary student may be as secluded as though he were in a rock-hewn cell of the Valley of Engedi; or, for the alcoves are spacious enough, a professor may therein study with a special class of ten or a dozen pupils; or, again, each alcove may be dedicated to some special branch, and bear the name of, a benefactor of the Library. In the upper portion of the Reading Room is the Librarian's Room, through whose glazed partitions the occupant can overlook all departments. Around the wall, as you perceive, there is many a bracket, on which can be placed the vera effigies of future benefactors. I call attention to them merely that you may see that the opportunity for immortality is now thrown open to you all. Moreover, even the light that enters is put under contribution. On the glass of every window you see wise saws and apothegms from THE SEVEN, WISE MEN of Greece, from LUCRETIUS, from VERGIL, from BACON, from DANIELL, from WORDSWORTH and from SHAKESPEARE. These texts are not thus strewn around to teach the rustic moralist to die, but to teach the learned scholar how to live.

What we have thus far seen is good-very good-but the best is yet to note; it is where the books themselves are stored, or, to use a name coined by Mr. WINSOR, and now generally adopted, the "book-stack." Here, in our book-stack, the problem has been triumphantly solved of the greatest possible light, of an equable temperature, and of absolute indestructibility. Its indestructibility is assured in that it is built entirely of bricks, iron and glass. Nothing but a cataclysm that will turn Earth's base to stubble can harm it or its contents. Its glass roof catches every ray of Heaven's light, and pours it into every nook and corner. There is not a crevice of that book-stack wherein the smallest type may not be read as easily as anywhere. There is room in it, in its present state, for about 300,000 books, and when this number is stored there, a consummation from present indications not so very far off, the rear wall can be taken down and the stack indefinitely prolonged. No pent-up bookstack need contract our powers ; the whole boundless "campus " here is ours. Thus there is provision for the present and prevision for the future, and our whole building may stand as a model of the happy employment of means to ends.

On that gray, chilly afternoon in October, when, surrounded by broken ground, rough scaffolding, and broad foundations, the venerable order of Free and Accepted Masons, with line, level, and square, laid the corner-stone of this building, your Committee promised that there should thence arise the best appointed library building in this Western World. To the eyes and intelligences of all present we here appeal and with proud humility ask if that promise be not now redeemed ? Si bibliothecam utillissimam venustissimamque requiris, circumspice! Here is the refuge for all authors of high or low degree; here they can be sure of at least a fraction of immortality, an immortality enduring, even though it be taciturn and, I am afraid it must be added, dusty. Time, the destroyer, is Learning's inexorable foe; here, in libraries, is the battle-ground where we fight to shun his wrack. In the long, long, long run he will prove the victor,

"And ruinate proud buildings with his hours,
And smear with dust their glittering, golden towers."

But as long as books survive in a building like this, our triumph is assured. Here all waste is stayed, and in no single alcove does oblivion hold a session. As we walk past these long arrays of cold, inanimate tomes, our steps may be gay with the sensible, warm motion of life, but the footsteps of the living will echo fainter and fainter, and generation after generation will pass by; but, as the old Geronimite said of pictures, these books will survive unchanged. They are the living;, we are the ghosts. In the atmosphere of a library our own insignificance is driven home, and, realizing what shadows we are and what shadows we pursue, we stand rebuked in the presence of books, even as when we display our own petty cares under the starlit sky of a summer's night.

These stores which our Fair Mother has garnered, and is still garnering within these massive walls, arc not alone for those who nestle at her side and under her protecting wings for four years only, but for all the inhabitants of this broad city, and this, too, in fulfillment of a pledge freely given to the City, that, in return for the gift to us of an adjoining piece of ground, we would build and maintain a Free Library of Reference, open to the whole community. We wish here and now to emphasize the fact that this pledge is thus redeemed. Hither all may freely come, and they shall share of our best. What that "best" is it is, perhaps, worth while to recount.

As this is a home gathering, surely a little boasting of our wealth in a home circle may be pardoned, and in thus reckoning up our gains among close friends and gossips, as we all are, it cannot be thought amiss if I am personal and mention names.

Among the earliest and most notable benefactors of our Library stands His Majesty Louis XVI of France who, in 1784, at the instance of the Count de Vergennes, presented over a hundred volumes on Literature, History, and Science. These books were evidently selected, with great nicety, to meet the intellectual needs of this community; so nicely and accurately, indeed, that they have been almost entirely assimilated and consumed-at least, this is the most natural way, I think, of accounting on the one hand for our intellectual eminence among the cities of the land, and, on the other, for the almost total disappearance of these royal books.

The combined libraries of STEPHEN COLWELL and HENRY C. CAREY form a collection of from 10,000 to 15,000 works on Political Economy, which is said to be the finest in the world, outside of the British Museum. Through the munificence of the founder of The Wharton School, we have now a fund of $25,000, whereof the income is devoted to the purchase of books in this department. It is likely, therefore, that this preeminence will continue to be ours.

