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Title: A Book for All Readers - An Aid to the Collection, Use, and Preservation of Books - and the Formation of Public and Private Libraries
Author: Spofford, Ainsworth Rand
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A Book for All Readers - An Aid to the Collection, Use, and Preservation of Books - and the Formation of Public and Private Libraries" ***















Chapter                                               Page
 1. THE CHOICE OF BOOKS,                                 3
 2. BOOK BUYING,                                        33
 3. THE ART OF BOOK BINDING,                            50
 5. THE ENEMIES OF BOOKS,                              101
 7. PAMPHLET LITERATURE,                               145
 8. PERIODICAL LITERATURE,                             157
 9. THE ART OF READING,                                171
10. AIDS TO READERS,                                   190
11. ACCESS TO LIBRARY SHELVES,                         215
12. THE FACULTY OF MEMORY,                             226
13. QUALIFICATIONS OF LIBRARIANS,                      242
14. SOME OF THE USES OF LIBRARIES,                     275
15. THE HISTORY OF LIBRARIES,                          287
17. LIBRARY MANAGERS OR TRUSTEES,                      333
18. LIBRARY REGULATIONS,                               341
19. LIBRARY REPORTS AND ADVERTISING,                   349
20. THE FORMATION OF LIBRARIES,                        357
21. CLASSIFICATION,                                    362
22. CATALOGUES,                                        373
23. COPYRIGHT AND LIBRARIES,                           400
24. POETRY OF THE LIBRARY,                             417
25. HUMORS OF THE LIBRARY,                             430
26. RARE BOOKS,                                        444
27. BIBLIOGRAPHY,                                      459
    INDEX,                                             501




When we survey the really illimitable field of human knowledge, the vast
accumulation of works already printed, and the ever-increasing flood of
new books poured out by the modern press, the first feeling which is apt
to arise in the mind is one of dismay, if not of despair. We ask--who is
sufficient for these things? What life is long enough--what intellect
strong enough, to master even a tithe of the learning which all these
books contain? But the reflection comes to our aid that, after all, the
really important books bear but a small proportion to the mass. Most
books are but repetitions, in a different form, of what has already been
many times written and printed. The rarest of literary qualities is
originality. Most writers are mere echoes, and the greater part of
literature is the pouring out of one bottle into another. If you can get
hold of the few really best books, you can well afford to be ignorant of
all the rest. The reader who has mastered Kames's "Elements of
Criticism," need not spend his time over the multitudinous treatises upon
rhetoric. He who has read Plutarch's Lives thoroughly has before him a
gallery of heroes which will go farther to instruct him in the elements
of character than a whole library of modern biographies. The student of
the best plays of Shakespeare may save his time by letting other and
inferior dramatists alone. He whose imagination has been fed upon Homer,
Dante, Milton, Burns, and Tennyson, with a few of the world's
master-pieces in single poems like Gray's Elegy, may dispense with the
whole race of poetasters. Until you have read the best fictions of
Scott, Thackeray, Dickens, Hawthorne, George Eliot, and Victor Hugo, you
should not be hungry after the last new novel,--sure to be forgotten in a
year, while the former are perennial. The taste which is once formed upon
models such as have been named, will not be satisfied with the trashy
book, or the spasmodic school of writing.

What kind of books should form the predominant part in the selection of
our reading, is a question admitting of widely differing opinions. Rigid
utilitarians may hold that only books of fact, of history and science,
works crammed full of knowledge, should be encouraged. Others will plead
in behalf of lighter reading, or for a universal range. It must be
admitted that the most attractive reading to the mass of people is not
scientific or philosophical. But there are many very attractive books
outside the field of science, and outside the realm of fiction, books
capable of yielding pleasure as well as instruction. There are few books
that render a more substantial benefit to readers of any age than good
biographies. In them we find those personal experiences and adventures,
those traits of character, that environment of social and domestic life,
which form the chief interest in works of fiction. In fact, the novel, in
its best estate, is only biography amplified by imagination, and
enlivened by dialogue. And the novel is successful only when it succeeds
in depicting the most truly the scenes, circumstances, and characters of
real life. A well written biography, like that of Dr. Johnson, by
Boswell, Walter Scott, by Lockhart, or Charles Dickens, by Forster, gives
the reader an insight into the history of the times they lived in, the
social, political, and literary environment, and the impress of their
famous writings upon their contemporaries. In the autobiography of Dr.
Franklin, one of the most charming narratives ever written, we are taken
into the writer's confidence, sympathize with his early struggles,
mistakes, and successes, and learn how he made himself, from a poor boy
selling ballads on Boston streets, into a leader among men, whom two
worlds have delighted to honor. Another most interesting book of
biography is that of the brothers William and Robert Chambers, the famous
publishers of Edinburgh, who did more to diffuse useful knowledge, and to
educate the people, by their manifold cheap issues of improving and
entertaining literature, than was ever done by the British Useful
Knowledge Society itself.

The French nation has, of all others, the greatest genius for personal
memoirs, and the past two centuries are brought far more vividly before
us in these free-spoken and often amusing chronicles, than in all the
formal histories. Among the most readable of these (comparatively few
having been translated into English) are the Memoirs of Marmontel,
Rousseau, Madame Rémusat, Amiel, and Madame De Staël. The recently
published memoirs by Imbert de St. Amand, of court life in France in the
times of Marie Antoinette, Josephine, Marie Louise, and other periods,
while hastily written and not always accurate, are lively and

The English people fall far behind the French in biographic skill, and
many of their memoirs are as heavy and dull as the persons whom they
commemorate. But there are bright exceptions, in the lives of literary
men and women, and in some of those of noted public men in church and
state. Thus, there are few books more enjoyable than Sydney Smith's
Memoirs and Letters, or Greville's Journals covering the period including
George IV to Victoria, or the Life and Letters of Macaulay, or Mrs.
Gaskell's Charlotte Brontë, or the memoirs of Harriet Martineau, or
Boswell's Life of Dr. Johnson. Among the briefer biographies worthy of
special mention are the series of English Men of Letters, edited by John
Morley, and written by some of the best of contemporary British writers.
They embrace memoirs of Chaucer, Spenser, Bacon, Sidney, Milton, De Foe,
Swift, Sterne, Fielding, Locke, Dryden, Pope, Johnson, Gray, Addison,
Goldsmith, Burke, Hume, Gibbon, Bunyan, Bentley, Sheridan, Burns, Cowper,
Southey, Scott, Byron, Lamb, Coleridge, Keats, Shelley, Wordsworth, De
Quincey, Macaulay, Landor, Dickens, Thackeray, Hawthorne, and Carlyle.
These biographies, being quite compendious, and in the main very well
written, afford to busy readers a short-hand method of acquainting
themselves with most of the notable writers of Britain, their personal
characteristics, their relation to their contemporaries, and the quality
and influence of their works. Americans have not as yet illustrated the
field of biographic literature by many notably skilful examples. We are
especially deficient in good autobiographies, so that Dr. Franklin's
stands almost alone in singular merit in that class. We have an abundance
of lives of notable generals, professional men, and politicians, in which
indiscriminate eulogy and partisanship too often usurp the place of
actual facts, and the truth of history is distorted to glorify the merits
of the subject of the biography. The great success of General Grant's own
Memoirs, too, has led publishers to tempt many public men in military or
civil life, into the field of personal memoirs, not as yet with
distinguished success.

It were to be wished that more writers possessed of some literary skill,
who have borne a part in the wonderful drama involving men and events
enacted in this country during the century now drawing to a close, had
given us their sincere personal impressions in autobiographic form. Such
narratives, in proportion as they are truthful, are far more trustworthy
than history written long after the event by authors who were neither
observers nor participants in the scenes which they describe.

Among American biographies which will help the reader to gain a tolerably
wide acquaintance with the men and affairs of the past century in this
country, are the series of Lives of American Statesmen, of which thirty
volumes have been published. These include Washington, the Adamses,
Jefferson, Franklin, Hamilton, Jay, Madison, Marshall, Monroe, Henry,
Gallatin, Morris, Randolph, Jackson, Van Buren, Webster, Clay, Calhoun,
Cass, Benton, Seward, Lincoln, Chase, Stevens, and Sumner. While these
Memoirs are of very unequal merit, they are sufficiently instructive to
be valuable to all students of our national history.

Another very useful series is that of American Men of Letters, edited by
Charles Dudley Warner, in fifteen volumes, which already includes
Franklin, Bryant, Cooper, Irving, Noah Webster, Simms, Poe, Emerson,
Ripley, Margaret Fuller, Willis, Thoreau, Taylor, and Curtis.

In the department of history, the best books for learners are not always
the most famous. Any mere synopsis of universal history is necessarily
dry reading, but for a constant help in reference, guiding one to the
best original sources, under each country, and with very readable
extracts from the best writers treating on each period, the late work of
J. N. Larned, "History for Ready Reference," five volumes, will be found
invaluable. Brewer's Historic Note Book, in a single volume, answers many
historic queries in a single glance at the alphabet. For the History of
the United States, either John Fiske's or Eggleston's is an excellent
compend, while for the fullest treatment, Bancroft's covers the period
from the discovery of America up to the adoption of the constitution in
1789, in a style at once full, classical, and picturesque. For
continuations, McMaster's History of the People of the United States
covers the period from 1789 to 1824, and is being continued. James
Schouler has written a History of the United States from 1789 to 1861, in
five volumes, while J. F. Rhodes ably covers the years 1850 to the Civil
War with a much more copious narrative.

For the annals of England, the Short History of England by J. R. Green is
a most excellent compend. For more elaborate works, the histories of Hume
and Macaulay bring the story of the British Empire down to about 1700.
For the more modern period, Lecky's History of England in the 18th
century is excellent, and for the present century, McCarthy's History of
Our Own Time, and Miss Martineau's History of England, 1815-52, are well
written works. French history is briefly treated in the Student's History
of France, while Guizot's complete History, in eight volumes, gives a
much fuller account, from the beginnings of France in the Roman period,
to the year 1848. Carlyle's French Revolution is a splendid picture of
that wonderful epoch, and Sloane's History of Napoleon gives very full
details of the later period.

For the history of Germany, Austria, Russia, France, Spain, Italy,
Holland, and other countries, the various works in the "Story of the
Nations" series, are excellent brief histories.

Motley's Rise of the Dutch Republic and his United Netherlands are highly
important and well written historical works.

The annals of the ancient world are elaborately and ably set forth in
Grote's History of Greece, Merivale's Rome, and Gibbon's Decline and Fall
of the Roman Empire.

Another class of books closely allied to biography and history, is the
correspondence of public men, and men of letters, with friends and
contemporaries. These familiar letters frequently give us views of
social, public, and professional life which are of absorbing interest.
Among the best letters of this class may be reckoned the correspondence
of Horace Walpole, Madame de Sévigné, the poets Gray and Cowper, Lord
Macaulay, Lord Byron, and Charles Dickens. Written for the most part with
unstudied ease and unreserve, they entertain the reader with constant
variety of incident and character, while at the same time they throw
innumerable side-lights upon the society and the history of the time.

Next, we may come to the master-pieces of the essay-writers. You will
often find that the best treatise on any subject is the briefest, because
the writer is put upon condensation and pointed statement, by the very
form and limitations of the essay, or the review or magazine article.
Book-writers are apt to be diffuse and episodical, having so extensive a
canvas to cover with their literary designs. Among the finest of the
essayists are Montaigne, Lord Bacon, Addison, Goldsmith, Macaulay, Sir
James Stephen, Cardinal Newman, De Quincey, Charles Lamb, Washington
Irving, Emerson, Froude, Lowell, and Oliver Wendell Holmes. You may spend
many a delightful hour in the perusal of any one of these authors.

We come now to poetry, which some people consider very unsubstantial
pabulum, but which forms one of the most precious and inspiring portions
of the literature of the world. In all ages, the true poet has exercised
an influence upon men's minds that is unsurpassed by that of any other
class of writers. And the reason is not far to seek. Poetry deals with
the highest thoughts, in the most expressive language. It gives utterance
to all the sentiments and passions of humanity in rhythmic and harmonious
verse. The poet's lines are remembered long after the finest compositions
of the writers of prose are forgotten. They fasten themselves in the
memory by the very flow and cadence of the verse, and they minister to
that sense of melody that dwells in every human brain. What the world
owes to its great poets can never be fully measured. But some faint idea
of it may be gained from the wondrous stimulus given through them to the
imaginative power, and from the fact that those sentiments of human
sympathy, justice, virtue, and freedom, which inspire the best poetry of
all nations, become sooner or later incarnated in their institutions.
This is the real significance of the oft-quoted saying of Andrew
Fletcher, that stout Scotch republican of two centuries ago, that if one
were permitted to make all the ballads of a nation, he need not care who
should make the laws.

In the best poetry, the felicity of its expressions of thought, joined
with their rhythmical form, makes it easy for the reader to lay up almost
unconsciously a store in the memory of the noblest poetic sentiments, to
comfort or to divert him in many a weary or troubled hour. Hence time is
well spent in reading over and over again the great poems of the world.
Far better and wiser is this, than to waste it upon the newest trash that
captivates the popular fancy, for the last will only tickle the
intellectual palate for an hour, or a day, and be then forgotten, while
the former will make one better and wiser for all time.

Nor need one seek to read the works of very many writers in order to fill
his mind with images of truth and beauty which will dwell with him
forever. The really great poets in the English tongue may be counted upon
the fingers. Shakespeare fitly heads the list--a world's classic,
unsurpassed for reach of imagination, variety of scenes and characters,
profound insight, ideal power, lofty eloquence, moral purpose, the most
moving pathos, alternating with the finest humor, and diction unequalled
for strength and beauty of expression. Milton, too, in his minor poems,
has given us some of the noblest verse in the language. There is poetry
enough in his L'Allegro and Il Penseroso to furnish forth a whole galaxy
of poets.

Spenser and Pope, Gray and Campbell, Goldsmith and Burns, Wordsworth and
the Brownings, Tennyson and Longfellow,--these are among the other
foremost names in the catalogue of poets which none can afford to
neglect. Add to these the best translations of Homer, Virgil, Horace,
Dante, and Goethe, and one need not want for intellectual company and
solace in youth or age.

Among the books which combine entertainment with information, the best
narratives of travellers and voyagers hold an eminent place. In them the
reader enlarges the bounds of his horizon, and travels in companionship
with his author all over the globe. While many, if not the most, of the
books of modern travellers are filled with petty incidents and personal
observations of no importance, there are some wonderfully good books of
this attractive class. Such are Kinglake's "Eothen, or traces of travel
in the East," Helen Hunt Jackson's "Bits of Travel," a volume of keen and
amusing sketches of German and French experiences, the books of De Amicus
on Holland, Constantinople, and Paris, those on England by Emerson,
Hawthorne, William Winter, and Richard Grant White, Curtis's Nile Notes,
Howell's "Venetian Life," and Taine's "Italy, Rome and Naples."

The wide domain of science can be but cursorily touched upon. Many
readers get so thorough a distaste for science in early life--mainly from
the fearfully and wonderfully dry text-books in which our schools and
colleges have abounded--that they never open a scientific book in later
years. This is a profound mistake, since no one can afford to remain
ignorant of the world in which we live, with its myriad wonders, its
inexhaustible beauties, and its unsolved problems. And there are now
works produced in every department of scientific research which give in a
popular and often in a fascinating style, the revelations of nature which
have come through the study and investigation of man. Such books are "The
Stars and the Earth," Kingsley's "Glaucus, or Wonders of the Shore,"
Clodd's "Story of Creation," (a clear account of the evolution theory)
Figuier's "Vegetable World," and Professor Langley's "New Astronomy."
There are wise specialists whose published labors have illuminated for
the uninformed reader every nook and province of the mysteries of
creation, from the wing of a beetle to the orbits of the planetary
worlds. There are few pursuits more fascinating than those that bring us
acquainted with the secrets of nature, whether dragged up from the depths
of the sea, or demonstrated in the substance and garniture of the green
earth, or wrung from the far-off worlds in the shining heavens.

A word only can be spared to the wide and attractive realm of fiction. In
this field, those are the best books which have longest kept their hold
upon the public mind. It is a wise plan to neglect the novels of the
year, and to read (or to re-read in many cases) the master-pieces which
have stood the test of time, and criticism, and changing fashions, by the
sure verdict of a call for continually new editions. Ouida and Trilby may
endure for a day, but Thackeray and Walter Scott are perennial. It is
better to read a fine old book through three times, than to read three
new books through once.

Of books more especially devoted to the history of literature, in times
ancient and modern, and in various nations, the name is legion. I count
up, of histories of English literature alone (leaving out the American)
no less than one hundred and thirty authors on this great field or some
portion of it. To know what ones of these to study, and what to leave
alone, would require critical judgment and time not at my command. I can
only suggest a few known by me to be good. For a succinct yet most
skilfully written summary of English writers, there is no book that can
compare with Stopford A. Brooke's Primer of English Literature. For more
full and detailed treatment, Taine's History of English Literature, or
Chambers' Cyclopaedia of English Literature, two volumes, with specimens
of the writers of every period, are the best. E. C. Stedman's Victorian
Poets is admirable, as is also his Poets of America. For a bird's eye
view of American authors and their works, C. F. Richardson's Primer of
American Literature can be studied to advantage, while for more full
reference to our authors, with specimens of each, Stedman's Library of
American Literature in eleven volumes, should be consulted. M. C. Tyler's
very interesting critical History of the Early American Literature, so
little known, comes down in its fourth volume only to the close of the
revolution in 1783.

For classical literature, the importance of a good general knowledge of
which can hardly be overrated, J. P. Mahaffy's History of Greek
Literature, two volumes, and G. A. Simcox's Latin Literature, two
volumes, may be commended. On the literature of modern languages, to
refer only to works written in English, Saintsbury's Primer of French
Literature is good, and R. Garnett's History of Italian Literature is
admirable (by the former Keeper of Printed Books in the British Museum
Library). Lublin's Primer of German Literature is excellent for a
condensed survey of the writers of Germany, while W. Scherer's History of
German Literature, two volumes, covers a far wider field. For Spanish
Literature in its full extent, there is no work at all equal to George
Ticknor's three volumes, but for a briefer history, H. B. Clark's
Hand-book of Spanish Literature, London, 1893, may be used.

I make no allusion here to the many works of reference in the form of
catalogues and bibliographical works, which may be hereafter noted. My
aim has been only to indicate the best and latest treatises covering the
leading literatures of the world, having no space for the Scandinavian,
Dutch, Portuguese, Russian, or any of the Slavonic or oriental tongues.

Those who find no time for studying the more extended works named, will
find much profit in devoting their hours to the articles in the
Encyclopaedia Britannica upon the literatures of the various countries.
These are within reach of everyone.

The select list of books named in this chapter does not by any means aim
to cover those which are well worth reading; but only to indicate a few,
a very few, of the best. It is based on the supposition that intelligent
readers will give far less time to fiction than to the more solid food of
history, biography, essays, travels, literary history, and applied
science. The select list of books in the fields already named is designed
to include only the most improving and well-executed works. Many will not
find their favorites in the list, which is purposely kept within narrow
limits, as a suggestion only of a few of the best books for a home
library or for general reading. You will find it wise to own, as early in
life as possible, a few of the choicest productions of the great writers
of the world. Those who can afford only a selection from a selection, can
begin with never so few of the authors most desired, or which they have
not already, putting in practice the advice of Shakespeare:

    "In brief, sir, study what you most affect."

Says John Ruskin: "I would urge upon every young man to obtain as soon
as he can, by the severest economy, a restricted and steadily increasing
series of books, for use through life; making his little library, of all
his furniture, the most studied and decorative piece." And Henry Ward
Beecher urged it as the most important early ambition for clerks, working
men and women, and all who are struggling up in life, to form gradually a
library of good books. "It is a man's duty," says he, "to have books. A
library is not a luxury, but one of the necessaries of life."

And says Bishop Hurst, urging the vital importance of wise selection in
choosing our reading: "If two-thirds of the shelves of the typical
domestic library were emptied of their burden, and choice books put in
their stead, there would be reformation in intelligence and thought
throughout the civilized world."


Let us now consider the subject of books fitted for public libraries. At
the outset, it is most important that each selection should be made on a
well considered plan. No hap-hazard, or fitfully, or hastily made
collection can answer the two ends constantly to be aimed at--namely,
first, to select the best and most useful books, and, secondly, to
economize the funds of the library. No money should be wasted upon whims
and experiments, but every dollar should be devoted to the acquisition of
improving books.

As to the principles that should govern and the limitations to be laid
down, these will depend much upon the scope of the library, and the
amount of its funds. No library of the limited and moderate class
commonly found in our public town libraries can afford to aim at the
universal range of a national library, nor even at the broad selections
proper to a liberally endowed city library.

But its aims, while modest, should be comprehensive enough to provide a
complete selection of what may be termed standard literature, for the
reading public. If the funds are inadequate to do this in the beginning,
it should be kept constantly in view, as the months and years go on.
Every great and notable book should be in the library sooner or later,
and if possible at its foundation. Thus will its utility and
attractiveness both be well secured.

Taking first the case of a small public library about to be started, let
us see in a few leading outlines what it will need.

1. A selection of the best works of reference should be the corner-stone
of every library collection. In choosing these, regard must be had to
secure the latest as well as the best. Never buy the first edition of
Soule's Synonymes because it is cheap, but insist upon the revised and
enlarged edition of 1892. Never acquire an antiquated Lempriere's or
Anthon's Classical Dictionary, because some venerable library director,
who used it in his boyhood, suggests it, when you can get Professor H. T.
Peck's "Dictionary of Classical Antiquities," published in 1897. Never be
tempted to buy an old edition of an encyclopaedia at half or quarter
price, for it will be sure to lack the populations of the last census,
besides being a quarter of a century or more in arrears in its other
information. When consulting sale catalogues to select reference books,
look closely at the dates of publication, and make sure by your American
or English catalogues that no later edition has appeared. It goes without
saying that you will have these essential bibliographies, as well as
Lowndes' Manual of English Literature first of all, whether you are able
to buy Watt and Brunet or not.

2. Without here stopping to treat of books of reference in detail, which
will appear in another place, let me refer to some other great classes
of literature in which every library should be strong. History stands
fairly at the head, and while a newly established library cannot hope to
possess at once all the noted writers, it should begin by securing a fine
selection, embracing general history, ancient and modern, and the history
of each country, at least of the important nations. For compendious short
histories, the "Story of the Nations" series, by various writers, should
be secured, and the more extensive works of Gibbon, Grote, Mommsen,
Duruy, Fyffe, Green, Macaulay, Froude, McCarthy, Carlyle, Thiers,
Bancroft, Motley, Prescott, Fiske, Schouler, McMaster, Buckle, Guizot,
etc., should be acquired. The copious lists of historical works appended
to Larned's "History for Ready Reference" will be useful here.

3. Biography stands close to history in interest and importance. For
general reference, or the biography of all nations, Lippincott's
Universal Pronouncing Dictionary of Biography is essential, as well as
Appleton's Cyclopaedia of American Biography, for our own country. For
Great Britain, the "Dictionary of National Biography" is a mine of
information, and should be added if funds are sufficient. Certain sets of
collective biographies which are important are American Statesmen, 26
vols., Englishmen of Letters, -- vols., Autobiography, 33 vols., Famous
Women series, 21 vols., Heroes of the Nation series, 24 vols., American
Pioneers and Patriots, 12 vols., and Plutarch's Lives. Then of
indispensable single biographies there are Boswell's Johnson, Lockhart's
Scott, Froude's Carlyle, Trevelyan's Macaulay, Froude's Caesar, Lewes'
Goethe, etc.

4. Of notable essays, a high class of literature in which there are many
names, may be named Addison, Montaigne, Bacon, Goldsmith, Emerson, Lamb,
De Quincey, Holmes, Lowell, etc.

5. Poetry stands at the head of all the literature of imagination. Some
people of highly utilitarian views decry poetry, and desire to feed all
readers upon facts. But that this is a great mistake will be apparent
when we consider that the highest expressions of moral and intellectual
truth and the most finely wrought examples of literature in every nation
are in poetic form. Take out of the world's literature the works of its
great poets, and you would leave it poor indeed. Poetry is the only great
source for the nurture of imagination, and without imagination man is a
poor creature. I read the other day a dictum of a certain writer,
alleging that Dickens's Christmas Carol is far more effective as a piece
of writing than Milton's noble ode "On the Morning of Christ's Nativity."
Such comparisons are of small value. In point of fact, no library can
spare either of them. I need not repeat the familiar names of the great
poets; they are found in all styles of production, and some of the best
are among the least expensive.

6. Travels and voyages form a very entertaining as well as highly
instructive part of a library. A good selection of the more notable will
prove a valuable resource to readers of nearly every age.

7. The wide field of science should be carefully gleaned for a good range
of approved text-books in each department. So progressive is the modern
world that the latest books are apt to be the best in each science,
something which is by no means true in literature.

8. In law, medicine, theology, political science, sociology, economics,
art, architecture, music, eloquence, and language, the library should be
provided with the leading modern works.

9. We come now to fiction, which the experience of all libraries shows is
the favorite pabulum of about three readers out of four. The great demand
for this class of reading renders it all the more important to make a
wise and improving selection of that which forms the minds of multitudes,
and especially of the young. This selection presents to every librarian
and library director or trustee some perplexing problems. To buy
indiscriminately the new novels of the day, good, bad, and indifferent
(the last named greatly predominating) would be a very poor discharge of
the duty devolving upon those who are the responsible choosers of the
reading of any community. Conceding, as we must, the vast influence and
untold value of fiction as a vehicle of entertainment and instruction,
the question arises--where can the line be drawn between the good and
improving novels, and novels which are neither good nor improving? This
involves something more than the moral tone and influence of the
fictions: it involves their merits and demerits as literature also. I
hold it to be the bounden duty of those who select the reading of a
community to maintain a standard of good taste, as well as of good
morals. They have no business to fill the library with wretched models of
writing, when there are thousand of good models ready, in numbers far
greater than they have money to purchase. Weak and flabby and silly books
tend to make weak and flabby and silly brains. Why should library guides
put in circulation such stuff as the dime novels, or "Old Sleuth"
stories, or the slip-slop novels of "The Duchess," when the great masters
of romantic fiction have endowed us with so many books replete with
intellectual and moral power? To furnish immature minds with the
miserable trash which does not deserve the name of literature, is as
blameworthy as to put before them books full of feverish excitement, or
stories of successful crime.

We are told, indeed (and some librarians even have said it) that for
unformed readers to read a bad book is better than to read none at all.
I do not believe it. You might as well say that it is better for one to
swallow poison than not to swallow any thing at all. I hold that library
providers are as much bound to furnish wholesome food for the minds of
the young who resort to them for guidance, as their parents are to
provide wholesome food for their bodies.

But the question returns upon us--what is wholesome food? In the first
place, it is that great body of fiction which has borne the test, both of
critical judgment, and of popularity with successive generations of
readers. It is the novels of Scott, Austen, Dickens, Thackeray, George
Eliot, Cooper, Hawthorne, Kingsley, Mulock-Craik, and many more, such as
no parents need blush to put into the hands of their daughters. In the
next place, it is such a selection from the myriads of stories that have
poured from the press of this generation as have been approved by the
best readers, and the critical judgment of a responsible press.

As to books of questionable morality, I am aware that contrary opinions
prevail on the question whether any such books should be allowed in a
public library, or not. The question is a different one for the small
town libraries and for the great reference libraries of the world. The
former are really educational institutions, supported at the people's
expense, like the free schools, and should be held to a responsibility
from which the extensive reference libraries in the city are free. The
latter may and ought to preserve every form of literature, and, if
national libraries, they would be derelict in their duty to posterity if
they did not acquire and preserve the whole literature of the country,
and hand it down complete to future generations. The function of the
public town library is different. It must indispensably make a selection,
since its means are not adequate to buy one-tenth of the annual product
of the press, which amounts in only four nations (England, France,
Germany, and the United States) to more than thirty-five thousand new
volumes a year. Its selection, mainly of American and English books, must
be small, and the smaller it is, the greater is the need of care in
buying. In fact, it is in most cases, compelled to be a selection from a
selection. Therefore, in the many cases of doubt arising as to the fit
character of a book, let the doubt be resolved in favor of the fund, thus
preserving the chance of getting a better book for the money.

With this careful and limited selection of the best, out of the multitude
of novels that swarm from the press, the reading public will have every
reason to be satisfied. No excuse can be alleged for filling up our
libraries with poor books, while there is no dearth whatever of good
ones. It is not the business of a public library to compete with the news
stands or the daily press in furnishing the latest short stories for
popular consumption; a class of literature whose survival is likely to be
quite as short as the stories themselves.

Take an object lesson as to the mischiefs of reading the wretched stuff
which some people pretend is "better than no reading at all" from the boy
Jesse Pomeroy, who perpetrated a murder of peculiar atrocity in Boston.
"Pomeroy confessed that he had always been a great reader of 'blood and
thunder' stories, having read probably sixty dime novels, all treating of
scalping and deeds of violence. The boy said that he had no doubt that
the reading of those books had a great deal to do with his course, and he
would advise all boys to leave them alone."

In some libraries, where the pernicious effect of the lower class of
fiction has been observed, the directors have withdrawn from circulation
a large proportion of the novels, which had been bought by reason of
their popularity. In other newly started libraries only fiction of the
highest grade has been placed in the library from the start, and this is
by far the best course. If readers inquire for inferior or immoral books,
and are told that the library does not have them, although they will
express surprise and disappointment, they will take other and improving
reading, thus fulfilling the true function of the library as an educator.
Librarians and library boards cannot be too careful about what
constitutes the collection which is to form the pabulum of so many of the
rising generation.

This does not imply that they are to be censors, or prudes, but with the
vast field of literature before them from which to choose, they are bound
to choose the best.

The American Library Association has had this subject under discussion
repeatedly, and while much difference of opinion has arisen from the
difficulty of finding any absolute standard of excellence, nearly all
have agreed that as to certain books, readers should look elsewhere than
to the public free library for them. At one time a list of authors was
made out, many of whose works were deemed objectionable, either from
their highly sensational character, or their bad style, or their highly
wrought and morbid pictures of human passions, or their immoral tendency.
This list no doubt will surprise many, as including writers whose books
everybody, almost, has read, or has been accustomed to think well of. It
embraces the following popular authors, many of whose novels have had a
wide circulation, and that principally through popular libraries.

Here follow the names:

Mary J. Holmes, Mrs. Henry Wood, C. L. Hentz, M. P. Finley, Mrs. A. S.
Stephens, E. D. E. N. Southworth, Mrs. Forrester, Rhoda Broughton, Helen
Mathers, Jessie Fothergill, M. E. Braddon, Florence Marryat, Ouida,
Horatio Alger, Mayne Reid, Oliver Optic, W. H. S. Kingston, E. Kellogg,
G. W. M. Reynolds, C. Fosdick, Edmund Yates, G. A. Lawrence, Grenville
Murray, W. H. Ainsworth, Wilkie Collins, E. L. Bulwer-Lytton, W. H.
Thomes, and Augusta Evans Wilson.

Bear in mind, that only English and American novels are included, and
those only of the present century: also, that as to many which are
included, no imputation of immorality was made. Such a "black list" is
obviously open to the charge of doing great injustice to the good repute
of writers named, since only a part of the works written by some of them
can properly be objected to, and these are not specially named.
Bulwer-Lytton, for example, whose "Paul Clifford" is a very improper book
to go into the hands of young people, has written at least a dozen other
fictions of noble moral purpose, and high literary merit.

Out of seventy public libraries to which the list was sent, with inquiry
whether the authors named were admitted as books of circulation, thirty
libraries replied. All of them admitted Bulwer-Lytton and Wilkie Collins,
all but two Oliver Optic's books, and all but six Augusta Evans Wilson's.
Reynolds' novels were excluded by twenty libraries, Mrs. Southworth's by
eleven, "Ouida's" by nine, and Mrs. Stephens's and Mrs. Henry Wood's by
eight. Other details cannot find space for notice here.

This instance is one among many of endeavors constantly being made by
associated librarians to stem the ever increasing flood of poor fiction
which threatens to submerge the better class of books in our public

That no such wholesome attempt can be wholly successful is evident
enough. The passion for reading fiction is both epidemic and chronic; and
in saying this, do not infer that I reckon it as a disease. A librarian
has no right to banish fiction because the appetite for it is abused. He
is not to set up any ideal and impossible standard of selection. His
most useful and beneficent function is to turn into better channels the
universal hunger for reading which is entertaining. Do readers want an
exciting novel? What can be more exciting than "Les Miserables" of Victor
Hugo, a book of exceptional literary excellence and power? Literature is
full of fascinating stories, admirably told, and there is no excuse for
loading our libraries with trash, going into the slums for models, or
feeding young minds upon the unclean brood of pessimistic novels. If it
is said that people will have trash, let them buy it, and let the
libraries wash their hands of it, and refuse to circulate the stuff which
no boy nor girl can touch without being contaminated.

Those who claim that we might as well let the libraries down to the level
of the poorest books, because unformed and ignorant minds are capable of
nothing better, should be told that people are never raised by giving
them nothing to look up to. To devour infinite trash is not the road to
learn wisdom, or virtue, or even to attain genuine amusement. To those
who are afraid that if the libraries are purified, the masses will get
nothing that they can read, the answer is, have they not got the entire
world of magazines, the weekly, daily, and Sunday newspapers, which
supply a whole library of fiction almost daily? Add to these plenty of
imaginative literature in fiction and in poetry, on every library's
shelves, which all who can read can comprehend, and what excuse remains
for buying what is neither decent nor improving?

Take an example of the boundless capacity for improvement that exists in
the human mind and human taste, from the spread of the fine arts among
the people. Thirty years ago, their houses, if having any decoration at
all, exhibited those fearful and wonderful colored lithographs and
chromos in which bad drawing, bad portraiture, and bad coloring vied with
each other to produce pictures which it would be a mild use of terms to
call detestable. Then came the two great international art expositions at
Philadelphia and Chicago, each greatly advancing by the finest models,
the standard of taste in art, and by new economies of reproduction
placing the most beautiful statues and pictures within the reach of the
most moderate purse. What has been the result? An incalculable
improvement in the public taste, educated by the diffusion of the best
models, until even the poor farmer of the backwoods will no longer
tolerate the cheap and nasty horrors that once disfigured his walls.

The lesson in art is good in literature also. Give the common people good
models, and there is no danger but they will appreciate and understand
them. Never stoop to pander to a depraved taste, no matter what specious
pleas you may hear for tolerating the low in order to lead to the high,
or for making your library contribute to the survival of the unfittest.

Is it asked, how can the librarian find out, among the world of novels
from which he is to select, what is pure and what is not, what is
wholesome and what unhealthy, what is improving and what is trash? The
answer is--there are some lists which will be most useful in this
discrimination, while there is no list which is infallible. Mr. F.
Leypoldt's little catalogue of "Books for all Time" has nothing that any
library need do without. Another compendious list is published by the
American Library Association. And the more extensive catalogue prepared
for the World's Fair in 1893, and embracing about 5,000 volumes, entitled
"Catalogue of A. L. A. Library: 5,000 vols. for a popular library," while
it has many mistakes and omissions, is a tolerably safe guide in making
up a popular library. I may note that the list of novels in this large
catalogue put forth by the American Library Association has the names of
five only out of the twenty-eight writers of fiction heretofore
pronounced objectionable, and names a select few only of the books of
these five.

As for the later issues of the press, and especially the new novels, let
him skim them for himself, unless in cases where trustworthy critical
judgments are found in journals. Running through a book to test its style
and moral drift is no difficult task for the practiced eye.

Let us suppose that you are cursorily perusing a novel which has made a
great sensation, and you come upon the following sentence: "Eighteen
millions of years would level all in one huge, common, shapeless ruin.
Perish the microcosm in the limitless macrocosm! and sink this feeble
earthly segregate in the boundless rushing choral aggregation!" This is
in Augusta J. Evans Wilson's story "Macaria", and many equally
extraordinary examples of "prose run mad" are found in the novels of this
once noted writer. What kind of a model is that to form the style of the
youthful neophyte, to whom one book is as good as another, since it was
found on the shelves of the public library?

I am not insisting that all books admitted should be models of style;
even a purist must admit that one of the greatest charms of literature is
its infinite variety. But when book after book is filled with such
specimens of literary lunacy as this, one is tempted to believe that
Homer and Shakespeare, to say nothing of Thackeray and Hawthorne, have
lived in vain.

Never fear criticism of those who find fault with the absence from your
library of books that you know to be nearly worthless; their absence will
be a silent but eloquent protest against them, sure to be vindicated by
the utter oblivion into which they will fall. Many a flaming reputation
has been extinguished after dazzling callow admirers for six months, or
even less. Do not dread the empty sarcasm, that may grow out of the
exclusion of freshly printed trash, that your library is a "back number."
To some poor souls every thing that is great and good in the world's
literature is a "back number"; and the Bible itself, with its immortal
poetry and sublimity, is the oldest back number of all. It is no part of
your business as a librarian to cater to the tastes of those who act as
if the reading of endless novels of sensation were the chief end of man.
As one fed on highly spiced viands and stimulating drinks surely loses
the appetite for wholesome and nourishing food, so one who reads only
exciting and highly wrought fictions loses the taste for the
master-pieces of prose and poetry.

Let not the fear of making many mistakes be a bug-bear in your path. If
you are told that your library is too exclusive, reply that it has not
means enough to buy all the good books that are wanted, and cannot afford
to spend money on bad or even on doubtful ones. If you have excluded any
highly-sought-for book on insufficient evidence, never fail to revise the
judgment. All that can be expected of any library is approximately just
and wise selection, having regard to merit, interest, and moral tone,
more than to novelty or popularity.

In the matter of choice, individual opinions are of small value. Never
buy a book simply because some reader extols it as very fine, or
"splendid," or "perfectly lovely." Such praises are commonly to be
distrusted in direct proportion to their extravagance.

A good lesson to libraries is furnished in the experience of the
Cleveland (Ohio) Public Library. In 1878, out of 16,000 volumes in that
library, no less than 6,000 were novels. The governing board, on the
plea of giving people what they wanted, bought nearly all new books of
fiction, and went so far, even, as to buy of Pinkerton's Detective
stories, fifteen copies each, fifteen of all Mrs. Southworth's novels,
etc. But a change took place in the board, and the librarian was
permitted to stop the growing flood of worthless fiction, and as fast as
the books were worn out, they were replaced by useful reading. It
resulted that four years later, with 40,000 volumes in the library, only
7,000 were novels, or less than one-fifth, instead of more than one-third
of the whole collection, as formerly. In the same time, the percentage of
fiction drawn out was reduced from 69 per cent. of the aggregate books
read, to 50 per cent.

Libraries are always complaining that they cannot buy many valuable books
from lack of funds. Yet some of them buy a great many that are valueless
in spite of this lack. Can any thing be conceived more valueless than a
set of Sylvanus Cobb's novels, reprinted to the number of thirty-five to
forty, from the New York Ledger? Yet these have been bought for scores of
libraries, which could not afford the latest books in science and art, or
biography, history, or travel. There are libraries in which the latest
books on electricity, or sewerage, or sanitary plumbing, might have saved
many lives, but which must go without them, because the money has been
squandered on vapid and pernicious literature.

In almost every library, while some branches of knowledge are fairly
represented, others are not represented at all. Nearly all present
glaring deficiencies, and these are often caused by want of systematic
plan in building up the collection. Boards of managers are frequently
changed, and the policy of the library with them. All the more important
is it that the librarian should be so well equipped with a definite aim,
and with knowledge and skill competent to urge that aim consistently, as
to preserve some unity of plan.

I need not add that a librarian should be always wide awake to the needs
of his library in every direction. It should be taken for granted that
its general aim is to include the best books in the whole range of human
knowledge. With the vast area of book production before him, he should
strengthen every year some department, taking them in order of

Some scholarly writers tell us that very few books are essential to a
good education. James Russell Lowell named five, which in his view
embraced all the essentials; namely, Homer, Dante, Shakespeare,
Cervantes, and Goethe's Faust. Prof. Charles E. Norton of Harvard
remarked that this list might even be abridged so as to embrace only
Homer, Dante and Shakespeare. I can only regard such exclusiveness as
misleading, though conceding the many-sidedness of these great writers.
To extend the list is the function of all public libraries, as well as of
most of the private ones. Next after the really essential books, that
library will be doing its public good service which acquires all the
important works that record the history of man. This will include
biography, travels and voyages, science, and much besides, as well as

Special pains should be taken in every library to have every thing
produced in its own town, county, and State. Not only books, but all
pamphlets, periodicals, newspapers, and even broadsides or circulars,
should be sought for and stored up as memorials of the present age,
tending in large part rapidly to disappear.