In the possession of the library of the late Dr. LEUTSCH, Of Germany, combined with The ALLEN Library already on our shelves, we have a Classical Library of over 30,000 volumes, scarcely, if at all, surpassed in this hemisphere. Herein are contained complete sets of seventeen European journals and Yearbooks devoted to Classical Philology and Archaeology; more than 4,000 monographs on isolated topics; an almost endless wealth of editions of Homer, of Aristotle, Sophocles, Aeschylus and of dissertations on them, and of Cicero and of Horace; all the important publications on Classical Archaeology and a full list of works on Greek inscriptions, etc., etc., etc.

This splendid collection was secured for us by the self-sacrificing zeal and urgent ardor, in obtaining the needed funds, of one of our Professors whose invincible and ingrained modesty alone prevents us from naming it "The JACKSON Library." Despite his protests, however, we should still persist in thus christening it, did we not all know that in the love and veneration of his students he has a monument which may well make any man, even if he were proud, prouder.

Another extremely valuable library has been brought recently from Germany to these shelves, that of the late Professor Dr. POTT, widely known throughout Europe in the department of Philology; not unnaturally it is in this department that this collection of nigh 8,000 volumes is preeminently complete. It is, of course, also rich in works on the Origin of Language and for the study of problems connected with the origin and migrations of the Aryans. Also all the lexicons and grammars of the Indo-European languages, and the prominent works of reference thereto pertaining. There is here also a good collection of Sanskrit literature (including Max Muller's Rig-veda, with Ludwig's, and also Grassman's, translations); a large number of works on Dialects ; also complete sets of the Proceedings of the Academies of Berlin, of Munich, of St. Petersburg and of the French Academy of Inscriptions and Belles-Lettres.

This fine collection was obtained for us through the energy and enthusiasm of Professor McELROY, whose toil in our behalf we must now-how shall I say it ?-accept as a bequest. Alas! alas ! that there should be this unexpected gap in our great feast, and that the torch of learning which he so long, and bravely, and honorably held aloft should have to be now extinguished, and inverted beside a funeral urn.

In Arabic literature our Library is unquestionably the best to be found on this side of the Atlantic. We have all the important Occidental publications and many of the Oriental, a practically complete list of all Arabic grammars and dictionaries; a handsome edition of the Koran, and an especially rich collection of Arabic Poetry and Numismatics. Also an excellent collection of works on Semitic Epigraphy, including Phoenician, Palmyrene, Hebrew, and Aramaic inscriptions.

For this fine, choice collection, we are all of us indebted to the devotion of Professor Dr. JASTROW, the learned son of a learned father, and whose name, although so young in years, is old enough in fame to be known in two hemispheres.

Nor are modern languages neglected. The rare critical skill, refined taste, and wide reading of Professor Dr. SEIDENSTICKER have guided him in the selection of more than 4,000 volumes in German literature, purchased by funds freely given to him by generous friends.

We are not without hope that before long a valuable Dante Library will be added to our store, from the hand of one to whom we are already indebted for many Italian books. Indeed, the dearer a man loves his books-and what close friends they are to us, responsive to every mood, talkative when we would have them so, or silent, always sympathetic, our teachers, our guides, our companions, witnesses of our tears and heralds of our laughter-the dearer, I say, a man loves them, the more anxious is he to place them in this safest of all harbors, where, sheltered and embayed, they may outride every storm of fate, and as long as they have a leaf to flutter or a back to creak, they may go on making new friendships and scattering fresh blessings, and all the while bearing onward evermore the name and memory of their donor.

The Library of our Medical Department, already rich and bearing the honored name of STILLE~, has lately received a most valuable addition, the gift of his father's and of his own medical library, from the hands of one whose devotion to the interests of this University is unwearied, whose purse is always the first to open in response to her need and the last to shut, and whose heart and mind and strength are yielded without stint, to the duties of the high position Of PROVOST.

In the ten thousand volumes of ,The School of American History," we have, first, the only complete collection of the publications of the United States Government from its beginning to the present day, outside of the Congressional Library and the Boston Public Library; this department is known as The THOMAS COCHRAN Library. Secondly, a collection of State laws for all the States and Territories, rapidly approaching completion, and at present complete from 1840 to 1890. Thirdly, a collection of the Canada Sessional Papers, from 1842-1890, a complete legislative record of Canada during that period. Fourthly, the extremely valuable and solitary collection called ,,The JOHN ALEXANDER JAMESON Library of Constitutional Conventions." The Constitutional Convention is an American discovery in the science of government, and this Library, the sole one of its kind, is of the utmost interest to all students of American politics. And, lastly, a large and increasing miscellaneous collection of State Reports and Corporation Reports on an infinite variety of subjects, together with a large collection of anti-slavery literature of every kind. It is to the persistent, unwearied zeal and devotion of Professor MCMASTER and Professor THORPE that we owe this almost unrivaled collection.

Let me not forget to mention The SEYBERT Library of works on Modern Spiritualism and kindred subjects, Witchcraft, etc., which bids fair to be one of the very best to be found anywhere.

Also, the extremely valuable Library of Chinese and Japanese works, called The McCartee Library, after Dr. MCCARTEE, an alumnus, who, from the Antipodes, and after long years of separation, thus loyally and richly remembered his Alma Mater.

Although our Law Library has followed the Law Department to its rooms in the center of the city, and is not within this building, yet it is a part of The University Library and of The University equipment. It is well to recall that it is one which stands in the first rank, on account of its almost unrivaled collection of Law Reports. Rich as this Biddle Law Library is in books, it will be always rich in memory.

Young Lycidas is dead! dead before his prime,
Young Lycidas, and hath not left his peer."

While we are recalling those whose liberality and devotion to the best cause of learning are shown in the books within this building, we must never forget those to whom we owe the building itself. The list of donors to the Building Fund is to be carefully preserved among our records. If our gratitude is due to the donors, what words can express our thanks to him who assumed the task of presenting our needs to these donors after he had himself set a generous example. In ancient times, stones were made to move and forests to walk by the power of music; most unfortunately, in the lapse of ages, not only the instrument, but the 'Very tune itself has been irrecoverably lost. That, however, which has been hidden from our archaeologists has been revealed to the Chairman of our Finance Committee. These massive walls are visible witnesses that the lute of Amphion, at whose melody the walls of Thebes arose, has found here in Philadelphia not only a descendant, but a rival; the music which has built them is the eloquence of unwearied zeal, unflagging persistency, and unstinted liberality. More is his due than more than all can pay. We may say Amphion, but we think of HARRISON.*

In thus recounting our wealth and gloating over it, I am afraid that, to be honest, we ought to reveal our poverty; while we are flaunting our jewels we cannot hush, I fear, the fluttering of our rags. In our own English literature-the noblest, broadest, grandest and most brilliant that the world has ever seen since the days of Greece-in this dear literature, with all its wealth of poetry and prose, we are shivering beggars, with the only consolation that our beggars' whine can be re-echoed from many and many a library on this continent. But hope, we know, springs eternal in the human breast, and within the last few weeks a dazzling vision has been flickering before us, held out by a family whose liberality to this University comes to them by descent. Should this dream prove true, our reproach among libraries will be converted into envy, and in this department of The University a fresh cause of gratitude be added to a name already most gratefully remembered in other departments. (*e Veterinary Department received an early, munificent donation of ten thousand dollars from the late J. P. LIPPINCOTT.)

But I must close and relegate to another occasion and to other tongues the revelation to you of the treasures other than printed books, which this fair and capacious building holds ; of the imperishable clay records (far more enduring than ours on paper) from Babylonia; of the Egyptian hieroglyphics; of the pathetic searchings after a higher life by the aborigines of this continent, and of the sermons in stones and rare gems.

With such mindful friends abroad and such zealous laborers at home among our Professors and generous friends of The University, and with this beautiful building, our hopes for the future may well be roseate. In this Library which, finished and furnished, I here and now, Mr. Provost, with this key, deliver into your hands, we may, by no overwrought imagination, discern the center of ever widening and enduring culture, elevating, refining, cleansing, blessing.

The PROVOST replied:--

On behalf of the Board of Trustees of The University of Pennsylvania, I accept with deep thankfulness this structure and its contents as transferred by the Building Committee to the corporation. The manner of its construction, its advantages, and the important part it is destined to play in the future life of the University and of the community have been clearly set forth. The completion of the building marks a stage in the execution of an important contract between The University and the city as well as a step toward the realization of an ideal long cherished for this University. Three years ago application was made to the city for a small piece of land at Woodland Avenue and Thirty-sixth Street, coupled with the conditions that a suitable building should be constructed on The University grounds, and be maintained as a free library for the entire community. The ground was ceded, and to-day the first part of the obligation assumed is discharged. What you have heard from the chairman of the Library Committee, and what you here see around you, attest the fidelity with which this has been done.

But the weightiest portion of the obligation remains to be fulfilled. It is intended that this Library shall be no less important an element in the intellectual life of the community than in that of The University. Not only are its doors to be freely open every day to all, but it is resolved that the Library shall be a free one in the stricter sense that its books shall be loaned without charge to all responsible readers. A heavy load is thus assumed, but the means to support it will be forthcoming. The animating spirit which has inspired the Board of Trustees to build upon these broad foundations is that of rendering The University the intellectual center of this community and of this Commonwealth.

What we see here to-day is, indeed, impressive. The genius of the architect has wrought into this admirable form the complex needs of a great library. This we can see and cannot fail to praise. But to one who spends hours here on any day the evidence comes that already there are unseen forces radiating from this building and spreading in many directions. Learned scholars in many places are testifying their interest by aiding us in the formation of splendid collections of works on many subjects. The space temporarily assigned to the various museums is overflowing with the treasures accumulated in the course of a few months.

What is exhibited to-day gives earnest of the rich display that will be presented next fall at the formal opening of the Archaeological Museums. In one suite of rooms is being arranged the unrivaled collection of glyptic art acquired by the life-long devotion and scientific labors of the distinguished MAXWELL SOMMERVILLE. In other apartments will be arranged the results of our -own excavations in distant Babylonia, and of those in which we share with the Egyptian Exploration Fund. The great field of American archaeology is close before us, and we shall reap a rich harvest of scientific and artistic treasures.