In selecting editions of standard authors, one should always
discriminate, so as to secure for the library, if not the best, at least
good, clear type, sound, thick paper, and durable binding. Cheap and
poor editions wear out quickly, and have to be thrown away for better
ones, which wise economy should have selected in the first place. For
example, a widely circulated edition of Scott's novels, found in most
libraries, has the type so worn and battered by the many large editions
printed from the plates, that many letters and words are wanting, thus
spoiling not only the pleasure but abridging the profit of the reader in
perusing the novels. The same is true of one edition of Cooper. Then
there are many cheap reprints of English novels in the Seaside and other
libraries which abound in typographical errors. A close examination of a
cheap edition of a leading English novelist's works revealed more than
3,000 typographical errors in the one set of books! It would be
unpardonable carelessness to buy such books for general reading because
they are cheap.

Librarians should avoid what are known as subscription books, as a rule,
though some valid exceptions exist. Most of such books are profusely
illustrated and in gaudy bindings, gotten up to dazzle the eye. If works
of merit, it is better to wait for them, than to subscribe for an
unfinished work, which perhaps may never reach completion.

A librarian or book collector should be ever observant of what he may
find to enrich his collection. When in a book-store, or a private or
public library, he should make notes of such works seen as are new to
him, with any characteristics which their custodian may remark upon. Such
personal examination is more informing than any catalogue.

I think each public library should possess, besides a complete set of the
English translations of the Greek and Latin classics, a full set of the
originals, for the benefit of scholarly readers. These classic texts can
be had complete in modern editions for a very moderate price.

How far duplicate volumes should be bought should depend upon demand, and
the views of the purchasing powers. There is a real need of more than one
copy of almost every standard work, else it will be perpetually out,
giving occasion for numerous complaints from those who use the library.
It would be a good rule to keep one copy always in, and at the service of
readers, of every leading history, standard poet, or popular novel. Then
the duplicate copies for circulation may be one or more, as experience
and ability to provide may determine. A library which caters to the
novel-reading habit as extensively as the New York Mercantile (a
subscription library) has to buy fifty to one hundred copies of "Trilby,"
for example, to keep up with the demand. No such obligation exists for
the free public libraries. They, however, often buy half a dozen to a
dozen copies of a very popular story, when new, and sell them out after
the demand has slackened or died away.

The methods of selection and purchase in public libraries are very
various. In the Worcester (Mass.) Public Library, the librarian makes a
list of desiderata, has it manifolded, and sends a copy to each of the
thirteen members of the Board of directors. This list is reported on by
the members at the next monthly meeting of the Board, and generally, in
the main, approved. Novels and stories are not bought until time has
shown of what value they may be. The aim is mainly educational at the
Worcester library, very special pains being taken to aid all the pupils
and teachers in the public schools, by careful selection, and providing
duplicate or more copies of important works.

In the Public Library of Cleveland, Ohio, there is appointed out of the
governing Board a book-committee of three. To one of these are referred
English books wanted, to another French, and to the third German books.
This sub-committee approves or amends the Librarian's recommendations,
at its discretion; but expensive works are referred to the whole board
for determination.

In the New York Mercantile Library, which must keep continually up to
date in its supply of new books, the announcements in all the morning
papers are daily scanned, and books just out secured by immediate order.
Many publishers send in books on approval, which are frequently bought.
An agent in London is required to send on the day of publication all new
books on certain subjects.

The library boards of management meet weekly in New York and
Philadelphia, but monthly in most country libraries. The selection of
books made by committees introduces often an element of chance, not quite
favorable to the unity of plan in developing the resources of the
library. But with a librarian of large information, discretion, and
skill, there need seldom be any difficulty in securing approval of his
selections, or of most of them. In some libraries the librarian is
authorized to buy at discretion additions of books in certain lines, to
be reported at the next meeting of the board; and to fill up all
deficiencies in periodicals that are taken. This is an important
concession to his judgment, made in the interest of completeness in the
library, saving a delay of days and sometimes weeks in waiting for the
board of directors.

All orders sent out for accessions should previously be compared with the
alphabeted order-card list, as well as with the general catalogue of the
library, to avoid duplication. After this the titles are to be
incorporated in the alphabet of all outstanding orders, to be withdrawn
only on receipt of the books.

The library should invite suggestions from all frequenting it, of books
recommended and not found in the collection. A blank record-book for this
purpose, or an equivalent in order-cards, should be always kept on the
counter of the library.



The buying of books is to some men a pastime; to others it is a passion;
but to the librarian and the intelligent book collector it is both a
business and a pleasure. The man who is endowed with a zeal for knowledge
is eager to be continually adding to the stores which will enable him to
acquire and to dispense that knowledge. Hence the perusal of catalogues
is to him an ever fresh and fascinating pursuit. However hampered he may
be by the lack of funds, the zest of being continually in quest of some
coveted volumes gives him an interest in every sale catalogue, whether of
bookseller or of auctioneer. He is led on by the perennial hope that he
may find one or more of the long-wished for and waited-for _desiderata_
in the thin pamphlet whose solid columns bristle with book-titles in
every variety of abbreviation and arrangement. It is a good plan, if one
can possibly command the time, to read every catalogue of the book
auctions, and of the second-hand book dealers, which comes to hand. You
will thus find a world of books chronicled and offered which you do not
want, because you have got them already: you will find many, also, which
you want, but which you know you cannot have; and you may find some of
the very volumes which you have sought through many years in vain. In any
case, you will have acquired valuable information--whether you acquire
any books or not; since there is hardly a priced catalogue, of any
considerable extent, from which you cannot reap knowledge of some
kind--knowledge of editions, knowledge of prices, and knowledge of the
comparative scarcity or full supply of many books, with a glimpse of
titles which you may never have met before. The value of the study of
catalogues as an education in bibliography can never be over-estimated.

The large number of active and discriminating book-buyers from America
has for years past awakened the interest and jealousy of collectors
abroad, where it has very largely enhanced the price of all first-class
editions, and rare works.

No longer, as in the early days of Dibdin and Heber, is the competition
for the curiosities of old English literature confined to a half-score of
native amateurs. True, we have no such omnivorous gatherers of literary
rubbish as that magnificent _helluo librorum_, Richard Heber, who amassed
what was claimed to be the largest collection of books ever formed by a
single individual. Endowed with a princely fortune, and an undying
passion for the possession of books, he spent nearly a million dollars in
their acquisition. His library, variously stated at from 105,000 volumes
(by Dr. Dibdin) to 146,000 volumes (by Dr. Allibone) was brought to the
hammer in 1834. The catalogue filled 13 octavo volumes, and the sale
occupied 216 days. The insatiable owner (who was a brother of Reginald
Heber, Bishop of Calcutta) died while still collecting, at the age of
sixty, leaving his enormous library, which no single house of ordinary
size could hold, scattered in half a dozen mansions in London, Oxford,
Paris, Antwerp, Brussels and Ghent.

Yet the owner of this vast mass of mingled nonsense and erudition, this
library of the curiosities of literature, was as generous in imparting as
in acquiring his literary treasures. No English scholar but was freely
welcome to the loan of his volumes; and his own taste and critical
knowledge are said to have been of the first order.

From this, probably the most extensive private library ever gathered, let
us turn to the largest single purchase, in number of volumes, made at one
time for a public library. When Dr. J. G. Cogswell went abroad in 1848,
to lay the foundations of the Astor Library, he took with him credentials
for the expenditure of $100,000; and, what was of even greater
importance, a thoroughly digested catalogue of _desiderata_, embracing
the most important books in every department of literature and science.
No such opportunity of buying the finest books at the lowest prices is
likely ever to occur again, as the fortuitous concourse of events brought
to Dr. Cogswell. It was the year of revolutions--the year when the
thrones were tottering or falling all over Europe, when the wealthy and
privileged classes were trembling for their possessions, and anxious to
turn them into ready money. In every time of panic, political or
financial, the prices of books, as well as of all articles of luxury, are
the first to fall. Many of the choicest collections came to the hammer;
multitudes were eager to sell--but there were few buyers except the book
merchants, who were all ready to sell again. The result was that some
80,000 volumes were gathered for the Astor Library, embracing a very
large share of the best editions and the most expensive works, with many
books strictly denominated rare, and nearly all bound in superior style,
at an average cost of about $1.40 per volume. This extraordinary good
fortune enabled the Astor Library to be opened on a very small endowment,
more splendidly equipped for a library of reference than any new
institution could be today with four or five times the money.

Compared with such opportunities as these, you may consider the
experiences of the little libraries, and the narrow means of recruitment
generally found, as very literally the day of small things. But a wise
apportionment of small funds, combined with a good knowledge of the
commercial value of books, and perpetual vigilance in using
opportunities, will go very far toward enlarging any collection in the
most desirable directions.

Compare for a moment with the results stated of the Astor Library's early
purchases, the average prices paid by British Libraries for books
purchased from 1826 to 1854, as published in a parliamentary return. The
average cost per volume varied from 16_s_ or about $4 a volume, for the
University Library of Edinburgh, to 4_s_ 6_d_, or $1.10 a volume for the
Manchester Free Library. The latter, however, were chiefly popular new
books, published at low prices, while the former included many costly old
works, law books, etc. The British Museum Library's average was 8_s_ 5_d_
or about $2.00 per volume. Those figures represent cloth binding, while
the Astor's purchases were mostly in permanent leather bindings.

Averages are very uncertain standards of comparison, as a single book
rarity often costs more than a hundred volumes of the new books of the
day; but in a library filled with the best editions of classical and
scientific works, and reference books, I presume that two dollars a
volume is not too high an estimate of average cost, in these days
represented by the last twenty years. For a circulating library, on the
other hand, composed chiefly of what the public most seek to read, half
that average would perhaps express the full commercial value of the
collection. Of its intrinsic value I will not here pause to speak.

There are many methods of book buying, of which we may indicate the
principal as follows:

    1. By direct orders from book dealers.
    2. By competition on select lists of wants.
    3. By order from priced catalogues.
    4. By purchase at auction sales.
    5. By personal research among book stocks.
    6. By lists and samples of books sent on approval.

Each of these methods has its advantages--and, I may add, its
disadvantages likewise. The collector who combines them, as opportunity
presents, is most likely to make his funds go the farthest, and to enrich
his collection the most. Direct orders for purchase are necessary for
most new books wanted, except in the case of the one government library,
which in most countries, receives them under copyright provision. An
advantageous arrangement can usually be made with one or more
book-dealers, to supply all new books at a fairly liberal discount from
retail prices. And it is wise management to distribute purchases where
good terms are made, as thereby the trade will feel an interest in the
library, and a mutuality of interest will secure more opportunities and
better bargains.

The submission of lists of books wanted, to houses having large stocks or
good facilities, helps to make funds go as far as possible through
competition. By the typewriter such lists can now be manifolded much more
cheaply than they can be written or printed.

Selection from priced catalogues presents a constantly recurring
opportunity of buying volumes of the greatest consequence, to fill gaps
in any collection, and often at surprisingly low prices. Much as book
values have been enhanced of late years, there are yet catalogues issued
by American, English and continental dealers which quote books both of
the standard and secondary class at very cheap rates. Even now English
books are sold by the Mudie and the W. H. Smith lending libraries in
London, after a very few months, at one-half to one-fourth their original
publishing price. These must usually be rebound, but by instructing your
agent to select copies which are clean within, all the soil of the edges
will disappear with the light trimming of the binder.

Purchase at auction supplies a means of recruiting libraries both public
and private with many rare works, and with the best editions of the
standard authors, often finely bound. The choice private libraries of the
country, as well as the poor ones, tend to pour themselves sooner or
later into public auctions. The collectors of books, whose early avidity
to amass libraries of fine editions was phenomenal, rarely persist in
cultivating the passion through life. Sometimes they are overtaken by
misfortune--sometimes by indifference--the bibliomania not being a
perennial inspiration, but often an acute and fiery attack, which in a
few years burns out. Even if the library gathered with so much money and
pains descends to the heirs of the collector, the passion for books is
very seldom an inherited one. Thus the public libraries are constantly
recruited by the opportunities of selection furnished by the forced sale
of the private ones. Here, public competition frequently runs up the
price of certain books to an exorbitant degree, while those not wanted
often sell for the merest trifle. One should have a pretty clear idea of
the approximate commercial value of books, before competing for them at
public sale. He may, however, if well persuaded in his own mind as to the
importance or the relative unimportance to his own collection of any
work, regulate his bids by that standard, regardless of commercial value,
except as a limit beyond which he will not go. Few librarians can
personally attend auction sales--nor is it needful, when limits can so
easily be set to orders. It is never safe to send an unlimited bid, as
there may be others without limit, in which case the book is commonly
awarded to the most remote bidder.

There are many curiosities of the auction room, one of them being the
frequent re-appearance of book rarities which have been through several
auctions, sometimes at intervals of years, keenly competed for by rival
bibliophiles, and carried off in triumph by some ardent collector, who
little thought at the time how soon his own collection would come to the

There are also many curiosities of compilation in auction catalogues. Not
to name errors of commission, like giving the authorship of books to the
wrong name, and errors of omission, like giving no author's name at all,
some catalogues are thickly strewn with the epithets _rare_--and _very
rare_, when the books are sufficiently common in one or the other market.
Do not be misled by these surface indications. Books are often attributed
in catalogues to their editor or translator, and the unwary buyer may
thus find himself saddled with a duplicate already in his own collection.
There has been much improvement in late years in the care with which
auction catalogues are edited, and no important collection at least is
offered, without having first passed through the hands of an expert,
familiar with bibliography. It is the minor book sales where the
catalogues receive no careful editing, and where the dates and editions
are frequently omitted, that it is necessary to guard against. It is well
to refrain from sending any bids out of such lists, because they furnish
no certain identification of the books, and if all would do the same,
thus diminishing the competition and the profit of the auctioneer, he
might learn never to print a catalogue without date, place of
publication, and full name of author of every book offered.

Never be too eager to acquire an auction book, unless you are very
thoroughly assured that it is one of the kind truly designated
_rarissimus_. An eminent and thoroughly informed book collector, with an
experience of forty years devoted to book auctions and book catalogues,
assured me that it was his experience that almost every book would turn
up on the average about every seven years. Of course there are notable
exceptions--and especially among the class of books known as
_incunabula_, (or cradle-books printed in the infancy of printing) and of
early Americana: but it is not these which the majority of libraries are
most in search of. Remember always, if you lose a coveted volume, that
there will be another chance--perhaps many of them. The private
collector, who carries it off against you, has had no former opportunity
to get the rare volume, and may never have another. He is therefore
justified in paying what is to ordinary judgment an extraordinary price.
Individual collectors die, but public libraries are immortal.

If you become thoroughly conversant with priced catalogues, you will make
fewer mistakes than most private buyers. Not only catalogues of notable
collections, with the prices obtained at auction, but the large and very
copious catalogues of such London book-dealers as Quaritch and Sotheran,
are accessible in the great city libraries. These are of the highest use
in suggesting the proximate prices at which important books have been or
may be acquired. Since 1895, annual volumes entitled "American Book
Prices Current" have been issued, giving the figures at which books have
been sold at all the principal auction sales of the year.

There is no word so much abused as the term _rare_, when applied to
books. Librarians know well the unsophisticated citizen who wants to sell
at a high price a "rare" volume of divinity "a hundred and fifty years
old" (worth possibly twenty-five cents to half a dollar,) and the
persistent woman who has the rarest old bible in the country, which she
values anywhere from fifty to five hundred dollars, and which turns out
on inspection to be an imperfect copy of one of Barker's multitudinous
editions of 1612 to '18, which may be picked up at five to eight
shillings in any old London book-shop. The confident assertions so often
paraded, even in catalogues, "only three copies known," and the like, are
to be received with absolute incredulity, and the claims of ignorant
owners of books who fancy that their little pet goose is a fine swan,
because they never saw another, are as ridiculous as the laudation
bestowed by a sapient collector upon two of his most valued nuggets.
"This, sir, is unique, but not so unique as the other."

Buying books by actual inspection at the book-shops is even more
fascinating employment than buying them through catalogues. You thus come
upon the most unexpected volumes unawares. You open the covers, scan the
title-pages, get a glimpse of the plates, and flit from book to book,
like a bee gathering honey for its hive. It is a good way to recruit your
library economically, to run through the stock of a book-dealer
systematically--neglecting no shelf, but selecting throughout the whole
stock, and laying aside what you think you may want. When this is done,
you will have quite a pile of literature upon which to negotiate with the
proprietor. It is cheaper to buy thus at wholesale than by piecemeal,
because the bookseller will make you a larger discount on a round lot of
which you relieve his shelves.

Another method of recruiting your library is the examination of books "on
approval." Most book-dealers will be so obliging as to send in parcels of
books for the inspection of a librarian or collector, who can thus
examine them leisurely and with more thoroughness than in a book store,
without leaving his business.

All books, by whatever course they may be purchased, are indispensably
to be collated before they are accepted and paid for. Neglect of this
will fill any library with imperfections, since second-hand books are
liable to have missing leaves, or plates, or maps, while new books may
lack signatures or plates, or be wrongly bound together. In the case of
new books, or books still in print, the publisher is bound to make good
an imperfection.

In old books, this is usually impossible, and the only remedy is to
return the imperfect books upon the seller's hands, unless there may be a
reason, such as the rarity of the volume, or its comparative little cost,
or the trifling nature of the imperfection, for retaining it. The
equities in these cases are in favor of the buyer, who is presumed to
have purchased a perfect copy. But the right of reclamation must be
exercised promptly, or it may be forfeited by lapse of time. If an
imperfection in any book you order is noted in the catalogue, it is not
subject to return. I have ever found the book auctioneers most courteous
and considerate in their dealings--and the same can be said of the book
trade generally, among whom instances of liberality to libraries are by
no means rare.

One of the choicest pleasures of the book collector, whether private
student or librarian, is to visit the second-hand book-shops of any city,
and examine the stock with care. While he may find but few notable
treasures in one collection, a search through several shops will be
almost sure to reward him. Here are found many of the outpourings of the
private libraries, formed by specialists or amateurs, and either
purchased by the second-hand dealer _en bloc_, or bid off by him at some
auction sale. Even rare books are picked up in this way, no copies of
which can be had by order, because long since "out of print." The stock
in these shops is constantly changing, thus adding a piquant and
sometimes exciting element to the book-hunter, who is wise in proportion
as he seizes quickly upon all opportunities of new "finds" by frequent
visits. To mourn over a lost chance in rare books is often more grievous
to the zealous collector, than to lose a large share out of his fortune;
while to exult over a literary nugget long sought and at length found is
a pleasure to which few others can be compared.

Of the many _bouquinistes_ whose open-air shops line the quays of Paris
along the Seine, numbering once as many as a hundred and fifty dealers in
second-hand books, I have no room to treat; books have been written about
them, and the _littérateurs_ of France, of Europe, and of America have
profited by countless bargains in their learned wares. Nor can I dwell
upon the literary wealth of London book-shops, dark and dingy, but ever
attractive to the hungry scholar, or the devotee of bibliomania.

Of the many second-hand booksellers (or rather sellers of second-hand
books) in American cities, the more notable have passed from the stage of
action in the last quarter of a century. Old William Gowans, a quaint,
intelligent Scotchman, in shabby clothes and a strong face deeply marked
with small pox, was for many years the dean of this fraternity in New
York. His extensive book-shop in Nassau street, with its dark cellar, was
crowded and packed with books on shelves, on stairways and on the floors,
heaped and piled in enormous masses, amid which the visitor could hardly
find room to move. On one of the piles you might find the proprietor

    Books to the right of him,
    Books to the left of him,
    Books behind him,
    Volleyed and tumbled,

while he answered inquiries for books from clergymen and students, or
gruffly bargained with a boy or an old woman for a dilapidated lot of
old books. He had a curious quizzical way with strangers, who at once set
him down as an oddity, and his impatience with ignoramuses and bores gave
him the repute of crustiness, which was redeemed by suavity enough
whenever he met with people of intelligence.

Gowans issued scores of catalogues of his stock, in which titles were
often illustrated by notes, always curious and often amusing, credited to
"Western Memorabilia," a work which no bookseller or man of letters had
ever heard of, but which was shrewdly suspected to have been a projected
scrap-book of the observations and opinions of William Gowans.

There was another eccentric book-dealer's shop in Nassau street kept by
one John Doyle, who aimed so high in his profession as to post over his
door a sign reading "The Moral Centre of the Intellectual Universe." This
establishment was notably full of old editions of books of English
history and controversial theology.

The most famous second-hand book-shop in Boston was Burnham's, whose
fore-name was Thomas Oliver Hazard Perry, shortened into "Perry Burnham"
by his familiars. He was a little, pale-faced, wiry, nervous man, with
piercing black eyes and very brusque manners. In old and musty books he
lived and moved and had his being, for more than a generation. He
exchanged a stuffy, narrow shop in Cornhill for more spacious quarters in
Washington street, near School street, where he bought and sold books
with an assiduous devotion to business, never trusting to others what he
could do himself. He was proud of his collection and its extent. He
bought books and pamphlets at auction literally by the cart-load, every
thing that nobody else wanted being bid off to Burnham at an
insignificant price, almost nominal. He got a wide reputation for
selling cheaply, but he always knew when to charge a stiff price for a
book, and to stick to it. Once when I was pricing a lot of miscellaneous
books picked out for purchase, mostly under a dollar a volume, we came to
a copy of "The Constitutions of the Several Independent States of
America," 1st edition, Philadelphia, 1781, of which two hundred copies
only were printed, by order of Congress. This copy was in the original
boards, uncut, and with the autograph of Timothy Pickering on the title
page. "If the Congress Library wants that book," said Mr. Burnham, "it
will have to pay eight dollars for it." I took it, well pleased to secure
what years of search had failed to bring. The next year my satisfaction
was enhanced when an inferior copy of the same book was offered at twenty

Burnham died a wealthy man, having amassed a million dollars in trade and
by rise in real estate, as he owned the land on which the Parker House
stands in Boston.

Among Philadelphia dealers in second-hand books, one John Penington was
recognized as most intelligent and honorable. He was a book-lover and a
scholar, and one instinctively ranked him not as a bookseller, but as a
gentleman who dealt in books. On his shelves one always found books of
science and volumes in foreign languages.

Another notable dealer was John Campbell, a jolly, hearty Irish-American,
with a taste for good books, and an antipathy to negroes, as keen as the
proverbial hatred of the devil for holy water. Campbell wrote a book
entitled "Negromania," published in 1851, in which his creed was set
forth in strong language. He was a regular bidder at book auctions, where
his burly form and loud voice made him a prominent figure.

Of notable auction sales of books, and of the extravagant prices obtained
for certain editions by ambitious and eager competition, there is little
room to treat. The oft-told story of the Valdarfer Boccaccio of 1471,
carried off at the Roxburghe sale in 1812, at £2,260 from Earl Spencer by
the Marquis of Blandford, and re-purchased seven years after at another
auction for £918, has been far surpassed in modern bibliomania. "The
sound of that hammer," wrote the melodramatic Dibdin, "echoed through
Europe:" but what would he have said of the Mazarin Bible of Gutenberg
and Fust (1450-55) sold in 1897, at the Ashburnham sale, for four
thousand pounds, or of the Latin Psalter of Fust and Schoeffer, 2d ed.
1459, which brought £4,950 at the Syston Park sale in 1884? This last sum
(about twenty-four thousand dollars) is the largest price ever yet
recorded as received for a single volume. Among books of less rarity,
though always eagerly sought, is the first folio Shakespeare of 1623, a
very fine and perfect copy of which brought £716.2 at Daniel's sale in
1864. Copies warranted perfect have since been sold in London for £415 to
£470. In New York, a perfect but not "tall" copy brought $4,200 in 1891
at auction. Walton's "Compleat Angler," London, 1st ed. 1653, a little
book of only 250 pages, sold for £310 in 1891. It was published for one
shilling and sixpence. The first edition of Robinson Crusoe brought £75
at the Crampton sale in 1896.

The rage for first editions of very modern books reached what might be
called high-water mark some time since, and has been on the decline.
Shelley's "Queen Mab," 1st ed. 1813, was sold at London for £22.10, and
his "Refutation of Deism," 1814, was sold at £33, at a London sale in
1887. In New York, many first editions of Shelley's poems brought the
following enormous prices in 1897.

    Shelley's Adonais, 1st ed. Pisa, Italy, 1821, $335.
    Alastor, London, 1816, $130.
    The Cenci, Italy, 1819, $65.
    Hellas, London, 1822, $13.

But these were purely adventitious prices, as was clearly shown in the
sale at the same auction rooms, a year or two earlier, of the following:

    Shelley's Adonais, 1st ed. Pisa, 1821, $19.
    Alastor, London, 1816, $32.
    The Cenci, Italy, 1819, $21.
    Hellas, London, 1822, $2.

The sales occasionally made at auction of certain books at extraordinary
prices, prove nothing whatever as to the real market value, for these
reasons: (1) The auctioneer often has an unlimited bid, and the price is
carried up to an inordinate height. (2) Two or more bidders present,
infatuated by the idea of extreme rarity, bid against one another until
all but one succumb, when the price has reached a figure which it is a
mild use of terms to call absurd. (3) Descriptions in sale catalogues,
though often entirely unfounded, characterising a book as "excessively
rare;" "only -- copies known," "very scarce," "never before offered at
our sales," etc., may carry the bidding on a book up to an unheard-of

The appeal always lies to the years against the hours; and many a poor
book-mad enthusiast has had to rue his too easy credulity in giving an
extravagant sum for books which he discovers later that he could have
bought for as many shillings as he has paid dollars. Not that the
_rarissimi_ of early printed books can ever be purchased for a trifle;
but it should ever be remembered that even at the sales where a few--a
very few--bring the enormous prices that are bruited abroad, the mass of
the books offered are knocked down at very moderate figures, or are even
sacrificed at rates very far below their cost. The possessor of one of
the books so advertised as sold at some auction for a hundred dollars or
upwards, if he expects to realise a tithe of the figure quoted, will
speedily find himself in the vocative.

While there are almost priceless rarities not to be found in the market
by any buyer, let the book collector be consoled by the knowledge that
good books, in good editions, were never so easy to come by as now. A
fine library can be gathered by any one with very moderate means,
supplemented by a fair amount of sagacity and common sense. The buyer
with a carefully digested list of books wanted will find that to buy them
wisely takes more time and less money than he had anticipated. The time
is required to acquaint himself with the many competing editions, with
their respective merits and demerits. This involves a comparison of type,
paper, and binding, as well as the comparative prices of various dealers
for the same books. No one who is himself gifted with good perceptions
and good taste, should trust to other hands the selection of his library.
His enjoyment of it will be proportioned to the extent to which it is his
own creation. The passion for nobly written books, handsomely printed,
and clothed in a fitting garb, when it has once dawned, is not to be
defrauded of its satisfaction by hiring a commission merchant to appease
it. What we do for ourselves, in the acquirement of any knowledge, is apt
to be well done: what is done for us by others is of little value.

We have heard of some uninformed _parvenus_, grown suddenly rich, who
have first ordered a magnificent library room fitted with rose-wood,
marble and gilded trappings, and then ordered it to be filled with
splendidly bound volumes at so much per volume. And it is an authentic
fact, that a bookseller to the Czar of Russia one Klostermann, actually
sold books at fifty to one hundred roubles by the yard, according to the
binding. The force of folly could no farther go, to debase the aims and
degrade the intellect of man.

In the chapter upon rare books, the reader will find instances in great
variety of the causes that contribute to the scarcity and enhancement of
prices of certain books, without at all affecting their intrinsic value,
which may be of the smallest.



In these suggestions upon the important question of the binding of books,
I shall have nothing to say of the history of the art, and very little of
its aesthetics. The plainest and most practical hints will be aimed at,
and if my experience shall prove of value to any, I shall be well
rewarded for giving it here. For other matters readers will naturally
consult some of the numerous manuals of book-binding in English, French
and German. The sumptuous bindings executed in the sixteenth century,
under the patronage and the eyes of Grolier, the famous tooled
masterpieces of Derome, Le Gascon, Padeloup, Trautz and other French
artists, and the beautiful gems of the binder's art from the hands of
Roger Payne, Lewis, Mackenzie, Hayday and Bedford, are they not
celebrated in the pages of Dibdin, Lacroix, Fournier, Wheatley, and
Robert Hoe?

There are some professed lovers of books who affect either indifference
or contempt for the style in which their favorites are dressed. A well
known epigram of Burns is sometimes quoted against the fondness for fine
bindings which widely prevails in the present day, as it did in that of
the Scottish Poet. A certain Scottish nobleman, endowed with more wealth
than brains, was vain of his splendidly bound Shakespeare, which,
however, he never read. Burns, on opening the folio, found the leaves
sadly worm-eaten, and wrote these lines on the fly-leaf:

    "Through and through th' inspired leaves,
        Ye maggots make your windings;
      But O respect his lordship's taste,
        And spare the golden bindings!"

Yet no real book-lover fails to appreciate the neatness and beauty of a
tasteful binding, any more than he is indifferent to the same qualities
in literary style. Slovenly binding is almost as offensive to a
cultivated eye as slovenly composition. No doubt both are "mere
externals," as we are told, and so are the splendors of scenery, the
beauty of flowers, and the comeliness of the human form, or features, or
costume. Talk as men will of the insignificance of dress, it constitutes
a large share of the attractiveness of the world in which we live.

The two prime requisites of good binding for libraries are neatness and
solidity. It is pleasant to note the steady improvement in American
bindings of late years. As the old style of "Half cloth boards," of half
a century ago, with paper titles pasted on the backs, has given way to
the neat, embossed, full muslin gilt, so the clumsy and homely sheep-skin
binding has been supplanted by the half-roan or morocco, with marble or
muslin sides. Few books are issued, however, either here or abroad, in
what may be called permanent bindings. The cheapness demanded by buyers
of popular books forbids this, while it leaves to the taste and fancy of
every one the selection of the "library style" in which he will have his
collection permanently dressed.

What is the best style of binding for a select or a public library? is a
question often discussed, with wide discrepancies of opinion. The so
universally prevalent cloth binding is too flimsy for books subjected to
much use--as most volumes in public collections and many in private
libraries are likely to be. The choice of the more substantial bindings
lies between calf and morocco, and between half or full bindings of
either. For nearly all books, half binding, if well executed, and with
cloth sides, is quite as elegant, and very nearly as solid and lasting as
full leather; for if a book is so worn as to need rebinding, it is
generally in a part where the full binding wears out quite as fast as the
other. That is, it gets worn at the hinges and on the back, whether full
or half-bound. The exceptions are the heavy dictionaries, encyclopaedias,
and other works of reference, which are subjected to much wear and tear
at the sides, as well as at the back and corners. Full leather is much
more expensive than half binding, though not doubly so.

Every librarian or book collector should understand something of
book-binding and its terms, so that he may be able to give clear
directions as to every item involved in binding, repairing, or
re-lettering, and to detect imperfect or slighted work.

The qualities that we always expect to find in a well-bound book are
solidity, flexibility, and elegance. Special examination should be
directed toward each of these points in revising any lot of books
returned from a binder. Look at each book with regard to:--

    1. Flexibility in opening.

    2. Evenness of the cover, which should lie flat and
    smooth--each edge being just parallel with the others

    3. Compactness--see that the volumes are thoroughly
    pressed--solid, and not loose or spongy.

    4. Correct and even lettering of titles, and other tooling.

    5. Good wide margins.

A well-bound book always opens out flat, and stays open. It also shuts up
completely, and when closed stays shut. But how many books do we see
always bulging open at the sides, or stiffly resisting being opened by
too great tightness in the back? If the books you have had bound do not
meet all these requirements, it is time to look for another binder.

The different styles of dressing books may all be summed up in the
following materials: Boards, cloth, vellum, sheep, bock, pig-skin, calf,
Russia, and morocco--to which may be added of recent years, buckram,
duck, linoleum, and the imitations of leather, such as leatherette and
morocco paper, and of parchment. I take no account here of obsolete
styles--as ivory, wood, brass, silver and other metals, nor of velvet,
satin, and other occasional luxuries of the binder's art. These belong to
the domain of the amateur, the antiquary, or the book-fancier--not to
that of the librarian or the ordinary book-collector.

Roan leather is nothing but sheep-skin, stained or colored; basil or
basan is sheepskin tanned in bark, while roan is tanned in sumac, and
most of the so called moroccos are also sheep, ingeniously grained by a
mechanical process. As all the manufactures in the world are full of
"shoddy," or sham materials, the bookbinder's art affords no exception.
But if the librarian or collector patronises shams, he should at least do
it with his eyes open, and with due counting of the cost.

Now as to the relative merits and demerits of materials for binding. No
one will choose boards covered with paper for any book which is to be
subjected to perusal, and cloth is too flimsy and shaky in its attachment
to the book, however cheap, for any library volumes which are to be
constantly in use. It is true that since the bulk of the new books coming
into any library are bound in cloth, they may be safely left in it until
well worn; and by this rule, all the books which nobody ever reads may be
expected to last many years, if not for generations. Cloth is a very
durable material, and will outlast some of the leathers, but any wetting
destroys its beauty, and all colors but the darkest soon become soiled
and repulsive, if in constant use. In most libraries, I hold that every
cloth-bound book which is read, must sooner or later come to have a
stout leather jacket. It may go for years, especially if the book is well
sewed, but to rebinding it must come at last; and the larger the volume,
the sooner it becomes shaky, or broken at some weak spot.

The many beautiful new forms of cloth binding should have a word of
praise, but the many more which we see of gaudy, fantastic, and
meretricious bindings, and frightful combinations of colors must be
viewed with a shudder.

Vellum, formerly much used for book-bindings, is the modern name for
parchment. Parchment was the only known writing material up to the 12th
century, when paper was first invented. There are two kinds--animal and
vegetable. The vegetable is made from cotton fibre or paper, by dipping
it in a solution of sulphuric acid and [sometimes] gelatine, then
removing the acid by a weak solution of ammonia, and smooth finishing by
rolling the sheets over a heated cylinder. Vegetable parchment is used to
bind many booklets which it is desired to dress in an elegant or dainty
style, but is highly unsuitable for library books. Vellum proper is a
much thicker material, made from the skins of calves, sheep, or lambs,
soaked in lime-water, and smoothed and hardened by burnishing with a hard
instrument, or pumice-stone. The common vellum is made from sheep-skin
splits, or skivers, but the best from whole calf-skins. The hard, strong
texture of vellum is in its favor, but its white color and tendency to
warp are fatal objections to it as a binding material.

Vellum is wholly unfit for the shelves of a library; the elegant white
binding soils with dust, or the use of the hands, more quickly than any
other; and the vellum warps in a dry climate, or curls up in a heated
room, so as to be unmanageable upon the shelves, and a nuisance in the
eyes of librarian and reader alike. The thin vegetable parchment lately
in vogue for some books and booklets is too unsubstantial for anything
but a lady's boudoir, where it may have its little day--"a thing of
beauty," but by no means "a joy forever."

Sheepskin--once the full binding for most school-books, and for a large
share of law and miscellaneous works for libraries, is now but little
used, except in its disguised forms. It is too soft a leather for hard
wear and tear, and what with abrasion and breaking at the hinges (termed
by binders the joints), it will give little satisfaction in the long run.
Under the effect of gas and heated atmospheres sheep crumbles and turns
to powder. Its cheapness is about its only merit, and even this is
doubtful economy, since no binding can be called cheap that has to be
rebound or repaired every few years. In the form of half-roan or bock,
colored sheep presents a handsome appearance on the shelf, and in volumes
or sets which are reasonably secure from frequent handling, one is
sometimes justified in adopting it, as it is far less expensive than
morocco. Pig-skin has been recently revived as a binding material, but
though extremely hard and durable, it is found to warp badly on the

Calf bindings have always been great favorites with book-lovers, and
there are few things more beautiful--_prima facie_, than a volume
daintily bound in light French calf, as smooth as glass, as fine as silk,
with elegant gold tooling without and within, gilt edges, and fly-leaves
of finest satin. I said beautiful, _prima facie_--and this calls to mind
the definition of that law term by a learned Vermont jurist, who said:
"Gentlemen of the jury, I must explain to you that a _prima facie_ case
is a case that is very good in front, but may be very bad in the rear."
So of our so much lauded and really lovely calf bindings: they develop
qualities in use which give us pause. Calf is the most brittle of the
leathers--hence it is always breaking at the hinges; it is a very smooth
leather--hence it shows every scratch instantly; it is a light and
delicate leather--hence it shows soils and stains more quickly than any
other. Out of every hundred calf-bound volumes in any well-used library,
there will not remain ten which have not had to be re-bound or repaired
at the end of twenty or thirty years. Heavy volumes bound in calf or
half-calf leather will break by their own weight on the shelves, without
any use at all; and smaller volumes are sure to have their brittle joints
snapped asunder by handling sooner or later--it is only a question of

Next comes Russia leather, which is very thick and strong, being made of
the hides of cattle, colored, and perfumed by the oil of birch, and made
chiefly in Russia. The objections to this leather are its great cost, its
stiffness and want of elasticity, and its tendency to desiccate and lose
all its tenacity in the dry or heated atmosphere of our libraries. It
will break at the hinges--though not so readily as calf.

Lastly, we have the morocco leather, so called because it was brought
from Morocco, in Africa, and still we get the best from thence, and from
the Mediterranean ports of the Levant--whence comes another name for the
best of this favorite leather, "Levant morocco," which is the skin of the
mountain goat, and reckoned superior to all other leathers. The
characteristics of the genuine morocco, sometimes called Turkey morocco,
having a pebbled grain, distinguishing it from the smooth morocco, are
its toughness and durability, combined with softness and flexibility. It
has a very tenacious fibre, and I have never found a real morocco binding
broken at the hinges. The old proverb--"there is nothing like
leather"--is pregnant with meaning, and especially applies to the best
morocco. As no material yet discovered in so many ages can take the
place of leather for foot-wear and for harness, such is its tenacity and
elasticity--so for book coverings, to withstand wear and tear, good
leather is indispensable. There are thoroughly-bound books existing which
are five centuries old--representing about the time when leather began to
replace wood and metals for binding. The three great enemies of books are
too great heat, too much moisture, and coal gas, which produces a
sulphurous acid very destructive to bindings, and should never be used in
libraries. From the dangers which destroy calf and Russia leather,
morocco is measurably free.

As to color, I usually choose red for books which come to binding or
rebinding, for these reasons. The bulk of every library is of dark and
sombre color, being composed of the old-fashioned calf bindings, which
grow darker with age, mingled with the cloth bindings of our own day, in
which dark colors predominate. Now the intermixture of red morocco, in
all or most of the newly bound books, relieves the monotony of so much
blackness, lights up the shelves, and gives a more cheerful aspect to the
whole library. Some there are who insist upon varying the colors of
bindings with the subjects of the books--and the British Museum Library
actually once bound all works on botany in green, poetry in yellow,
history in red, and theology in blue; but this is more fanciful than
important. A second reason for preferring red in moroccos is that, being
dyed with cochineal, it holds its color more permanently than any
other--the moroccos not colored red turning to a dingy, disagreeable
brown after forty or fifty years, while the red are found to be fast
colors. This was first discovered in the National Library of France, and
ever since most books in that great collection have been bound in red. A
celebrated binder having recommended this color to a connoisseur who was
having fine morocco binding done, instanced the example of the Paris
Library, whose books, said he, are "mostly red," to which the amateur
replied that he hoped they were.

Add to the merits of morocco leather the fact that it is not easily
scratched nor stained, that it is very tough in wear, and resists better
than any other the moisture and soiling of the hands--and we have a
material worthy of all acceptance.

In half-binding chosen for the great majority of books because it is much
cheaper than full leather, the sides are covered with muslin or with some
kind of colored paper--usually marble. The four corners of every book,
however, should always be protected by leather or, better still, by
vellum, which is a firmer material--otherwise they will rapidly wear off,
and the boards will break easily at their corners. As to the relative
merits of cloth and paper for the sides of books, cloth is far more
durable, though it costs more. Paper becomes quickly frayed at the edges,
or is liable to peel where pasted on, though it may be renewed at small
expense, and may properly be used except upon the much-read portion of
the library. The cloth or paper should always harmonize in color with the
leather to which it is attached. They need not be the same, but they
should be of similar shade.

One more reason for preferring morocco to other leathers is that you can
always dispense with lettering-pieces or patches in gilding the titles on
the back. All light-colored bindings (including law calf) are open to the
objection that gold lettering is hardly legible upon them. Hence the
necessity of stamping the titles upon darker pieces of leather, which are
fastened to the backs. These lettering-pieces become loose in over-heated
libraries, and tend continually to peel off, entailing the expense of
repairing or re-lettering. Every morocco bound book can be lettered
directly upon the leather. Bock is made of the skin of the Persian sheep,
and is called Persian in London. It is a partially unsuccessful imitation
of morocco, becoming easily abraded, like all the sheep-skin leathers,
and although it is to be had in all colors, and looks fairly handsome for
a time, and is tougher than skiver (or split sheep-skin), the books that
are bound in it will sooner or later become an eyesore upon the shelves.
A skin of Persian leather costs about one-third the price of genuine
morocco, or goat. But the actual saving in binding is in a far less
ratio--the difference being only six to eight cents per volume. It is
really much cheaper to use morocco in the first place, than to undergo
all the risks of deterioration and re-binding.

Of the various imitations of leather, or substitutes for it, we have
leatherette, leather-cloth, duck, fibrette, feltine, and buckram. Buckram
and duck are strong cotton or linen fabricks, made of different colors,
and sometimes figured or embossed to give them somewhat the look of
leather. Hitherto, they are made mostly in England, and I have learned of
no American experience in their favor except the use of stout duck for
covering blank books and binding newspapers. The use of buckram has been
mostly abandoned by the libraries. Morocco cloth is American, but has no
advantage over plain muslin or book cloth, that I am aware of.
Leatherette, made principally of paper, colored and embossed to simulate
morocco leather, appears to have dropped out of use almost as fast as it
came in, having no quality of permanence, elegance, or even of great
cheapness to commend it. Leatherette tears easily, and lacks both
tenacity and smoothness.

Both feltine and fibrette are made of paper--tear quickly, and are unfit
for use on any book that is ever likely to be read. All these imitations
of leather are made of paper as their basis, and hence can never be
proper substitutes for leather.

All torn leaves or plates in books should be at once mended by pasting a
very thin onion-skin paper on both sides of the torn leaf, and pressing
gently between leaves of sized paper until dry.

Corners made of vellum or parchment are more durable than any leather.
When dry, the parchment becomes as hard almost as iron and resists falls
or abrasion. To use it on books where the backs are of leather is a
departure from the uniformity or harmony of style insisted upon by many,
but in binding books that are to be greatly worn, use should come before

In rebinding, all maps or folded plates should be mounted on thin canvas,
linen, or muslin, strong and fine, to protect them from inevitable
tearing by long use. If a coarse or thick cloth is used, the maps will
not fold or open easily and smoothly.

The cutting or trimming of the edges of books needs to be watched with
jealous care. Few have reflected that the more margin a binder cuts off,
the greater his profit on any job, white paper shavings having a very
appreciable price by the pound. A strictly uncut book is in many American
libraries a rarity. And of the books which go a second time to the
binder, although at first uncut, how many retain their fair proportions
of margin when they come back? You have all seen books in which the text
has been cut into by the ruthless knife-machine of the binder. This is
called "bleeding" a book, and there are no words strong enough to
denounce this murderous and cold-blooded atrocity. The trimming of all
books should be held within the narrowest limits--for the life of a book
depends largely upon its preserving a good margin. Its only chance of
being able to stand a second rebinding may depend upon its being very
little trimmed at its first. If it must be cut at all, charge your binder
to take off the merest shaving from either edge.

Every new book or magazine added to the library, if uncut, should be
carefully cut with a paper-knife before it goes into the hands of any
reader. Spoiled or torn or ragged edges will be the penalty of neglecting
this. You have seen people tear open the leaves of books and magazines
with their fingers--a barbarism which renders him who would be guilty of
it worthy of banishment from the resorts of civilization. In cutting
books, the leaves should always be held firmly down--and the knife
pressed evenly through the uncut leaves to the farthest verge of the
back. Books which are cut in the loose fashion which many use are left
with rough or ragged edges always, and often a slice is gouged out of the
margin by the mis-directed knife. Never trust a book to a novice to be
cut, without showing him how to do it, and how not to do it.

The collation of new books in cloth or _broché_ should be done before
cutting, provided they are issued to readers untrimmed. In collating
books in two or more volumes double watchfulness is needed to guard
against a missing signature, which may have its place filled by the same
pages belonging to another volume--a mixture sometimes made in binderies,
in "gathering" the sheets, and which makes it necessary to see that the
signatures are right as well as the pages. The collator should check off
all plates and maps called for by the table of contents to make sure that
the copy is perfect. Books without pagination are of course to have their
leaves counted, which is done first in detail, one by one, and then
verified by a rapid counting in sections, in the manner used by printers
and binders in counting paper by the quire.

The binding of books may be divided into two styles or methods, namely,
machine-made book-bindings, and hand-made bindings. Binding by machinery
is wholly a modern art, and is applied to all or nearly all new books
coming from the press. As these are, in more than nine cases out of ten,
bound in cloth covers, and these covers, or cases, are cut out and
stamped by machinery, such books are called "case-made." The distinction
between this method of binding and the hand method is that in the former
the case is made separately from the book, which is then put into it.
After the sheets of any book come pressed and dried from the printing
office, the first step is to fold them from the large flat sheets into
book form. This is sometimes done by hand-folders of bone or some other
hard material, but in large establishments for making books, it is done
by a folding machine. This will fold ten thousand or more sheets in a
day. The folded sheets are next placed in piles or rows, in their
numerical sequence, and "gathered" by hand, _i. e._: a bindery hand picks
up the sheets one by one, with great rapidity, until one whole book is
gathered and collated, and the process is repeated so long as any sheets
remain. Next, the books are thoroughly pressed or "smashed" as it is
called, in a powerful smashing-machine, giving solidity to the book,
which before pressing was loose and spongy. Then the books are sawed or
grooved in the back by another machine, operating a swiftly moving saw,
and sewed on cords by still another machine, at about half the cost of
hand-sewing. Next, they are cut or trimmed on the three edges in a
cutting-machine. The backs of the books are made round by a
rounding-machine, leaving the back convex and the front concave in form,
as seen in all finished books. The books are now ready for the covers.
These consist of binders' board or mill-board, cut out of large sheets
into proper size, with lightning-like rapidity, by another machine
called a rotary board-cutter. The cloth which is to form the back and
sides of the book is cut out, of proper size for the boards, from great
rolls of stamped or ribbed or embossed muslin, by another machine. The
use of cloth, now so universal for book-binding, dates back little more
than half a century. About 1825, Mr. Leighton, of London, introduced it
as a substitute for the drab-colored paper then used on the sides, and
for the printed titles on the backs. The boards are firmly glued to the
cloth, the edges of which are turned over the boards, and fastened on the
inside of the covers. The ornamental stamps or figures seen on the
covers, both at the back and sides are stamped in with a heated die of
brass, or other metal, worked by machinery. The lettering of the title is
done in the same way, only that gold-leaf is applied before the die
falls. Lastly, the book is pasted by its fly leaves or end-leaves,
(sometimes with the addition of a cloth guard) to the inside of the cloth
case or cover, and the book is done, after a final pressing. By these
rapid machine methods a single book-manufacturing house can turn out ten
thousand volumes in a day, with a rapidity which almost takes the breath
away from the beholder.

There is a kind of binding which dispenses entirely with sewing the
sheets of a book. The backs are soaked with a solution of india-rubber,
and each sheet must be thoroughly agglutinated to the backs, so as to
adhere firmly to its fellows. This requires that all the sheets shall be
folded as single leaves or folios, otherwise the inner leaves of the
sheets, having no sewing, would drop out. This method is employed on
volumes of plates, music, or any books made up of large separate sheets.

In notable contrast to these rapid methods of binding what are termed
case-made books, comes the hand-made process, where only partial use of
machinery is possible.

The rebinding process is divided into three branches: preparing,
forwarding, and finishing. The most vital distinction between a
machine-made and a hand-made binding, is that the cloth or case-made book
is not fastened into its cover in a firm and permanent way, as in
leather-backed books. It is simply pasted or glued to its boards--not
interlaced by the cords or bands on which it is sewed. Hence one can
easily tear off the whole cover of a cloth-bound book, by a slight
effort, and such volumes tend to come to pieces early, under constant
wear and tear of library service.

Let us now turn to the practical steps pursued in the treatment of books
for library use. In re-binding a book, the first step is to take the book
apart, or, as it is sometimes called, to take it to pieces. This is done
by first stripping off its cover, if it has one. Cloth covers easily come
off, as their boards are not tied to the cords on which the book is
sewed, but are simply fastened by paste or glue to the boards by a muslin
guard, or else the cloth is glued to the back of the book. If the book is
leather-covered, or half-bound, _i. e._: with a leather back and
(usually) leather on its four corners, taking it to pieces is a somewhat
slower process. The binder's knife is used to cut the leather at the
joints or hinges of the volume, so that the boards may be removed. The
cords that tie the boards to the volume are cut at the same time. If the
book has a loose or flexible back, the whole cover comes easily off: if
bound with a tight back, the glued leather back must be soaked with a
sponge full of water, till it is soft enough to peel off, and let the
sheets be easily separated.

The book is now stripped of its former binding, and the next step is to
take it apart, signature by signature. A signature is that number of
leaves which make up one sheet of the book in hand. Thus, an octavo
volume, or a volume printed in eights, as it is called, has eight leaves,
or sixteen pages to a signature; a quarto four leaves; a duodecimo, or 12
mo. twelve leaves. The term signature (from Lat. _signare_, a sign) is
also applied to a letter or figure printed at the foot of the first page
of each sheet or section of the book. If the letters are used, the
signatures begin with A. and follow in regular sequence of the alphabet.
If the book is a very thick one, (or more than twenty-six signatures)
then after signature Z, it is customary to duplicate the letters--A.
A.--etc., for the remaining signatures. If figures are used instead of
letters, the signatures run on to the last, in order of numbers. These
letters, indicating signatures are an aid to the binder, in folding,
"gathering," and collating the consecutive sheets of any book, saving
constant reference to the "pagination," as it is termed, or the paging of
the volume, which would take much more time. In many books, you find the
signature repeated in the "inset," or the inner leaves of the sheet, with
a star or a figure to mark the sequence. Many books, however, are now
printed without any signature marks whatever.

To return: in taking apart the sheets or signatures, where they are stuck
together at the back by adhesive glue or paste, the knife is first used
to cut the thread in the grooves, where the book is sewed on cords or
tape. Then the back is again soaked, the sheets are carefully separated,
and the adhering substance removed by the knife or fingers. Care has to
be taken to lay the signatures in strict order or sequence of pages, or
the book may be bound up wrongly. The threads are next to be removed from
the inside of every sheet. The sheets being all separated, the book is
next pressed, to render all the leaves smooth, and the book solid for
binding. Formerly, books were beaten by a powerful hammer, to accomplish
this, but it is much more quickly and effectively done in most binderies
by the ordinary screw press. Every pressing of books should leave them
under pressure at least eight hours.

After pressing, the next step is to sew the sheets on to cords or twine,
set vertically at proper distances in a frame, called a "sewing bench,"
for this purpose. No book can be thoroughly well bound if the sewing is
slighted in any degree. Insist upon strong, honest linen thread--if it
breaks with a slight pull it is not fit to be used in a book. The book is
prepared for the sewer by sawing several grooves across the back with a
common saw. The two end grooves are light and narrow, the central ones
wider and deeper. Into these inner grooves, the cords fit easily, and the
book being taken, sheet by sheet, is firmly sewed around the cords, by
alternate movements of the needle and thread, always along the middle of
the sheet, the thread making a firm knot at each end (called the
"kettle-stitch") as it is returned for sewing on the next sheet.
Sometimes the backs are not sawed at all, but the sheets of the book are
sewed around the cords, which thus project a little from the back, and
form the "bands," seen in raised form on the backs of some books. Books
should be sewed on three to six cords, according to their size. This
raised-band sewing is reckoned by some a feature of excellent binding.
The sunken-band style is apt to give a stiff back, while the raised bands
are usually treated with a flexible back. When sewed, the book is
detached from its fellows, which may have been sewed on the same bench,
by slipping it along the cords, then cutting them apart, so as to leave
some two inches of each cord projecting, as ends to be fastened later to
the board. In careful binding, the thread is sewed "all along," _i. e._:
each sheet by itself, instead of "two on," as it is called.

The next process is termed "lining up," and consists of putting on the
proper fly-leaves or end-leaves, at the beginning and end of the volume.
These usually consist of four leaves of ordinary white printing paper at
each end, sometimes finished out with two leaves of colored or marbled
paper, to add a touch of beauty to the book when opened. Marbled paper is
more durable in color than the tinted, and does not stain so easily. One
of these end-leaves is pasted down to the inside cover, while the other
is left flying--whence "fly-leaf."

After this comes the cutting of the book at the edges. This is done by
screwing it firmly in a cutting-machine, which works a sharp knife
rapidly, shaving off the edges successively of the head, front and end,
or "tail" as it is called in book-binding parlance. This trimming used to
be done by hand, with a sharp cutting knife called by binders a "plough."
Now, there are many forms of cutting machines, some of which are called
"guillotines" for an obvious reason. In binding some books, which it is
desired to preserve with wide margins, only a mere shaving is taken off
the head, so as to leave it smooth at the top, letting the front and tail
leaves remain uncut. But in case of re-binding much-used books, the edges
are commonly so much soiled that trimming all around may be required, in
order that they may present a decent appearance. Yet in no case should
the binder be allowed to cut any book deeply, so as to destroy a good,
fair margin. Care must also be taken to cut the margins evenly, at right
angles, avoiding any crooked lines.

After cutting the book comes "rounding," or giving the back of the book a
curved instead of its flat shape. This process is done with the hand, by
a hammer, or in a rounding press, with a metallic roller. Before
rounding, the back of the book is glued up, that is, receives a coating
of melted glue with a glueing brush, to hold the sections together, and
render the back firm, and a thorough rubbing of the back with hot glue
between the sections gives strength to the volume.

Next comes the treatment of the edges of the book, hitherto all white, in
order to protect them from showing soil in long use. Sometimes (and this
is the cheaper process) the books are simply sprinkled at the edges with
a brush dipped in a dark fluid made of burnt umber or red ochre, and
shaken with a quick concussion near the edges until they receive a
sprinkle of color from the brush. Other books receive what is called a
solid color on the edges, the books being screwed into a press, and the
color applied with a sponge or brush.

But a marbled edge presents a far more handsome appearance, and should
harmonize in color and figure with the marbled paper of the end leaves.
Marbling, so called from its imitation of richly veined colored marble,
is staining paper or book edges with variegated colors. The process of
marbling is highly curious, both chemically and aesthetically, and may be
briefly described. A large shallow trough or vat is filled with prepared
gum water (gum-tragacanth being used); on the surface of this gum-water
bright colors, mixed with a little ox-gall, to be used in producing the
composite effect aimed at in the marbling are thrown or sprinkled in
liquid form. Then they are deftly stirred or agitated on the surface of
the water, with an implement shaped to produce a certain pattern. The
most commonly used one is a long metallic comb, which is drawn across the
surface of the combined liquids, leaving its pattern impressed upon the
ductile fluid. The edges of the book to be marbled are then touched or
dipped on the top of the water, on which the coloring matter floats, and
at once withdrawn, exhibiting on the edge the precise pattern of "combed
marble" desired, since the various colors--red, yellow, blue, white,
etc., have adhered to the surface of the book-edges. The serrated and
diversified effect of most comb-marbling is due to stroking the comb in
waved lines over the surface. The spotted effect so much admired in other
forms, is produced by throwing the colors on with a brush, at the fancy
of the skilled workman, or artist, as you may call him. Marbled paper is
made in the same way, by dipping one surface of the white sheet, held in
a curved form, with great care on the surface of the coloring vat. This
is termed shell and wave marbling, as distinguished from comb-marbling.
The paper or the book edges are next finished by sizing and burnishing,
which gives them a bright glistening appearance.

A still more ornate effect in a book is attained by gilding the edges.
Frequently the head of a book is gilt, leaving the front and tail of an
uncut book without ornament, and this is esteemed a very elegant style by
book connoisseurs, who are, or should be solicitous of wide margins. The
gilding of the top edge is a partial protection from dust falling inside,
to which the other edges are not so liable. To gild a book edge, it is
placed in a press, the edges scraped or smoothed, and coated with a
red-colored fluid, which serves to heighten the effect of the gold. Then
a sizing is applied by a camel's-hair brush, being a sticky substance,
usually the white of an egg, mixed with water (termed by binders
"glaire") and the gold-leaf is laid smoothly over it. When the sizing is
dry, the gold is burnished with a tool, tipped with an agate or
blood-stone, drawn forcibly over the edge until it assumes a glistening

After the edges have been treated by whatever process, there follows what
is termed the "backing" of the book. The volume is pressed between iron
clamps, and the back is hammered or rolled where it joins the sides, so
as to form a groove to hold the boards forming the solid portion of the
cover of every book. A backing-machine is sometimes used for this
process, making by pressure the joint or groove for the boards. Then the
"head-band" is glued on, being a silk braid or colored muslin, fastened
around a cord, which projects a little above the head and the tail, at
the back of the book, giving it a more finished appearance. At the same
time, a book-mark for keeping the place is sometimes inserted and
fastened like the head-band. This is often a narrow ribbon of colored
silk, or satin, and helps to give a finish to the book, as well as to
furnish the reader a trustworthy guide to keep a place--as it will not
fall out like bits of paper inserted for that purpose.

Next, the mill-boards are applied, cut so as to project about an eighth
to a quarter of an inch from the edges of the book on three sides. The
book is held to the boards by the ends of its cords being interlaced, _i.
e._: passed twice through holes pierced in the boards, the loose ends of
the cords being then wet with paste and hammered down flat to the surface
of the boards. The best tar-boards should be used, which are made of old
rope; no board made of straw is fit to be used on any book. Straw boards
are an abomination--a cheap expedient which costs dearly in the end. The
binder should use heavy boards on the larger and thicker volumes, but
thin ones on all duodecimos and smaller sizes.

Next, the books are subjected to a second pressing, after which the
lining of the back is in order. Good thick brown paper is generally used
for this, cut to the length of the book, and is firmly glued to the back,
and rubbed down closely with a bone folder. A cloth "joint," or piece of
linen (termed "muslin super,") is often glued to the back, with two
narrow flaps to be pasted to the boards, on each side, thus giving
greater tenacity to the covering. If the book is to be backed so as to
open freely, that is, to have a spring back or elastic back, two
thicknesses of a firm, strong paper, or thin card-board are used, one
thickness of the paper being glued to the back of the book, while the
other--open in the middle, but fastened at the edges, is to be glued to
the leather of which the back is to be made.

After this, comes putting the book in leather. If full bound a piece of
leather cut full size of the volume, with about half an inch over, is
firmly glued or pasted to the boards and the back, the leather being
turned over the edges of the boards, and nicely glued on their inside
margin. It is of great importance that the edges of the leather should be
smoothly pared down with a sharp knife, so as to present an even edge
where the leather joins the boards, not a protuberance--which makes an
ugly and clumsy piece of work, instead of a neat one.

For half-binding, a piece of leather is taken large enough to cover the
back lengthwise, and turn in at the head and tail, while the width should
be such as to allow from one to one and a half inches of the leather to
be firmly glued to the boards next the back. The four corners of the
boards are next to be leathered, the edges of the leather being carefully
pared down, to give a smooth surface, even with the boards, when turned
in. The leather is usually wet, preparatory to being manipulated thus,
which renders it more flexible and ductile than in its dry state. The
cloth or marbled paper is afterwards pasted or glued to the sides of the
book, and turned neatly over the edge of the boards.

It may be added, that the edges of the boards, in binding nice books, are
sometimes ground off on a swiftly revolving emery-wheel, giving the book
a beveled edge, which is regarded as handsomer and more finished than a
straight rectangular edge.

All the processes hitherto described are called "forwarding" the book: we
now come to what is denominated "finishing." This includes the lettering
of the title, and the embellishing of the back and sides, with or without
gilding, as the case may be. Before this is taken in hand, the leather of
the book must be perfectly dry. For the lettering, copper-faced types are
used to set up the desired sequence of letters and words, and care and
taste should be exercised to have (1) Types neither too large, which
present a clumsy appearance, nor too small, which are difficult to read.
(2) Proper spacing of the words and lines, and "balancing" the component
parts of the lettering on the back, so as to present a neat and
harmonious effect to the eye. A word should never be divided or
hyphenated in lettering, when it can be avoided. In the case of quite
thin volumes, the title may be lettered lengthwise along the back, in
plain, legible type, instead of in very small letters across the back,
which are often illegible. The method of applying gold lettering is as
follows: the back of the book where the title is to go, is first
moistened with a sticky substance, as albumen or glaire, heretofore
mentioned, laid on with a camel's hair brush. The type (or the die as the
case may be) is heated in a binder's charcoal furnace, or gas stove, to
insure the adhesion of the gold leaf. The thin gold leaf (which comes
packed in little square "books," one sheet between every two leaves) is
then cut the proper size by the broad thin knife of the "finisher," and
carefully laid over the sized spot to receive the lettering. Usually, two
thicknesses of gold leaf are laid one above another, which ensures a
brighter and more decided effect in the lettering. The type metal or die
is then pressed firmly and evenly down upon the gold-leaf, and the
surplus shavings of the gold carefully brushed off and husbanded, for
this leaf is worth money. The gold leaf generally in use costs about
$6.50 for 500 little squares or sheets. It is almost inconceivably thin,
the thickness of one gold leaf being estimated at about 1/280000 of an

Besides the lettering, many books receive gold ornamentation on the back
or side of a more or less elaborate character. Designs of great artistic
beauty, and in countless variety, have been devised for book ornaments,
and French and English book-binders have vied with each other for
generations in the production of decorative borders, fillets,
centre-pieces, rolls, and the most exquisite gold-tooling, of which the
art is capable.

These varied patterns of book ornamentation are cut in brass or steel,
and applied by the embossing press with a rapidity far exceeding that of
the hand-work formerly executed by the gilders of books. But for choice
books and select jobs, only the hands are employed, with such fillets,
stamps, pallets, rolls, and polishing irons as may aid in the nice
execution of the work. If a book is to be bound in what is called
"morocco antique," it is to be "blind-tooled," _i. e._: the hot iron
wheels which impress the fillets or rolls, are to be worked in blank, or
without gold-leaf ornamentation. This is a rich and tasteful binding,
especially with carefully beveled boards, and gilded edges.

On some books, money has been lavished on the binding to an amount
exceeding by many fold the cost of the book itself. Elegant book-binding
has come to be reckoned as a fine art, and why should not "the art
preservative of all other arts"--printing--be preserved in permanent and
sumptuous, if not splendid style, in its environment? Specimens of French
artistic binding from the library of Grolier, that celebrated and
munificent patron of art, who died in 1565, have passed through the hands
of many eager connoisseurs, always at advancing prices. The Grolier
binding was notable for the elegant finish of its interlaced ornaments
in gold-leaf, a delicacy of touch, and an inimitable flowing grace, which
modern binders have struggled after in vain. At the Beckford Library sale
in London, in 1884, there was a great array of fine French bindings of
early date. A book from Grolier's library, the "Toison d'Or," 1563,
brought £405, or over $2,000, and a Heptameron, which had belonged to
Louis XIV, in beautiful brown morocco, with crown, fleur-de-lys, a stag,
a cock, and stars, as ornaments, all exquisitely worked in gold, lined
with vellum, was sold for £400. Following the Grolier patterns, came
another highly decorative style, by the French binders, which was notable
for the very delicate gold tooling, covering the whole sides of the book
with exquisite scroll-work, and branches of laurel.

The most celebrated of English book-binders was Roger Payne, who was
notable for the careful labor bestowed on the forwarding and finishing of
his books, specimens of which are still reckoned among the
_chefs-d'oeuvre_ of the art. His favorite style was a roughly-grained red
morocco, always full-bound, and he kept in view what many binders forget,
that the leather is the main thing in a finely executed binding, not to
be overlaid by too much gilding and decoration. He charged twelve guineas
each (over $60) for binding some small volumes in his best style. Payne's
most notable successors have been Lewis, Hayday, Bedford, and Zaehnsdorf,
the latter of whom is the author of a treatise on book-binding. At the
art exhibition of 1862, a book bound by Bedford was exhibited, which took
two months merely to finish, and the binding cost forty guineas; and a
Doré's Dante, exquisitely bound by Zaehnsdorf, in Grolier style, cost one
hundred guineas.

A decorative treatment not yet mentioned is applied to the covers of some
books, which are bound in elegant full calf. To give to this leather the
elegant finish known as "tree-calf binding", it is first washed with
glaire or albumen. The boards of the book are then bent to a convex
shape, and water sprinkled over, until it runs down from the centre in
many little branches or rivulets. While running, a solution of copperas
is sprinkled on, and carried along the branches which radiate from the
central trunk, producing the dark-mottled colored effect which resembles,
more or less nearly, a tree with its spreading branches.

To make the book beautiful should be the united aim of all who are
concerned in its manufacture--the paper-maker, the printer, and the
book-binder. While utility comes first in the art of book-making for
libraries, yet neatness and even elegance should always be united with
it. An ill-forwarded book, or a badly finished one, presents a clumsy,
unattractive look to the eye; while an evenly made piece of work, and a
careful and tasteful ornamentation in the gilding, attract every
discerning reader by their beauty. One writer upon book-binding terms the
forwarder of the book an artizan, and the finisher an artist; but both
should have the true artist's taste, in order to produce the work that
shall commend itself by intrinsic excellence. The form and shape of the
book depend wholly, indeed, on the forwarder.

We are told that the great beauty of the Grolier bindings lay in the
lavish and tasteful adornment of the sides. In fact, much depends upon
the design, in every piece of decorative work. The pretty scroll
patterns, the interlaced figures, the delicate tracery, the circles,
rosettes, and stars, the lovely arabesques, the flowers and leaves
borrowed from the floral kingdom, the geometric lines, the embroidered
borders, like fine lace-work,--all these lend their separate individual
charms to the finish of the varied specimens of the binder's art. There
are some books that look as brilliant as jewels in their rich, lustrous
adornment, the design sometimes powdered with gold points and stars. Some
gems of art are lined with rich colored leather in the inside covers,
which are stamped and figured in gold. This is termed "_doublé_" by the
French. Some have their edges gilded over marbling, a refinement of
beauty which adds richness to the work, the marble design showing through
the brilliant gold, when the edge is turned. Others have pictorial
designs drawn on the edges, which are then gilded over the pictures. This
complex style of gilding, the French term _gaufré_. It was formerly much
in vogue, but is latterly out of fashion. Many gems of binding are
adorned with fly-leaves of moire silk, or rich colored satin. Color,
interspersed with gold in the finish of a book covering, heightens the
effect. The morocco of the side-cover is sometimes cut, and inlaid with
leather of a different color. Inlaying with morocco or kid is the richest
style of decoration which the art has yet reached. Beautiful bindings
have been in greater request during the past twenty years than ever
before. There was a renaissance of the ancient styles of decoration in
France, and the choice Grolier and Maioli patterns were revived with the
general applause of the lovers of fine books.

In vivid contrast to these lovely specimens of the binder's art, are
found innumerable bibliopegic horrors, on the shelves of countless
libraries, public and private. Among these are to be reckoned most law
books, clad in that dead monotony of ugliness, which Charles Dickens has
described as "that _under-done pie-crust_ cover, which is technically
known as law calf." There are other uncouth and unwholesome specimens
everywhere abroad, "whom Satan hath bound", to borrow Mr. Henry Stevens's
witty application of a well-known Scripture text. Such repellant
bindings are only fit to serve as models to be avoided by the librarian.

The binding that is executed by machinery is sometimes called "commercial
binding". It is also known as "edition binding", because the whole
edition of a book is bound in uniform style of cover. While the modern
figured cloth binding originated in England, it has had its fullest
development in the United States. Here, those ingenious and powerful
machines which execute every branch of the folding and forwarding of a
book, and even the finishing of the covers, with almost lightning speed,
were mostly invented and applied. Very vivid is the contrast between the
quiet, humdrum air of the old-fashioned bindery hand-work, and the
ceaseless clang and roar of the machinery which turns out thousands of
volumes in a day.

    "Not as ours the books of old,
    Things that steam can stamp and fold."

I believe that I failed to notice, among the varieties of material for
book-bindings heretofore enumerated, some of the rarer and more singular
styles. Thus, books have been bound in enamel, (richly variegated in
color) in Persian silk, in seal-skin, in the skin of the rabbit,
white-bear, crocodile, cat, dog, mole, tiger, otter, buffalo, wolf, and
even rattle-snake. A favorite modern leather for purses and satchels,
alligator-skin, has been also applied to the clothing of books. Many
eccentric fancies have been exemplified in book-binding, but the acme of
gruesome oddity has been reached by binding books in human skin, of which
many examples are on record. It is perhaps three centuries old, but the
first considerable instance of its use grew out of the horrors of the
French Revolution. In England, the Bristol law library has several
volumes bound in the skin of local criminals, flayed after execution,
and specially tanned for the purpose. It is described as rather darker
than vellum. A Russian poet is said to have bound his sonnets in human
leather--his own skin--taken from a broken thigh--and the book he
presented to the lady of his affections! Such ghoulish incidents as these
afford curious though repulsive glimpses of the endless vagaries of human

It is said that the invention of half-binding originated among the
economists of Germany; and some wealthy bibliophiles have stigmatized
this style of dressing books as "genteel poverty." But its utility and
economy have been demonstrated too long to admit of any doubt that
half-binding has come to stay; while, as we have seen, it is also capable
of attractive aesthetic features. Mr. William Matthews, perhaps the
foremost of American binders, said that "a book when neatly forwarded,
and cleanly covered, is in a very satisfactory condition without any
finishing or decorating." It was this same binder who exhibited at the
New York World's Fair Exhibition of 1853, a copy of Owen Jones's
Alhambra, bound by him in full Russia, inlaid with blue and red morocco,
with gold tooling all executed by hand, taking six months to complete,
and costing the binder no less than five hundred dollars.

Book lettering, or stamping the proper title on the back of the book, is
a matter of the first importance. As the titles of most books are much
too long to go on the back, a careful selection of the most distinctive
words becomes necessary. Here the taste and judgment of the librarian
come indispensably into play. To select the lettering of a book should
never be left to the binder, because it is not his business, and because,
in most cases, he will make a mistake somewhere in the matter. From want
of care on this point, many libraries are filled with wrongly lettered
books, misleading titles, and blunders as ludicrous as they are
distressing. I have had to have thousands of volumes in the Library of
Congress re-lettered. A copy of Lord Bacon's "Sylva Sylvarum", for
example, was lettered "Verlum's Sylva"--because the sapient binder read
on the title-page "By Baron Verulam", and it was not his business to find
out that this was the title of honor which Bacon bore; so, by a compound
blunder, he converted Verulam into Verlum, and gave the book to an
unknown writer. This is perhaps an extreme case, but you will find many
to match it. Another folio, Rochefort's History of the Caribby Islands,
was lettered "Davies' Carriby Islands," because the title bore the
statement "Rendered into English by John Davies." In another library, the
great work of the naturalist, Buffon, was actually lettered "Buffoon's
Natural History." Neither of these blunders was as bad as that of the
owner of an elegant black-letter edition of a Latin classic, which was
printed without title-page, like most fifteenth century books, and began
at the top of the first leaf, in large letters--"HOC INCIPIT," signifying
"This begins", followed by the title or subject of the book. The wiseacre
who owned it had the book richly bound, and directed it to be lettered on
the back--"Works of Hoc Incipit, Rome, 1490." This is a true story, and
the hero of it might perhaps, on the strength of owning so many learned
works, have passed for a philosopher, if he had not taken the pains to
advertise himself as a blockhead.

Some of the commonest blunders are stamping on the back the translator's
or the editor's name, instead of that of the author of the book; putting
on adjectives instead of substantives for titles; modernizing ancient and
characteristic spelling, found in the title, (the exact orthography of
which should always be followed); mixing up the number and the case of
Latin titles, and those in other foreign languages; leaving off entirely
the name of the writer; and lettering periodicals by putting on the
volume without the year, or the year, without the number of the volume.
"No one but an idiot", said Mr. C. Walford to the London Librarians'
Conference, "would send his books to the binder, without indicating the
lettering he desires on the backs." The only safe-guard is for the
librarian or owner to prescribe on a written slip in each volume, a title
for every book, before it goes to the binder, who will be only too glad
to have his own time saved--since time is money to him. I would not
underrate the book-binders, who are a most worthy and intelligent class,
numbering in their ranks men who are scholars as well as artists; but
they are concerned chiefly with the mechanics and not with the
metaphysics of their art, and moreover, they are not bound by that rigid
rule which should govern the librarian--namely--to have no ignoramus
about the premises.

In writing letterings (for I take it that no one would be guilty of
defacing his title-pages by marking them up with directions to the
binder) you should definitely write out the parts of the title as they
are to run on the back of the book, spaced line upon line, and not "run
together." I think that the name of the author should always stand first
at the head of the lettering, because it affords the quickest guide to
the eye in finding any book, as well as in replacing it upon the shelves.
Especially useful and time-saving is this, where classes of books are
arranged in alphabetical sequence. Is not the name of the author commonly
uppermost in the mind of the searcher? Then, let it be uppermost on the
book sought also. Follow the name of the author by the briefest possible
words selected from the title which will suffice to characterize the
subject of the work. Thus, the title--"On the Origin of Species by means
of Natural Selection", by Charles Darwin, should be abbreviated into

                      Origin of Species.

Here are no superfluous words, to consume the binder's time and
gold-leaf, and to be charged in the bill; or to consume the time of the
book-searcher, in stopping to read a lot of surplusage on the back of the
book, before seizing it for immediate use. Books in several volumes
should have the number of each volume plainly marked in Arabic (not
Roman) numerals on the back. The old-fashioned method of expressing
numerals by letters, instead of figures, is too cumbrous and
time-consuming to be tolerated. You want to letter, we will say, vol. 88
of Blackwood's Magazine. If you follow the title-page of that book, as
printed, you have to write

"Volume LXXXVIII," eight letters, for the number of the volume, instead
of two simple figures--thus--88.

Now can any one give a valid reason for the awkward and tedious method of
notation exhibited in the Roman numerals? If it were only the lost time
of the person who writes it, or the binder's finisher who letters it, it
would be comparatively insignificant. But think of the time wasted by the
whole world of readers, who must go through a more or less troublesome
process of notation before they get a clear notion of what all this
superfluous stuff stands for instead of the quick intuition with which
they take in the Arabic figures; and who must moreover, by the antiquated
method, take valuable time to write out LXXXVIII, eight figures instead
of two, to say nothing of the added liability to error, which increases
in the exact ratio of the number of figures to be written. Which of these
two forms of expression is more quickly written, or stamped, or read? By
which method of notation will the library messenger boys or girls soonest
find the book? This leads me to say what cannot be too strongly insisted
upon; all library methods should be time-saving methods, and so devised
for the benefit alike of the librarian, the assistants, and the readers.
Until one has learned the supreme value of moments, he will not be fit
for a librarian. The same method by Arabic numerals only, should be used
in all references to books; and it would be well if the legal fashion of
citing authorities by volume and page, now adopted in most law books,
were extended to all literature--thus:

"3 Macaulay's England, 481. N. Y. 1854," instead of "Macaulay's England,
N. Y. ed. 1854. vol. 3, page 481." It is a matter of congratulation to
all librarians, as well as to the reading public, that Poole's Indexes to
Periodical Literature have wisely adopted Arabic figures only, both for
volume and page. The valuable time thus saved to all is quite

Every book which is leather-bound has its back divided off into panels or
sections, by the band across the back or by the gold or plain fillet or
roll forming part of the finish of the book. These panels are usually
five or six in number, the former being the more common. Now it is the
librarian's function to prescribe in which of these panels the lettering
of the book--especially where there is double lettering--shall go. Thus

          |   COUSIN   |       |       |      |      |
          |    ----    |       |       |      | NEW  |
     2nd  |  HISTORY   |  4th  | WIGHT | End  |YORK, |
    panel |    OF      | panel |       |      |1852. |
          |  MODERN    |       |       |      |      |
          | PHILOSOPHY.|       |       |      |      |

Many books, especially dramatic works, and the collected works of authors
require the contents of the various volumes to be briefed on the back.
Here is a Shakespeare, for example, in 10 volumes, or a Swift in 19, or
Carlyle in 33, and you want to find _King Lear_, or _Gulliver's Travels_,
or _Heroes and Hero Worship_. The other volumes concern you not--but you
want the shortest road to these. If the name of each play is briefed by
the first word upon the different volumes of your Shakespeare, or the
contents of each volume upon the Swift and the Carlyle,--as they should
be--you find instantly what you want, with one glance of the eye along
the backs. If put to the trouble of opening every volume to find the
contents, or of hunting it in the index, or the library catalogue, you
lose precious time, while readers wait, thus making the needless delay
cumulative, and as it must be often repeated, indefinite.

Each volume should have its date and place of publication plainly
lettered at the lower end, or what binders term the tail of the book.
This often saves time, as you may not want an edition of old date, or
_vice versa_, while the place and date enable readers' tickets to be
filled out quickly without the book. The name of the library might well
be lettered also on the back, being more obvious as a permanent means of
identification than the book-plate or inside stamp.

Books should never be used when fresh from the binder's hands. The covers
are then always damp, and warp on exposure to air and heat. Unless
pressed firmly in shelves, or in piles, for at least two weeks, they may
become incurably warped out of shape. Many an otherwise handsomely bound
book is ruined by neglect of this caution, for once thoroughly dried in
its warped condition, there is no remedy save the costly one of

Books are frequently lettered so carelessly that the titles instead of
aligning, or being in straight horizontal lines, run obliquely upward or
downward, thus defacing the volume. Errors in spelling words are also
liable to occur. All crooked lettering and all mistakes in spelling
should at once be rejected, and the faulty books returned to the binder,
to be corrected at his own expense. This severe revision of all books
when newly bound, before they are placed upon the shelves, should be done
by the librarian's or owner's own eye--not entrusted to subordinates,
unless to one thoroughly skilled.

One should never receive back books from a binder without collating them,
to see if all are perfect as to pages, and if all plates or maps are in
place. If deficiencies are found, the binder, and not the library is
responsible, provided the book was known to be perfect when sent for

In the Congressional Library I had the periodicals which are analyzed in
Poole's Index of Periodical Literature thoroughly compared and
re-lettered, wherever necessary, to make the series of volumes correspond
with the references in that invaluable and labor-saving index. For
instance, the Eclectic Review, as published in London, had eight distinct
and successive series (thus confusing reference by making eight different
volumes called 1, 2, 3, etc.) each with a different numbering, "First
series, 2d series," etc., which Poole's Index very properly consolidated
into one, for convenient reference. By adding the figures as scheduled in
that work--prefixed by the words _Poole's Index No._ ---- or simply
_Poole_, in small letters, followed by the figure of the volume as given
in that index, you will find a saving of time in hunting and supplying
references that is almost incalculable. If you cannot afford to have this
re-numbering done by a binder in gilt letters, it will many times repay
the cost and time of doing it on thin manila paper titles, written or
printed by a numbering machine and pasted on the backs of the volumes.

In all periodicals,--magazines and serials of every kind,--the covers and
their advertisements should be bound in their proper place, with each
month or number of the periodical, though it may interrupt the continuity
of the paging. Thus will be preserved valuable contemporary records
respecting prices, bibliographical information, etc., which should never
be destroyed, as it is illustrative of the life and history of the
period. The covers of the magazines, too, frequently contain the table of
contents of the number, which of course must be prefixed to it, in order
to be of any use. If advertising pages are very numerous and bulky, (as
in many popular periodicals of late years) they may well be bound at the
end of the volume, or, if so many as to make the volume excessively
thick, they might be bound in a supplementary volume. In all books,
half-titles or bastard titles, as they are called, should be bound in, as
they are a part of the book.

With each lot of books to be bound, there should always be sent a sample
volume of good work as a pattern, that the binder may have no excuse for
hasty or inferior workmanship.

The Grolier Club was founded in New York in 1884, having for its objects
to promote the literary study and progress of the arts pertaining to the
production of books. It has published more than twenty books in sumptuous
style, and mostly in quarto form, the editions being limited to 150
copies at first, since increased to 300, under the rapidly enlarging
membership of the Club. Most of these books relate to fine binding, fine
printing, or fine illustration of books, or are intended to exemplify
them, and by their means, by lectures, and exhibitions of fine book-work,
this society has contributed much toward the diffusion of correct taste.
More care has been bestowed upon fine binding in New York than in London
itself. In fact, elegant book-binding is coming to be recognized as one
of the foremost of the decorative arts.