Around these great collections already center important associations, which invite the co-operation of all interested in the development and extension of science, of art and of literature. The pulses of the life which will beat full and steady in these chambers of learning will spread far and wide, and will carry strength and healing in their course. As an evidence of the fidelity and liberality with which The University of Pennsylvania aims to discharge the many and weighty obligations deliberately assumed; as a symbol of the large and free spirit which it is hoped will always animate this institution; as -an allimportant accession to the intellectual resources of The University and of the community, we accept this noble Library, and declare it made over and dedicated from this time forward to the free use of our students and our fellow-citizens.

I take pleasure in introducing to you Mr. TALCOTT WILLIAMS.

Mr. Williams then spoke as follows on


For the first and for the last time the voices of men are heard in this place, dedicated to the more eloquent silence of books. Nowhere is man more and men less than in the library. In the presence of books, individual learning pales. The scholar dies ; the library lives. Yet only in part. In this bookish age, we fondly impute immortality to books. Nothing could be more false. Few books have the power of an endless life. Against these books of power stand a great multitude of books of use, which perish with the using. The vast mass of books, like the thoughts in our daily lives, sink into the background of the recollection of the race and furnish the soil from which fresh growths spring. Few there are who have written books. of power. Not a score in all. Poets for the most part. High priests forever, after the order of humanity, whose message of flame burns from age to age in the great tree of human existence, consuming and unconsumed. These books of power, which live that humanity may not die, and books of use, which die that other books may live, divide literature between them. They constitute the warp and woof out of which the University weaves the higher education.

In its last analysis a liberal training is the mastery of books of use and a glad yielding to the nastery of books of power. Controversy over the classics, wrangling over Greek, vain jangling over required and elective courses-these are details. Direct contact between the growing minds of each generation and the great minds of the race-this is essential. We smile at the space given Confucius in Chinese education; the Koran in Mohammedan schools; but this is only a perversion of the sound instinct which everywhere puts the young to school to the teachers of the race. Unless your education does this, it stands where the electric telegraph did before its wires were grounded -its batteries and instruments, its poles and wires useless until they were in direct contact with the elemental source of electric energy in the earth itself. So-called and miscalled practical systems of education, real-schulen, which omit these eternal realities of the race, find when they have stuffed their pupils with the facts of the day that they are still insulated from the thinkers of all time.

Fortunately for us and for our education, these books of power exist in more than one language and are accessible through more than one channel of learning. Thanks to our matchless translation of the Bible, one incomparable group of books of power is taught in every Sunday-school, but I doubt whether this will always be held a sufficient reason for neglecting their study in every university. Greek holds another group. But it is a pitiful pedant's plea to urge their study because Greek is difficult. It is not because Greek is Greek, but because Homer is Homer that Chapman "spake out loud and bold " of the solitary text-book which has held its own for 2,500 years. and links, as may it forever link, this University with the schools of Athens.

Yet still your Homer, living, lasting, reigning,
And proves how truth builds in poet's feigning."

It is because these books of power hold the truth that makes men free, waking thoughts that perish never, that they live when the tongues in which they speak are dead. Books of power which transmit the spiritual life of the race keep the self-same spirit through all the transmigrations of speech. The scriptures of the race, no less than the scriptures of religion, enjoy a pentecostal gift of tongues, and are heard by every man in his own language. Where such books are, few in number, which a shelf or two will hold, there is a liberal education, and no elective course which permits their exclusion offers intellectual salvation.

Some such books every race, as it reached the full stature of universal humanity, has found in its own literature, as our own English-speaking race, well-nigh within this generation, has discovered in adding Shakespeare to our general schooling. By the production of such books of power nations are justly measured. This is the wisdom which keepeth a city from destruction. The ship of State, however weighted with worldly wealth, slides a trackless keel through the waters of history unless some poet wings its course with "I the proud, full sail of his great verse." We have all heard to-day from one whose life-long devotion to one such book of power has raised him to the foremost rank of scholarship--

Weave a circle round him thrice
And close your eyes with holy dread,
For he on honey-dew hath fed
And drunk the milk of Paradise."

The study of such books is possible without any aid or apparatus whatever; so near is the diviner life of letters to every one of us. But the first office which a library discharges in a university is in providing the limitless and manifold interpretation which the ages have builded about these great books of power. Better than all other books, as are books of power, when read without study, they are infinitely bettered by all study. The literature of interpretation is only second in value to the literature of inspiration. The study even of books of power tends to become scholastic, narrow, provincial, letterwise, and spiritually dead unless it is quickened and corrected by the fruits of the entire field of critical science.

For lack of this, more than one sacred book has met a fate which makes one feel, as well kill a book as give it a good name. Even in the teaching of books of power-which of all teaching needs but a soul and the book to awake eternity-the scholar is saved from himself by the library. He learns that with all the inspired prophets of the race no scripture is of private interpretation, that only time unlocks the meaning of these deeper oracles of humanity, because they spake not of themselves, but for the spirit of man. Nor need we fear that they will be smothered by their interpretation. The mountains bear easily the weight of forest they uprear, and at the last and highest no tree ascends above the snow-line of eternal thought.