The art of designing book-covers and patterns for gilding books has
engaged the talents of many artists, among whom may be named Edwin A.
Abbey, Howard Pyle, Stanford White, and Elihu Vedder. Nor have skilful
designs been wanting among women, as witness Mrs. Whitman's elegant
tea-leaf border for the cover of Dr. O. W. Holmes's "Over the Tea-cups,"
and Miss Alice Morse's arabesques and medallions for Lafcadio Hearn's
"Two Years in the French West Indies." Miss May Morris designed many
tasteful letters for the fine bindings executed by Mr. Cobden-Sanderson
of London, and Kate Greenaway's many exquisite little books for little
people have become widely known for their quaint and curious cover
designs. A new field thus opens for skilled cultivators of the beautiful
who have an eye for the art of drawing.

Mr. William Matthews, the accomplished New York binder, in an address
before the Grolier Club in 1895, said: "I have been astonished that so
few women--in America, I know none--are encouragers of the art; they
certainly could not bestow their taste on anything that would do them
more credit, or as a study, give them more satisfaction." It is but fair
to add that since this judgment was put forth, its implied reproach is no
longer applicable: a number of American women have interested themselves
in the study of binding as a fine art; and some few in practical work as
binders of books.

There is no question that readers take a greater interest in books that
are neatly and attractively bound, than in volumes dressed in a mean
garb. No book owner or librarian with any knowledge of the incurable
defects of calf, sheep, or roan leather, if he has any regard for the
usefulness or the economies of his library, will use them in binding
books that are to possess permanent value in personal or public use. True
economy lies in employing the best description of binding in the first

When it is considered that the purposed object of book-binding is to
preserve in a shape at once attractive and permanent, the best and
noblest thoughts of man, it rises to a high rank among the arts. Side by
side with printing, it strives after that perfection which shall ensure
the perpetuity of human thought. Thus a book, clothed in morocco, is not
a mere piece of mechanism, but a vehicle in which the intellectual life
of writers no longer on earth is transmitted from age to age. And it is
the art of book-binding which renders libraries possible. What the
author, the printer, and the binder create, the library takes charge of
and preserves. It is thus that the material and the practical link
themselves indissolubly with the ideal. And the ideal of every true
librarian should be so to care for the embodiments of intelligence
entrusted to his guardianship, that they may become in the highest degree
useful to mankind. In this sense, the care bestowed upon thorough and
enduring binding can hardly be overrated, since the life of the book
depends upon it.



When any lot of books is acquired, whether by purchase from book-dealers
or from auction, or by presentation, the first step to be taken, after
seeing that they agree with the bill, and have been collated, in
accordance with methods elsewhere given, should be to stamp and label
each volume, as the property of the library. These two processes are
quite distinct, and may be performed by one or two persons, according to
convenience, or to the library force employed. The stamp may be the
ordinary rubber one, inked by striking on a pad, and ink of any color may
be used, although black or blue ink has the neatest appearance. The stamp
should bear the name of the library, in clear, legible, plain type, with
year of acquisition of the book in the centre, followed by the month and
day if desired. A more permanent kind of stamp is the embossing stamp,
which is a steel die, the letters cut in relief, but it is very expensive
and slow, requiring the leaf to be inserted between the two parts of the
stamp, though the impression, once made, is practically indelible.

The size of the stamp (which is preferably oval in shape) should not
exceed 1¼ to 1½ inches in diameter, as a large, coarse stamp never
presents a neat appearance on a book. Indeed, many books are too small to
admit any but a stamp of very moderate dimensions. The books should be
stamped on the verso (reverse) of the title page, or if preferred, on the
widest unprinted portion of the title-page, preferably on the right hand
of the centre, or just below the centre on the right. This, because its
impression is far more legible on the plain white surface than on any
part of the printed title. In a circulating library, the stamps should be
impressed on one or more pages in the body of the book, as well as on the
last page, as a means of identification if the book is stolen or
otherwise lost; as it is very easy to erase the impression of a rubber
stamp from the title-page, and thereby commit a fraud by appropriating or
selling the book. In such a case, the duplicate or triplicate impression
of the stamp on some subsequent page (say page 5 or 16, many books having
but few pages) as fixed upon by the librarian, is quite likely to escape
notice of the thief, while it remains a safe-guard, enabling the
librarian to reclaim the book, wherever found. The law will enforce this
right of free reclamation in favor of a public library, in the case of
stolen books, no matter in what hands found, and even though the last
holder may be an innocent purchaser. All libraries are victimized at some
time by unscrupulous or dishonest readers, who will appropriate books,
thinking themselves safe from detection, and sometimes easing their
consciences, (if they have any) by the plea that the book is in a measure
public property.

In these cases, there is no absolute safe-guard, as it is easy to carry
off a book under one's coat, and the librarian and his few aids are far
too busy to act as detectives in watching readers. Still, a vigilant
librarian will almost always find out, by some suspicious
circumstance--such as the hiding of books away, or a certain furtive
action observed in a reader--who are the persons that should be watched,
and when it is advisable to call in the policeman.

The British Museum Library, which has no circulation or book lending,
enforces a rule that no one making his exit can have a book with him,
unless checked as his own property, all overcoats and other wraps being
of course checked at the door.

It is a melancholy fact, duly recorded in a Massachusetts paper, that no
less than two hundred and fifty volumes, duly labeled and stamped as
public library books, were stolen from a single library in a single year,
and sold to second-hand booksellers.

The impression of the stamp in the middle of a certain page, known to the
librarian, renders it less liable to detection by others, while if
stamped on the lower unprinted margin, it might be cut out by a designing

Next to the stamping, comes the labeling of the books to be added to the
library. This is a mechanical process, and yet one of much importance.
Upon its being done neatly and properly, depends the good or bad
appearance of the library books, as labels with rough or ragged edges, or
put on askew, or trimmed irregularly at their margins, present an ugly
and unfinished aspect, offensive to the eye of good taste, and reflecting
discredit on the management. A librarian should take pride in seeing all
details of his work carefully and neatly carried out. If he cannot have
perfection, from want of time, he should always aim at it, at least, and
then only will he come near to achieving it.

The label, or book-plate (for they are one and the same thing) should be
of convenient size to go into books both small and large; and a good size
is approximately 2¼ inches wide by 1½ inches high when trimmed. As
comparatively few libraries care to go to the expense, which is about ten
times that of printing, of an engraved label (although such work adds to
the attractiveness of the books containing it) it should be printed in
clear, not ornamental type, with the name of the library, that of the
city or town in which it is located (unless forming a part of the title)
and the abbreviation No. for number, with such other spaces for section
marks or divisions, shelf-marks, etc., as the classification adopted may
require. The whole should be enclosed in an ornamental border--not too
ornate for good taste.

The labels, nicely trimmed to uniform size by a cutting machine, (if that
is not in the library equipment, any binder will do it for you) are next
to be pasted or gummed, as preferred. This process is a nice one,
requiring patience, care, and practice. Most libraries are full of books
imperfectly labelled, pasted on in crooked fashion, or perhaps damaging
the end-leaves by an over-use of paste, causing the leaves to adhere to
the page labelled--which should always be the inside left hand cover of
the book. This slovenly work is unworthy of a skilled librarian, who
should not suffer torn waste leaves, nor daubs of over-running paste in
any of his books. To prevent both these blunders in library economy, it
is only needful to instruct any intelligent assistant thoroughly, by
practical example how to do it--accompanied by a counter-example how not
to do it. The way to do it is to have your paste as thin as that used by
binders in pasting their fly-leaves, or their leather, or about the
consistency of porridge or pea soup. Then lay the label or book-plate
face downward on a board or table covered with blotting paper, dip your
paste brush (a half inch bristle brush is the best) in the paste, stroke
it (to remove too much adhering matter) on the inner side of your paste
cup, then apply it across the whole surface of the label, with light,
even strokes of the brush, until you see that it is all moistened with
paste. Next, take up the label and lay it evenly in the middle of the
left inner cover page of the book to be labelled, and with a small piece
of paper (not with the naked fingers) laid over it, stroke it down firmly
in its place, by rubbing over a few times the incumbent paper. This being
properly done (and it is done by an expert, once learned, very rapidly)
your book-plate will be firmly and smoothly pasted in, with no exuding
of paste at the edges, to spoil the fly-leaves, and no curling up of
edges because insufficiently pasted down.

So much for the book-plate--for the inside of the volumes; now let us
turn attention to the outside label. This is necessarily very much
smaller than the book-plate: in fact, it should not be larger than
three-quarters or seven-eighths of an inch in diameter, and even smaller
for the thinner volumes, while in the case of the very smallest, or
thinnest of books, it becomes necessary to paste the labels on the side,
instead of on the back. This label is to contain the section and
shelf-mark of the book, marked by plain figures, according to the plan of
classification adopted. When well done, it is an inexpressible comfort to
any librarian, because it shows at one glance of the eye, and without
opening the book at all, just where in the wide range of the
miscellaneous library it is to go. Thus the book service of every day is
incalculably aided, and the books are both found when sought on the
shelves, and replaced there, with no trouble of opening them.

This outer-label system once established, in strict correspondence with
the catalogue, the only part of the librarian's work remaining to be
prescribed in this field, concerns the kind of label to be selected, and
the method of affixing them to the books. The adhesive gummed labels
furnished by the Library Bureau, or those manufactured by the Dennison
Company of New York have the requisite qualities for practical use. They
may be purchased in sheets, or cut apart, as convenient handling may
dictate. Having first written in ink in plain figures, as large as the
labels will bear, the proper locality marks, take a label moistener (a
hollow tube filled with water, provided with a bit of sponge at the end
and sold by stationers) and wet the label throughout its surface, then
fix it on the back of the book, on the smooth part of the binding near
the lower end, and with a piece of paper (not the fingers) press it down
firmly to its place by repeated rubbings. If thoroughly done, the labels
will not peel off nor curl up at the edges for a long time. Under much
usage of the volumes, however, they must occasionally be renewed.

When the books being prepared for the shelves have all been duly
collated, labelled and stamped, processes which should precede
cataloguing them, they are next ready for the cataloguer. His functions
having been elsewhere described, it need only be said that the books when
catalogued and handed over to the reviser, (or whoever is to scrutinize
the titles and assign them their proper places in the library
classification) are to have the shelf-marks of the card-titles written on
the inside labels, as well as upon the outside.

When this is done, the title-cards can be withdrawn and alphabeted in the
catalogue drawers. Next, all the books thus catalogued, labelled, and
supposed to be ready for the shelves, should be examined with reference
to three points:

1st. Whether any of the volumes need re-lettering.

2nd. Whether any of them require re-binding.

3rd. If any of the bindings are in need of repair.

In any lot of books purchased or presented, are almost always to be found
some that are wrongly or imperfectly lettered on the back. Before these
are ready for the shelves, they should be carefully gone through with,
and all errors or shortcomings corrected. It is needful to send to the

1st. All books which lack the name of the author on the back. This should
be stamped by the binder at the head, if there is room--if not, in the
middle panel on the back of the book.

2nd. All books lettered with mis-spelled words.

3rd. All volumes in sets, embracing several distinct works--to have the
name of each book in the contents plainly stamped on the outside.

4th. All books wholly without titles on the back, of which many are
published--the title being frequently given on the side only, or in the
interior alone.

5th. All periodicals having the volume on the back, without the year, to
have the year lettered; and periodicals having the year, but not the
volume, are to have the number of the volume added.

If these things, all essential to good management and prompt library
service, are not done before the books go to their shelves, the chances
are that they will not be done at all.

The second requisite to be attended to is to examine whether any of the
volumes catalogued require to be bound or re-bound. In any lot of books
of considerable extent, there will always be some (especially if from
auction sales) dilapidated and shaken, so as to unfit them for use. There
will be others so soiled in the bindings or the edges as to be positively
shabby, and they should be re-bound to render them presentable.

The third point demanding attention is to see what volumes need repair.
It very often happens that books otherwise pretty well bound have torn
corners, or rubbed or shop-worn backs, or shabby marbled paper frayed at
the sides, or some other defect, which may be cured by mending or
furbishing up, without re-binding. This a skilful binder is always
competent to take in charge; and as in the other cases, it should have
attention immediately upon the acquisition of the books.

All books coming into a library which contain autographs, book-plates of
former owners, coats of arms, presentation inscriptions from the author,
monograms, or other distinguishing features, should preserve them as of
interest to the present or the future.

And all printed paper covers should be carefully preserved by binding
them inside the new cover which the book receives, thus preserving
authentic evidence of the form in which the book was first issued to the
public, and often its original price. In like manner, when a cloth-bound
book comes to re-binding, its side and back covers may be bound in at the
end of the book, as showing the style in which it was originally issued,
frequently displaying much artistic beauty.

Whoever receives back any books which have been out in circulation,
whether it be the librarian or assistant, must examine each volume, to
see if it is in apparent good order. If it is found (as frequently
happens) that it is shaky and loose, or if leaves are ready to drop out,
or if the cover is nearly off, it should never be allowed to go back to
the shelves, but laid aside for re-binding or repair with the next lot
sent to the binder. Only prompt vigilance on this point, combined with
the requirement of speedy return by the binder, will save the loss or
injury beyond repair of many books. It will also save the patrons of the
library from the frequent inconvenience of having to do without books,
which should be on the shelves for their use. How frequent this sending
of books to repair should be, cannot be settled by any arbitrary rule;
but it would be wise, in the interest of all, to do it as often as two or
three dozen damaged books are accumulated.

If you find other injury to a book returned, than the natural wear and
tear that the library must assume, if a book, for example, is blotched
with ink, or soiled with grease, or has been so far wet as to be badly
stained in the leaves, or if it is found torn in any part on a hasty
inspection, or if a plate or a map is missing, or the binding is
violently broken (as sometimes happens) then the damage should be borne
by the reader, and not by the library. This will sometimes require the
purchase of a fresh copy of the book, which no fair-minded reader can
object to pay, who is favored with the privileges of free enjoyment of
the treasures of a public library. Indeed, it will be found in the
majority of cases that honest readers themselves call attention to such
injuries as books have accidentally received while in their possession,
with voluntary offer to make good the damage.

All unbound or paper covered volumes should be reserved from the shelves,
and not supplied to readers until bound. This rule may be relaxed (as
there is almost no rule without some valid exception) in the case of a
popular new book, issued only in paper covers, if it is desired to give
an opportunity of early perusal to readers frequenting the library. But
such books should not be permitted to circulate, as they would soon be
worn to pieces by handling. Only books dressed in a substantial covering
are fit to be loaned out of any library. In preparing for the bindery any
new books, or old ones to be re-bound or repaired, lists should be made
of any convenient number set apart for the purpose, prompt return should
be required, and all should be checked off on the list when returned.

No shelf in a well-regulated library should be unprovided with
book-supports, in order to prevent the volumes from sagging and straining
by falling against one another, in a long row of books. Numerous
different devices are in the market for this purpose, from the solid
brick to the light sheet-iron support; but it is important to protect the
end of every row from strain on the bindings, and the cost of book
supports is indefinitely less than that of the re-binding entailed by
neglecting to use them.

Some libraries of circulation make it a rule to cover all their books
with paper or thin muslin covers, before they are placed on the shelves
for use. This method has its advantages and its drawbacks. It doubtless
protects the bindings from soiling, and where books circulate widely and
long, no one who has seen how foul with dirt they become, can doubt the
expediency of at least trying the experiment of clean covers. They should
be of the firmest thin but tough Manila paper, and it is claimed that
twenty renewals of clean paper covers actually cost less than one
re-binding. On the other hand, it is not to be denied that books thus
covered look shabby, monotonous, and uninteresting. In the library used
for reference and reading only, without circulation, covers are quite out
of place.

Book-plates having been briefly referred to above, a few words as to
their styles and uses may here be pertinent. The name "book-plate" is a
clumsy and misleading title, suggesting to the uninitiated the
illustrations or plates which embellish the text of a book. The name _Ex
libris_, two latin words used for book-plate in all European languages,
is clearer, but still not exact, as a definition of the thing, signifying
simply "out of books." A book-plate is the owner's or the library's
distinctive mark of ownership, pasted upon the inside cover, whether it
be a simple name-label, or an elaborately engraved heraldic or pictorial
device. The earliest known book-plates date back to the fifteenth
century, and are of German origin, though English plates are known as
early as 1700. In France, specimens appear for the first time between
1600 and 1650.

Foreign book-plates are, as a rule, heraldic in design, as are also the
early American plates, representing the coat of arms or family crest of
the owner of the books, with a motto of some kind. The fashion of
collecting these owners' marks, as such, irrespective of the books
containing them, is a recent and very possibly a passing mania. Still,
there is something of interest in early American plates, and in those
used by distinguished men, aside from the collector's fad. Some of the
first American engravers showed their skill in these designs, and a
signed and dated plate engraved by Nathaniel Hurd, for example, of
Boston, is of some historic value as an example of early American art. He
engraved many plates about the middle of the last century, and died in
1777. Paul Revere, who was an engraver, designed and executed some few
plates, which are rare, and highly prized, more for his name than for his
skill, for, as generally known, he was a noted patriot of the
Revolutionary period, belonging by his acts to the heroic age of American

A book of George Washington's containing his book-plate has an added
interest, though the plate itself is an armorial design, not at all well
executed. Its motto is "_exitus acta probat_"--the event justifies the
deed. From its rarity and the high price it commands, it has probably
been the only American book-plate ever counterfeited. At an auction sale
of books in Washington in 1863, this counterfeit plate had been placed in
many books to give a fictitious value, but the fraud was discovered and
announced by the present writer, just before the books were sold. Yet the
sale was attended by many attracted to bid upon books said to have been
owned by Washington, and among them the late Dr. W. F. Poole, then
librarian of the Boston Athenaeum, which possesses most of the library
authentically known to have been at Mount Vernon.

John Adams and John Quincy Adams used book-plates, and James Monroe and
John Tyler each had a plain name-label. These are all of our presidents
known to have used them, except General Garfield, who had a printed
book-plate of simple design, with the motto "_inter folia fructus_."
Eleven of the signers of the Declaration of Independence are known to
have had these signs of gentle birth--for in the early years of the
American Colonies, it was only the families of aristocratic connection
and scholarly tastes who indulged in what may be termed a superfluous

The plates used among the Southern settlers were generally ordered from
England, and not at all American. The Northern plates were more
frequently of native design and execution, and therefore of much greater
value and interest, though far inferior in style of workmanship and
elaboration of ornament to the best European ones.

The ordinary library label is also a book-plate, and some of the early
libraries and small collections have elaborate designs. The early Harvard
College library plate was a large and fine piece of engraving by Hurd.
The Harvard Library had some few of this fine engraved label printed in
red ink, and placed in the rarer books of the library--as a reminder that
the works containing the rubricated book-plates were not to be drawn out
by students.

The learned bibliophile and librarian of Florence, Magliabecchi, who died
in 1714, devised for his library of thirty thousand volumes, which he
bequeathed to the Grand Duke of Tuscany, a book-plate representing his
own profile on a medal surrounded with books and oak boughs, with the
inscription--"Antonius Magliabecchius Florentinus."

Some book-plates embody designs of great beauty. The late George
Bancroft's, engraved on copper, represented a winged cherub (from
Raphael) gazing sun-ward, holding a tablet with the inscription "_Eis
phaos_," toward the light.

Some French book-plates aim at humor or caricature. One familiar example
represents an old book-worm mounted on a tall ladder in a library,
profoundly absorbed in reading, and utterly unconscious that the room
beneath him is on fire.

To those who ask of what possible utility it can be to cultivate so
unfruitful a pursuit as the devising or the collecting of book-plates, it
may be pertinent to state the claim made in behalf of the amateurs of
this art, by a connoisseur, namely, "Book-plates foster the study of art,
history, genealogy, and human character." On this theory, we may add, the
coat of arms or family crest teaches heraldry; the mottoes or
inscriptions chosen cultivate the taste for language and sententious
literature; the engraving appeals to the sense of the artistic; the names
of early or ancient families who are often thus commemorated teach
biography, history, or genealogy; while the great variety of sentiments
selected for the plates illustrate the character and taste of those
selecting them.

On the other hand, it must be said that the coat of arms fails to
indicate individual taste or genius, and might better be supplanted by
original and characteristic designs, especially such as relate to books,
libraries, and learning.



We have seen in former chapters how the books of a library are acquired,
how they are prepared for the shelves, or for use, and how they are or
should be bound. Let us now consider the important questions which
involve the care, the protection, and the preservation of the books.

Every librarian or book owner should be something more than a custodian
of the books in his collection. He should also exercise perpetual
vigilance with regard to their safety and condition. The books of every
library are beset by dangers and by enemies. Some of these are open and
palpable; others are secret, illusive, little suspected, and liable to
come unlooked for and without warning. Some of these enemies are
impersonal and immaterial, but none the less deadly; others are
personally human in form, but most inhuman in their careless and brutal
treatment of books. How far and how fatally the books of many libraries
have been injured by these ever active and persistent enemies can never
be adequately told. But we may point out what the several dangers are
which beset them, and how far the watchful care of the librarian and his
assistants may fore-stall or prevent them.

One of the foremost of the inanimate enemies of books is dust. In some
libraries the atmosphere is dust-laden, to a degree which seems
incredible until you witness its results in the deposits upon books,
which soil your fingers, and contaminate the air you breathe, as you
brush or blow it away. Peculiarly liable to dust are library rooms
located in populous towns, or in business streets, and built close to
the avenues of traffic. Here, the dust is driven in at the windows and
doors by every breeze that blows. It is an omnipresent evil, that cannot
be escaped or very largely remedied. As preventive measures, care should
be taken not to build libraries too near the street, but to have ample
front and side yards to isolate the books as far as may be consistent
with convenient access. Where the library is already located immediately
on the street, a subscription for sprinkling the thoroughfare with water,
the year round, would be true economy.

In some cities, the evils of street dust are supplemented by the
mischiefs of coal smoke, to an aggravated degree. Wherever soft coal is
burned as the principal fuel, a black, fuliginous substance goes floating
through the air, and soils every thing it touches. It penetrates into
houses and public buildings, often intensified by their own interior use
of the same generator of dirt, and covers the books of the library with
its foul deposits. You may see, in the public libraries of some western
cities, how this perpetual curse of coal smoke has penetrated the leaves
of all the books, resisting all efforts to keep it out, and slowly but
surely deteriorating both paper and bindings. Here, preventive measures
are impossible, unless some device for consuming the coal smoke of
chimneys and factories were made compulsory, or the evil somewhat
mitigated by using a less dangerous fuel within the library.

But, aside from these afflictions of dust, in its most aggravated form,
every library and every room in any building is subject to its persistent
visitations. Wherever carpets or rugs cover the floors, there dust has an
assured abiding-place, and it is diffused throughout the apartment in
impalpable clouds, at every sweeping of the floors. Hence it would be
wise to adopt in public libraries a floor-covering like linoleum, or some
substance other than woolen, which would be measurably free from dust,
while soft enough to deaden the sound of feet upon the floors. Even with
this preventive precaution, there will always be dust enough, and too
much for comfort, or for the health of the books. Only a thorough
dusting, carried on if possible daily, can prevent an accumulation of
dust, at once deleterious to the durability of the books, and to the
comfort both of librarians and readers. Dust is an insidious foe,
stealing on its march silently and unobserved, yet, however impalpable in
the atmosphere of a library, it will settle upon the tops of every shelf
of books, it will penetrate their inner leaves, it will lodge upon the
bindings, soiling books and readers, and constituting a perpetual

It is not enough to dust the tops of the books periodically; a more full
and radical remedy is required, to render library books presentable. At
no long intervals, there should be a thorough library cleaning, as
drastic and complete as the house-cleaning which neat housewives
institute twice a year, with such wholesome results. The books are to be
taken down from the shelves, and subjected to a shaking-up process, which
will remove more of the dust they have absorbed than any brush can reach.
To do this effectually, take them, if of moderate thickness, by the
half-dozen at a time from the shelf, hold them loosely on a table, their
fronts downward, backs uppermost, then with a hand at either side of the
little pile, strike them smartly together a few times, until the dust,
which will fly from them in a very palpable cloud, ceases to fall. Then
lay them on their ends, with the tops uppermost on the table, and repeat
the concussion in that posture, when you will eliminate a fresh crop of
dust, though not so thick as the first. After this, let each volume of
the lot be brushed over at the sides and back with a soft (never stiff)
brush, or else with a piece of cotton or woolen cloth, and so restored
clean to the shelves. While this thorough method of cleansing will take
time and pains, it will pay in the long run. It will not eliminate all
the dust (which in a large collection is a physical impossibility) but it
will reduce it to a minimum. Faithfully carried out, as a periodical
supplement to a daily dusting of the books as they stand on the shelves,
it will immensely relieve the librarian or book-owner, who can then, (and
then only) feel that he has done his whole duty by his books.

Another dangerous enemy of the library book is damp, already briefly
referred to. Books kept in any basement room, or near any wall, absorb
moisture with avidity; both paper and bindings becoming mildewed, and
often covered with blue mould. If long left in this perilous condition,
sure destruction follows; the glue or paste which fastens the cover
softens, the leather loses its tenacity, and the leaves slowly rot, until
the worthless volumes smell to heaven. Books thus injured may be
partially recovered, before the advanced stage of decomposition, by
removal to a dry atmosphere, and by taking the volumes apart, drying the
sheets, and rebinding--a very expensive, but necessary remedy, provided
the books are deemed worth preserving.

But a true remedy is the preventive one. No library should ever be kept,
even in part, in a basement story, nor should any books ever be located
near the wall of a building. All walls absorb, retain, and give out
moisture, and are dangerous and oft-times fatal neighbors to books. Let
the shelves be located at right angles to every wall--with the end
nearest to it at least twelve to eighteen inches removed, and the danger
will be obviated.

A third enemy of the book is heat. Most libraries are unfortunately
over-heated,--sometimes from defective means of controlling the
temperature, and sometimes from carelessness or want of thought in the
attendant. A high temperature is very destructive to books. It warps
their covers, so that volumes unprotected by their fellows, or by a book
support, tend to curl up, and stay warped until they become a nuisance.
It also injures the paper of the volumes by over-heating, and weakening
the tenacity of the leaves held together by the glue on the back, besides
drying to an extreme the leather, till it cracks or crumbles under the
heat. The upper shelves or galleries of any library are most seriously
affected by over-heating, because the natural law causes the heat to rise
toward the ceiling. If you put your hand on some books occupying the
highest places in some library rooms, in mid-winter, when the fires are
kept at their maximum, the heat of the volume will almost burn your
fingers. If these books were sentient beings, and could speak, would they
not say--"our sufferings are intolerable?"

The remedy is of course a preventive one; never to suffer the library to
become over-heated, and to have proper ventilation on every floor,
communicating with the air outside. Seventy degrees Fahrenheit is a safe
and proper maximum temperature for books and librarian.

The mischief arising from gas exhalations is another serious source of
danger to books. In many well-lighted libraries, the heat itself from the
numerous gas-burners is sufficient to injure them, and there is besides a
sulphuric acid escaping from the coal-gas fluid, in combustion, which is
most deleterious to bindings. The only remedy appears to be, where
libraries are open evenings, to furnish them with electric lights. This
improved mode of illumination is now so perfected, and so widely
diffused, that it may be reckoned a positive boon to public libraries, in
saving their books from one of their worst and most destructive enemies.

Another of the potent enemies of books is fire. I refer, not to
over-heating the rooms they occupy, but to the risk they continually run,
in most libraries, of total destruction. The chronicle of burned
libraries would make a long and melancholy record, on which there is no
space here to enter. Irreparable losses of manuscripts and early printed
books, and precious volumes printed in small editions, have arisen from
men's neglect of building our book-repositories fire-proof. In all
libraries not provided with iron or steel shelves, there is perpetual
danger. Books do not burn easily, unless surrounded with combustibles,
but these are furnished in nearly all libraries, by surrounding the books
on three sides with wooden shelves, which need only to be ignited at any
point to put the whole collection in a blaze. Then follows the usual
abortive endeavor to save the library by the aid of fire engines, which
flood the building, until the water spoils nearly all which the fire does
not consume. The incalculable losses which the cause of learning has
sustained from the burning of public, university and ecclesiastical
libraries are far greater than the cost which the provision of fire-proof
repositories would have entailed.

Of late years, there has been a partial reform in library construction.
Some have been built fire-proof throughout, with only stone, brick,
concrete and iron material, even to the floors and window casings. Many
more have had iron shelves and iron stacks to hold the shelves
constructed, and there are now several competing manufacturers of these
invaluable safeguards to books. The first library interior constructed
wholly of iron was that of the Library of Congress at Washington, which
had been twice consumed, first when the Capitol was burned by the British
army in 1814, and again in 1851, through a defective flue, when only
20,000 volumes were saved from the flames, out of a total of 55,000. The
example of iron construction has been slowly followed, until now the
large cities have most of their newly-constructed libraries approximately
fire-proof, although many are exposed to fire in parts, owing to a
niggardly and false economy. The lesson that what is worth doing at all
is worth doing well, and that every neglect of security brings sooner or
later irreparable loss, is very slowly learned. Whole hecatombs of books
have been sacrificed to the spirit of commercial greed, blind or
short-sighted enough not to see that secure protection to public
property, though costlier at first, is far cheaper in the end. You may
speak of insurance against library losses by fire, but what insurance
could restore the rare and costly Shakespearean treasures of the
Birmingham Free Library, or the unique and priceless manuscripts that
went up in flames in the city library of Strasburg, in 1870, or the many
precious and irreplaceable manuscript archives of so many of our States,
burned in the conflagration of their capitols?

One would think that the civilized world had had lessons enough, ever
since that seventh century burning of the Alexandrian library by the
Caliph Omar, with that famous but apocryphal rhetorical dilemma, put in
his mouth perhaps by some nimble-witted reporter:--"If these books agree
with the Koran, they are useless, and should be burned: if not, they are
pernicious, and must not be spared." But the heedless world goes
carelessly on, deaf to the voice of reason, and the lessons of history,
amid the holocausts of literature and the wreck of blazing libraries,
uttering loud newspaper wails at each new instance of destruction,
forgotten in a week, then cheerfully renewing the business of building
libraries that invite the flames.

Nothing here said should be interpreted as advice not to insure any
library, in all cases where it is not provided with iron cases for the
books, or a fire-proof building. On the contrary, the menaced destruction
of books or manuscripts that cannot be replaced should lead to securing
means in advance for replacing all the rest in case of loss by fire. And
the experience of the past points the wisdom of locating every library in
an isolated building, where risks of fire from other buildings are
reduced to a minimum, instead of in a block whose buildings (as in most
commercial structures) are lined with wood.

You will perhaps attach but small importance at first thought, to the
next insidious foe to library books that I shall name--that is, wetting
by rain. Yet most buildings leak at the roof, sometime, and some old
buildings are subject to leaks all the time. Even under the roof of the
Capitol at Washington, at every melting of a heavy snow-fall, and on
occasion of violent and protracted rains, there have been leaks pouring
down water into the libraries located in the old part of the building.
Each of these saturated and injured its quota of books, some of which
could only be restored to available use by re-binding, and even then the
leaves were left water-stained in part. See to it that your library roof
is water-tight, or the contents of your library will be constantly
exposed to damage against which there is no insurance.

Another besetting danger to the books of our libraries arises from
insects and vermin. These animated foes appear chiefly in the form of
book-worms, cockroaches, and mice. The first-named is rare in American
libraries, though its ravages have extended far and wide among the old
European ones. This minute little insect, whose scientific name is the
_anobium paniceum_, bores through the leaves of old volumes, making
sometimes holes which deface and mutilate the text. All our public
libraries, doubtless, have on their shelves old folios in vellum or
leather bindings, which present upon opening the disagreeable vision of
leaves eaten through (usually before they crossed the sea) by these
pernicious little borers. It is comforting to add, that I have never
known of any book-worm in the Congressional Library--except the human
variety, which is frequently in evidence. Georgetown College library once
sent me a specimen of the insect, which was found alive in one of its
volumes, but the united testimony of librarians is that this pest is rare
in the United States. As to remedies, the preventive one of sprinkling
the shelves twice a year with a mixture of powdered camphor and snuff, or
the vapor of benzine or carbolic acid, or other repellant chemicals, is
resorted to abroad, but I have not heard of any similar practice in this
country. I may remark in passing, that the term "book-worm" is a
misnomer, since it is not a worm at all, but an insect. A more serious
insect menace is the cockroach, a hungry, unclean little beast, which
frequents a good many libraries, and devours bindings (especially fresh
ones) to get at the paste or savory parts of the binding. The remedy for
this evil, when once found to exist, is to scatter the most effective
roach poison that can be found, which may arrest further ravages.

Another insect pest is the Croton bug, (_Blatta Germanica_) which eats
into cloth bindings to get at the sizing or albumen. The late eminent
entomologist, Dr. C. V. Riley, pronounced them the worst pest known in
libraries, but observed that they do not attack books bound in leather,
and confine their ravages to the outside of cloth-bound books, never
troubling the leaves. The remedy prescribed is a powder in which
pyrethrum is the chief ingredient, sprinkled about the shelves.

Among the rodents, mice are apt to be busy and mischievous infesters of
libraries. They are extremely fond of paste, and being in a chronic
state of hunger, they watch opportunities of getting at any library
receptacle of it. They will gnaw any fresh binding, whether of cloth,
board, or leather, to get at the coveted food. They will also gnaw some
books, and even pamphlets, without any apparent temptation of a succulent
nature. A good library cat or a series of mouse traps, skilfully baited,
may rid you of this evil.

The injury that comes to library books from insufficient care in
protecting them on the shelves is great and incalculable. There are to be
seen in every library, volumes all twisted out of shape by the sagging or
leaning, to which the end-book is subjected, and which is often shared by
all its neighbors on the shelf. The inevitable result is that the book is
not only spoiled in its good looks, but (which is vastly more important)
it is injured in its binding, which is strained and weakened just in
proportion to the length of time in which it is subjected to such risks.
The plain remedy is to take care that every volume is supported upright
upon the shelf, in some way. When the shelf is full, the books will
support one another. But when volumes are withdrawn, or when a shelf is
only partly filled with books, the unsupported volumes tumble by force of
gravitation, and those next them sag and lean, or fall like a row of
bricks, pushing one another over. No shelf of books can safely be left in
this condition. Some one of the numerous book-supports that have been
contrived should be always ready, to hold up the volumes which are liable
to lean and fall.

We come now to the active human enemies of books, and these are unhappily
found among some of the readers who frequent our libraries. These abuses
are manifold and far-reaching. Most of them are committed through
ignorance, and can be corrected by the courteous but firm interposition
of the librarian, instructing the delinquent how to treat a book in hand.
Others are wilful and unpardonable offences against property rights and
public morals, even if not made penal offences by law. One of these is
book mutilation, very widely practiced, but rarely detected until the
mischief is done, and the culprit gone. I have found whole pages torn out
of translations, in the volumes of Bohn's Classical Library, doubtless by
students wanting the translated text as a "crib" in their study of the
original tongue. Some readers will watch their opportunity, and mutilate
a book by cutting out plates or a map, to please their fancy, or perhaps
to make up a defective copy of the same work. Those consulting bound
files of newspapers will ruthlessly despoil them by cutting out articles
or correspondence, or advertisements, and carrying off the stolen
extracts, to save themselves the trouble of copying. Others, bolder
still, if not more unscrupulous, will deliberately carry off a library
book under a coat, or in a pocket, perhaps signing a false name to a
reader's ticket to hide the theft, or escape detection. Against these
scandalous practices, there is no absolute safeguard in any library. Even
where a police watch is kept, thefts are perpetrated, and in most
libraries where no watchman is employed, the librarian and his assistants
are commonly far too busy to exercise close scrutiny of all readers. As
one safeguard, no rare or specially costly book should be entrusted to a
reader except under the immediate eye of the librarian or assistant.
Ordinary books can be replaced if carried off, and by watching the
rarities, risk of theft can be reduced to a minimum.

When newspapers are given out to readers, it should always be in a part
of the library where those using them are conscious of a surveillance
exercised over their movements. The penalty of neglecting this may at any
time be the mutilation of an important file, and it must be remembered
that such damage, once done, cannot be repaired. You can replace a
mutilated book usually by buying a new one, but a newspaper can almost
never be replaced. Even in the city of Boston, the librarian of the
Athenaeum library records the disgraceful fact, that "the temptation to
avoid the trouble of copying, by cutting out articles from newspapers is
too strong for the honesty of a considerable part of the public." And it
was recorded by the custodian of a public library in Albany that all the
plates were missing from certain books, that the poetry and best
illustrations were cut from magazines before they had lain on the tables
a week, and strange to say, that many of these depredations were
committed by women.

It is a difficult problem how to prevent such outrages to decency, and
such irreparable depredations on the books in our libraries as destroy,
in great part, their value. A posted notice, reminding readers that
mutilation of books or periodicals is a penal offence, will warn off
many, if not all, from such acts of vandalism. If there is no law
punishing the offence, agitate until you get one. Expose through the
press such thefts and mutilations as are discovered. Interest readers
whom you know, to be watchful of those you do not know, and to quietly
report any observed violation of rules. When a culprit is detected, push
the case to prompt legal hearing, and let the penalty of the law be
enforced. Let it be known that the public property in books is too sacred
a right to be violated with impunity. Inculcate by every means and on
every opportunity the sentiment that readers who freely benefit by the
books supplied should themselves feel personal concern in their
cleanliness and preservation, and that the interest of the library is
really the interest of all.

A daily abuse practiced by many readers in libraries, though without
wrongful intent, is the piling of one book on top of another while open.
This is inexcusable ill-treatment, for it subjects the open book thus
burdened, to injury, besides probably soiling its pages with dust.
Especially harmful is such careless treatment of large volumes of
newspapers or illustrated works.

Careless use of ink is the cause of much injury to library books. As a
rule (to which the very fewest exceptions should be made) pencils only
should be allowed to readers, who must forego the use of ink, with the
inevitable risk of dropping it upon the book to its irreparable injury.
The use of ink in fountain pens is less objectionable. Tracing of maps or
plates should not be allowed, unless with a soft pencil. Under no
circumstances should tracing with a pen or other hard instrument be
permitted to any reader. Failure to enforce this rule may result in ruin
of valuable engravings or maps.

There is one class of books which demand special and watchful care at the
hands of the librarian. These are the fine illustrated works, mostly in
large folio, which include the engravings of the art galleries of Europe,
and many other specially rare or costly publications. These should be
carefully shelved in cases where they can lie on their sides, not placed
upright, as in some collections, to lean over, and, sooner or later to
break their backs, and necessitate rebinding. When supplied to readers,
there should not be more than one volume at a time given out, to avoid
the risk, always threatening, of careless handling or of opening one
volume on top of another that is open. There should also be a printed
notice or label affixed to the side cover of every illustrated work
reading, "Never touch an engraving," or an equivalent warning. This will
go far, by its plain reminder, to prevent soiling the pages by the
fingers, a practice which rapidly deteriorates fine books, and if long
continued, renders them unfit to be exhibited to clean-handed readers.

All plates should be stamped at some portion of their surface (it is
often done on the back) with the embossing stamp of the library, as a
means of identification if abstracted from the volume to which they

Such books should, moreover, be consulted on a large table, or better an
adjustable stand (to avoid frequent lifting or shifting of the position
of the volume when inspecting the plates) and always under the eye of the
librarian or an assistant not far removed. These precautions will insure
far more careful treatment, and will result in handing down to a new
generation of readers many a rare and precious volume, which would
otherwise be destroyed or irretrievably injured in a very few years. The
library treasures which cost so much to bring together should never be
permitted to suffer from want of care to preserve them.

All writing upon the margins of books should be prohibited--other than
simple pencil corrections of the text, as to an erroneous date, name,
etc., which corrections of errors should not only be permitted, but
welcomed, upon due verification. The marking of passages for copying or
citation should be tolerated only upon the rigid condition that every
user of the book rubs out his own pencil marks before returning it. I
have seen lawyers and others thoughtless enough of right and wrong to
mark long passages in pen and ink in books belonging to public libraries.
This is a practice to be sternly repressed, even at the cost of denying
further library privileges to the offender.