But such ascents are as little the normal work of the university as of the road-builder. Its course lies chiefly along the broad highways of learning. Not books of power, but books of use, which sum first general, and then special and professional knowledge, occupy the greater portion of its time, just as the most saintly of mortals devotes more of his days to earning his living than to saving his soul.

If the study of books of power is rendered more valuable by the library, the adequate teaching of books of use without one is impossible. Every text-book is a compromise between what is known and what can be taught. Two classes, I know-the publishers and the public-cherish the belief that there are textbooks which sum current knowledge on this subject and that, but there are none. Every text-book is out of date the day after it goes to the printer, and the day before it gave not visible knowledge but the view of visible knowledge then in teaching vogue. It measures the advancing tides of learning by a gauge itself incessantly changing. We love to speak of authorities and standards. We delude ourselves. The whole field of letters and of learning is in a perpetual flux, whose only complete record is the library. We know that in science discovery succeeds discovery. There is nothing certain about a scientific book except that it will be wrong in five or ten years. Only now and then does some lawgiver in science, some Newton or Darwin, descend the mount of discovery, bearing eternal and lasting laws of nature, writ by Nature's God. But in literature we dream of permanent reputation. Here, too, Every century gives the last the lie." All the lesser priests of letters stand at shrines like that of Nemi and the Golden Bough--

"Beneath Aricia's trees
Where the ghastly priest doth reign,
The priest who slew the slayer
And shall himself be slain."

Every new book enters the arena about to die. The friendly verdict but defers fate; it does not avert it. The lesser criticism of letters must be done anew for every crop of readers, and in fifteen or twenty years most essays are left behind. The procession of novels passes almost as rapidly. Few are read for thirty years; no English novels have held a popular place for past half a century, and a decade before the centenary of Waverley it begins to be whispered that Scott is no longer read by the young. Every generation must have its own translations of the classics or reprints those which have been forgotten. Morals, philosophy and religion must be rewritten for it. Even histories, which linger a little longer on the stage than all the rest, yield to inexorable change. It is barely a century since Gibbon launched his mighty fleet, freighted with the fall of empire. It has long ridden the seas, but I think we are all well aware that its masts are already low on the horizon. No one author, no one work, can longer satisfy the world for the story of ten centuries of the race.

For most of us these changes do not exist. Unconsciously we go on down the stream with the favorites of our youth and forget that both are growing old together. Yet if literature is to be taught as it is and not as it seems, to take one pregnant illustration true of all studies, teacher and taught must have instant and vital access to that great body of books to which in every subject a text-book is but a rude and makeshift guide. The present can only be understood by the past, and both are needed to prophecy of the future. When this library has been enlarged to the utmost bounds of our anticipation it will still have its limits to the specialist-joints in its armor of learning. Even at the British Museum I was told and discovered that no man is long at work without wanting some book with which it is unprovided.

But if teaching requires this great array, much more does the wider work of the college professor. To look upon him as set only to teach, to hear recitations, is as narrow and barren a view of his work as to think of the farmer as only occupied in feeding his calves. If a university is to be a teaching body, in the highest sense, it must cultivate knowledge as well as pupils. Its professors must do more than harvest the learning and teach the discoveries of others. They must produce and discover. The spirit of genius bloweth where it listeth, but those books of use which play their part in giving each generation its critical standards, its histories and the results of research, are born only in full libraries. If a university is deficient in these, the lack is apt to be in that laboratory of learning, its library. Unless a university is producing them it is teaching only its matriculates when it ought to be teaching the public.

Much may be done, much accomplished, in the university without the library. Professional schools may multiply and grow, for in these men of professional learning supply the lack of books. It is even possible to carry on much research and produce valuable results along any narrow rising line of discovery in some science, which, like the coral reef, has but its growing edge alive, and for the rest is dead and under water. But if a university is to fill the whole round and play its true part in society, it must enjoy, employ and extend the organized memory of man as represented in a great library.

As the chief value of this lies, not in any view of its mere bulk and size, but in its relation to the recollection of the race, so the work of the university pivots on its ability to make vital the study of books of power, without which all learning and letters and science are but a vain show. Better, a thousand times better, the solitary study which brings men face to face with the spirit of man in these great monuments than any university study which dwarfs to routine or degrades to rote these great works.

For the object of all our study is not knowledge, but wisdom, and we move but to dwindling ends if we search out all the secrets of matter and forget the secrets of the spirit. The great round of studies which make up the university, its libraries and laboratories, the accumulation of the past and the discovery of the future-these are each and all but the scaffolding by which the race rises to those conceptions of the Divine and the spiritual uttered and summed in its books of power. Listening to their teaching we may even learn that the ascent of man is more important than his descent, his future of more consequence than his origin-that it is his ,birth," and not his death, which "is a sleep and a forgetting."

But books of use or books of power, the indiscriminate eulogy of books and reading, has ceased to be possible even at the opening of a building dedicated to both. Their criticism has begun. Books are no longer the unique property of the scholar. We all buy books. Most of us read them. Many of you in this academic audience write them. The use of books is the one side of learning on which we all claim an opinion. Yet owned, read, written, or wholly laid aside in a busy life, the use of books, which each of us knows, is individual and personal.

Standing to-day in the home of a collection which we trust is to be one of the larger libraries of learning, landmark, and lighthouse at once, recording the past and lighting the pathless future, this individual and personal use is inevitably before us, cramping and limiting our conception of the relations, the aims, and the ends of a great library. Its very beginnings about us raise a doubt as to the wisdom of these endless accumulations of print. The peril of the mere aggregate was, perhaps, never plainer than in these days, when the great glacier of democracy slides on, making high places low and low high-one would be glad to believe, preparing the pathway of a new lordship of learning, but one is fain to fear making easy the track and broad the road for an evil over-lordship of mediocrity in learning and in literature. Our own democracy, we are assured, has ceased to read anything but fiction, and demands this, not bookmeal but piecemeal, in monthly, weekly or even daily doses.

The vast book-stack of the modern library, in which volumes lose their individuality as completely as urns in a columbarium, and like them but too often hold naught but dead and forgotten dust, is far removed from the still air of delightful studies which we associate with our own loved libraries. "I seldom go there," says Emerson of the university library he used, "without renewing my conviction that the best of it all is already within the four walls of my study at home." The ablest of American editors recently urged in the most brilliant of American newspapers that the Library of Congress should be reduced to a sound working collection Of 50,000 volumes, and the rest of its treasures dissipated or stored. I have myself heard the suggestion in regard to this library, and from one of academic connection, that its future usefulness would be increased if its future bulk were restricted. Whether we listen to the philosopher, the editor, or the university trustee; whatever fanned and winnowed opinions we apply to the great threshing-floor on whose round the feet of the ages slowly tread out the wheat from the chaff in the garnered harvest of human thought, the remnant will be small-measured by high thought or narrow utility. The mere mass of our libraries already overtaxes our utmost ability to classify, to catalogue, and to administer. As we watch their bulk grow, on whichever side of the great altar of learning we worship, our fears increase that these heaped offerings will stifle the sacred fire. This weighty weapon of letters forged by generations, this mighty armor and panoply of learning on whose myriad rivets so many hammers have rung, has outgrown the individual, and we begin to doubt its ultimate value to society.

Thus men ever err in their early thought on the new duties and fresh responsibilities created for men by associate man. In the field of organized life, the whole is always greater than the sum of its parts. The body is more than an aggregate of cells. The soul wiser than all its faculties. A nation more puissant than any census of its citizens. Man more than men. The secret of this supremacy over the sterile synthesis of sense, the root and germ of this mastery over the mere mechanics of life, and the bald and barren arithmetic of existence lie in the capacity to know the present and to remember the past-in consciousness, out of which conscience grows; and in memory, Mnemosyne, mother of all the Muses and parent of all learning. Rightly in all history do we measure the value of every human society to Humanity by its power to awake to its own existence and to be aware of its own past. This is the mystery

"-in the soul of State
Which hath an operation more divine
Than breath or pen can give expression to-"

This exalts the microscopic municipalities of Greece. This abases the dumb millions of Asia. Our own articulate millions, deficient in much, have done most for the world, not by material development, but by demonstrating that 62,000,000 spread over a continent can enjoy a consciousness as constant, continuous and complete as the handful of citizens in the market-place of a Greek city, less in population than the ward in which we stand, smaller in area than the open spaces about this University.

This general capacity to think as one and remember as a whole differences modern societies from all the past, save that of Greece. This has brought the awakening of nations in this century, a mightier resurrection with power than the awakening of men in the sixteenth century. With the future awakening of man the work will be complete. Until it is, national consciousness and national memory, creating conscious national life, are the determining conditions of human progress. The problem which Greece solved by making its communities small the modern world triumphantly meets by making them large and live. It secures this through the newspaper, the print of the present which sets at one in consciousness vast masses of men set apart in space. For generations separated in time, the library, the print of the past, preserves for society the sacred oracles of memory. Misunderstood, misappreciated, placed in opposition, treated as antagonists, the editor assuring us that the newspaper has superseded the printed book, the librarian hesitating to cumber his shelves with the fugitive issues of the newspaper, these twin and vital organs in society still supplement and correlate each other.

The newspaper is the library of the moment, the library is the newspaper of all time. We open a newspaper to learn what we are as a nation. We enter a library to learn what we were. The revelations of neither are altogether satisfactory. We object to the library because it does not tell enough of the past. Too often, we object to the newspaper because it tells too much of the present. The faults and shortcomings of the past, however plainly told, rouse no unpleasant sense of responsibility. In our own individual experience we have each of us had our private and personal quarrel with consciousness and memory for setting in too clear a light the sins and duties, the lacks and demands of the past And passing day. The revelation is no pleasanter when consciousness, memory, and responsibility are social and national. Yet it is only by accepting both a complete social consciousness and a complete social memory that a society can be created whose ultimate end is the highest development of each of its individuals, whose service is the highest duty of all its members. The lavish margin of error in the newspaper too often leads us by some slain truth to ask with the soldier at Philippi--

Why dost thou show to the apt thoughts of men
The things that are not?"