Turning down leaves in a book to keep the place is one of the easily
besetting sins of too many readers. Those who thus dogs-ear a volume
should be taught that the vile practice weakens and wears out the leaves
thus folded down, and makes the book a more easy prey to dust and
disintegration. However busy I may be, I instinctively turn back every
turned-down leaf I notice in any book, before using it, or handing it to
another. A good safe-guard would be to provide a supply of little narrow
strips of paper, in the ticket boxes at the library tables to serve as
the book-markers so frequently needed by readers. For this purpose, no
thick or smooth calendered paper should be used, which falls out of any
loosely bound book too readily--but a thin soft paper un-sized, which
will be apt to retain its place. I have lost valuable time (which I shall
never see again) in trying to find the pages marked for me by a searcher
who had thoughtlessly inserted bits of card-board as markers--which kept
falling out by their own weight. The book-marks should be at least two
inches long, and not more than half an inch wide; and rough edges are
better than smooth ones, for they will adhere better to the head of the
volume where placed. Better still it is, to provide paper book-marks
forked at the lower end by slitting, then doubled so that the mark will
go on both sides of the leaf at once. This is the only sure safe-guard
against these bits of paper falling out, and thus losing the place. Never
put cards, or letters, or documents, or any solid substance into a book.
It weakens the binding, and if continued, often breaks the back. The fact
that most of the injuries to which books are exposed are unintentional
injuries does not alter the fact that they are none the less injuries to
be guarded against. Wilful perpetration of the many abuses referred to
may be rare, but the unconscious perpetrators should be instructed how to
use books by a vigilant librarian. And they who have thus been taught to
be careful of the books in a public library will learn to be more careful
of their own, which is a great step in the education of any one.

It ought not to be needful to charge any one never to wet the finger to
turn over the leaves of a book--a childish habit, akin to running out the
tongue when writing, or moving the lips when reading to one's self. The
only proper way to turn the leaf is at the upper right-hand corner, and
the index-finger of the right hand will always be found competent to that

Still less should it be needful to insist upon the importance to every
reader of books, of coming to their perusal clean-handed. When you
reflect that nine-tenths of the soiling and spoiling which books undergo
comes from the dirty hands of many readers, this becomes a vital point.
Fouquet, a learned book collector of France, used to keep a pile of white
gloves in the ante-room of his library, and no visitor was allowed to
cross the threshold, or to handle a book without putting on a pair, lest
he should soil the precious volumes with naked hands. Such a refinement
of care to keep books immaculate is not to be expected in this age of the
world; and yet, a librarian who respects his calling is often tempted to
wish that there were some means of compelling people to be more careful
about books than they are.

It ought not ever to be true that an enemy to the welfare of library
books is found in the librarian himself, or in any of his assistants, yet
there have been those employed in the care of books who have abused their
positions and the volumes entrusted to their charge, not only by neglect
of care, (which is a negative injury) but by positive and continual ill
treatment. This may arise from ignorance of better methods, but ignorance
is a poor excuse for one credited with the intelligence of a librarian.
In some libraries, books are treated with positive indignity, and are
permanently injured by tightly wedging them together. Never crowd books
by main force into shelves too short or too small for them. It strains
the backs, and seriously injures the bindings. Every book should slip
easily past its fellows on the shelf. If a volume is too tall to go in
its place, it should be relegated to lower shelves for larger books,
never letting its head be crowded against the shelf above it.

One should never pull books out from the shelf by their head-bands, or by
pulling at the binding, but place the finger firmly on the top of the
book, next to the binding, and press down while drawing out the volume.
From failure to observe this simple precaution, you will find in all
libraries multitudes of torn or broken bindings at the top--a wholly
needless defacement and waste.

Never permit a book to be turned down on its face to keep the place. This
easily besetting habit weakens the book, and frequently soils its leaves
by contact with a dusty table. For the same reason, one volume should not
be placed within the leaves of another to keep the place where a
book-mark of paper, so easily supplied, should always be used. Books
should not be turned down on the fore-edges or fronts on the library
tables, as practiced in most book-stores, in order to better display the
stock. The same habit prevails in many libraries, from careless
inattention. When necessary, in order to better read the titles, they
should never be left long in such position. This treatment weakens the
back infallibly, and if long continued breaks it. Librarians, of all
persons in the world, should learn, and should lead others to learn,
never to treat a book with indignity, and how truly the life of a book
depends upon proper treatment, as well as that of an animated being.

These things, and others of my suggestions, may seem trifles to some; but
to those who consider how much success in life depends upon attention to
what are called trifles--nay, how much both human taste and human
happiness are promoted by care regarding trifles, they will not appear
unimportant. The existence of schools to teach library science, and of
manuals devoted to similar laudable aims, is an auspicious omen of the
new reign of refined taste in those nobler arts of life which connect
themselves with literature, and are to be hailed as authentic evidences
of the onward progress of civilization.



We are now to consider carefully the restoration and the reclamation of
the books of a library, whether public or private.

Nothing can be more important than the means of restoring or reclaiming
library books that are lost or injured, since every such restoration will
save the funds of the library or collector from replacing them with fresh
or newly bought copies, and will enable it to furnish its stores with as
many new books as the money thus saved represents. The cardinal thing to
be kept always in view is a wise economy of means. An every-day prudence
is the price of successful administration. A management which permits any
of the enemies of books to destroy or damage them, thereby wasting the
substance of the library without repair, is a fatally defective
management, which should be changed as soon as possible.

This consideration assumes added importance when it is remembered that
the means of nearly all our libraries are very limited and inadequate to
the drafts upon them, year by year. A great many libraries are compelled
to let their books needing rebinding accumulate, from the mere want of
money to pay for reclothing the nearly worn-out volumes, thus depriving
the readers for a considerable time, of the use of many coveted books.
And even with those which have large means, I have never yet heard of a
library that had enough, either to satisfy the eager desire of the
librarian to fill up deficiencies, or to meet fully the manifold wants of
readers. So much the more important, then, is it to husband every dollar
that can be saved, to keep the books in such good condition that they
will not need frequent rebinding, and to reduce to a minimum all the
evils which beset them, menacing their safety, or injuring their

To attain these great ends, the librarian who is qualified for his
responsible position, must be both a preserver and a restorer of books.
If not personally able to go through the mechanical processes which
belong to the art of restoration, (and this is the case in all libraries
except the smallest) he should at least learn all about them, so as to be
able to teach them thoroughly and intelligently to an assistant. It is
frequently made an excuse for the soiled and slovenly and even torn
condition of books and bindings in a much used public library, that
neither the librarian nor his aids have any time to look into the
condition of the books, much less to repair any of the numerous damages
they sustain. But it should be remembered that in most libraries, even
the busiest, there are seasons of the day, or periods of very stormy
weather, when the frequentation of readers is quite small. Those times
should always be seized upon to take hold of volumes which have had to be
laid aside as damaged, in the hurry of business. To arrest such damages
at the threshold is the duty and the interest of the library. A torn leaf
can be quickly mended, a slightly broken binding can be pasted or glued,
turned-down leaves can be restored where they belong, a plate or map that
is started can be fastened in, by devoting a few minutes at the proper
time, and with the proper appliances ready at hand. Multitudes of volumes
can be so treated in the course of the year, thus saving the heavy cost
of rebinding. It is the proverbial stitch in time that saves nine. Never
wait, in such matters, for the leisure day that never comes, but seize
the golden moment as it flies, when no reader is interrupting you, and
clear off at least one of the little jobs that are awaiting your
attention. No one who does not know how to use the odd moments is
qualified for the duties of a librarian. I have seen, in country
libraries, the librarian and his lady assistant absorbed in reading
newspapers, with no other readers in the room. This is a use of valuable
time never to be indulged in during library hours. If they had given
those moments to proper care of the books under their charge, their
shelves would not have been found filled with neglected volumes, many of
which had been plainly badly treated and injured, but not beyond
reclamation by timely and provident care.

It is amazing how any one can expect long employment as a librarian, who
takes no interest in the condition of the books under his charge. The way
to build up a library, and to establish the reputation of a librarian at
the same time, is to devote every energy and intelligence to the great
work in hand. Convince the library directors, by incessant care of the
condition of the books, that you are not only a fit, but an indispensable
custodian of them. Let them see your methods of preserving and restoring,
and they will be induced to give you every facility of which you stand in
need. Show them how the cost of binding or re-buying many books can be
saved by timely repair within the library, and then ask for another
assistant to be always employed on such work at very moderate cost.
Library directors and trustees are commonly intensely practical men, and
quick to see into the heart of good management. They do not want a
librarian who has a great reputation as a linguist, or an educator, or a
book-worm, but one who knows and cares about making their funds go as far
as possible, and can show them how he has saved by restoring old books,
enough money to pay for a great many new ones.

Nothing is more common in public lending libraries than to find torn
leaves in some of the books. If the leaf is simply broken, without being
absolutely detached, or if part is torn off, and remains on hand, the
volume may be restored by a very simple process. Keep always at hand in
some drawer, a few sheets of thin "onion-skin" paper, or the transparent
adhesive paper supplied by the Library Bureau. Paste this on either side
of the torn leaf, seeing that it laps over all the points of juncture
where the tear occurred, and that the fitting of the text or reading
matter is complete and perfect. The paper being transparent, there will
be no difficulty in reading the torn page through it.

This little piece of restoration should always be effected immediately on
discovery, both that the torn piece or fragment may be saved, and that
the volume may be restored to use.

In case of absolute loss of a leaf or a part of a page, there are only
three remedies known to me.

1. The book may be condemned as imperfect, and a new copy purchased.

2. The missing part may be restored from a perfect copy of the same work,
by copying the portions of the text wanting, and inserting them where
they belong. This can be done with a pen, and the written deficiency
neatly inserted, in fac-simile of the type, or in ordinary script hand;
or else the part wanting may be photographed or heliotyped by the best
modern process from a duplicate copy of the book.

3. If the book is of very recent issue, the publishers may furnish a
signature or sheet which would make good the deficiency, from the
"imperfections" left in the bindery, after making up the edition of the

In most cases, the last named means of replacement will not be found
available. The first, or buying a fresh copy, may entail a greater
expense than the library authorities would deem proper at the time, and
it might be preferred to continue the book in use, with a slight

The second method, more or less troublesome according to circumstances,
or the extent of the matter to be copied is sometimes the most
economical. Of course, it is subject to the drawback of not being, when
done, a _bona fide_ or genuine copy of the book as published. This
diminishes the commercial value of even the rarest book, although so
fully restored as to text that the reader has it all before him, so that
it supplies every requisite of a perfect copy for the purposes of a
public library, or a private owner who is not a connoisseur in books.

When the corners of a book are found to be broken (as often happens by
falling to the floor or severe handling) the book may be restored by a
treatment which will give it new leather corners. With paste or glue well
rubbed in, apply thick brown paper on the corners, which, when dry, will
be as hard as desired, and ready to receive the leather. Then the sides
may be covered with marbled paper or cloth, and the volume is restored.

When the back of a book becomes loose, the remedy is to take it out of
the cover, re-sew it, and glue it firmly into the former back. This will
of course render the back of the volume more rigid, but, in compensation,
it will be more durable.

In these cases of loose or broken backs, the study should be to save the
leather cover and the boards or sides of the book intact, so as to
diminish by more than one-half the cost of repair. As the volume cannot
be restored to a solid and safe condition without being re-sewed, it may
be carefully separated from the cover by cutting the cords or bands at
their junction with the boards, then slowly stripping the book out of its
cover, little by little, and treating the sheets when separated as
already indicated in the chapter on rebinding.

One of the most common defacements which library books undergo is marking
up the margins with comments or references in pencil. Of course no
thoughtful reader would be guilty of this practice, but thoughtless
readers are often in the majority, and the books they read or fancy that
they read, get such silly commentaries on the margins as these:
"beautiful," "very sad," "perfectly splendid," "I think Becky is horrid,"
or, "this book ends badly." Such vile practices or defacements are not
always traceable to the true offender, especially in a circulating
library, where the hours are so busy as to prevent the librarian from
looking through the volumes as they come in from the readers. But if
detected, as they may be after a few trials of suspected parties, by
giving them out books known to be clean and free from pencil marks when
issued to them, the reader should be required always to rub out his own
marks, as a wholesome object-lesson for the future. The same course
should be pursued with any reader detected in scribbling on the margin of
any book which is being read within the library. Incorrigible cases,
amounting to malicious marking up of books, should be visited by severe
penalties--even to the denial of further library privileges to the

Not long ago, I bought at an auction sale a copy of the first edition of
Tennyson's "In Memoriam," which was found on receipt to be defaced by
marking dozens of verses in the margin with black lines drawn along them,
absolutely with pen and ink! The owner of that book, who did the
ruthless deed, never reflected that it might fall into hands where his
indelible folly would be sharply denounced.

The librarian or assistant librarian who will instinctively rub out all
pencil marks observed in a library book deserves well of his countrymen.
It is time well spent.

The writing on book-margins is so common a practice, and so destructive
of the comfort and satisfaction which readers of taste should find in
their perusal of books, that no legitimate means of arresting it or
repairing it should be neglected. In a public library in Massachusetts, a
young woman of eighteen who was detected as having marked a library copy
of "Middlemarch" with gushing effusions, was required to read the statute
prescribing fine and imprisonment for such offenses, with very tearful
effect, and undoubtedly with a wholesome and permanent improvement in her
relations to books and libraries.

In some libraries, a warning notice is posted up like this: "Readers
finding a book injured or defaced, are required to report it at once to
the librarian, otherwise they will be held responsible for the damage
done." This rule, while its object is highly commendable, may lead in
practice to injustice to some readers. So long as the reader uses the
book inside of the library walls, he should of course report such defects
as meet his eye in reading, whether missing pages, plates, or maps, or
serious internal soiling, torn leaves, etc. But in the case of drawing
out books for home reading, the rule might embarrass any reader, however
well disposed, if too strictly construed. A reader finding any serious
defect in a library volume used at home, should simply place a mark or
slip in the proper place with the word "damaged," or "defective" written
on it. Then, on returning the book to the library, his simple statement
of finding it damaged or defective when he came to read it should be
accepted by the librarian as exonerating him from blame for any damage.
And this gives point to the importance of examining every book, at least
by cursory inspection, before it is handed out for use. A volume can be
run through quickly by a practiced hand, so as to show in a moment or two
any leaves started or torn, or, usually, any other important injury. If
any such is found, the volume should under no circumstances be given out,
but at once subjected to repair or restoration. This degree of care will
not only save the books of the library from rapid deterioration, but will
also save the feelings of readers, who might be anxious lest they be
unjustly charged with damaging while in their hands.

The treatment of their imperfect books (which tend perpetually to
accumulate) is very different in different libraries. Some libraries,
where funds are ample enough to enable them to do it, condemn any book
that has so much as a sentence torn out, and replace it on the shelves
with a new copy. The imperfect volumes are sold for waste paper, or put
into some sale of duplicate books, marked as imperfect, with note of the
damage upon a slip inserted at the proper place in the book, and also in
the catalogue, if sold at auction or in a printed list of duplicates
offered by the library. This notice of what imperfection exists is
necessary, so that no incautious purchaser may think that he is securing
a perfect copy of the work.

Other libraries not blessed with means to pursue this course, do as best
they can afford, supplying what is deficient when possible without much
cost of time or money, or else continuing the damaged book in use "with
all its imperfections on its head."

The loss of a single plate does not destroy the value of the book for
readers, however to be regretted as diminishing the satisfaction to be
derived from the volume. And one can sometimes pardon the loss of a part
of a page in a mutilated book, especially when he is made aware of the
fact that the library which welcomes him to the free enjoyment of its
treasures cannot well afford to buy another.

It is disheartening to read, in an annual report of a public library of
circulation in Massachusetts, that many of its popular books are so
soiled and defaced, after a few readings, as to be unfit for further
service; that books of poetry are despoiled by the scissors to save
trouble of copying verses wanted; that plates are often abstracted, and
that many magazines "seem to be taken from the library for no other
reason than that private scrap-books may be enriched or restless children
amused." The only remedy suggested is to examine each book before again
giving it out, and, if returned defaced, to hold the borrower

The art of cleaning books that are stained or dirty, is a matter not
widely known, and in this country there are few experts at it. Some of
these keep closely guarded the methods they use to cleanse a book.
Comparatively few libraries avail themselves of the practice of washing
their soiled volumes, as the process is too expensive for most of them,
and so they are accustomed to let the library books remain in use and
re-issue them again and again, until they become so filthy as to be quite
unfit to be seen--much less handled by any reader.

But there are often valuable or rare works which have sustained interior
injury, and which it is desired to restore to a clean condition. The best
method is to take the book apart as the first step. When separated into
sheets, those leaves which are merely dirty should be placed in a bath
composed of about four ounces of chloride of lime, dissolved in a quart
of water. They should soak until all stains are removed, and the paper is
restored to its proper color. Then the pages should be washed in cold
water--running water is preferable--and allowed to soak about six hours.
This removes all traces of the lime, which would otherwise tend to rot or
injure the book. After this, the sheets are to be "sized," _i. e._,
dipped in a bath of size and water, and laid out to dry. This process
gives firmness and consistency to the paper, which would otherwise remain
too soft to handle. The sheets should be pressed a few hours between
glazed paste-boards, as used in printing offices. A cheap and simple size
for this purpose may be made by mixing white gelatine with water, and
this may be kept in a bottle, so as to be always conveniently at hand.
The art of restoring and rendering fit for handling books and rare early
pamphlets by sizing all the leaves is in constant use in Europe. By this
means, and by piecing out margins, the most rotten paper, ready to drop
apart in turning the leaves, may be restored to use, if not quite to its
pristine condition.

Ink-spots or mildew stains may be wholly removed, when freshly made, by
applying a solution of oxalic or citric acid, and then washing the leaf
with a wet sponge. It is more effectual to follow the bath of oxalic acid
by applying a solution of one part hydrochloric acid to six parts of
water, after which bathe in cold water, and dry slowly. Or an infusion of
hypochlorite of potash in twice its volume of water may be used instead
of the preceding.

If a leather-bound book has grease on its cover, it can be removed by
scraping French chalk or magnesia over the place, and ironing with a warm
(not hot) iron. A simpler method is to apply benzine to the grease spots,
(which dissolves the fatty material) and then dry the spot quickly with a
fine cloth. This operation may be repeated, if not effectual at the first
trial. The same method of applying benzine to oily spots upon plates or
engravings, will remove the stains.

Ink-stains may also be taken off from the leather covers of books bound
in calf or morocco by the use of oxalic acid. Care should be taken first
to try the acid on a piece of similar leather or on a discarded book of
the same color. If the leather is discolored after removing the black
spot, one may apply, after taking out the traces of oxalic acid by some
alkali, a coloring matter similar to the tint of the leather.

Spots or stains of grease or oil are often found in books. They may be
wholly removed by applying carbonate of magnesia on both sides of the
leaf stained, backed by paper, and pressing with a hot iron, after which
the sheets should be washed and left under pressure over night. Another
method is to dilute spirits of salts with five times its bulk of water,
then let the stained leaves lie in the liquid four minutes, after which
they are to be washed. Still another method is to make a mixture of one
pound of soap, half a pound of clay and two ounces of lime, dissolved in
water to a proper consistency; apply it to the spots; fifteen minutes
after, dip the leaf in a bath of warm water for half an hour, after which
dry and press until smooth.

Stains left by mud on the leaves of a book (a not uncommon fate of
volumes falling in a wet street) can be removed thus: spread over the
spots a jelly composed of white soap and water, letting it remain about
half an hour. Then dip the leaf in clear water, and remove the soap with
a fine sponge dipped in warm water; all the mud stains will disappear at
the same time. To remove the last traces of the soap, dip a second time
in clear water, place the leaf between two sheets of blotting paper, and
dry slowly in a cool and shady place.

The same process, of washing in soap and water, will remove what are
doubtless the most common of all the soilings that library books
undergo, namely, the soil that comes from the dirty hands and fingers of

It is sometimes necessary to color the sheets that have been washed
white, so as to correspond in tint with the rest of the volume, which has
not needed that treatment. An infusion of cheap tobacco leaves, or a bath
of brown stout will effect this.

In all these methods of removing soil from the pages of books, it is
absolutely necessary to give attention to thorough washing after the
chemicals are used. Otherwise there will remain an element of destruction
which will sooner or later spoil the book, to restore which so much pains
may have been expended.

And one can readily learn how to restore a valuable book by these
methods. He should, however, first practice on the restoration of a
volume of little worth--and venture upon the treatment of a precious
volume only after practice has made him an expert.

To restore a fresher look to volumes whose bindings are much rubbed or
"scuffed" as it is sometimes called, one may spread over their surface a
little wet starch pretty thick, with a little alum added, applied with an
old leather glove. With this the back of the book, and the sides and
edges of the boards should be smartly rubbed, after which, with a fine
rag rub off the thicker part of the starch, and the book will present a
much brighter appearance, besides being rid of dust and soil.

There will remain on the volume a very slight deposit of gelatine or
gluten; before it dries completely, the palm of the hand may be passed
over it at all points, and the leather, which may have assumed a dull
color from the starch, will resume a bright brown or other tint. If this
fails to appear, a bit of flannel, impregnated with a few drops of
varnish, should be rubbed over the leather, and when nearly dry, rub
with a white rag slightly touched with olive oil, and a brilliant
appearance will be given to the binding.

When leaves are started, or a signature becomes loose in any volume, it
should be at once withdrawn from circulation, or the loss of an important
part of the book may result. The remedy commonly resorted to, of patching
up the book by pasting in the loose leaves, is a mere makeshift which
will not last. The cause of a loose signature is generally to be found in
a broken thread in the sewing, and the only permanent cure is to take the
book out of its cover, and re-sew it, when it may usually be re-inserted
in the same binding. This is for cloth-bound books. When bound in
leather, it is best to take out the loose sheet, "overcast" it, that is,
secure all the leaves by sewing, then carefully lay some paste along the
outer edge or back of the sheet, insert the sheet in its place, pressing
it firmly with a paper knife along the middle of the sheet, and the
volume will be restored ready for use after a few days drying under

On occasion of a fire next to the Mercantile Library rooms in
Philadelphia, in 1877, great damage was done, from water thrown by the
fire-engines, to many thousands of books. The library authorities tried
various methods of restoring the volumes, and among others, drying them
in ovens was resorted to. This was found, however, to dry the books so
rapidly, that the bindings cracked, and in many cases came off, while
many volumes were much warped. The most advantageous method that was
adopted was to prepare a large number of frames on which many wires were
strung horizontally across a large room. The wet books (many of which
were soaked through) were suspended on these wires in such a way as to
dry them by degrees, the temperature of the room being raised
considerably by furnace heat.

The condition in which the books were found after the wetting varied
greatly. Nearly all that were printed on soft paper were wet through,
while those next to them printed on thick paper, and with solid leather
bindings, were scarcely damaged at all. The water stains constituted the
most serious injury to the volumes, and multitudes of fine books that
were wet will always bear the marks of the stain. Some of the more costly
books were restored by taking them apart, washing them thoroughly, then
placing them in a heated press, and drying them, so that the water-stains
were removed. All the books, however different the degree of damage from
the water, retained their legibility, and were put to the same uses in
the library as before the fire occurred. None were burned, the actual
fire being confined to the neighboring buildings of the block in the
midst of which the library was unfortunately located.

The whole number of volumes damaged was about 55,000, and the insurance,
which was assessed by referees at the amount of $42,000, would nearly
have replaced the books by new ones. Many of the volumes had to be
rebound as the damage by wetting the glue and paste which are such
important elements in binding securely, led to the falling apart of the

There are multitudes of books restored by some one of the processes which
have been ingeniously contrived to make an old book as good as new, or an
imperfect volume perfect. The art of reproducing in facsimile, by mere
manual dexterity with the pen, letters, words, and whole pages, has been
carried to a high degree of perfection, notably in London. A celebrated
book restorer named Harris, gained a great reputation among book lovers
and librarians by his consummate skill in the reproduction of the text
of black-letter rarities and early-printed books of every kind. To such
perfection did he carry the art of imitating an original that in many
cases one could not distinguish the original from the imitation, and even
experts have announced a Harris facsimile in a Shakespeare folio to be
the printed original. The art has even been extended to engravings, with
such success that the famous Droeshout portrait of Shakespeare, which
illustrates the title-page of the first folio of 1623, has been
multiplied in pen-made facsimile, so as to deceive the most careful

This nice and difficult art is not widely pursued in this country, though
there are some experts among New York and Philadelphia book-binders, who
practice it. The British Museum Library has a corps of workers engaged in
the restoration both of books and of manuscripts (as well as engravings)
who are men of the highest training and skill.

The process is necessarily quite expensive, because of the time required
and of the small number of competing artists in this field. It is chiefly
confined to the restoration of imperfect copies of early printed and rare
books, which are so frequently found in imperfect condition, often
wanting title-pages or the final leaves, or parts of pages in any part of
the volume.

So costly, indeed, is this skilful hand-restoration of imperfect books,
that it has been a great boon to the collectors of libraries and rare
works, to see the arts of photography so developed in recent years, as to
reproduce with almost exact fidelity printed matter of any kind from the
pages of books. The cost of such facsimiles of course varies with the
locality, the work, the skill, or the competition involved. But it may be
said in general that the average cost of book-page facsimiles by
photographic process need not exceed one dollar a page.

An entire edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica has been printed from
plates made in replica from photographs of the original text of the
Edinburgh edition. The reproduction in this case can hardly be commended,
as it is trying to the eyes to read, when compared with the original,
presenting a somewhat blurred and irregular aspect to the eyes.

It is very difficult to lay down rules which shall be effective in
checking the abuse of books which compels exercise of the means of
restoration. Writing upon margins (already referred to) may sometimes be
checked by putting a printed slip in every library book bearing the
warning--"Never write in a library book." To this may be added--"Never
turn down leaves," an equally important injunction. Indeed, a whole list
of "Dont's" might be inserted, but for the chance that too many warnings
might operate to warn off a reader from absorbing any of them. Thus--

    "Don't soil any book
    Don't write on margins
    Don't turn down leaves
    Don't lay a book on its face open
    Don't wet fingers to turn leaves
    Don't fail to use the book-mark
    Don't read with unclean hands."

As a loose slip is liable to fall out, some such reminder should be
pasted into the fly-leaf of every book, next the book-plate.

A self-respecting reader will generally heed such hints, which a moment's
reflection will teach him are meant to preserve the library book clean
and presentable for his own use, as well as for that of others. But there
will always be some rude, boorish people who will persist in their brutal
and destructive treatment of books, in the face of whatever warnings. How
to deal with such unwelcome persons is an ever-present problem with the
librarian. If sustained by the other library authorities, a really
effectual remedy is to deny the further use of the library to any
offender clearly proven to have subjected library books to damage while
in his hands. Some librarians go so far as to post the names of such
offenders in the library hall, stating that they are denied the
privileges of the library by the authorities, for mutilating books.

In any case, great care must be taken to have the clearest proof, before
proceeding to fasten the offense upon a particular individual. This
involves, where the injury is not committed in the presence of any
library officer, so as to be observed, but has been done while the book
was drawn out, an examination of each volume before giving it out. If
this rule were to be observed as to all, it would entail an expense that
few libraries could afford. In a large circulating library in a city, it
might require the entire time of two assistants to collate the books
before re-issuing them. The circumstances of each library must determine
how to deal with this matter. Probably the majority will limit the close
examination of books before giving them out, to cases where there is
reason to suspect wilful continued soiling, scribbling, or dog's-earing.
A few such cases once detected and dealt with will have a most salutary
restraining influence upon others, especially if re-enforced by frequent
and judicious paragraphs in the local press, setting forth the offense
and the remedy.

But all in vain will be the endeavor to abate these defacements and
consequent waste of the library books, unless it is enforced by a
positive law, with penal provisions, to punish offenders who mutilate or
deface books that are public property. A good model of such a statute is
the following, slightly abridged as to verbiage, from an act of Congress,
of which we procured the enactment in the year 1878:

"Any person who steals, defaces, injures, mutilates, tears, or destroys
any book, pamphlet, work of art, or manuscript, belonging to any public
library, or to the United States, in the District of Columbia, shall be
fined ten dollars to one hundred dollars, and punished by imprisonment
from one to twelve months, for every such offense."

This act will be found in the United States Statutes at Large, Vol. 20,
p. 171. It would be well if the term "periodical" were added to the list
of objects to be protected, to avoid all risk of a failure to punish the
mutilation of newspapers and magazines, by pleading technical points, of
which lawyers are prone to avail themselves in aiding offenders to escape

It will be observed, that the word "deface," employed in this statute,
actually covers the marking of margins by any reader, all such marking
constituting a defacement within the meaning of the law.

While the great multitude of readers who frequent our public libraries
are honest and trustworthy, there are always some who are conspicuously
the reverse. It is rarely safe in a large public library to admit readers
to the shelves, without the company or the surveillance of an attendant.
And it is not alone the uncultivated reader who cannot be trusted; the
experience of librarians is almost uniform to the effect that literary
men, and special scholars, as well as the collectors of rare books, are
among those who watch the opportunity to purloin what they wish to save
themselves the cost of buying. Sometimes, you may find your most valuable
work on coins mutilated by the abstraction of a plate, carried off by
some student of numismatics. Sometimes, you may discover a fine picture
or portrait abstracted from a book by some lover of art or collector of
portraits. Again, you may be horrified by finding a whole sermon torn out
of a volume of theology by a theological student or even a clergyman.
All these things have happened, and are liable to happen again. No
library is safe that is not closely watched and guarded. In the Astor
library a literary man actually tore out sixty pages of the _Revue de
Paris_, and added to the theft the fraud of plagiarism, by translating
from the stolen leaves an article which he sold to Appleton's Journal as
an original production!

In this case, the culprit, though detected, could not be punished, the
law of New York requiring the posting in the library of the statute
prohibiting mutilation or other injury to the books, and this posting had
not been done. The law has since been amended, to make the penalties
absolute and unconditional.

In the Astor Library, over six hundred volumes were discovered to have
been mutilated, including art works, Patent office reports, magazines,
newspapers, and even encyclopaedias. The books stolen from that library
had been many, until several exposures and punishment of thieves inspired
a wholesome dread of a similar fate.

At a meeting of the American Library Association, one member inquired
whether there was any effectual way to prevent the abstraction of books.
He was answered by another librarian (from Cincinnati) who replied that
he knew of only one effectual method, and that was to keep a man standing
over each book with a club. Of course this was a humorous paradox, not to
be taken literally, but it points a moral.

Seriously, however, the evil may be greatly curtailed, (though we may be
hopeless of absolute prevention) by adopting the precautions already
referred to. In the Library of the British Museum, a great library of
reference, from which no book is permitted to be taken under any
circumstances, the evil of mutilation was much reduced by prosecuting
and posting the offenders publicly. After a few years, the obnoxious
practice had so far ceased, that the placards, having an unpleasant
aspect, were taken down. But on renewal of such depredations and
defacements of books by readers, the placards were renewed, and some of
the mutilated books, suitably labelled, were posted in the great reading
room before the eyes of all. The authorities of the British Museum are
convinced of the salutary effects of such warnings, though books are
sometimes stolen or mutilated under the liberal management which leaves
several thousand volumes open for reference, without tickets.

The late Dr. Wm. F. Poole, the Chicago librarian, recorded his experience
in dealing with some clergymen, who, said he, seem to have as regards
books, an imperfect appreciation of the laws of _meum_ and _tuum_. He had
found ministers more remiss in returning books than any other class of
men. He would by no means reflect on a noble and sacred profession by
charging the derelictions of a few upon the many. But he had had
unpleasant experiences with men of that profession, who had absolutely
purloined books from the Public Library, removed the book-plates and
library stamp, and covered the volumes with paper carefully pasted down
inside of the covers.

A librarian in Massachusetts testified that it was common experience that
clergymen and professional men gave the most trouble. Second-hand
book-dealers in Boston had found a judge of the court purloining rare
pamphlets, and ministers making away with pamphlet sermons under their
coats. Without insisting here upon any such extenuations of such
practices as the prevalence of kleptomania, it has been made abundantly
manifest that theft and mutilation of books are sufficiently common to
demonstrate the weakness of human nature, and the necessity of every
safeguard which public libraries can provide against such abuses of
their treasures.

A Boston librarian stated that the thieves or mutilators of books
included school-boys, clerks, students, teachers, soldiers, physicians,
lawyers, clergymen, etc. In only one case was the crime committed through
want or suffering. Yet, though the offenders had been proven guilty in
every instance, only two cases were known in which the penalty of the law
had been enforced. Does not this bespeak laxity of public morals in
Boston in regard to such abuses of library property?

The Union Theological Seminary at New York recorded its experience with
ministers and theological students, to the effect that its library had
lost more than a thousand volumes, taken and not returned. This of course
included what were charged out, but could not be recovered.

A librarian in Auburn, N. Y., returning from vacation, found that the
American Architect, an important illustrated weekly, had been mutilated
in seven different volumes, and that 130 pages in all had been stolen.
Fortunately, she was able to trace the reader who had been using the
work, and succeeded in recovering the abstracted plates. The offender was
prosecuted to conviction, and had to pay a fine of fifty dollars.

It often happens that books which disappear mysteriously from a public
library re-appear quite as mysteriously. Those taking them, finding that
the rules do not allow certain books to leave the library, make a law
unto themselves, carry off the book wanted, keep it until read, and then
return it surreptitiously, by replacing it on some shelf or table, when
no one is looking. This is where no intention of stealing the book
exists, and the borrower wilfully makes his own convenience override the
library regulations, in the belief that he will not be found out. The
Buffalo Young Men's Library reported in one year eighteen illustrated
works on the fine arts, reserved from being taken out by its by-laws, as
disappearing for weeks, but brought back in this underhanded manner. In
other cases of such return, it is likely that the purpose was to keep the
book, but that conscience or better thoughts, or fear of detection
prevailed, and secured its return.

Some instances where leniency has been exercised to save book thieves
from penalties may be instructive. One man who had carried off and sold
two volumes from the Astor Library was traced and arrested, when he
pleaded that absolute want had driven him to the act. He had a wife ill
and starving at his home, and this on investigation proving true, he was
pardoned and saved further misery.

In another case, a poor German had stolen a volume of the classics which
he pawned for a small sum to get bread for himself, being long out of
work, and in a condition bordering closely upon starvation. He was
released, the book reclaimed, and the offender turned over to the
agencies of public charity.

A librarian of New York gave it as his experience that some ministers are
not to be trusted any more than other people. Some of them like to write
their opinions on the margins of the books. He found one of the library
books written on in thirty pages, recognized the hand-writing, and wrote
to the reverend gentleman asking an interview. He came, admitted the
fact, and said that his notes made the book more valuable. This ingenious
excuse did not satisfy the librarian, who said, "others do not think so,
sir; so if you will get us a new book, you may keep the more valuable
one." He soon brought in a new copy, and the matter ended.

At the New York Mercantile Library, a young lady, amply able to buy all
the books she could want, was discovered going out of the library with
one book in her hand which she was entitled to, it being charged, and
with five others hidden under her cloak, without permission.

Mr. Melvil Dewey has truly said that it is very hard to tell a library
thief at sight. Well-dressed, gentlemanly, even sanctimonious looking men
are among them, and the wife of a well-known college professor, detected
in purloining books, begged so hard not to be exposed, that she was
reluctantly pardoned, and even restored to library privileges.

A prominent lawyer of Brooklyn, of distinguished appearance and fine
manners, did not steal books, but his specialty was magazines and
newspapers, which he carried off frequently. Being caught at it one day,
and accused by the librarian, he put on an air of dignity, declared he
was insulted, and walked out. The librarian found the periodical he had
taken thrown down in the entry, and he never after frequented that

It is curious and instructive to know the experience of some libraries
regarding the theft or mutilation of books. Thus, in the public library
of Woburn, Mass., a case of mutilation occurred by the cutting out of a
picture from "Drake's Historic Fields and Mansions of Middlesex County."
On discovery of the loss, a reward of $10 was offered for information
leading to detection of the culprit. This was published in the town
paper, and an article was printed calling attention to these library
thefts and abuses, followed by citing the State law making such
depredations a penal offense. Within a week the missing plate came back
to the librarian through the mail--anonymously of course, the person who
had abstracted it finding that it was rather an unsafe picture to keep or
exhibit, and so choosing to make his best policy honesty, though rather
tardy in coming to that wise conclusion.

This experience, and others here cited, may serve as a hint what course
to pursue under similar circumstances, in the reclamation of library

In the Library of the London Institution, continuous thefts of valuable
editions of the classics had occurred. Putting a detective in the
library, a young man of suspicious demeanor was soon identified as the
thief, and was followed and arrested in the very act of selling a library
book. He proved to be a young man of good family, education and previous
good character; but the library had suffered such losses from his
depredations, that no mercy was shown, and he received and underwent the
sentence to two months imprisonment.

It may be added as an instance of methods availed of in London to trace
missing books, that the librarian, knowing from the vacancies on the
shelves what books had been abstracted, printed a list of them, sent it
to every second-hand book-dealer in London, at the same time supplying it
to the police, who circulate daily a list of missing property among all
the pawn-brokers' shops in the city, and recovered all the books within
twenty-four hours.

The Mercantile Library of Philadelphia missed a number of valuable books
from its shelves, and on a watch being set, a physician in the most
respectable rank in society was detected as the purloiner, and more than
fifty volumes recovered from him.

A library at Lancaster, Pa., reported the almost incredible incident of a
thief having hidden under his coat, and carried off, a Webster's
Unabridged Dictionary!

In most cases of detected theft or mutilation of books, strong appeals
are made by the culprit or his friends to save exposure by public
prosecution. These are commonly, in the case of persons in very
respectable circumstances in life, not so much to avoid paying fines
imposed by law as to avoid the disgrace attached to publicity, and the
consequent damage done to the character of the individual. It is probably
true that in a majority of cases, such influences have been strong enough
to overcome the determination of the librarian or library authorities to
let the law take its course. Now, while it must be admitted that there is
no rule without some valid exception that may be made, it is nevertheless
to be insisted upon that due protection to public property in libraries
demands the enforcement of the laws enacted to that end. The consequence
of leniency to the majority of book thieves would be not only an indirect
encouragement to the culprits to continue their depredations, but it
would also lead to a lax and dangerous notion of the obligations of
readers, and the sacredness of such property, in the public mind.
Enforcement of the penalties of wrong-doing, on the other hand, tends
unquestionably to deter others, both by the fear of publicity which must
follow detection, and by terror of the penalty which is or may be
imprisonment for a considerable term, besides the imposing of a fine.

At the Worcester, Mass., Public Library, a young man of twenty-two was
detected in stealing a book, obliged to confess, and prosecuted. Much
pressure was brought to bear by his family and friends, very respectable
people, to save him from the penalty. The Court, however, imposed a fine
of thirty dollars, and it being represented that his relatives would have
to pay the amount, though innocent parties, the judge suspended the
sentence until the young man should pay it in instalments from his own
earnings, one of the family giving bail. The valuable lesson was in this
way not lost, either to the offender or to the community; the law was
enforced, and the young man perhaps saved from a life of wrong-doing,
while if he had been let off scot-free, in deference to the influence
exerted to that end, he might have gone from bad to worse.

At the Pratt Institute Free Library in Brooklyn, books had been
disappearing from the reference department at intervals of about a week,
and a watch was instituted. After some weeks' fruitless watching, a young
man who came frequently to consult books was singled out as the probable
offender, and the eyes of the library staff were centered upon him. The
janitor watched his movements for some days, from a concealed post of
observation, as the young man walked back and forth between the book
stacks, and one day caught him in the act of slipping a book into his
pocket, and arrested him as he was leaving the building. He had stolen a
dozen books from the library, all but three of which were recovered. He
claimed to be a theological student, and that he had taken the books
merely for the purposes of study. Much sympathy was expressed for him by
people who believed that this was his motive, and that it was some
partial atonement for his offense. The grief of his relatives at his
disgrace was intense. The Court sentenced him to eight years in the
penitentiary, but suspended the sentence in view of the fact that it was
a first offense, by a youth of twenty-one years. He was put under police
surveillance for his good behavior (equivalent to being paroled) but the
sentence becomes active upon any further transgression of the law on his

It may be gathered from these many cases of library depredations, that
they are very common, that perpetual vigilance is the price of safety,
that punishment in nearly all cases is wiser than pardon, and that the
few exceptions made should be mostly confined to offenders who steal
books under desperate necessity or actual want.



What is a pamphlet? is a question which is by no means capable of being
scientifically answered. Yet, to the librarian dealing continually with a
mass of pamphlets, books, and periodicals, it becomes important to define
somewhere, the boundary line between the pamphlet and the book. The
dictionaries will not aid us, for they all call the pamphlet "a few
sheets of printed paper stitched together, but not bound." Suppose (as
often happens) that you bind your pamphlet, does it then cease to be a
pamphlet, and become a book? Again, most pamphlets now published are not
stitched at all, but stabbed and wired to fasten the leaves together. The
origin of the word "pamphlet," is in great doubt. A plausible derivation
is from two French words, "_paume_," and "_feuillet_," literally a
hand-leaf; and another derives the word from a corruption of
Latin--"_papyrus_," paper, into _pampilus_, or _panfletus_, whence
pamphlet. The word is in Shakespeare:

    "Comest thou with deep premeditated lines,
     With written pamphlets studiously devised?"

But we also find "pamphlets and bookys," in a work printed by Caxton in
1490, a hundred years before Shakespeare.

Whatever the origin, the common acceptation of the word is plain,
signifying a little book, though where the pamphlet ends, and the book
begins, is uncertain. The rule of the British Museum Library calls every
printed publication of one hundred pages or less, a pamphlet. This is
arbitrary, and so would any other rule be. As that library binds its
pamphlets separately, and counts them in its aggregate of volumes, the
reason for any distinction in the matter is not plain. Some of the
government libraries in Europe are greatly overrated numerically by
reckoning pamphlets as volumes. Thus, the Royal Library at Munich, in
Bavaria, has been ranked fourth among the libraries of the world,
claiming over a million volumes, but as it reckons every university
thesis, or discussion of some special topic by candidates for degrees, as
a volume, and has perhaps 400,000 of this prolific class of publications,
it is actually not so large as some American libraries, which count their
pamphlets as distinct from books in their returns.

The pamphlet, or thin book, or tract (as some prefer to call it) is
reckoned by some librarians as a nuisance, and by others as a treasure.
That it forms rather a troublesome asset in the wealth of a library
cannot be doubted. Pamphlets taken singly, will not stand upon the
shelves; they will curl up, become dogs-eared, accumulate dust, and get
in the way of the books. If kept in piles, as is most frequent, it is
very hard to get at any one that is wanted in the mass. Then it is
objected to them, that the majority of them are worthless, that they cost
altogether too much money, and time, and pains, to catalogue them, and
that they are useless if not catalogued; that if kept bound, they cost
the library a sum out of all proportion to their value; that they
accumulate so rapidly (much faster, in fact, than books) as to outrun the
means at the disposal of any library to deal with them; in short, that
they cost more than they come to, if bound, and if unbound, they vex the
soul of the librarian day by day.

This is one side of the pamphlet question; and it may be candidly
admitted, that in most libraries, the accumulation of uncatalogued and
unbound pamphlets is one of the chief among those arrears which form the
skeleton in the closet of the librarian. But there is another side to the
matter. It is always possible to divide your pamphlets into two
classes--the important, and the insignificant. Some of them have great
historical, or economic, or intellectual value; others are as nearly
worthless as it is possible for any printed matter to be. Why should you
treat a pamphlet upon Pears's soap, or a quack medicine, or advertising
the Columbia bicycle, with the same attention which you would naturally
give to an essay on international politics by Gladstone, or a review of
the Cuban question by a prominent Spaniard, or a tract on Chinese
immigration by Minister Seward, or the pamphlet genealogy of an American
family? Take out of the mass of pamphlets, as they come in, what appear
to you the more valuable, or the more liable to be called for; catalogue
and bind them, or file them away, according to the use which they are
likely to have: relegate the rest, assorted always by subject-matters or
classes, to marked piles, or to pamphlet cases, according to your means;
and the problem is approximately solved.

To condemn any pamphlet to "innocuous desuetude," or to permanent
banishment from among the intellectual stores of a library, merely
because it is innocent of a stiff cover, is to despoil the temple of
learning and reject the good things of Providence. What great and
influential publications have appeared in the world in the guise of
pamphlets! Milton's immortal "Areopagitica, or Plea for Unlicenced
Printing," was a pamphlet of only forty pages; Webster's speech for the
Union, in reply to Hayne, was a pamphlet; every play of Shakespeare, that
was printed in his life-time, was a pamphlet; Charles Sumner's discourse
on "The True Grandeur of Nations" was a pamphlet; the "Crisis" and
"Common Sense" of Thomas Paine, which fired the American heart in the
Revolution, were pamphlets. Strike out of literature, ancient and modern,
what was first published in pamphlets, and you would leave it the poorer
and weaker to an incalculable degree.

Pamphlets are not only vehicles of thought and opinion, and propagandists
of new ideas; they are often also store-houses of facts, repositories of
history, annals of biography, records of genealogy, treasuries of
statistics, chronicles of invention and discovery. They sometimes throw
an unexpected light upon obscure questions where all books are silent.
Being published for the most part upon some subject that was interesting
the public mind when written, they reflect, as in a mirror, the social,
political, and religious spirit and life of the time. As much as
newspapers, they illustrate the civilization (or want of it) of an epoch,
and multitudes of them, preserved in great libraries, exhibit this at
those early periods when no newspapers existed as vehicles of public
opinion. Many of the government libraries of Europe have been buying up
for many years past, the rare, early-printed pamphlets of their
respective countries, paying enormous prices for what, a century ago,
they would have slighted, even as a gift.

When Thomas Carlyle undertook to write the life of Oliver Cromwell, and
to resurrect from the dust-bins of two centuries, the letters and
speeches of the great Protector, he found his richest quarry in a
collection of pamphlets in the British Museum Library. An indefatigable
patriot and bookseller, named Thomason, had carefully gathered and kept
every pamphlet, book, periodical, or broadside that appeared from the
British press, during the whole time from A. D. 1649 to 1660, the period
of the interregnum in the English monarchy, represented by Cromwell and
the Commonwealth. This vast collection, numbering over 20,000 pamphlets,
bound in 2,000 volumes, after escaping the perils of fire, and of both
hostile armies, was finally purchased by the King, and afterward
presented to the British Museum Library. Its completeness is one great
source of its value, furnishing, as it does, to the historical student of
that exceedingly interesting revolution, the most precious memorials of
the spirit of the times, many of which have been utterly lost, except the
single copy preserved in this collection.

Several great European libraries number as many pamphlets as books in
their collections. The printed catalogue of the British Museum Library is
widely sought by historical students, because of the enormous amount of
pamphlet literature it contains, that is described nowhere else. And the
Librarian of the Boston Athenaeum said that some readers found the great
interest in his catalogue of that collection lay in its early American

As another instance of the value to the historical stores of a public
library of this ephemeral literature, it may be noted that the great
collection of printed matter, mostly of a fugitive character, relating to
the French Revolutionary period, gathered by the late M. de La Bedoyère,
amounted to 15,000 volumes and pamphlets. Fifty years of the life of the
wealthy and enthusiastic collector, besides a very large sum of money,
were spent in amassing this collection. With an avidity almost
incredible, he ransacked every book-store, quay, and private shelf that
might contribute a fresh morsel to his stores; and when Paris was
exhausted, had his agents and purveyors busy in executing his orders all
over Europe. Rival collectors, and particularly M. Deschiens, who had
been a contemporary in the Revolution, and had laid aside everything that
appeared in his day, only contributed at their decease, to swell the
precious stores of M. de La Bedoyère. This vast collection, so precious
for the history of France at its most memorable period, contained
several thousands of volumes of newspapers and ephemeral journals, and
was acquired in the year 1863, for the National Library of France, where
it will ever remain a monument to the enlightened and far-sighted spirit
of its projector.

In like manner, the late Peter Force, Mayor of Washington City, and
historiographer of the "American Archives," devoted forty years to
amassing an extensive collection of _Americana_, or books, pamphlets,
newspapers, manuscripts, and maps, relating to the discovery, history,
topography, natural history, and biography of America. He carried off at
auction sales, from all competitors, six great collections of early
American pamphlets, formed by Ebenezer Hazard, William Duane, Oliver
Wolcott, etc., representing the copious literature of all schools of
political opinion. He sedulously laid aside and preserved every pamphlet
that appeared at the capital or elsewhere, on which he could lay hands,
and his rich historical collection, purchased by the government in 1866,
thirty-three years ago, now forms an invaluable portion of the
Congressional Library.

Of the multitudinous literature of pamphlets it is not necessary to speak
at length. Suffice it to say that the library which neglects the
acquisition and proper preservation and binding of these publications is
far behind its duty, both to those of its own generation, and to those
which are to follow. The pamphlet literature of every period often
furnishes the most precious material to illustrate the history and
development of that period. The new ideas, the critical sagacity, the
political controversies, the mechanical and industrial development, the
religious thought, and the social character of many epochs, find their
best expression in the pamphlets that swarmed from the press while those
agencies were operating. The fact that multitudes of these productions
are anonymous, does not detract from their value as materials for

Pamphlets, from their peculiar style of publication, and the difficulty
of preserving them, tend to disappear more quickly than any class of
publications except newspapers, and broad-sides, and hand-bills. They are
far less likely to be preserved in the hands of private holders than even
reviews and magazines. It is the common experience of librarians that a
pamphlet is far more difficult to procure than a book. Multitudes of
pamphlets are annually lost to the world, from the want of any preserving
hand to gather them and deposit them permanently in some library. So much
the more important is it that the custodians of all our public libraries
should form as complete collections as possible of all pamphlets, at
least, that appear in their own city or neighborhood. How to do this is a
problem not unattended with difficulty. Pamphlets are rarely furnished
for sale in the same manner as books, and when they are, book-sellers
treat them with such indignity that they are commonly thrust aside as
waste paper, almost as soon as they have appeared from the press. If all
the writers of pamphlets would take pains to present them to the public
libraries of the country, and especially to those in their own
neighborhood, they would at once enrich these collections, and provide
for the perpetuity of their own thought. A vigilant librarian should
invite and collect from private libraries all the pamphlets which their
owners will part with. It would also be a wise practice to engage the
printing-offices where these fugitive leaves of literature are put in
type, to lay aside one copy of each for the library making the

Our local libraries should each and all make it a settled object to
preserve not only full sets of the reports of all societies,
corporations, charity organizations, churches, railroads, etc., in their
own neighborhood, but all catalogues of educational institutions, all
sermons or memorial addresses, and in short, every fugitive publication
which helps to a knowledge of the people or the region in which the
library is situated.

The binding of pamphlets is a mooted point in all libraries. While the
British Museum and the Library of Congress treat the pamphlets as a book,
binding all separately, this is deemed in some quarters too vexatious and
troublesome, as well as needlessly expensive. It must be considered,
however, that the crowding together of a heterogenous mass of a dozen or
twenty pamphlets, by different authors, and on various subjects, into a
single cover, is just as objectionable as binding books on unrelated
subjects together. Much time is consumed in finding the pamphlet wanted,
among the dozen or more that precede or follow it, and, if valuable or
much sought-for pamphlets are thus bound, many readers may be kept
waiting for some of them, while one reader engrosses the volume
containing all. Besides, if separately bound, a single pamphlet can be
far more easily replaced in case of loss than can a whole volume of them.
Pamphlets may be lightly bound in paste-board, stitched, with cloth
backs, at a small cost; and the compensating advantage of being able to
classify them like books upon the shelves, should weigh materially in the
decision of the question. If many are bound together, they should
invariably be assorted into classes, and those only on the same general
topic should be embraced in the same cover. The long series of annual
reports of societies and institutions, corporations, annual catalogues,
etc., need not be bound separately, but should be bound in chronological
series, with five to ten years in a volume, according to thickness. So
may several pamphlets, by the same writer, if preferred, be bound
together. Libraries which acquire many bound volumes of pamphlets should
divide them into series, and number them throughout with strict reference
to the catalogue. There will thus be accumulated a constantly increasing
series of theological, political, agricultural, medical, educational,
scientific, and other pamphlets, while the remaining mass, which cannot
be thus classified, may be designated in a consecutive series of volumes,
as "Miscellaneous Pamphlets." When catalogued, the title-page or
beginning of each pamphlet in the volume, should be marked by a thin slip
of unsized paper, projected above the top of the book, to facilitate
quick reference in finding each one without turning many leaves to get at
the titles. In all cases, the contents of each volume of pamphlets should
be briefed in numerical order upon the fly-leaf of the volume, and its
corresponding number, or sequence in the volumes written in pencil on the
title page of each pamphlet, to correspond with the figures of this brief
list. Then the catalogue of each should indicate its exact location,
thus: Wilkeson (Samuel) How our National Debt may become a National
Blessing, 21 pp. 8vo. Phila., 1863 [Miscellaneous pamphlets, v. 347:3],
meaning that this is the third pamphlet bound in vol. 347.

The only objection to separate binding of each pamphlet, is the increased
expense. The advantage of distinct treatment may or may not outweigh
this, according to the importance of the pamphlet, the circumstances of
the library, and the funds at its command. If bound substantially in good
half-leather, with leather corners, the cost is reckoned at 1_s._ 4_d._
each, in London. Here, they cost about thirty cents with cloth sides,
which may be reduced by the use of marble or Manila paper, to twenty
cents each. Black roan is perhaps the best leather for pamphlets, as it
brings out the lettering on the backs more distinctly--always a cardinal
point in a library.

But there is a more economical method, which dispenses with leather
entirely. As no patent is claimed for the invention, or rather the
modification of well-known methods, it may be briefly described. The
thinnest tar-board is used for the sides, which, _i. e._, the boards, are
cut down to nearly the size of the pamphlet to be bound. The latter is
prepared for the boards by adding two or more waste leaves to the front
and back, and backing it with a strip of common muslin, which is firmly
pasted the full length of the back, and overlaps the sides to the width
of an inch or more. The pamphlet has to be stitched through, or stabbed
and fastened with wire, in the manner commonly practiced with thin books;
after which it is ready to receive the boards. These are glued to a strip
of book muslin, which constitutes the ultimate back of the book, being
turned in neatly at each end, so as to form, with the boards, a skeleton
cover, into which the pamphlet is inserted, and held in its place by the
inner strip of muslin before described, which is pasted or glued to the
inside of the boards. The boards are then covered with marbled paper,
turned in at each edge, and the waste leaves pasted smoothly down to the
boards on the inside. The only remaining process is the lettering, which
is done by printing the titles in bronze upon glazed colored paper, which
is pasted lengthwise on the back. A small font of type, with a
hand-press, will suffice for this, and a stabbing machine, with a small
pair of binding shears, constitutes the only other apparatus required.
The cost of binding pamphlets in this style varies from seven to twelve
cents each, according to the material employed, and the amount of labor
paid for. The advantages of the method are too obvious to all acquainted
with books to require exemplification.

Two still cheaper methods of binding may be named. What is known as the
Harvard binder, employed in that library at Cambridge, Mass., consists
simply of thin board sides with muslin back, and stubs also of cloth on
the inside. The pamphlet is inserted and held in place by paste or glue.
The cost of each binding is stated at six cents.

The cheapest style of separate treatment for pamphlets yet suggested is
of stiff Manila paper, with cloth back, costing about three cents each.

I think that the rule of never mixing incongruous subjects within the
same cover should be adhered to. The expense, by the cheaper method of
binding referred to, is but slightly greater than must be incurred by
binding several in a volume, in solid half morocco style. But, whenever
pamphlets are bound together, the original printed paper covers should
never be destroyed, but should be bound in.

Another method of preserving pamphlets is to file them away in selected
lots, placed inside of cloth covers, of considerable thickness. These may
be had from any book-binder, being the rejected covers in which books
sent for re-binding were originally bound. If kept in this way, each
volume, or case of pamphlets, should be firmly tied with cord (or better
with tape) fastened to the front edge of the cloth cover. Never use
rubber or elastic bands for this, or any other purpose where time and
security of fastening are involved, because the rubber will surely rot in
a few weeks or months, and be useless as a means of holding together any
objects whatever.

Still another means of assorting and keeping pamphlets is to use
Woodruff's file-holders, one of which holds from ten to thirty pamphlets
according to their thickness. They should be arranged in classes, placing
in each file case only pamphlets on similar subjects, in order of the
authors' names, arranged alphabetically. Each pamphlet should be plainly
numbered at its head by colored pencil, with the figure of its place in
the volume, and the number of the case, containing it, which should also
be volumed, and assigned to shelves containing books on related subjects.
I need not add that all these numbers should correspond with the
catalogue-title of each pamphlet. Then, when any one pamphlet is wanted,
send for the case containing it, find it and withdraw it at once by its
number, place it in one of the Koch spring-back binders, and give it to
the reader precisely like any book that is served at the library counter.

A more economical plan still, for libraries which cannot afford the
expense of the Woodruff file-holders, is to cut out cases for the
pamphlets, of suitable size, from tough Manila board, which need not cost
more than about three cents each case.

In whatever way the unbound pamphlets are treated, you should always mark
them as such on the left-hand margin of each catalogue-card, by the
designation "ub." (unbound) in pencil. If you decide later, to bind any
of them, this pencil-mark should be erased from the cards, on the return
of the pamphlets from the bindery.



The librarian who desires to make the management of his library in the
highest degree successful, must give special attention to the important
field of periodical literature. More and more, as the years roll on, the
periodical becomes the successful rival of the book in the claim for
public attention. Indeed, we hear now and then, denunciations of the
ever-swelling flood of magazines and newspapers, as tending to drive out
the book. Readers, we are told, are seduced from solid and improving
reading, by the mass of daily, weekly, and monthly periodicals which lie
in wait for them on every hand. But no indiscriminate censure of
periodicals or of their reading, can blind us to the fact of their great
value. Because some persons devote an inordinate amount of time to them,
is no reason why we should fail to use them judiciously ourselves, or to
aid others in doing so. And because many periodicals (and even the vast
majority) are of little importance, and are filled with trifling and
ephemeral matter, that fact does not discredit the meritorious ones.
Counterfeit currency does not diminish the value of the true coin; it is
very sure to find its own just level at last; and so the wretched or the
sensational periodical, however pretentious, will fall into inevitable
neglect and failure in the long run.

It is true that the figures as to the relative issues of books and
periodicals in the publishing world are startling enough to give us
pause. It has been computed that of the annual product of the American
press, eighty-two per cent. consists of newspapers, ten per cent. of
magazines and reviews, and only eight per cent. of books. Yet this vast
redundancy of periodical literature is by no means such a menace to our
permanent literature as it appears at first sight;--and that for three
reasons: (1) a large share of the books actually published, appear in the
first instance in the periodicals in serial or casual form; (2) the
periodicals contain very much matter of permanent value; (3) the steady
increase of carefully prepared books in the publishing world, while it
may not keep pace with the rapid increase of periodicals, evinces a
growth in the right direction. It is no longer so easy to get a crude or
a poor book published, as it was a generation ago. The standard of
critical taste has risen, and far more readers are judges of what
constitutes a really good book than ever before. While it is true that
our periodical product has so grown, that whereas there were twenty years
ago, in 1878, only 7,958 different newspapers and magazines published in
the United States, there are now, in 1899, over 20,500 issued, it can
also be stated that the annual product of books has increased in the same
twenty years from less than two thousand to more than five thousand
volumes of new issues in a year. Whatever may be the future of our
American literature, it can hardly be doubted that the tendency is
steadily toward the production of more books, and better ones.

Whether a public library be large or small, its value to students will
depend greatly upon the care and completeness with which its selection of
periodical works is made, and kept up from year to year. Nothing is more
common in all libraries, public and private, than imperfect and partially
bound sets of serials, whether newspapers, reviews, magazines or the
proceedings and reports of scientific and other societies. Nothing can be
more annoying than to find the sets of such publications broken at the
very point where the reference or the wants of those consulting them
require satisfaction. In these matters, perpetual vigilance is the price
of completeness; and the librarian who is not willing or able to devote
the time and means requisite to complete the files of periodical
publications under his charge is to be censured or commiserated,
according to the causes of the failure. The first essential in keeping up
the completeness of files of ephemeral publications, next to vigilance on
the part of their custodian, is room for the arrangement of the various
parts, and means for binding with promptitude. Some libraries, and among
them a few of the largest, are so hampered for want of room, that their
serials are piled in heaps without order or arrangement, and are thus
comparatively useless until bound. In the more fortunate institutions,
which possess adequate space for the orderly arrangement of all their
stores, there can be no excuse for failing to supply any periodical,
whether bound or unbound, at the moment it is called for. It is simply
necessary to devote sufficient time each day to the systematic
arrangement of all receipts: to keep each file together in chronological
order; to supply them for the perusal of readers, with a proper check or
receipt, and to make sure of binding each new volume as fast as the
publication of titles and index enables it to be done properly. While
some libraries receive several thousands of serials, the periodical
publications taken by others amount to a very small number; but in either
case, the importance of prompt collation and immediate supply of missing
parts or numbers is equally imperative. While deficiencies in daily
newspapers can rarely be made up after the week, and sometimes not after
the day of their appearance, the missing parts of official and other
publications, as well as of reviews and magazines appearing at less
frequent intervals, can usually be supplied within the year, although a
more prompt securing of them is often necessary. In these publications,
as in the acquisition of books for any library, the collation of each
part or number is imperative, in order to avoid imperfections which may
be irreparable.

First in the ranks of these ephemeral publications, in order of number,
if not of importance, come the journals of all classes, daily and weekly,
political, illustrated, literary, scientific, mechanical, professional,
agricultural, financial, etc. From the obscure and fugitive beginnings of
journalism in the sixteenth century to the establishment of the first
continuous newspaper--the London Weekly News, in 1622, and Renaudot's
Gazette (afterwards the _Gazette de France_) in 1631, followed by the
issue of the first daily newspaper, the London Daily Courant, in 1702,
and the Boston Weekly News-letter in 1704, (the first American
journal)--to the wonderful fecundity of the modern periodical press,
which scatters the leaves of more than thirty thousand different journals
broadcast over the world, there is a long and interesting history of the
trials and triumphs of a free press. In whatever respect American
libraries may fall behind those of older lands (and their deficiencies
are vast, and, in many directions permanent) it may be said with
confidence, that in the United States the newspaper has received its
widest and most complete development. Numerically, the fullest
approximate return of the newspaper and periodical press gives a total
number of 21,500 periodical publications, regularly appearing within the
limits of the United States.

While no one library, however large and comprehensive, has either the
space or the means to accumulate a tithe of the periodicals that swarm
from a productive press, there are valid reasons why more attention
should be paid by the librarian to a careful preservation of a wise
selection of the best of all this current literature. The modern
newspaper and other periodical publications afford the fullest and
truest, and on the whole, the most impartial image of the age we live in,
that can be derived from a single source. Taken together, they afford the
richest material for the historian, or the student of politics, of
society, of literature, and of civilization in all its varied aspects.
What precious memorials of the day, even the advertisements and brief
paragraphs of the newspapers of a century ago afford us! While in a field
so vast, it is impossible for any one library to be more than a gleaner,
no such institution can afford to neglect the collection and preservation
of at least some of the more important newspapers from year to year. A
public library is not for one generation only, but it is for all time.
Opportunities once neglected of securing the current periodicals of any
age in continuous and complete form seldom or never recur. The principle
of selection will of course vary in different libraries and localities.
While the safest general rule is to secure the best and most
representative of all the journals, reviews, and magazines within the
limit of the funds which can be devoted to that purpose, there is another
principle which should largely guide the selection. In each locality, it
should be one leading object of the principal library to gather within
its walls the fullest representation possible, of the literature relating
to its own State and neighborhood. In every city and large town, the
local journals and other periodicals should form an indispensable part of
a public library collection. Where the means are wanting to purchase
these, the proprietors will frequently furnish them free of expense, for
public use; but no occasion should be lost of securing, immediately on
its issue from the press, every publication, large or small, which
relates to the local history or interests of the place where the library
is maintained.

While the files of the journals of any period furnish unquestionably the
best instruments for the history of that epoch, it is lamentable to
reflect that so little care has ever been taken to preserve a fair
representation of those of any age. The destiny of nearly all newspapers
is swift destruction; and even those which are preserved, commonly
survive in a lamentably fragmentary state. The obvious causes of the
rapid disappearance of periodical literature, are its great volume,
necessarily increasing with every year, the difficulty of lodging the
files of any long period in our narrow apartments, and the continual
demand for paper for the uses of trade. To these must be added the great
cost of binding files of journals, increasing in the direct ratio of the
size of the volume. As so formidable an expense can be incurred by very
few private subscribers to periodicals, so much the more important is it
that the public libraries should not neglect a duty which they owe to
their generation, as well as to those that are to follow. These poor
journals of to-day, which everybody is willing to stigmatize as trash,
not worth the room to store or the money to bind, are the very materials
which the man of the future will search for with eagerness, and for some
of which he will be ready to pay their weight in gold. These
representatives of the commercial, industrial, inventive, social,
literary, political, moral and religious life of the times, should be
preserved and handed down to posterity with sedulous care. No historian
or other writer on any subject who would write conscientiously or with
full information, can afford to neglect this fruitful mine of the
journals, where his richest materials are frequently to be found.

In the absence of any great library of journals, or of that universal
library which every nation should possess, it becomes the more important
to assemble in the various local libraries all those ephemeral
publications, which, if not thus preserved contemporaneously with their
issue, will disappear utterly, and elude the search of future historical
inquirers. And that library which shall most sedulously gather and
preserve such fugitive memorials of the life of the people among which it
is situated will be found to have best subserved its purpose to the
succeeding generations of men.

Not less important than the preservation of newspapers is that of reviews
and magazines. In fact, the latter are almost universally recognized as
far more important than the more fugitive literature of the daily and
weekly press. Though inferior to the journals as historical and
statistical materials, reviews and magazines supply the largest fund of
discussion concerning such topics of scientific, social, literary, and
religious interest as occupy the public mind during the time in which
they appear. More and more the best thought of the times gets reflected
in the pages of this portion of the periodical press. No investigator in
any department can afford to overlook the rich stores contributed to
thought in reviews and magazines. These articles are commonly more
condensed and full of matter than the average books of the period. While
every library, therefore, should possess for the current use and ultimate
reference of its readers a selection of the best, as large as its means
will permit, a great and comprehensive library, in order to be
representative of the national literature, should possess them all.

       *       *       *       *       *

The salient fact that the periodical press absorbs, year by year, more of
the talent which might otherwise be expended upon literature of more
permanent form is abundantly obvious. This tendency has both its good and
its evil results. On the one hand, the best writing ability is often
drawn out by magazines and journals, which are keen competitors for
attractive matter, and for known reputations, and sometimes they secure
both in combination. On the other hand, it is a notable fact that writers
capable of excellent work often do great injustice to their reputations
by producing too hastily articles written to order, instead of the
well-considered, ripe fruits of their literary skill. Whether the brief
article answering the limits of a magazine or a review is apt to be more
or less superficial than a book treating the same topic, is a question
admitting of different views. If the writer is capable of skilful
condensation, without loss of grace of composition, or of graphic power,
then the article, measured by its influence upon the public mind, must be
preferred to the more diffuse treatise of the book. It has the immense
advantage of demanding far less of the reader's time; and whenever its
conclusions are stated in a masterly way, its impression should be quite
as lasting as that of any book treating a similar theme. Such is
doubtless the effect of the abler articles written for periodicals, which
are more condensed and full of matter in speedily available form, than
the average book of the period. In this sense it is a misuse of terms to
call the review article ephemeral, or to treat the periodicals containing
them as perishable literary commodities, which serve their term with the
month or year that produced them. On the contrary, the experience of
librarians shows that the most sought-for, and the most useful
contributions to any subject are frequently found, not in the books
written upon it, but in the files of current periodicals, or in those of
former years. It is especially to be noted that the book may frequently
lose its adaptation and usefulness by lapse of time, and the onward march
of science, while the article is apt to reflect the latest light which
can help to illustrate the subject.

While, therefore, there is always a liability of finding many crude and
sketchy contributions in the literature of the periodical press, its
conductors are ever on the alert to reduce to a minimum the weak or
unworthy offerings, and to secure a maximum of articles embodying mature
thought and fit expression. The pronounced tendency toward short methods
in every channel of human activity, is reflected in the constantly
multiplying series of periodical publications.

The publishing activities of the times are taking on a certain
coöperative element, which was not formerly known. Thus, the "literary
syndicate" has been developed by degrees into one of the most
far-reaching agencies for popular entertainment. The taste for short
stories, in place of the ancient three volume novel, has been cultivated
even in conservative England, and has become so wide-spread in the United
States, that very few periodicals which deal in fiction at all, are
without their stories begun and finished in a single issue. The talent
required to produce a fascinating and successful fiction in this narrow
compass is a peculiar one, and while there are numerous failures, there
are also a surprising number of successes. Well written descriptive
articles, too, are in demand, and special cravings for personal gossip
and lively sketches of notable living characters are manifest. That
perennial interest which mankind and womankind evince in every individual
whose name, for whatever reason, has become familiar, supplies a basis
for an inexhaustible series of light paragraphic articles. Another
fruitful field for the syndicate composition is brief essays upon any
topic of the times, the fashions, notable events, or new inventions,
public charities, education, governmental doings, current political
movements, etc. These appear almost simultaneously, in many different
periodicals, scattered throughout the country, under the copyright
_imprimatur_, which warns off all journals from republishing, which have
not subscribed to the special "syndicate" engaging them. Thus each
periodical secures, at extremely moderate rates, contributions which are
frequently written by the most noted and popular living writers, who, in
their turn, are much better remunerated for their work than they would be
for the same amount of writing if published in book form. Whether this
now popular method of attaining a wide and remunerative circulation for
their productions will prove permanent, is less certain than that many
authors now find it the surest road to profitable employment of their
pens. The fact that it rarely serves to introduce unknown writers of
talent to the reading world, may be laid to the account of the eagerness
of the syndicates to secure names that already enjoy notoriety.

The best method for filing newspapers for current reading is a vexed
question in libraries. In the large ones, where room enough exists, large
reading-stands with sloping sides furnish the most convenient access,
provided with movable metal rods to keep the papers in place. Where no
room exists for these stands, some of the numerous portable
newspaper-file inventions, or racks, may be substituted, allowing one to
each paper received at the library.

For filing current magazines, reviews, and the smaller newspapers, like
the literary and technical journals, various plans are in use. All of
these have advantages, while none is free from objection. Some libraries
use the ordinary pamphlet case, in which the successive numbers are kept
until a volume is accumulated for binding. This requires a separate case
for each periodical, and where many are taken, is expensive, though by
this method the magazines are kept neat and in order. Others use small
newspaper files or tapes for periodicals. Others still arrange them
alphabetically on shelves, in which case the latest issues are found on
top, if the chronology is preserved. In serving periodicals to readers,
tickets should be required (as for books) with title and date, as a
precaution against loss, or careless leaving upon tables.

Whether current periodicals are ever allowed to be drawn out, must depend
upon several weighty considerations. When only one copy is taken, no
circulation should be permitted, so that the magazines and journals may
be always in, at the service of readers frequenting the library. But in
some large public libraries, where several copies of each of the more
popular serials are subscribed to, it is the custom to keep one copy
(sometimes two) always in, and to allow the duplicate copies to be drawn
out. This circulation should be limited to a period much shorter than is
allowed for keeping books.

In no case, should the bound volumes of magazines, reviews, and journals
of whatever kind be allowed to leave the library. This is a rule which
should be enforced for the common benefit of all the readers, since to
lend to one reader any periodical or work of general reference is to
deprive all the rest of its use just so long as it is out of the library.
This has become all the more important since the publication of Poole's
Indexes to periodical literature has put the whole reading community on
the quest for information to be found only (in condensed form, or in the
latest treatment) in the volumes of the periodical press. And it is
really no hardship to any quick, intelligent reader, to require that
these valuable serials should be used within the library only. An article
is not like a book;--a long and perhaps serious study, requiring many
hours or days to master it. The magazine or review article, whatever
other virtues it may lack, has the supreme merit of brevity.

The only valid exception which will justify loaning the serial volumes of
periodicals outside the library, is when there are duplicate sets of any
of them. Some large libraries having a wide popular circulation are able
to buy two or more sets of the magazines most in demand, and so to lend
one out, while another is kept constantly in for use and reference. And
even a library of small means might secure for its shelves duplicate sets
of many periodicals, by simply making known that it would be glad to
receive from any families or other owners, all the numbers of their
magazines, etc., which they no longer need for use. This would bring in,
in any large town or city, a copious supply of periodicals which
house-keepers, tired of keeping, storing and dusting such unsightly
property, would be glad to bestow where they would do the most good.

Whatever periodicals are taken, it is essential to watch over their
completeness by keeping a faithfully revised check-list. This should be
ruled to furnish blank spaces for each issue of all serials taken,
whether quarterly, monthly, weekly, or daily, and no week should elapse
without complete scrutiny of the list, and ordering all missing numbers
from the publishers. Mail failures are common, and unceasing vigilance is
the price that must be paid for completeness. The same check-list, by
other spaces, should show the time of expiration of subscriptions, and
the price paid per year. And where a large number of periodicals are
received, covering many parts of the country, they should be listed, not
only by an alphabet of titles, but by another alphabet of places where
published, as well.

If a new library is to be formed, having no sets of periodicals on which
to build, effort should be made to secure full sets from the beginning of
as many of the prominent magazines and reviews, American and foreign, as
the funds will permit. It is expedient to wait a little, rather than to
take up with incomplete sets, as full ones are pretty sure to turn up,
and competition between the many dealers should bring down prices to a
fair medium. In fact, many old sets of magazines are offered surprisingly
cheap, and usually well-bound. But vigilant care must be exercised to
secure perfect sets, as numbers are often mutilated, or deficient in some
pages or illustrations. This object can only be secured by collation of
every volume, page by page, with due attention to the list of
illustrations, if any are published.

In the absence of British bibliographical enterprise (a want much to be
deplored) it has fallen to the lot of American librarians to produce the
only general index of subjects to English periodical literature which
exists. Poole's Index to Periodical Literature is called by the name of
its senior editor, the late Dr. Wm. F. Poole, and was contributed to by
many librarians on a coöperative division of labor, in indexing, under
direction of Mr. Wm. I. Fletcher, librarian of Amherst College. This
index to leading periodicals is literally invaluable, and indispensable
as an aid to research. Its first volume indexes in one alphabet the
periodicals embraced, from their first issues up to 1882. The second
volume runs from 1882 to 1887, and the third covers the period from 1887
to 1891, while a fourth volume indexes the periodicals from 1892 to 1896,
inclusive. For 1897, and each year after, an annual index to the
publications of the year is issued.

Besides this, the _Review of Reviews_ publishes monthly an index to one
month's leading periodicals, and also an annual index, very full, in a
single alphabet. And the "Cumulative Index," issued both monthly and
quarterly, by W. H. Brett, the Cleveland, Ohio, librarian, is an
admirably full means of keeping our keys to periodical literature up to
date. There are other indexes to periodicals, published monthly or
quarterly, too numerous to be noticed here. The annual _New York Tribune_
Index (the only daily journal, except the _London Times_, which prints an
index) is highly useful, and may be used for other newspapers as well,
for the most important events or discussions, enabling one to search the
dailies for himself, the date once being fixed by aid of the index.

Mention should also be made here of the admirably comprehensive annual
"_Rowell's Newspaper Directory_," which should rather be called the
"American Periodical Directory," since it has a classified catalogue of
all periodicals published in the United States and Canada.



"The true University of these days," says a great scholar of our century,
Thomas Carlyle, "is a collection of books, and all education is to teach
us how to read."

If there were any volume, out of the multitude of books about books that
have been written, which could illuminate the pathway of the unskilled
reader, so as to guide him into all knowledge by the shortest road, what
a boon that book would be!

When we survey the vast and rapidly growing product of the modern
press,--when we see these hosts of poets without imagination, historians
without accuracy, critics without discernment, and novelists without
invention or style, in short, the whole prolific brood of writers who do
not know how to write,--we are tempted to echo the sentiment of

    "The intellectual power, through words and things,
     Goes sounding on a dim and perilous way."

The most that any one can hope to do for others is to suggest to them a
clue which, however feeble, has helped to guide his uncertain footsteps
through the labyrinthian maze of folly and wisdom which we call

The knowledge acquired by a Librarian, while it may be very wide and very
varied, runs much risk of being as superficial as it is diversified.
There is a very prevalent, but very erroneous notion which conceives of a
librarian as a kind of animated encyclopaedia, who, if you tap him in any
direction, from A to Z, will straightway pour forth a flood of knowledge
upon any subject in history, science, or literature. This popular ideal,
however fine in theory, has to undergo what commercial men call a heavy
discount when reduced to practice. The librarian is a constant and busy
worker in far other fields than exploring the contents of books. His day
is filled with cataloguing, arranging and classifying them, searching
catalogues, selecting new books, correspondence, directing assistants,
keeping library records, adjusting accounts, etc., in the midst of which
he is constantly at the call of the public for books and information.
What time has he, wearied by the day's multifarious and exacting labors,
for any thorough study of books? So, when anyone begins an inquiry with,
"You know everything; can you tell me,"--I say: "Stop a moment;
omniscience is not a human quality; I really know very few things, and am
not quite sure of some of them." There are many men, and women, too, in
almost every community, whose range of knowledge is more extended than
that of most librarians.

The idea, then, that because one lives perpetually among books, he
absorbs all the learning that they contain, must be abandoned as a
popular delusion. To know a little upon many subjects is quite compatible
with not knowing much about any one. "Beware of the man of one book," is
an ancient proverb, pregnant with meaning. The man of one book, if it is
wisely chosen, and if he knows it all, can sometimes confound a whole
assembly of scholars. An American poet once declared to me that all
leisure time is lost that is not spent in reading Shakespeare. And we
remember Emerson's panegyric upon Plato's writings, borrowing from the
Caliph Omar his famous (but apocryphal) sentence against all books but
the Koran: "Burn all the libraries, for their value is in this book." So
Sheffield, duke of Buckingham:

    "Read Homer once, and you can read no more,
     For all books else appear so tame, so poor,
     Verse will seem prose, but still persist to read,
     And Homer will be all the books you need."

Of course I am far from designing to say anything against the widest
study, which great libraries exist to supply and to encourage; and all
utterances of a half-truth, like the maxim I have quoted, are
exaggerations. But the saying points a moral--and that is, the supreme
importance of thoroughness in all that we undertake. The poetical
wiseacre who endowed the world with the maxim, "A little learning is a
dangerous thing," does not appear to have reflected upon the logical
sequence of the dictum, namely: that if a little learning upon any
subject is dangerous, then less must be still more dangerous.

       *       *       *       *       *

The art of reading to the best advantage implies the command of adequate
time to read. The art of having time to read depends upon knowing how to
make the best use of our days. Days are short, and time is fleeting, but
no one's day ever holds less than 24 hours. Engrossing as one's
occupation may be, it need never consume all the time remaining from
sleep, refreshment and social intercourse. The half hour before
breakfast, the fifteen minutes waiting for dinner, given to the book you
wish to read, will soon finish it, and make room for another. The busiest
men I have known have often been the most intelligent, and the widest
readers. The idle person never knows how to make use of odd moments; the
busy one always knows how. Yet the vast majority of people go through
life without ever learning the great lesson of the supreme value of

Let us suppose that you determine to devote two hours every day to
reading. That is equivalent to more than seven hundred hours a year, or
to three months of working time of eight hours a day. What could you not
do in three months, if you had all the time to yourself? You could almost
learn a new language, or master a new science; yet this two hours a day,
which would give you three months of free time every year, is frittered
away, you scarcely know how, in aimless matters that lead to nothing.

A famous writer of our century, some of whose books you have
read,--Edward Bulwer Lytton,--devoted only four hours a day to writing;
yet he produced more than sixty volumes of fiction, poetry, drama and
criticism, of singular literary merit. The great naturalist, Darwin, a
chronic sufferer from a depressing malady, counted two hours a fortunate
day's work for him; yet he accomplished results in the world of science
which render his name immortal.

Be not over particular as to hours, or the time of day, and you will soon
find that all hours are good for the muse. Have a purpose, and adhere to
it with good-humored pertinacity. Be independent of the advice and
opinions of others; the world of books, like the world of nature, was
made for you; possess it in your own way. If you find no good in ancient
history or in metaphysics, let them alone and read books of art, or
poetry, or biography, or voyages and travels. The wide domain of
knowledge and the world of books are so related, that all roads cross and
converge, like the paths that carry us over the surface of the globe on
which we live. Many a reader has learned more of past times from good
biographies, than from any formal history; and it is a fact that many owe
to the plays of Shakespeare and the novels of Walter Scott nearly all the
knowledge which they possess of the history of England and Scotland.