But, like Cassius, the truth is self-slain and dies among its friends. The newspaper is oftener challenged for telling what is unpleasant than for recording what is untrue. The refined and cultured soul, which objects to the newspaper because it reeks with the ill news of society, for whose ills no man can avoid his just share of responsibility, but imitates the Pharaoh, who slew the messengers of evil and sank in willful ignorance to an ignoble grave.

The nation which lives by the newspaper will lose touch with the past. The nation which lives in the library will want knowledge of the present. We know all too much as Americans of the peril of thinking by newspaper. German thought has run in the seclusive channel of the academic library to the lack and loss of civic consciousness. Germany was the last of modern States to act as a people. We were the first. This balance and connection between the newspaper and the library, news and liberal letters, the reporter and the professor, cut up by the roots the frequent conception of the library as a place occult, withheld, untrod; shut apart from practical ends, the grant of society to the scholar-useful to letters, useless to life. This "idol of the market-place" falls to pieces fronted by the facts of social structure. As well might the brain be held silent, the voice of memory dumb, the light of consciousness darkness by the side of the brute mechanical forces of the body. Silence, seclusion, separation from the active life of society, these may be for the exchange and the market-place, the railroad and the factory, vast, dumb mechanic processes which perish in producing, but not for the library-not here, not here. These walls ring with war. They sound with the conflicts of the race. Here rather than in any arsenal is heard

--"the infinite fierce chorus,
The cries of agony, the endless groan,
Which, through the ages that have gone before us,
In long reverberations reach our own."

Long since have we known of books as the counselors and comforters of men. To us all they have been teachers, to each of us companions. That great majority, greater in wisdom no less than in number, in which by the iron decrees of fate so many are called and so few are chosen to lasting immortality, holds all of whom living the world was not worthy, but of whom dead it slowly seeks to be. Here and here alone, in all shapes and forms, we build the sepulchers of the prophets whom our fathers crucified, and here, doubtless, our children will build the sepulchers of those who in our day are despised and afflicted of men for the truth's sake. In joy and in grief, in life and in death, some book supports, sustains and soothes each of us, and in this library the very light has been trained to teach us at every window and door that we enter it to pass within the presence of the mighty dead, to enjoy the companionship of that great company whom no man can number of wise men made perfect by time.

But to the seeing eye and the hearing ear, awake and attent to all that a library is, not for men but for man, not for individuals but for the race, a greater than Solomon is here, and a mightier shape fills these balls and looks down from these shelves than all the trooped and illustrious dead. These books, shelf on shelf, these volumes, which fit subject by subject into the storied arch of human knowledge, resting on one side on metaphysics and on the other on history, the science of mind and the science of man, sum existent human memory.

The complete library would round and fill the record of the race. At best, we have but a beggarly fragment. If a single copy of each of the 13,000,000 volumes, which have dropped from the press in 450 years, were by some glad miracle multiplying knowledge gathered in one place, human memory would be an unbroken stretch for this short span of its long stay on the globe. Of 13,000,000 but 1,000,000 rest in the largest library on earth in Bloomsbury Square, and not a half are gathered in all known libraries. But such as it is, large or small, complete or incomplete, a great library to its capacity gives, as this has begun to do, the only measure we have of the recollection of the race. Here we stand face to face not with men or nations, races or peoples, but with Man.

Blindly our humanity still struggles to shape its thought, dumb, inarticulate, unconscious, travailing in darkness and laboring in pain, century by century, and generation by generation, in its slow pilgrimage toward the consciousness and consecration before it. The thunder of its power who shall know? Who shall sound its depths or scale its heights? Who shall know it in all its compass and round, measure the confines thereof or prophesy its far, final coming? These are all hid in the inscrutable decrees of God from the sight of men; but here, here and in places like this, there rises before us, like an exhalation of the past, in these volumes, in this library, the majestic and visible Memory of Man.

Rightly here, as in that larger treasure-house in London, have we gathered museum and library under the same roof. These shapeless fragments worked by the early cunning of savage man, these inscribed marbles and sculptured slabs, these tablets and relics of another and a distant life, these all, each in its place, play their part in the recorded memory of the race. Out of every fragment, from every book shines this Ancient of Days, who before Abraham was and after us shall be. Who and what are we, creatures of a day, toilers of an hour, to be measuring by our experience the metes and bounds in the manifestations of this mighty memory? Rather let our labor be given to render complete and to transmit unbroken our share in this great heritage by preserving the universal printed record of the life about us.

The librarian, falling far short of the honor and amplitude of his office, standing between the living past and the slowly dying life of the present, now and then apologizes for saving every empty volume, because none but prescient omniscience can tell which of 10,000 titles will be demanded by some solitary reader a century hence. How petty the plea, how narrow the argument, how infinitesimal the claims of this distant reader who, after all, may never appear! But how simple, how sufficient, how adequate becomes the reason for the preservation of every volume when we remember that it, too, is a part of this vast image of human memory seated by the slow River of Time, more vocal than that of Memnon, older and younger, and with every fresh sunburst of genius breaking into fresh song.