It is unhappily true that books do not teach the use of books. The art of
extracting what is important or instructive in any book, from the mass
of verbiage that commonly overlays it, cannot be learned by theory.
Invaluable as the art of reading is, as a means of enlightenment, its
highest uses can only be obtained by a certain method of reading, which
will separate the wheat from the chaff. Different readers will, of
course, possess different capacities for doing this. Young or
undisciplined minds can read only in one way,--and that way is, to
mentally pronounce every word, and dwell equally upon all the parts of
every sentence. This comes naturally in the first instance, from the mere
method of learning to read, in which every word is a spoken symbol, and
has to be sounded, whether it is essential to the sense, or not. This
habit of reading, which may be termed the literal method, goes with most
persons through life. Once learned, it is very hard to unlearn. There are
multitudes who cannot read a newspaper, even, without dwelling upon every
word, and coming to a full stop at the end of every sentence. Now this
method of reading, while it may be indispensable to all readers at some
time, and to some readers at all times, is too slow and fruitless for the
student who aims to absorb the largest amount of knowledge in the
briefest space of time. Life is too short to be wasted over the rhetoric
or the periods of an author whose knowledge we want as all that concerns

Doubtless there are classes of literature in which form or expression
predominates, and we cannot read poetry, for example, or the drama, or
even the higher class of fiction, without lingering upon the finer
passages, to get the full impression of their beauty. In reading works of
the imagination, we read not for ideas alone, but for expression also,
and to enjoy the rhythm and melody of the verse, if it be poetry, or, if
prose, the finished rhetoric, and the pleasing cadence of the style. It
is here that the literary skill of an accomplished writer, and all that
we understand by rhetoric, becomes important, while in reading for
information only, we may either ignore words and phrases entirely, or
subordinate them to the ideas which they convey. In reading any book for
the knowledge it contains, I should as soon think of spelling out all the
words, as of reading out all the sentences. Just as, in listening to a
slow speaker, you divine the whole meaning of what he is about to say,
before he has got half through his sentence, so, in reading, you can
gather the full sense of the ideas which any sentence contains, without
stopping to accentuate the words.

Leaving aside the purely literary works, in which form or style is a
predominant element, let us come to books of science, history, biography,
voyages, travels, etc. In these, the primal aim is to convey information,
and thus the style of expression is little or nothing--the thought or the
fact is all. Yet most writers envelop the thought or the fact in so much
verbiage, complicate it with so many episodes, beat it out thin, by so
much iteration and reiteration, that the student must needs learn the art
of skipping, in self-defense. To one in zealous pursuit of knowledge, to
read most books through is paying them too extravagant a compliment. He
has to read between the lines, as it were, to note down a fact here, or a
thought there, or an illustration elsewhere, and leaves alone all that
contributes nothing to his special purpose. As the quick, practiced eye
glances over the visible signs of thought, page after page is rapidly
absorbed, and a book which would occupy an ordinary reader many days in
reading, is mastered in a few hours.

The habit of reading which I have outlined, and which may be termed the
intuitive method, or, if you prefer it, the short-hand method, will more
than double the working power of the reader. It is not difficult to
practice, especially to a busy man, who does with all his might what he
has got to do. But it should be learned early in life, when the faculties
are fresh, the mind full of zeal for knowledge, and the mental habits are
ductile, not fixed. With it one's capacity for acquiring knowledge, and
consequently his accomplishment, whether as writer, teacher, librarian,
or private student, will be immeasureably increased.

Doubtless it is true that some native or intuitive gifts must be
conjoined with much mental discipline and perseverance, in order to reach
the highest result, in this method of reading, as in any other study.
"_Non omnia possumus omnes_," Virgil says; and there are intellects who
could no more master such a method, than they could understand the
binomial theorem, or calculate the orbit of Uranus. If it be true, as has
been epigramatically said, that "a great book is a great evil," let it be
reduced to a small one by the skilful use of the art of skipping. Then,
"he that runs may read" as he runs--while, without this refuge, he that
reads will often assuredly be tempted to run.

What I said, just now, in deprecation of set courses of reading, was
designed for private students only, who so often find a stereotyped
sequence of books barren or uninteresting. It was not intended to
discourage the pursuit of a special course of study in the school, or the
society, or the reading class. This is, in fact, one of the best means of
intellectual progress. Here, there is the opportunity to discuss the
style, the merits, and the characteristics of the author in hand, and by
the attrition of mind with mind, to inform and entertain the whole circle
of readers. In an association of this kind, embracing one or two acute
minds, the excellent practice of reading aloud finds its best results.
Here, too, the art of expression becomes important, how to adapt the
sound to the sense, by a just emphasis, intonation, and modulation of the
voice. In short, the value of a book thus read and discussed, in an
appreciative circle, may be more than doubled to each reader.

It is almost literally true that no book, undertaken merely as task work,
ever helped the reader to knowledge of permanent or material value. How
many persons, struck by Mr. Emerson's exalted praise of the writings of
Plato, have undertaken to go through the Dialogues. Alas! for the vain
ambition to be or to seem learned! After trying to understand the Phaedo,
or falling asleep over the Gorgias, the book has been dropped as hastily
as it was taken up. It was not perceived that in order to enjoy or
comprehend a philosopher, one must have a capacity for ideas. It requires
almost as much intelligence to appreciate an idea as to conceive one. One
will bring nothing home from the most persistent cruise after knowledge,
unless he carries something out. In the realm of learning, we recognize
the full meaning of that Scripture, that to him that hath, shall be
given; and he that hath not, though never so anxious to read and
understand Plato, will quickly return to the perusal of his daily

It were easier, perhaps, in one sense, to tell what not to read, than to
recommend what is best worth reading. In the publishing world, this is
the age of compilation, not of creation. If we seek for great original
works, if we must go to the wholesale merchants to buy knowledge, since
retail geniuses are worth but little, one must go back many years for his
main selection of books. It would not be a bad rule for those who can
read but little, to read no book until it has been published at least a
year or two. This fever for the newest books is not a wholesome condition
of the mind. And since a selection must indispensably be made, and that
selection must be, for the great mass of readers, so rigid and so small,
why should precious time be wasted upon the ephemeral productions of the
hour? What business, for example, has one to be reading Rider Haggard, or
Amélie Rives, or Ian Maclaren, who has never read Homer, or Dante, or
even so much as half-a-dozen plays of Shakespeare?

One hears with dismay that about three-fourths of the books drawn from
our popular libraries are novels. Now, while such aimless reading, merely
to be amused, is doubtless better than no reading at all, it is
unquestionably true that over-much reading of fiction, especially at an
early age, enervates the mind, weakens the will, makes dreamers instead
of thinkers and workers, and fills the imagination with morbid and unreal
views of life. Yet the vast consumption of novels is due more to the
cheapness and wide diffusion of such works, and the want of wise
direction in other fields, than to any original tendency on the part of
the young. People will always read the most, that which is most put
before them, if only the style be attractive. The mischief that is done
by improper books is literally immeasureable. The superabundance of cheap
fictions in the markets creates and supplies an appetite which should be
directed by wise guidance into more improving fields. A two-fold evil
follows upon the reading of every unworthy book; in the first place, it
absorbs the time which should be bestowed upon a worthy one; and
secondly, it leaves the mind and heart unimproved, instead of conducing
to the benefit of both. As there are few books more elevating than a
really good novel, so there are none more fruitful of evil than a bad

And what of the newspaper? it may be asked. When I consider for how much
really good literature we are beholden to the daily and weekly press, how
indispensable is its function as purveyor of the news of the world, how
widely it has been improved in recent years, I cannot advise quarreling
with the bridge that brings so many across the gulf of ignorance. Yet the
newspaper, like the book, is to be read sparingly, and with judgment. It
is to be used, not abused. I call that an abuse which squanders the
precious and unreturning hours over long chronicles of depravity. The
murders, the suicides, the executions, the divorces, the criminal trials,
are each and all so like one another that it is only a wanton waste of
time to read them. The morbid style in which social disorders of all
kinds are written up in the sensational press, with staring headlines to
attract attention, ought to warn off every healthy mind from their
perusal. Every scandal in society that can be brought to the surface is
eagerly caught up and paraded, while the millions of people who lead
blameless lives of course go unnoticed and unchronicled. Such journals
thus inculcate the vilest pessimism, instead of a wholesome and honest
belief in the average decency of human nature. The prolixity of the
narrative, too, is always in monstrous disproportion to its importance.
"Does not the burning of a metropolitan theatre," says a great writer,
"take above a million times as much telling as the creation of a world?"
Here is where the art of skipping is to be rigorously applied. Read the
newspaper by headlines only,--skipping all the murders, all the fires,
all the executions, all the crimes, all the news, except the most
important and immediately interesting,--and you will spend perhaps
fifteen or twenty minutes upon what would otherwise occupy hours. It is
no exaggeration to say that most persons have spent time enough over the
newspapers, to have given them a liberal education.

As all readers cannot have the same gifts, so all cannot enjoy the same
books. There are those who can see no greatness in Shakespeare, but who
think Tupper's Proverbial Philosophy sublime. Some will eagerly devour
every novel of Miss Braddon's, or "The Duchess," or the woman calling
herself "Ouida," but they cannot appreciate the masterly fictions of
Thackeray. I have known very good people who could not, for the life of
them, find any humor in Dickens, but who actually enjoyed the strained
wit of Mrs. Partington and Bill Nye. Readers who could not get through a
volume of Gibbon will read with admiration a so-called History of
Napoleon by Abbott. And I fear that you will find many a young lady of
to-day, who is content to be ignorant of Homer and Shakespeare, but who
is ravished by the charms of "Trilby" or the "Heavenly Twins." But taste
in literature, as in art, or in anything else, can be cultivated. Lay
down the rule, and adhere to it, to read none but the best books, and you
will soon lose all relish for the poor ones. You can educate readers into
good judges, in no long time, by feeding them on the masterpieces of
English prose and poetry. Surely, we all have cause to deprecate the
remorseless flood of fictitious literature in which better books are

Be not dismayed at the vast multitude of books, nor fear that, with your
small leisure, you will never be able to master any appreciable share of
them. Few and far between are the great books of the world. The works
which it is necessary to know, may be comprised in a comparatively small
compass. The rest are to be preserved in the great literary
conservatories, some as records of the past, others as chronicles of the
times, and not a few as models to be avoided. The Congressional Library
at Washington is our great National conservatory of books. As the library
of the government--that is, of the whole people,--it is inclusive of all
the literature which the country produces, while all the other libraries
are and must be more or less exclusive. No National Library can ever be
too large. In order that the completeness of the collection shall not
fail, and to preserve the whole of our literature, it is put into the
Statute of Copyright, as a condition precedent of the exclusive right to
multiply copies of any book, that it shall be deposited in the Library of
Congress. Apprehension is sometimes expressed that our National Library
will become overloaded with trash, and so fail of its usefulness. 'Tis a
lost fear. There is no act of Congress requiring all the books to be
read. The public sense is continually winnowing and sifting the
literature of every period, and to books and their authors, every day is
the day of judgment. Nowhere in the world is the inexorable law of the
survival of the fittest more rigidly applied than in the world of books.
The works which are the most frequently re-printed in successive ages are
the ones which it is safe to stand by.

Books may be divided into three classes: 1st, acquaintances; 2d, friends;
and 3d, intimates.

It is well enough to have an acquaintance with a multitude of books, as
with many people; though in either case much time should not be given to
merely pleasant intercourse, that leads to no result. With our literary
friends, we can spend more time, for they awaken keen interest, and are
to be read with zest, and consequently with profit. But for our chosen
intimates, our heart-companions, we reserve our highest regard, and our
best hours. Choice and sacred is the book that makes an era in the life
of the reader; the book which first rouses his higher nature, and awakens
the reason or the imagination. Such a volume will many a one remember;
the book which first excited his own thought, made him conscious of
untried powers, and opened to his charmed vision a new world.

Such a book has Carlyle's Sartor Resartus been to many; or the play of
Hamlet, read for the first time; or the Faust of Goethe; or the
Confessions of St. Augustine; or an essay of Emerson; or John Ruskin; or
the Divine Comedy of Dante; or even an exquisite work of fiction, like
John Halifax, or Henry Esmond. What the book is that works such miracles
is never of so much importance as the epoch in the mind of the reader
which it signalizes. It were vain to single out any one writer, and say
to all readers--"Here is the book that must indispensably be read;" for
the same book will have totally different effects upon different minds,
or even upon the same mind, at different stages of development.

When I have been asked to contribute to the once popular _symposia_ upon
"Books which have helped me,"--I have declined, for such catalogues of
intellectual aids are liable to be very misleading. Thus, if I were to
name the book which did more than most others for my own mind, I should
say that it was the Emile of Rousseau, read at about the age of
seventeen. This work, written with that marvellous eloquence which
characterises all the best productions of Jean Jacques, first brought me
acquainted with those advanced ideas of education which have penetrated
the whole modern world. Yet the Emile would probably appear to most of my
readers trite and common-place, as it would now to me, for the reason
that we have long passed the period of development when its ideas were
new to us.

But the formative power of books can never be over-rated: their subtle
mastery to stimulate all the germs of intellectual and moral life that
lie enfolded in the mind. As the poet sings--

    "Books are not seldom talismans and spells."

Why should they not be so? They furnish us the means, and the only
means, whereby we may hold communion with the master-spirits of all ages.
They bring us acquainted with the best thoughts which the human mind has
produced, expressed in the noblest language. Books create for us the
many-sided world, carry us abroad, out of our narrow provincial horizons,
and reveal to us new scenery, new men, new languages, and new modes of
life. As we read, the mind expands with the horizon, and becomes broad as
the blue heaven above us. With Homer, we breathe the fresh air of the
pristine world, when the light of poetry gilded every mountain top, and
peopled the earth with heroes and demigods. With Plutarch, we walk in
company with sages, warriors, and statesmen, and kindle with admiration
of their virtues, or are roused to indignation at their crimes. With
Sophocles, we sound the depths of human passion, and learn the sublime
lesson of endurance. We are charmed with an ode of Horace, perfect in
rhythm, perfect in sentiment, perfect in diction, and perfect in moral;
the condensed essence of volumes in a single page. We walk with Dante
through the nether world, awed by the tremendous power with which he
depicts for us the secrets of the prison house. With Milton, we mount
heaven-ward, and in the immortal verse of his minor poems, finer even
than the stately march of Paradise Lost, we hear celestial music, and
breathe diviner air. With that sovereign artist, Shakespeare, full
equally of delight and of majesty, we sweep the horizon of this complex
human life, and become comprehensive scholars and citizens of the world.
The masters of fiction enthrall us with their fascinating pages, one
moment shaking us with uncontrollable laughter, and the next, dissolving
us in tears. In the presence of all these emanations of genius, the wise
reader may feed on nectar and ambrosia, and forget the petty cares and
vexations of to-day.

There are some books that charm us by their wit or their sweetness,
others that surprise and captivate us by their strength: books that
refresh us when weary: books that comfort us when afflicted: books that
stimulate us by their robust health: books that exalt and refine our
natures, as it were, to a finer mould: books that rouse us like the sound
of a trumpet: books that illumine the darkest hours, and fill all our day
with delight.

It is books that record the advance and the decline of nations, the
experience of the world, the achievements and the possibilities of
mankind. It is books that reveal to us ideas and images almost above
ourselves, and go far to open for us the gates of the invisible. "A river
of thought," says Emerson, "is continually flowing out of the invisible
world into the mind of man:" and we may add that books contain the most
fruitful and permanent of the currents of that mighty river.

I am not disposed to celebrate the praises of all books, nor to recommend
to readers of any age a habit of indiscriminate reading: but for the
books which are true helpers and teachers, the thoughts of the best
poets, historians, publicists, philosophers, orators,--if their value is
not real, then there are no realities in the world.

Very true is it, nevertheless, that the many-sided man cannot be
cultivated by books alone. One may learn by heart whole libraries, and
yet be profoundly unacquainted with the face of nature, or the life of
man. The pale student who gives himself wholly to books pays the penalty
by losing that robust energy of character, that sympathy with his kind,
that keen sense of the charms of earth and sky, that are essential to
complete development. "The world's great men," says Oliver Wendell
Holmes, "have not commonly been great scholars, nor its scholars great
men." To know what other men have said about things is not always the
most important part of knowledge. There is nothing that can dispense us
from the independent use of our own faculties. Meditation and observation
are more valuable than mere absorption; and knowledge itself is not
wisdom. The true way to use books is to make them our servants--not our
masters. Very helpful, cheering, and profitable will they become, when
they fall naturally into our daily life and growth--when they tally with
the moods of the mind.

The habits and methods of readers are as various as those of authors.
Thus, there are some readers who gobble a book, as Boswell tells us Dr.
Johnson used to gobble his dinner--eagerly, and with a furious appetite,
suggestive of dyspepsia, and the non-assimilation of food. Then there are
slow readers, who plod along through a book, sentence by sentence,
putting in a mark conscientiously where they left off to-day, so as to
begin at the self-same spot to-morrow; fast readers, who gallop through a
book, as you would ride a flying bicycle on a race; drowsy readers, to
whom a book is only a covert apology for a nap, and who pretend to be
reading Macaulay or Herbert Spencer only to dream between the leaves;
sensitive readers, who cannot abide the least noise or interruption when
reading, and to whose nerves a foot-fall or a conversation is an
exquisite torture; absorbed readers, who are so pre-occupied with their
pursuit that they forget all their surroundings--the time of day, the
presence or the voices of others, the hour for dinner, and even their own
existence; credulous readers, who believe everything they read because it
is printed in a book, and swallow without winking the most colossal
lying; critical and captious readers, who quarrel with the blunders or
the beliefs of their author, and who cannot refrain from calling him an
idiot or an ass--and perhaps even writing him down so on his own pages;
admiring and receptive readers, who find fresh beauties in a favorite
author every time they peruse him, and even discover beautiful swans in
the stupidest geese that ever cackled along the flowery meads of
literature; reverent readers, who treat a book as they would treat a
great and good man, considerately and politely, carefully brushing the
dust from a beloved volume with the sleeve, or tenderly lifting a book
fallen to the floor, as if they thought it suffered, or felt harm;
careless and rough readers, who will turn down books on their faces to
keep the place, tumble them over in heaps, cram them into shelves never
meant for them, scribble upon the margins, dogs-ear the leaves, or even
cut them with their fingers--all brutal and intolerable practices,
totally unworthy of any one pretending to civilization.

To those who have well learned the art of reading, what inexhaustible
delights does the world of books contain! With Milton, "to behold the
bright countenance of truth, in the quiet and still air of delightful
studies;" to journey through far countries with Marco Polo; to steer
across an unknown sea with Columbus, or to brave the dangers of the
frozen ocean with Nansen or Dr. Kane; to study the manners of ancient
nations with Herodotus; to live over again the life of Greece and Rome
with Plutarch's heroes; to trace the decline of empires with Gibbon and
Mommsen; to pursue the story of the modern world in the pages of Hume,
Macaulay, Thiers and Sismondi, and our own Prescott, Motley, and
Bancroft; to enjoy afresh the eloquence of Demosthenes, and the polished
and splendid diction of Cicero; to drink in the wisdom of philosophers,
and to walk with Socrates, Plato and the stoics through the groves of
Academia; to be kindled by the saintly utterances of prophets and
apostles, St. Paul's high reasoning of immortality, or the seraphic
visions of St. John; to study the laws that govern communities with the
great publicists, or the economy of nations with Adam Smith and Stuart
Mill; with the naturalists, to sound the depths of the argument as to the
origin of species and the genesis of man; with the astronomers, to leave
the narrow bounds of earth, and explore the illimitable spaces of the
universe, in which our solar system is but a speck; with the
mathematicians, to quit the uncertain realm of speculation and
assumption, and plant our feet firmly on the rock of exact science:--to
come back anon to lighter themes, and to revel in the grotesque humor of
Dickens, the philosophic page of Bulwer, the chivalric romances of Walter
Scott, the ideal creations of Hawthorne, the finished life-pictures of
George Eliot, the powerful imagination of Victor Hugo, and the masterly
delineations of Thackeray; to hang over the absorbing biographies of Dr.
Franklin, Walter Scott and Dr. Johnson; to peruse with fresh delight the
masterpieces of Irving and Goldsmith, and the best essays of Hazlitt, De
Quincey, Charles Lamb, and Montaigne; to feel the inspiration of the
great poets of all ages, from Homer down to Tennyson; to read
Shakespeare--a book that is in itself almost a university:--is not all
this satisfaction enough for human appetite, however craving, solace
enough for trouble, however bitter, occupation enough for life, however

There are pleasures that perish in the using; but the pleasure which the
art of reading carries with it is perennial. He who can feast on the
intellectual spoils of centuries need fear neither poverty nor hunger. In
the society of those immortals who still rule our spirits from their
urns, we become assured that though heaven and earth may pass away, no
true thought shall ever pass away.

The great orator, on whose lips once hung multitudes, dies and is
forgotten; the great actor passes swiftly off the stage, and is seen no
more; the great singer, whose voice charmed listening crowds by its
melody, is hushed in the grave; the great preacher survives but a single
generation in the memory of men; all we who now live and act must be, in
a little while, with yesterday's seven thousand years:--but the book of
the great writer lives on and on, inspiring age after age of readers, and
has in it more of the seeds of immortality than anything upon earth.



There is one venerable Latin proverb which deserves a wider recognition
than it has yet received. It is to the effect that "the best part of
learning is to know where to find things." From lack of this knowledge,
an unskilled reader will often spend hours in vainly searching for what a
skilled reader can find in less than five minutes. Now, librarians are
presumed to be skilled readers, although it would not be quite safe to
apply this designation to all of that profession, since there are those
among librarians, or their assistants, who are mere novices in the art of
reading to advantage. Manifestly, one cannot teach what he does not know:
and so the librarian who has not previously travelled the same road, will
not be able to guide the inquiring reader who asks him to point out the
way. But if the way has once been found, the librarian, with only a
fairly good memory, kept in constant exercise by his vocation, can find
it again. Still more surely, if he has been through it many times, will
he know it intuitively, the moment any question is asked about it.

It is true of the great majority of readers resorting to a library, that
they have a most imperfect idea, both of what they want, and of the
proper way to find it. The world of knowledge, they know, is vast, and
they are quite bewildered by the many paths that lead to some part or
other of it, crossing each other in all directions. And among the
would-be readers may be found every shade of intelligence, and every
degree of ignorance. There is the timid variety, too modest or diffident
to ask for any help at all, and so feeling about among the catalogues or
other reference-books in a baffled search for information. There is the
sciolist variety, who knows it all, or imagines that he does, and who
asks for proof of impossible facts, with an assurance born of the
profoundest ignorance. Then, too, there is the half-informed reader, who
is in search of a book he once read, but has clean forgotten, which had a
remarkable description of a tornado in the West, or a storm and
ship-wreck at sea, or a wonderful tropical garden, or a thrilling escape
from prison, or a descent into the bowels of the earth, or a tremendous
snow-storm, or a swarming flight of migratory birds, or a mausoleum of
departed kings, or a haunted chamber hung with tapestry, or the fatal
caving-in of a coal-mine, or a widely destructive flood, or a
hair-breadth escape from cannibals, or a race for life, pursued by
wolves, or a wondrous sub-marine grotto, or a terrible forest fire, or
any one of a hundred scenes or descriptions, all of which the librarian
is presumed, not only to have read, but to have retained in his memory
the author, the title, and the very chapter of the book which contained

To give some idea of the extent and variety of information which a
librarian is supposed to possess, I have been asked, almost at the same
time, to refer a reader to the origin of Candlemas day, to define the
Pragmatic Sanction, to give, out of hand, the aggregate wealth of Great
Britain, compared with that of half-a-dozen other nations, to define the
limits of neutrality or belligerent rights, to explain what is meant by
the Gresham law, to tell what ship has made the quickest voyage to
Europe, when she made it, and what the time was, to elucidate the meaning
of the Carolina doctrine, to explain the character and objects of the
Knights of the Golden Circle, to tell how large are the endowments of the
British Universities, to give the origin of the custom of egg-rolling,
to tell the meaning of the cipher dispatches, to explain who was "Extra
Billy Smith," to tell the aggregate number killed on all sides during the
Napoleonic wars, to certify who wrote the "Vestiges of Creation," or,
finally, to give the author of one of those innumerable ancient proverbs,
which float about the world without a father.

The great number and variety of such inquiries as are propounded by
readers should not appal one. Nor should one too readily take refuge from
a troublesome reader by the plea, however convenient, that the library
contains nothing on that subject. While this may unquestionably be true,
especially as regards a small public library, it should never be put
forward as a certainty, until one has looked. Most inquiring readers are
very patient, and being fully sensible how much they owe to the free
enjoyment of the library treasures, and to the aid of the superintendent
of them, they are willing to wait for information. However busy you may
be at the moment, the reader can be asked to wait, or to call at a less
busy time, when you will be prepared with a more satisfactory answer than
can be given on the spur of the moment. What cannot be done to-day, may
often be done to-morrow. Remember always, that readers are entitled to
the best and most careful service, for a librarian is not only the
keeper, but the interpreter of the intellectual stores of the library. It
is a good and a safe rule to let no opportunity of aiding a reader
escape. One should be particularly careful to volunteer help to those who
are too new or too timid to ask: and it is they who will be most grateful
for any assistance. The librarian has only to put himself in their
place--(the golden rule for a librarian, as for all the world besides),
and to consider how often, in his own searches in libraries, in the
continual, never-ending quest of knowledge, he would have been thankful
for a hint from some one who knew, or had been over the ground of his
search before; and then he will feel the full value to the novice, of
such knowledge as he can impart.

He is not to forget that his superior opportunities for learning all
about things, with a whole library at command, and within elbow-reach
every hour of the day, should impose upon him a higher standard of
attainment than most readers are supposed to have reached. In the
intervals of library work, I am accustomed to consider the looking up of
subjects or authorities as one of my very best recreations. It is as
interesting as a game of whist, and much more profitable. It is more
welcome than routine labor, for it rests or diverts the mind, by its very
variety, while, to note the different views or expressions of writers on
the same subject, affords almost endless entertainment. In tracing down a
quotation also, or the half-remembered line of some verse in poetry, you
encounter a host of parallel poetic images or expressions, which
contribute to aid the memory, or to feed the imagination. Or, in pursuing
a sought-for fact in history, through many volumes, you learn
collaterally much that may never have met your eye before. Full, as all
libraries are, of what we call trash, there is almost no book which will
not give us something,--even though it be only the negative virtue of a
model to be avoided. One may not, indeed, always find what he seeks,
because it may not exist at all, or it may not be found in the limited
range of his small library, but he is almost sure to find something which
gives food for thought, or for memory to note. And this is one of the
foremost attractions, let me add, of the librarian's calling; it is more
full of intellectual variety, of wide-open avenues to knowledge, than any
other vocation whatever. His daily quests in pursuit of information to
lay before others, bring him acquainted with passages that are full of
endless suggestion for himself. He may not be able to pursue any of these
avenues at the moment; but he should make a mental or a written note of
them, for future benefit. His daily business being learning, why should
he not in time, become learned? There are, of course, among the
infinitude of questions, that come before the librarian, some that are
really insoluble problems. One of these is to be found among the topics
of inquiry I just now suggested; namely: what is the aggregate wealth of
Great Britain, or that of other nations? This is a question frequently
asked by inquiring Congressmen, who imagine that an answer may readily be
had from one of those gifted librarians who is invested with that
apocryphal attribute, commonly called omniscience. But the inquirer is
suddenly confronted by the fact (and a very stubborn fact it is) that not
a single foreign nation has ever taken any census of wealth whatever. In
Great Britain (about which country inquiry as to the national resources
more largely centres) the government wisely lets alone the attempt to
tabulate the value of private wealth, knowing that such an object is
utterly impracticable.

But, while the British census makes no attempt at estimating the property
of the people, the independent estimates of statistical writers vary
hopelessly and irreconcilably. Mr. J. R. McCulloch, one of the foremost
accredited writers on economic science, lays it down as a dictum, that
"sixty years is the shortest time in which the capital of an old and
densely-peopled country can be expected to be doubled." Yet Joseph Lowe
assumes the wealth of the United Kingdom to have doubled in eighteen
years, from 1823 to 1841; while George R. Porter, in his
widely-accredited book on the "Progress of the Nation," and Leoni Levi, a
publicist of high reputation, make out, (by combining their estimates)
that the private wealth of England increased fifty per cent. in seventeen
years, at which rate it would double in about twenty-nine years, instead
of sixty, as laid down by Mr. McCulloch. Mr. Levi calculates the
aggregate private wealth of Great Britain in 1858, at $29,178,000,000,
being a fraction less than the guesses of the census enumerators at the
national wealth of the United States, twelve years later, in 1870. Can
one guess be said to be any nearer the fact than the other? May we not be
pardoned for treating all estimates as utterly fallacious that are not
based upon known facts and figures? Why do we hear so much of the
"approximate correctness" of so many statistical tables, when, in point
of fact, the primary data are incapable of proof, and the averages and
conclusions built upon them are all assumed? "Statisticians," says one of
the fraternity, "are generally held to be eminently practical people; on
the contrary, they are more given to theorizing than any other class of
writers; and are generally less expert in it."

In the presence of such gross discrepancies as these, by statisticians of
the highest repute, and among such a practical people as the English,
what value can be attached to the mere estimates of wealth which have
been attempted in the census of the United States? The careful
Superintendent of the Census of 1870 and 1880, the late Francis A.
Walker, writes concerning it:

"At the best, these figures represent but the opinion of one man, or of a
body of men, in the collection of material, and in the calculation of the
several elements of the public wealth." And in the last Census Report for
1890, the results of the so-called "census of wealth," are cautiously
submitted, "as showing in a general way a continuous increase in the
wealth of the nation, the exact proportions of which cannot be

Now, what are we to conclude regarding the attempt to elevate to a rank
in statistical science, mere estimates of private wealth, for a large
portion of which, by the statements of those who make them, no actual
statistical data exist? And when this is confessedly the case in our own
country, the only one attempting the impossible task of tabulating the
wealth of the people, what shall we say of the demand that is made upon
our credulity of accepting the guesses of Mr. Giffen, or Mr. Mulhall, as
to British wealth? Are we not justified in applying the old Latin
maxim--"_De non apparentibus, et de non existentibus, eadem est ratio_,"
and replying to those who demand of us to know how much any nation is
worth, that it is sometimes an important part of knowledge to know that
nothing can be known?

Among the literally innumerable inquiries liable to be made of a
librarian, here is one which may give him more than a moment's pause,
unless he is uncommonly well versed in American political
history--namely, "What was the Ostend Manifesto?" To a mind not
previously instructed these two words "Ostend Manifesto", convey
absolutely no meaning. You turn to the standard encyclopaedias,
Appleton's, Johnson's Universal, and the Britannica, and you find an
account of Ostend, a little Belgian city, its locality, commerce, and
population, but absolutely nothing about an Ostend manifesto. But in J.
N. Larned's "History for Ready Reference", a useful book in five volumes,
arranged in alphabetical order, you get a clue. It refers you from
Ostend, under letter O, to Cuba, where you learn that this formidable
Ostend manifesto was nothing more nor less than a paper drawn up and
signed by Messrs. Buchanan, Mason, and Slidell, Ministers of the United
States to Great Britain, France, and Spain, respectively, when at the
watering-place of Ostend, in 1854, importing that the island of Cuba
ought to, and under certain circumstances, must belong to the United
States. Looking a little farther, as the manifesto is not published in
Larned, you find the text of the document itself in Cluskey's "Political
Text-Book", of 1860, and in some of the American newspapers of 1854. This
is a case of pursuing a once notorious, but more recently obscure topic,
through many works of reference until found.

In many searches for names of persons, it becomes highly important to
know before-hand where to look, and equally important where not to look,
for certain biographies. Thus, if you seek for the name of any living
character, it is necessary to know that it would be useless to look in
the Encyclopædia Britannica, because the rule of compilation of that work
purposely confined its sketches of notable persons to those who were
already deceased when its volumes appeared. So you save the time of
hunting in at least one conspicuous work of reference, before you begin,
by simply knowing its plan.

In like manner, you should know that it is useless to search for two
classes of names in the "Dictionary of National Biography," the most
copious biographical dictionary of British personages ever published,
begun in 1885, under Leslie Stephen, and reaching its sixty-first volume,
and letter W in 1899, under the editorship of Sidney Lee. These two
classes of names are first, all persons not British, that is, not either
English, Scottish or Irish; and secondly, names of British persons now
living. This is because this great work, like the Britannica, purposely
confines itself to the names of notables deceased; and, unlike the
Britannica, it further limits its biographies to persons connected by
birth or long residence with the British kingdom. Knowing this fact
before-hand, will save any time wasted in searching the Dictionary of
National Biography for any persons now living, or for any American or
European names.

Another caveat may properly be interposed as regards searches for
information in that most widely advertised and circulated of all works of
reference,--the Encyclopaedia Britannica. The plan of that work was to
furnish the reading public with the very best treatises upon leading
topics in science, history, and literature, by eminent scholars and
specialists in various fields. Pursuant to this general scheme, each
great subject has a most elaborate, and sometimes almost exhaustive
article--as, for example, chemistry, geology, etc., while the minor
divisions of each topic do not appear in the alphabet at all, or appear
only by cross-reference to the generic name under which they are treated.
It results, that while you find, for example, a most extensive article
upon "Anatomy", filling a large part of a volume of the Britannica, you
look in vain in the alphabet for such subjects as "blood, brain,
cartilage, sinew, tissue," etc., which are described only in the article
"Anatomy." This method has to be well comprehended in order for any
reader to make use of this great Cyclopaedia understandingly. Even by the
aid of the English index to the work, issued by its foreign publishers,
the reader who is in hasty quest of information in the Britannica, will
most frequently be baffled by not finding any minor subject in the index.
The English nation, judged by most of the productions of its literary and
scientific men in that field, has small genius for indexing. It was
reserved to an American to prepare and print a thorough index, at once
alphabetical and analytical, to this great English thesaurus of
information--an index ten times more copious, and therefore more useful
to the student, than the meagre one issued in England. This index fills
3,900 closely printed columns, forming the whole of volume 25 of the
Philadelphia edition of the work. By its aid, every name and every topic,
treated anywhere in this vast repository of human knowledge can be traced
out and appropriated; while without it, the Encyclopaedia Britannica,
with all its great merits, must remain very much in the nature of a
sealed book to the reader who stands in need of immediate use and
reference. We have to take it for what it is--a collection of masterly
treatises, rather than a handy dictionary of knowledge.

The usefulness and success of any library will depend very largely upon
the sympathy, so to speak, between the readers and the librarian. When
this is well established, the rest is very easy. The librarian should not
seclude himself so as to be practically inaccessible to readers, nor
trust wholly to assistants to answer their inquiries. This may be
necessary in some large libraries, where great and diversified interests
connected with the building up of the collection, the catalogue system,
and the library management and administration are all concerned. In the
British Museum Library, no one ever sees the Principal Librarian; even
the next officer, who is called the keeper of the printed books, is not
usually visible in the reading-room at all.

A librarian who is really desirous of doing the greatest good to the
greatest number of people, will be not only willing, but anxious to
answer inquiries, even though they may appear to him trivial and
unimportant. Still, he should also economise time by cultivating the
habit of putting his answers into the fewest and plainest words.

How far the librarian should place himself in direct communication with
readers, must depend largely upon the extent of the library, the labor
required in managing its various departments, the amount and value of
assistance at his command, and upon various other circumstances,
depending upon the different conditions with different librarians. But it
may be laid down as a safe general rule, that the librarian should hold
himself perpetually as a public servant, ready and anxious to answer in
some way, all inquiries that may come to him. Thus, and thus only, can he
make himself, and the collection of books under his charge, useful in the
highest degree to the public. He will not indeed, in any extensive
library, find it convenient, or even possible, to answer all inquiries in
person; but he should always be ready to enable his assistants to answer
them, by his superior knowledge as to the best sources of information,
whenever they fail to trace out what is wanted. In any small library, he
should be always accessible, at or near the place where people are
accustomed to have their wants for books or information supplied: and the
public resorting to the library will thus come not only to rely upon him
for aid in their intellectual researches, but to appreciate and respect
him for the wide extent of his knowledge, and to consider him, in time,
an indispensable guide, if not leader, in the community. His reputation,
in fact, will depend upon the extent to which he has been able to help
others, as well as upon the number of people whom he has thus aided.

In a very high sense, the true librarian is an educator; his school is as
large as the town in which his library is situated. Very few people in
that town know what he is always presumed to know,--namely--to what books
to go to get answers to the questions they want answered. In supplying
continually the means of answering these countless questions, the library
becomes actually a popular university, in which the librarian is the
professor, the tuition is free, and the course is optional, both as to
study and as to time.

Most persons who come to make any investigation in a public library
require a good deal of assistance. For example, a reader is in need of
the latest information as to the amount of steel and iron made in this
country, and what State produces these important manufactures. He has not
the faintest idea where to look for the information, except that it may
be in the census, but the census is nine years old, and he wants recent
facts. It is vain to turn him over to the cyclopaedias, for there is not
one whose information upon such statistics comes anywhere near up to
date. You have to put before him a pamphlet annual, published by the
American Iron and Steel Association, which contains exactly what he
wants; and no other source of information does contain it.

Another inquirer seeks to know how to treat some disease. In such cases,
of course, the librarian should not go farther than to put before the
reader a work on domestic medicine, for it is not his function to deal in
recommendations of this, that, or the other method of treatment, any more
than it is to give legal opinions, if asked--although he may have studied
law. So, if the reader wants to know about the religious tenets of the
Presbyterians, or the Mormons, or the Buddhists, or the doctrines of the
Catholic Church, and asks the librarian's opinion about any controverted
question of belief, he is to be answered only by the statement that the
library is there to supply information, not opinions, and then pointed to
the religious cyclopaedias, which give full summaries of all the sects.

He may frequently be asked for information on a subject which he knows
nothing about; and I have heard a librarian declare, that he often found
himself able to give fuller and better information on a subject of which
he was previously ignorant, than upon one he had long been familiar with.
The reason was that in the one case he had freshly looked up all the
authorities, and put them before the reader, while in the other, giving
the references from a memory, more or less imperfect, he had overlooked
some of the most important means of information.

The constant exercise of the habit of supplying helps to readers is a
splendid intellectual school for the librarian himself. Through it, his
memory is quickened and consequently improved, (as every faculty is by
use) his habits of mental classification and analysis are formed or
strengthened, and his mind is kept on the alert to utilize the whole
arsenal of the knowledge he has already acquired, or to acquire new

Another very important benefit derived by the librarian from his
constantly recurring attention to the calls of readers for aid, is the
suggestion thereby furnished of the deficiencies in the collection in his
charge. This will be a continual reminder to him, of what he most needs,
namely, how to equip the library with the best and most recent sources of
information in every field of inquiry. Whether the library be a large or
a small one, its deficiencies in some directions are sure to be very
considerable: and these gaps are more conspicuously revealed in trying to
supply readers with the means of making what may be termed an exhaustive
research upon a given subject, than in any other way. You find, for
example, in looking up your authorities in what has come to be called
Egyptology, that while you have Wilkinson's Ancient Egypt, and Lane's
Modern Egyptians, both of which are very valuable works, you have not the
more modern books of Brugsch-Bey, or of A. H. Sayce, or of Maspero. You
may also find out, by mingling freely with a good part of the readers,
what subjects are most frequently looked into or inquired about, and you
can thus secure valuable information as to the directions in which the
library most needs strengthening. Thus, in a community largely made up of
people connected with manufacturing interests, the inquiries are liable
to be much concerned with the mechanic arts; and you would therefore
naturally seek to acquire a liberal selection of the best and latest
works in technical science, or the useful arts. If you have, on the other
hand, very few inquiries, indeed, for theological works, you take it as
some evidence that that department of the collection needs little
enlargement, and you may devote your funds in other directions. Then too,
the great value of popularising the library by the hearty interest shown
by the librarian in the wants of the people can hardly be over-rated.
This interest, being a perennial one, and continued through a series of
years, the number of citizens and their families assisted will be
constantly on the increase, and the public opinion of the town will come
in time, to regard the library as a great popular necessity. Hence, if it
is an institution supported in whole or in part by town or municipal
funds, its claims to liberal consideration will be immeasurably
strengthened. If an enlargement of room for the books, or even a new
library building comes to be needed, its chances for securing the funds
requisite will be excellent. If a more liberal supply of new books, or an
extended range of older ones of great value is reported by the librarian
as wanted to increase the usefulness of the library, the authorities will
more cheerfully consider the claim. And if it is proposed that additional
and competent assistance shall be given to the librarian, or that he
should be more liberally compensated for his highly useful and important
labors, that, too, may be accomplished--especially if it has come to be
recognized that by his wide knowledge, and skilful management, and
helpful devotion to the service of the reading public, he has rendered
himself indispensable.

In the supply of information desired by readers, it is better to leave
them to their own search, once you have put before them the proper
authorities, than to spend your time in turning for them to the volume
and page. This, for two reasons--first, it leaves your own time free to
help other readers, or to attend to the ever-waiting library work; and,
secondly, it induces habits of research and self-help on the part of the
reader. It is enough for the librarian to act as an intelligent
guide-post, to point the way; to travel the road is the business of the
reader himself. Therefore, let the visitor in quest of a quotation, look
it out in the index of the volumes you put before him. If he fails to
find it, it will then be time for you to intervene, and lend the aid of
your more practiced eye, and superior knowledge of how to search; or
else, let the reader look for it in some more copious anthology, which
you may put before him. There are multitudes of inquiries for the authors
of poems, which are in no sense "familiar quotations," nor even select
quotations, but which are merely common-place sentiments expressed in
language quite unpoetic,--and not the work of any notable writer at all.
They are either the production of some utterly obscure author of a volume
of verse, quite unknown to fame, or, still more probably, the
half-remembered verses of some anonymous contributor to the poet's corner
of the newspaper or magazine. In such cases, where you see no poetic
beauty or imaginative power in the lines, it is well to inform the
inquirer at once that you do not think them the production of any noted
writer, and thus end the fruitless search for memorizing what is not at
all memorable. What may strike uncultivated readers as beautiful, may be
set down as trash, by a mind that has been fed upon the masterpieces of
poetry. Not that the librarian is to assume the air of an oracle or a
censor, (something to be in all circumstances avoided) or to pronounce
positive judgment upon what is submitted: he should inform any admiring
reader of a passage not referred to in any of the anthologies, and not
possessing apparent poetic merit, that he believes the author is unknown
to fame. That should be sufficient for any reasonably disposed reader,
who, after search duly completed, will go away answered, if not

I gave some instances of the singular variety of questions asked of a
librarian. Let me add one, reported by Mr. Robert Harrison, of the London
Library, as asked of him by William M. Thackeray. The distinguished
author of Esmond and The Virginians wanted a book that would tell of
General Wolfe, the hero of Quebec. "I don't want to know about his
battles", said the novelist. "I can get all that from the histories. I
want something that will tell me the color of the breeches he wore."
After due search, the librarian was obliged to confess that there was no
such book.

A librarian is likely to be constantly in a position to aid the
uninformed reader how to use the books of reference which every public
library contains. The young person who is new to the habit of
investigation, or the adult who has never learned the method of finding
things, needs to be shown how to use even so simple a thing as an index.
Do not be impatient with his ignorance, although you may find him
fumbling over the pages in the body of the book in vain, to find what
you, with your acquired knowledge of indexes and their use, can find in
half a minute or less. Practice alone can make one perfect in the art of
search and speedy finding. The tyro who tries your patience this year,
will very likely become an expert reader the next. Wide as is the domain
of ignorance, there are few among those intelligent enough to resort to a
library at all, who cannot learn. You will find some who come to the
library so unskilled, that they will turn over the leaves even of an
index, in a blind, hap-hazard way, evidently at a loss how to use it.
These must be instructed first, that the index is arranged just like a
dictionary, in the alphabetical order of the names or subjects treated,
and secondly, that after finding the word they seek in it, they must turn
to the page indicated by the figure attached to that word. This is the
very primer of learning in the use of a library, but the library in any
town, used as it is by many boys and girls of all ages, has to be a
primary school for beginners, as well as a university for advanced
students. Despise not the day of small things, however you may find it
more agreeable to be occupied with great ones.

On the other hand, you will find at the other extreme of intelligence,
among your clientage of readers, those who are completely familiar with
books and their uses. There are some readers frequenting public
libraries, who not only do not need assistance themselves, but who are
fully competent to instruct the librarian. In meeting the calls of such
skilled readers, who always know what they require, it is never good
policy to obtrude advice or suggestion, but simply to supply what they
call for. You will readily recognize and discriminate such experts from
the mass of readers, if you have good discernment. Sometimes they are
quite as sensitive as they are intelligent, and it may annoy them to have
offered them books they do not want, in the absence of what they require.
An officious, or super-serviceable librarian or assistant, may sometimes
prejudice such a reader by proffering help which he does not want,
instead of waiting for his own call or occasion.

Let us look at a few examples of the numerous calls at a popular library.
For example, a reader asks to see a book, giving an account of the
marriage of the Adriatic. You know that this concerns the history of
Venice and its Doges, and you turn to various books on Venice, and its
history, until you find a description of the strange festival. It may be,
and probably is the case, that the books, like most descriptive works and
narratives of travellers, are without index. This is a disability in the
use of books which you must continually encounter, since multitudes of
volumes, old and new, are sent out without a vestige of an index to their
contents. Some writers have urged that a law should be made refusing
copyright to the author of any book who failed to provide it with an
index; a requirement highly desirable, but also highly impracticable. Yet
you will find in most books, a division of the contents into chapters,
and in the beginning of the volume a table of the contents of each
chapter, giving its leading topics. This is a substitute for an index,
although (not being arranged in alphabetical order) it is far less useful
than that time-saving aid to research. But you have to learn to take
advantage of even poor and inferior helps, when you cannot have the best,
(as a poor guide is better than no guide at all, unless it misguides,)
and so you run your eye quickly through the table of contents to find
what you seek. In the case supposed, of the ceremony at Venice, you will
be aided in the search by having in mind that the catch-words involved
are "Adriatic," and "Doge," and as these begin with capital letters,
which stand out, as it were, from the monotonous "lower case" type (as
printers call all the letters that are not capitals) your search will be
much abridged by omitting to read through all the sentences of your table
of contents, and seizing only the passage or passages where "Doge," or
"Adriatic," may occur.

This remark will apply as well to numerous other searches which you will
have to make in books. The table of contents will commonly take note of
all the more salient topics that are treated in the book, whether of
persons, of places, of notable scenes, historic events, etc., and so
will aid you in finding what you seek. In the last resort only, in the
books whose table of contents fails you, will you have to turn the leaves
page by page, which, while not equivalent to reading the book through, is
a time-consuming business.

Of course no librarian can devote hours of his precious time to searches
in such detail for readers. They are to be supplied with the books likely
to contain what they are in search of, and left to seek it in their own
way, with such hints and cautions as to saving time by taking the
shortest road, as the experience of the librarian enables him to supply.
The suggestions here given are not needed by scholarly readers, but are
the fruits of long experience in searching books for what they contain.

Again, let us take the case of a call by a reader who happens to be a
decorative painter, for patterns which may furnish him hints in finishing
an interior of a house. Of course he wants color--that is, not theory
only, but illustration, or practical examples. So you put before him Owen
Jones's Grammar of Ornament, or Racinet's _L'Ornement polychrome_, both
illustrated with many beautiful designs in color, which he is delighted
to find.

Another reader is anxious to see a picture of "St. George and the
Dragon." If you have the "Museum of Painting and Sculpture," in 17
volumes, or Champlin's "Cyclopaedia of Painters and Painting," a
dictionary of art in four volumes, you find it in either work, in the
alphabet, under "St. George," and his want is satisfied.

A youngster wants to know how to build a boat, and you find him Folkard
on Boats, or Frazar's Sail-boats, which describe and figure various
styles of water-craft.

Perhaps an inquisitive reader wants to find out all about the families of
the various languages, and what is known of their origin, and you supply
him with W. D. Whitney's "Life and Growth of Language," or Max Müller's
"Science of Language," either of which furnishes full information.

Another inquirer seeks for information about the aggregate debts of
nations. You give him the great quarto volume of the last Census on
Wealth and Indebtedness, or for still later information the Statesman's
Year Book for 1899, or the Almanach de Gotha for the current year, both
of which contain the comparative debts of nations at the latest dates.

The inquirer who seeks to know the rates of wages paid for all kinds of
labor in a series of several years, can be supplied with the elaborate
Report on Labor and Wages for fifty-two years, published by the U. S.
Government in 1893, in four volumes.

Another reader wishes, we will suppose, to hunt up the drawings of all
patents that have been issued on type-writers, and type-writing
inventions. You put before him the many indexes to the Patent
Specifications and Patent Office Gazette; he makes out from these his
list of volumes wanted, which are at once supplied, and he falls to work
on his long, but to him interesting job.

A reader who has seen in the library or elsewhere a book he would much
like to own, but cannot find a copy in town, wants to know what it will
cost: you turn to your American or foreign catalogue, covering the year
of publication, and give him not only the price, but the publisher's name
from whom he can order it, and he goes on his way rejoicing.

An artist engaged upon a painting in which he wishes to introduce a deer,
or a group of rabbits, or an American eagle, or a peacock, asks for an
accurate picture of the bird or animal wanted. You put before him J. S.
Kingsley's Riverside Natural History, in six volumes, and his desire is

In dealing with books of reference, there will often be found very
important discrepancies of statement, different works giving different
dates, for example, for the same event in history or biography.

Next to a bible and a dictionary of language, there is no book, perhaps,
more common than a biographical dictionary. Our interest in our
fellow-men is perennial; and we seek to know not only their
characteristics, and the distinguishing events of their lives, but also
the time of their birth into the world and their exit from it. This is a
species of statistics upon which one naturally expects certainty, since
no person eminent enough to be recorded at all is likely to have the
epoch of his death, at least, unremarked. Yet the seeker after exact
information in the biographical dictionaries will find, if he extends his
quest among various authorities, that he is afloat on a sea of
uncertainties. Not only can he not find out the date of decease of some
famous navigators, like Sir John Franklin and La Perouse, who sailed into
unexplored regions of the globe, and were never heard of more, but the
men who died at home, in the midst of friends and families, are
frequently recorded as deceased at dates so discrepant that no ingenuity
can reconcile them.

In Haydn's Dictionary of Dates, Sir Henry Havelock was said to have died
November 25th, 1857, while Maunder's Treasury of Biography gives November
21st, the London Almanac, November 27th, and the Life of Havelock, by his
brother-in-law, November 24th. Here are four distinct dates of death
given, by authorities apparently equally accredited, to a celebrated
general, who died within forty years of our own time. Of the death of the
notorious Robespierre, guillotined in 1794, we find in Chalmers'
Biographical Dictionary that he died July 10th, in Rees's Cyclopaedia,
July 28th, and in Alison's History of Europe, July 29th. Doubtless it is
some comfort to reflect, in view of his many crimes, that the bloody
tyrant of the Jacobins is really dead, irrespective of the date, about
which biographers may dispute. Of the English mechanician Joseph Bramah,
inventor of the Bramah lock, we learn from the English Cyclopaedia, that
he died in 1814, and from Rose's Biographical Dictionary, that he died in

Now, although a large share of the errors and discrepancies that abound
in biographical dictionaries and other books of reference may be
accounted for by misprints, others by reckoning old style instead of new,
and many more by carelessness of writers and transcribers, it is plain
that all the variations cannot be thus accounted for. Nothing is more
common in printing offices than to find a figure 6 inverted serving as a
9, a 5 for a 3, or a 3 for an 8, while 8, 9, and O, are frequently
interchanged. In such cases, a keen-eyed proof-reader may not always be
present to prevent the falsification of history; and it is a fact, not
sufficiently recognized, that to the untiring vigilance, intelligence,
and hard, conscientious labors of proof-readers, the world owes a deeper
debt of gratitude than it does to many a famous maker of books. It is
easy enough to make books, Heaven knows, but to make them correct, "_Hic
labor, hoc opus est_."

A high authority in encyclopaedical lore tells us that the best
accredited authorities are at odds with regard to the birth or death of
individuals in the enormous ratio of from twenty to twenty-five per cent.
of the whole number in the biographical dictionaries. The Portuguese poet
Camoens is said by some authorities to have been born in 1517, and by
others in 1525; a discrepancy of eight years. Chateaubriand is declared
by the English Cyclopaedia to have been born September 4th, 1768;
September 14th, 1768, by the Nouvelle Biographie générale of Dr. Hoefer;
and September 4th, 1769, by the Conversations-Lexicon. Of course it is
clear that all these authorities cannot be right; but which of the three
is so, is matter of extreme doubt, leaving the student of facts perplexed
and uncertain at the very point where certainty is not only most
important, but most confidently expected.

Of another kind are the errors that sometimes creep into works of
reference of high credit, by accepting too confidently statements
publicly made. In one edition of the Dictionary of Congress a certain
honorable member from Pennsylvania, in uncommonly robust health, was
astonished to find himself recorded as having died of the National Hotel
disease, contracted at Washington in 1856. In this case, the editor of
the work was a victim of too much confidence in the newspapers. In the
Congressional Directory, where brief biographies of Congressmen are
given, one distinguished member was printed as having been elected to
Congress at a time which, taken in connection with his birth-date in the
same paragraph, made him precisely one year old when he took his seat in

Even in reporting the contents of public and private libraries,
exaggeration holds sway. The library of George the Fourth, inherited by
that graceless ignoramus from a book-collecting father, and presented to
the British nation with ostentatious liberality only after he had failed
to sell it to Russia, was said in the publications of those times to
contain about 120,000 volumes. But an actual enumeration when the books
were lodged in the King's library at the British Museum, where they have
ever since remained, showed that there were only 65,250 volumes, being
but little more than half the reported number. Many libraries, public
and private, are equally over-estimated. It is so much easier to guess
than to count, and the stern test of arithmetic is too seldom applied,
notwithstanding the fact that 100,000 volumes can easily be counted in a
day by a single person, and so on in the same proportion. Here, as in the
statistics of population, the same proverb holds good, that the unknown
is always the magnificent, and on the surface of the globe we inhabit,
the unexplored country is always the most marvellous, since the world

These discrepancies in authorities, and exaggerations of writers, are not
referred to for the purpose of casting doubt upon all published history,
but only to point out that we cannot trust implicitly to what we find in
books. Bearing in mind always, that accuracy is perhaps the rarest of
human qualities, we should hold our judgment in reserve upon controverted
statements, trusting no writer implicitly, unless sustained by original
authorities. When asked to recommend the best book upon any subject, do
not too confidently assert the merits of the one you may think the best,
but say simply that it is well accredited, or very popular. It is not
always safe to recommend books, and the librarian does well to speak with
proper reservations as to most of them, and to recommend only what are
well known to him to be good, by his own intimate acquaintance with them,
or, which is the surest test of all, by the verdicts of critical reviews,
or by the constant reprinting of them in many successive years.

It was the well-nigh unanimous report at a Conference of American
librarians, upon the subject of "aids to readers", that "nothing can take
the place of an intelligent and obliging assistant at the desk." This was
after a thorough canvass of the relative merits of the various reference
books and helps to readers in book form. Not only the casual reader, and
the reader with a purpose may be constantly aided by the librarian's
knowledge, and larger experience in the art of finding things, but
teachers in the schools, clergymen preparing discourses, and every one
seeking to know anything, should find the librarian a living catalogue.
There is nothing so effective in the world as individual effort.



The matter of free or unrestricted access to the books on the shelves is
a vexed question in libraries. Open and unprotected shelves, either in
alcoves or the main reading room, while they appear to be a boon to
readers, who can thus browse at will through the literary pastures, and
turn over volumes at their pleasure, furnish by no means good security
for the books. Some of the smaller public libraries protect their books
from access by glass doors in front of the shelves, which form also a
partial protection against dust. Others again, use wire screen doors,
opened, like the others, by lock and key when books are wanted. Both of
these arrangements give to readers the advantage of reading the titles on
the backs of most of the books in the library, while protecting them from
being handled, disarranged, or removed. But they are also open to the
objection that they obstruct the prompt service of the books, by just the
amount of time it takes to open the doors or screens, and close them
again. This trouble and delay may overbalance the supposed advantages.
Certainly they must do so in all large libraries, where the frequentation
is great, and where every moment's delay in the book service works
disadvantage to numerous readers. While private libraries, or quite small
public ones, can indulge in the luxury of glass cases, no extensive
collection can be managed with the requisite promptitude under their

But how to avoid the indiscriminate and usually careless handling of the
books on shelves, by the people frequenting the library, and still
extend to readers prompt and full service of all the books they wish to
consult on any subject, is a problem. In a few of the great libraries,
where that modern improvement, the stack system, prevails, the difficulty
is solved by the storing of the books in the outside repositories, or
iron book-stacks to which readers are not admitted. In this case the
reading room is only for books in use by those frequenting it, or is
supplied with a selection of reference books simply, the stacks being
drawn upon for all the rest. This of course secures the books both from
misplacement and from pillage.

In smaller libraries which have no stack system (and this includes by far
the greater number) a variety of treatment prevails. Most of them are
unprovided with any effective means of guarding the books on the shelves
from handling. The result is great insecurity, and inevitable
misplacement of books, amounting often to confusion and chaos on the
shelves, unless corrected by much daily re-arrangement by the librarian
or assistants. This consumes much valuable time, which ought to be
devoted to other pressing duties.

One remedy is to guard the shelves by a railing of some kind, which
cannot be passed, except at the gates or passage-ways provided for the
attendants. This simple provision will protect the orderly arrangement as
well as the safety of the library--two objects both of cardinal
importance. Absolutely free access to all the shelves means, sooner or
later, loss to the library. And the books most certain to be taken or
mutilated are those which it is costly, or difficult, or in some cases,
impossible to replace. The chances of abstracting engravings from books
are much greater in the shadow of the shelves, than in the open
reading-room, under the eyes of many. In any library but the smaller
ones, the difficulties and dangers of unrestricted handling of all the
books by the public will be developed in the direct ratio of the size of
the library. Nor will it do to admit one class of readers to the shelves,
and exclude others. It often happens that persons claiming to have
special literary or scientific objects, and who profess that they cannot
get along at all by having books brought to them, are favored in their
wish to go to the shelves, while others are disfavored. This raises at
once the just complaint that invidious distinctions are made. The only
safe rule to follow is that of universal free access, or impartial and
uniform exclusion from the shelves. In the latter case, no one can
complain, especially when made aware that he can have all the works on a
given subject brought to his seat in a brief time, and can work upon them
to much greater comfort and advantage, seated where there is good light
and ample room, than if standing up in the shadow of the shelves to
pursue his researches.

It is also to be considered that such disarrangement of books as
inevitably follows free admission to the shelves deprives the very
persons who claim this privilege, of finding what they seek, until a
complete replacement takes place, throughout the library, and this is
necessarily a work of time. That it involves much more time and
consequent delay than is occasioned by the re-shelving of books used in a
day, is apparent when we consider that in the latter case, only the
number of volumes actually withdrawn from shelves by the library
attendants have to be replaced, and that these are in conveniently
assorted piles all ready to go to their respective shelves; while in the
other case, the displacement is made by many hands, most of them careless
of any convenience but their own, and moreover, the disarranged books
are, or are liable to be, scattered on the wrong shelves, thus throwing
the entire library into disorder, requiring great pains, knowledge, and
time to repair.

In any well-regulated library, the absence of any book from its place can
almost always be accounted for. Thus it is either--1. In the reading
room, in use; or 2. Charged out to a borrower; or 3. Sent to the binder
for rebinding, or repair; or 4. Reserved for some reader's use; or 5. In
temporary use by a cataloguer, or some other library assistant; or 6.
Among the books not yet re-shelved from recent use.

Now each of these is a legitimate reason for the absence of any book not
found in its place. By search under each of these heads, _seriatim_,
aided by the memory of librarian and assistants, the missing volume
should be readily located, and soon availed of for use.

But in the case of books misplaced by readers, no such tracing out of the
whereabouts of any volume is effectual, for the reason that the book may
have been (and probably is) put on some shelf where it does not belong.
And the question, where in an extensive collection, a book-hunter
admitted to freely range over all the shelves, and a stranger to the
minute classification of books, has misplaced the missing volumes, is an
insoluble problem, except by hunting over or handling the entire library.

In this close practical view of the case we have to add to the long list
of the enemies of books, formerly enumerated, those who demand a right to
browse (as they term it) among the shelves of a public library, and who
displace the books they take down to gratify, it may be, only an idle
curiosity. Their offence consists, not in being anxious to see the books,
but in preventing others from seeing them, by segregating them where
neither librarian nor assistants may be able to find them, when called
for. The whole question is summed up in the statement that the ability
to produce library books when called for, depends strictly upon keeping
them in their proper place: and this is quite incompatible with
promiscuous handling upon the shelves.

The preservation of order is alike in the interest of the reading public,
of the librarian and his assistants, and of the very persons who complain
of it as depriving them of library facilities. If library facilities
consist in rendering the books in it unfindable, and therefore
unavailable to any reader, then the argument for free range of the
shelves arrives at a _reductio ad absurdum_. The true library facilities
consist in a classification and a catalogue which arrange the books in
systematic order, and keep them there, save when called into use. Thus,
and thus only, can those who resort to a public library for actual
research, be assured of finding what they want, just when they want it.
The time saved to all readers by the sure and steady preservation of an
orderly arrangement of the books, is simply incalculable. Multiply the
number of volumes out of place by the number of readers who call for
them, and you have some idea of the mischief that may be done through the
carelessness of a few favored readers, to the whole community of
scholars. Of course the considerations here set forth pre-suppose an
active and intelligent librarian, and zealous and willing attendants, all
ever ready to aid the researches of readers by the most prompt and
helpful suggestions, and by dispatch in placing before them what they
most need. The one cardinal design of a library--to supply the largest
amount of information in the shortest time, is subverted by any
disorganizing scheme. If the library be administered on the just
principle of "the greatest good to the greatest number," then such
individual favoritism should never be allowed.

It may, indeed, be claimed that there is no rule without some valid
exceptions; but these exceptions should never be permitted to defeat the
cardinal object of the rule--which is to keep every book strictly in its
own place. Let the exception be confined to allowing an occasional
inspection of the shelves in the company of a library attendant, and
there will be no trouble.

But there is another danger, aside from the misplacement of books.
Experience has shown that thefts or mutilations of books have been
numerous, in direct proportion to the extension of freedom and
opportunity to those frequenting the library. Literary men and
book-lovers are frequently book-collectors also; and the temptation to
take what is often too loosely considered public property is sometimes
yielded to by persons whose character and standing may render them the
least suspected. In one of the largest lending libraries in this country,
the purloining of books had been carried so far, that the authorities had
to provide a wire fence all around the reading room, to keep the readers
from access to the shelves. The result was soon seen in the reduction of
the number of books stolen from 700 volumes to 300 volumes a year.

After several years' experience of the Astor Library in opening its
alcoves to readers (amounting to practical free admission to the shelves
to all calling themselves special students) the losses and mutilations of
books became so serious, that alcove admissions have been greatly

At the Conference of Librarians in London, in 1877, the subject of
admission or non-admission to the shelves was discussed with the result
that opinions were preponderantly adverse to the free range of the
library by readers. It was pointed out that libraries are established and
maintained at great cost for serious purposes of reading and study, and
that these ends are best subserved by systematic service at a common
centre--not by letting the readers scatter themselves about the library
shelves. To one speaker who held that every one in a free public library
had the right to go to the shelves, and choose his books for himself, it
was answered that this was equivalent to saying that it is the idler's
right to stroll about in every place devoted to a special business, and
interrupt that business at his pleasure.

At the International Conference of 1897, an able defence of open shelves
was presented, claiming that it saves much librarians' time in finding
books, if readers are allowed to find them for themselves; that thefts
and mutilations are inconsiderable; that it makes an appeal to the honor
of people to respect the books; that the open shelf system does better
educational work; that it is economical by requiring fewer library
attendants; that it has grown steadily in favor in America, and that it
gives the people the same right in the library which is their own, as the
individual has in his own.

On the other hand, it was urged that the arguments for open shelves were
all arguments for anarchy; that the readers who want to rummage about for
what they want lack proper discipline of the mind; that the number of
books lost under it has been very large; that librarians are custodians
and conservers, as well as dispensers of books; that all books misplaced
are practically lost to the library for the time being; that the open
shelf system requires far more space, and is more expensive; and that,
however desirable, its general adoption is utterly impracticable.

The practice of libraries in this particular of administration differs
widely, as do the opinions of librarians regarding it. In most colleges
and universities free access is allowed; and in some public free
libraries, both east and west, the readers are allowed to handle the
books on the shelves. This is comparatively safe in the smaller town
libraries, where the books are in compact shape, and the unavoidable
misplacement can be corrected daily in no long time. The experience of
"open shelves" in such collections has been so favorable that their
librarians have testified that the losses were insignificant when
compared with the great public convenience resulting. But the difficulty
and confusion arising from free handling of the books on shelves
increases in the direct ratio of the size of the library, until, in an
extensive collection, it reaches an intolerable result.

What is encountered continually in enforcing the rule of exclusion from
shelves is the almost universal conceit that some reader is entitled to
exemption from such a rule. Explain to him never so courteously that
experience has proved that a library is thrown into confusion by such
admission; that while he may be careful to replace every book handled in
the same spot, nearly all readers are careless, and he will insist that
he is the exception, and that he is always careful. That is human nature,
the world over--to believe that one can do things better than any one
else. But if such importunities prevail, the chances are that books will
be misplaced by the very literary expert who has solemnly asserted his

On the whole, open shelves may be viewed as an open question. It may be
best for small libraries, as to all the books, and for all libraries as
to some classes of books. But make it general, and order and arrangement
are at an end, while chaos takes the place of cosmos. The real student is
better served by the knowledge and aid of the librarian, thus saving his
time for study, than he can be by ranging about dark shelves to find,
among multitudes of books he does not want, the ones that he actually
does want. The business of the librarian, and his highest use, is to
bring the resources of the library to the reader. If this takes a hundred
or more volumes a day, he is to have them; but to give him the right to
throw a library into confusion by "browsing around," is to sacrifice the
rights of the public to prompt service, to the whim of one man. Those who
think that "browsing" is an education should reflect that it is like any
other wandering employment, fatal to fixity of purpose. Like desultory
reading of infinite periodicals, it tends rather to dissipate the time
and the attention than to inform and strengthen the mind.

In libraries of wide circulation in America, many have open shelves, and
many more free access to certain classes of books. The Newark Free
Library opens all departments except fiction; others open fiction and
current literature only. Some libraries, notably in England, have a
"safe-guarded" open-shelf system, by which the public are given free
range inside the library, while the librarians take post at the outside
railing, to charge books drawn, and check off depredations. This method
may be styled "every one his own librarian," and is claimed by its
originators to work well.

At the Conference of the American Library Association in 1899, after
discussion, votes were taken, showing 50 librarians in favor of free
access to shelves for small libraries, as against only 10 for
unrestricted access in large libraries.

The debate brought out curious and instructive facts as to losses of
books where free range is allowed. The Denver Public Library lost in one
year 955 volumes; the Buffalo Public Library 700 books in seventeen
months; the Minneapolis, 300 in a year; and the St. Louis Public Library
1,062 volumes in two years, out of "a very limited open shelf
collection." One librarian, estimating the loss of books at $1,000 worth
in two years, said the library board were perfectly satisfied, and that
"unless we lose $2,500 worth of books a year, the open-shelf system pays
in its saving of the expenses of attendance." It does not appear to have
occurred to them that a public library owes anything to the public
morality, nor that a library losing its books by the thousand, to save
the cost of proper management, may be holding out a premium to wholesale

There is another precaution essential to be observed regarding the more
costly and rare possessions of the library. Such books should not be
placed upon the shelves with the ordinary books of the collection, but
provided for in a repository under lock and key. In a large library,
where many hundred volumes of books of especial rarity and value are to
be found, a separate room should always exist for this class of books.
They will properly include (1) Incunabula, or early printed books; (2)
Manuscripts, or unique specimens, such as collections of autographs of
notable people; (3) Illuminated books, usually written on vellum, or
printed in color; (4) Early and rare Americana, or books of American
discovery, history, etc., which are scarce and difficult to replace; (5)
Any books known to be out of print; and (6) Many costly illustrated works
which should be kept apart for only occasional inspection by readers.
Where no separate room exists for safe custody of such treasures, they
should be provided with a locked book-case or cases, according to their
number. When any of these reserved books are called for, they should be
supplied to readers under special injunctions of careful handling.
Neglect of precaution may at any time be the means of losing to the
library a precious volume. It is easy for an unknown reader who calls for
such a rare or costly work, to sign his ticket with a false name, and
slip the book under his coat when unobserved, and so leave the library
unchallenged. But the librarian or assistant who supplies the book, if
put on his guard by having to fetch it from a locked repository, should
keep the reader under observation, unless well known, until the volume
is safely returned. Designing and dishonest persons are ever hovering
about public libraries, and some of the most dangerous among them are men
who know the value of books.

This class of reserved books should not be given out in circulation,
under any circumstances. Not only are they subject to injury by being
handled in households where there are children or careless persons, who
soil or deface them, but they are exposed to the continual peril of fire,
and consequent loss to the library. There are often books among these
rarities, which money cannot replace, because no copies can be found when
wanted. In the Library of Congress, there is a very salutary safe-guard
thrown around the most valuable books in the form of a library regulation
which provides that no manuscript whatever, and no printed book of
special rarity and value shall be taken out of the library by any person.
This restriction of course applies to Members of Congress, as well as to
those officials who have the legal right to draw books from the library.



To every reader nothing can be more important than that faculty of the
mind which we call memory. The retentive memory instinctively stores up
the facts, ideas, imagery, and often the very language found in books, so
clearly that they become available at any moment in after life. The
tenacity of this hold upon the intellectual treasures which books contain
depends largely upon the strength of the impression made upon the mind
when reading. And this, in turn, depends much upon the force, clearness
and beauty of the author's style or expression. A crude, or feeble, or
wordy, redundant statement makes little impression, while a terse, clear,
well-balanced sentence fixes the attention, and so fastens itself in the
memory. Hence the books which are best remembered will be those which are
the best written. Great as is the power of thought, we are often obliged
to confess that the power of expression is greater still. When the
substance and the style of any writing concur to make a harmonious and
strong impression on the reader's mind, the writer has achieved success.
All our study of literature tends to confirm the conviction of the
supreme importance of an effective style.

We must set down a good memory as a cardinal qualification of the
librarian. This faculty of the mind, in fact, is more important to him
than to the members of any other profession whatever, because it is more
incessantly drawn upon. Every hour in the day, and sometimes every minute
in the hour, he has to recall the names of certain books, the authors of
the same, including both their surnames and Christian or forenames, the
subjects principally treated in them, the words of some proverb or
quotation, or elegant extract in poetry or prose, the period of time of
an author or other noted person, the standard measurements and weights in
use, with their equivalents, the moneys of foreign nations and their
American values, the time of certain notable events in history, whether
foreign or American, ancient or modern, the names and succession of
rulers, the prices of many books, the rules observed in the catalogue,
both of authors and subjects, the names and schools of great artists,
with their period, the meaning in various foreign languages of certain
words, the geographical location of any place on the earth's surface, the
region of the library in which any book is located--and, in short, an
infinitude of items of information which he wants to know out of hand,
for his own use, or in aid of Library readers or assistants. The immense
variety of these drafts upon his memory seldom perplexes one who is well
endowed with a natural gift in that direction. In fact, it seems actually
true of such minds, that the more numerous the calls upon the memory, the
more ready is the response.

The metaphysicians have spent many words in attempting to define the
various qualities of the mind, and to account for a strong or a weak
memory; but after all is said, we find that the surprising difference
between different memories is unaccounted for; as unaccountable, indeed,
as what differences the man of genius from the mere plodder. The
principle of association of ideas is doubtless the leading element in a
memory which is not merely verbal. We associate in our minds, almost
instinctively, ideas of time, or space, or persons, or events, and these
connect or compare one with another, so that what we want is called up
or recalled in memory, by a train of endless suggestion. We all have this
kind of memory, which may be termed the rational or ideal, as
distinguished from the verbal and the local memory. The verbal memory is
that which retains in the mind, and reproduces at will what has been said
in our hearing by others, or what we have read which has made a marked
impression upon us. Thus, some persons can repeat with almost exact
accuracy, every word of a long conversation held with another. Others can
repeat whole poems, or long passages in prose from favorite authors,
after reading them over two or three times, and can retain them perfectly
in memory for half a century or more. There have even been persons to
whom one single reading of any production was sufficient to enable them
to repeat it _verbatim_. These instances of a great verbal memory are by
no means rare, although some of them appear almost incredible. John Locke
tells us of the French philosopher Pascal, that he never forgot anything
of what he had done, said, or thought, in any part of his natural life.
And the same thing is recorded of that great scholar of Holland, Hugo

The mathematician Euler could repeat the Aeneid of Virgil from beginning
to end, containing nearly nine thousand lines. Mozart, upon hearing the
_Miserere_ of Allegri played in the Sistine Chapel at Rome, only once,
went to his hotel, and wrote it all down from memory, note for note.

Cardinal Mezzofanti both wrote and spoke thirty languages, and was quite
familiar with more than a hundred. He said that if he once heard the
meaning of a word in any language, he never forgot it. Yet he was of the
opinion, that although he had twenty words for one idea, it was better to
have twenty ideas for one word; which is no doubt true, so far as real
intellectual culture is concerned. Lord Macaulay, who had a phenomenal
memory, said that if all the copies of Milton's Paradise Lost were to be
destroyed, he could reproduce the book complete, from memory. In early
life he was a great admirer of Walter Scott's poetry, and especially the
"Lay of the Last Minstrel", and could repeat the whole of that long poem,
more than six hundred lines, from memory. And at the age of fifty-seven
he records--"I walked in the portico, and learned by heart the noble
fourth act of the Merchant of Venice. There are four hundred lines. I
made myself perfect master of the whole in two hours." It was said of him
that every incident he heard of, and every page he read, "assumed in his
mind a concrete spectral form."

But the memory for names and words has been sometimes called the lowest
form of memory. Persons of defective or impaired intellect frequently
have strong and retentive verbal memories. Mrs. Somerville records the
case of an idiot who could repeat a whole sermon _verbatim_, after once
hearing it, but who was stupid and ignorant as to every thing else. And
there are many instances in the books to the same effect.

Another kind of memory may be called, for want of a better name, the
local memory. A person who has this strongly developed, if he once goes
to a place, whether a room, or a street in a city, or a road in any part
of the country, knows the way again, and can find it by instinct ever
after. In the same way any one gifted with this almost unerring sense of
locality, can find any book on any shelf in any part of a library where
he has once been. He knows, in like manner, on which side of the page he
saw any given passage in a book, which impressed him at the time,
although he may never have had the volume in his hand more than once. He
may not remember the number of the page, but he is sure of his
recollection that it was the left or the right hand one, as the case may
be, and this knowledge will abridge his labor and time in finding it
again by just one half. This local memory is invaluable to a librarian or
an assistant in shortening the labor of finding things. If you have a
good local memory, you can, in no long time, come to dispense with the
catalogue and its shelf-marks or classification marks, almost entirely,
in finding your books. Although this special gift of memory--the sense of
locality--is unquestionably a lower faculty of the mind than some others
named, and although there are illiterate persons who can readily find and
produce any books in a library which have often passed through their
hands, yet it is a faculty by no means to be despised. It is one of the
labor-saving, time-saving gifts, which should be welcomed by every
librarian. The time saved from searching the catalogues for
location-marks of the outside of books, will enable him to make many a
research in their inside. This faculty, of course, is indefinitely
strengthened and improved by use--and the same is true of the other
branches of the sense which we call memory. The oftener you have been to
any place, the better you know the way. The more frequently you have
found and produced a given book from its proper receptacle, the easier
and the quicker will be your finding it again.

Another faculty or phase of memory is found in the ability to call up the
impression made by any object once seen by the eye, so as to reproduce it
accurately in speech or writing. This may be termed the intuitive memory.
There are many applications or illustrations of this faculty. Thus, for
example, you see a book on some shelf in your library. You take in its
size, its binding, both the material and the color, and its title as
lettered on the back. All this you absorb with one glance of the eye. You
remember it by the principle of association--that is, you associate with
that particular book, in connection with its title, a certain dimension,
color, and style of binding. Now, when you have occasion to look up that
special volume again, you not only go, aided by your memory of locality,
to the very section and shelf of the library where it belongs, but you
take with you instinctively, your memory or mental image of the book's
appearance. Thus, you perhaps distinctly remember (1) that it was an
octavo, and your eye in glancing along the shelf where it belongs,
rejects intuitively all the duodecimos or books of lesser size, to come
to the octavos. (2) Then you also remember that it was bound in leather,
consequently you pass quickly by all the cloth bound volumes on the
shelf. (3) in the third place you know that its color was red; and you
pay no attention whatever to books of any other color, but quickly seize
your red leather-bound octavo, and bear it off to the reading-room in
triumph. Of course there are circumstances where this quick operation of
the faculties of memory and intuition combined, would not be so easy. For
example, all the books (or nearly all) on a given shelf might be octavos;
or they might all be leather-bound; or a majority of them with red backs;
and the presence of one or more of these conditions would eliminate one
or more of the facilities for most rapidly picking out the book wanted.
But take a pile of books, we will say returned by many readers, on the
library counter. You are searching among them for a particular volume
that is again wanted. There is no order or arrangement of the volumes,
but you distinctly remember, from having handled it, its size both as to
height and thickness, its color, and how it was bound. You know it was a
thin 12mo. in green cloth binding. Do you, in your search, take up every
book in that mass, to scrutinize its title, and see if it is the one you
seek? By no means. You quickly thrust aside, one by one, or by the
half-dozen, all the volumes which are not green, cloth-bound, thin
duodecimos, without so much as glancing at them. Your special volume is
quickly found among hundreds of volumes, and your faculty of memory and
intuition has saved you perhaps a quarter of an hour of valuable time,
which, without that faculty, might have been wasted in search.

Again, another circumstance which might intervene to diminish the
frequency of application of the memory referred to, as to the physical
features or appearance of a book sought for, is where the
shelf-arrangement is alphabetical, by authors' names, or by the names of
the subjects of the books, if it is an alphabet of biographies. Here, the
surest and the quickest guide to the book is of course the alphabetical
order, in which it must necessarily be found.

This memory of the aspect of any object once looked at, is further well
illustrated in the very varied facilities for the spelling of words found
in different persons. Thus, there are people who, when they once see any
word (we will say a proper name) written or printed, can always
afterwards spell that word unerringly, no matter how uncommon it may be.
The mental retina, so to speak, receives so clear and exact an impression
of the form of that word from the eye, that it retains and reproduces it
at will.

But there are others, (and among them persons of much learning in some
directions) upon whom the form or orthography of a word makes little or
no impression, however frequently it meets the eye in reading. I have
known several fine scholars, and among them the head of an institution of
learning, who could not for the life of them spell correctly; and this
infirmity extended even to some of the commonest words in the language.
Why this inaptitude on the part of many, and this extraordinary facility
on the part of others, in the memorizing faculty, is a phenomenon which
may be noted down, but not solved. That vivid mental picture which is
seen by the inward eye of the person favored with a good memory, is
wholly wanting, or seen only dimly and rarely in the case of one who
easily forgets.

So vital and important is memory, that it has been justly denominated by
the German philosopher, Kant, "the most wonderful of our faculties."
Without it, the words of a book would be unintelligible to us, since it
is memory alone which furnishes us with the several meanings to be
attached to them.

Some writers on the science of mind assert that there is no such thing
with any of us as absolutely forgetting anything that has once been in
the mind. All mental activities, all knowledge which ever existed,
persists. We never wholly lose them, but they become faint and obscure.
One mental image effaces another. But those which have thus disappeared
may be recalled by an act of reminiscence. While it may sometimes be
impossible to recover one of them at the moment when wanted, by an act of
voluntary recollection, some association may bring it unexpectedly and
vividly before us. Memory plays us many strange tricks, both when we wake
and when we dream. It revives, by an involuntary process, an infinite
variety of past scenes, faces, events, ideas, emotions, passions,
conversations, and written or printed pages, all of which we may have
fancied had passed forever from our consciousness.

The aids to memory supposed to be furnished by the various mnemonic
systems may now be briefly considered. These methods of supplying the
defects of a naturally weak memory, or of strengthening a fairly good
one, are one and all artificial. This might not be a conclusive
objection to them, were they really effective and permanent helps,
enabling one who has learned them to recall with certainty ideas, names,
dates, and events which he is unable to recall by other means. Theory
apart, it is conceded that a system of memorizing which had proved widely
or generally successful in making a good memory out of a poor one, would
deserve much credit. But experience with these systems has as yet failed
to show, by the stern test of practical utility, that they can give
substantial (and still less permanent) aid in curing the defects of
memory. Most of the systems of mnemonics that have been invented are
constructed on the principle of locality, or of utilizing objects which
appeal to the sight. There is nothing new in these methods, for the
principle is as old as Simonides, who lived in the fifth century before
Christ, and who devised a system of memorizing by locality. One of the
most prevalent systems now taught is to select a number of rooms in a
house (in the mind's eye, of course) and divide the walls and the floors
of each room into nine equal parts or squares, three in a row. Then

     "On the front wall--that opposite the entrance of the first
     room--are the units, on the right-hand wall the tens, on the left
     hand the twenties, on the fourth wall the thirties, and on the
     floor the forties. Numbers 10, 20, 30, and 40, each find a place
     on the roof above their respective walls. One room will thus
     furnish 50 places, and ten rooms as many as 500, while 50
     occupies the centre of the roof. Having fixed these clearly in
     the mind, so as to be able readily and at once to tell the exact
     position of each place or number, it is then necessary to
     associate with each of them some familiar object (or symbol) so
     that the object being suggested, its place may be instantly
     remembered, or when the place is before the mind, its object may