In high reason has our own Historical Society gathered every volume which fell in this State and city from the press of the last century. Only thus can this span of human memory be set forth without a single forgetful flaw. If the like effort is made here to fill a like responsibility for the passing moment to the future, it is possible that the Historical Society of another century will not find it necessary to pay $700 for an almanac which might once have been had for a penny; and yet how grievous is the gap in the continuous and social memory of this our city if the solitary copy left of Bradford's Almanac, the first product of our press, had not found a secure resting-place!

A great library, therefore, does not merely transmit the memory of the past, it is daily providing memory for the future, safe, preserved "against the wreckful siege of battering days." For the individual no worse hap can fall than loss of memory. All other powers may remain. This lost, all are worthless. Stripped of memory, the soul has no future and no past, naught save an infructuose Now. Nor less the race. The destruction of the Alexandrian Library, whether with Abulfaraj we attribute it to the intelligent Moslem, or with Gibbon to the ignorant monk, was not the loss of so many books and parchments. It was the paralysis of a great lobe of human memory. Fatal lesion had fallen on the localized organ of recollection in the brain of humanity. If we had the 200 plays of Aeschylus, the 160 of Sophocles, the lost books of Livy, the missing annals of Tacitus, which this library held, the stature of these writers would not be increased. Like the greater peaks of every chain they already rise as they recede. It is only the foot-hills which need bulk.

These, and lost books like them, would fill for us the full measures of classic memory. As library after library perished and book after book shared the fate of those gathered by Ptolemy, the wreck and loss of human memory went on. The ages that we call dark lacked not in men of action. Those ages of faith had their men of thought matching any before or after. They laid for us the foundations of a civil liberty more indestructible than that of Rome. The piers of that great arch of law along which our rights daily travel in safety were built by them. Their architecture and their sculpture equal any. Their knowledge of the earth, as a whole, was immeasurably in advance of classic conception. They furnished in Dante one of the two or three poets for all time, and in the Roman Church they gave the race a creation and conception of whose future it would be a rash man who ventured to say that it was destined to be less than its past, imperial as its history has been. These ages were dark, not from lack of light and of leading, but from lack of memory. The ages had lost touch of the elbow in their march through the dark defile of time. The Renaissance was less the revival of human knowledge than the recovery of human memory. Age was joined again to age in the unbroken sequence of continuous recollection, and Greece laid her hands to transmit an Apostolic succession of memory on the bowed and studious head of the modern world.

To play its part in transmitting and preserving human memory, this library is to-day opened and dedicated. Our Library Committee, and you, sir, its head, who have shown us that whole libraries of comment may be condensed into a volume by your magic alembic, providing for criticism a new instrument of precision akin to the measurements and the analysis of the exact sciences-you, sir, in the loving care you have given this building, have not been providing a retreat for scholars; you have built and fashioned here another refuge and stronghold, fortified

Against confounding Age's cruel knife
That he shall never cut from memory."

The architect of this building has not wrought in mere brick and stone; he has added to those shrines and centers of human memory to which its treasures gravitate for their security and convenience. This University, in receiving this building from its Finance Committee, which provided its cost, and whose head first suggested its erection, is placed in a position where it can discharge not only the first duty of a university, to which it has always been true, of thinking for the community, but the second which is like unto it, of remembering for society.

After Mr. Williams had spoken, the Right Reverend BISHOP WHITAKER offered a prayer:


O God, the Son, Eternal Wisdom of the Father, who wast Thyself the Teacher of Thine Apostles and of the multitude of the Jews, visit, we beseech Thee, with Thy gracious favor, all places set apart for the pursuit of knowledge; especially do we commend unto Thee this University, in all its departments of instruction; grant unto all those who teach, and those who learn therein, a right understanding in all things, that they may so use the talents committed to their charge as to bring to Thee Thine own with increase, and, proving all things, may hold fast that which is good, laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.

O God, the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of life, quicken, we pray Thee, the perceptions of all who may seek here to perfect themselves in knowledge. Enable them to distinguish between the changing systems of men and the eternal truth, as Thou hast revealed it in Him who is the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. Enlighten their minds more and more with the light of the everlasting Gospel ; graft on their hearts a love of the truth, and lead them by Thine unerring wisdom, in the paths of righteousness and peace.

O God, the Father of Lights, and Source of all Knowledge, from whom cometh every good and perfect gift, we give Thee thanks, as for all Thy other benefits, so especially for this Library. May Thy blessing rest upon those by whose liberal gifts it has been builded and furnished, and may there be no lack of willing hearts and hands to do all that may be needed for the full accomplishment of its purpose; may its blessings be enjoyed by many, and continued to the generations that are to come; may it be a well-spring of light and truth to the students of this institution and to the people of this city. May their eyes thereby be enlightened unto counsel and knowledge, and may they show forth that which they shall have learned, for the welfare of the State and Nation, and for the advancement of Thy Kingdom upon the earth. All which we ask in the Name of Jesus Christ our Lord, who taught us, when we pray, to say: Our Father, who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy Name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy Will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil; for Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

The Lord bless us and keep us; the Lord make His Face to shine upon us, and be gracious unto us; the Lord lift up His countenance upon us, and give us peace, both now and evermore. Amen.

Also, see the Floorplans of the library as printed in this publication.

Last update: Wednesday, 02-Apr-2003 08:54:44 EST
Send mail concerning this page to: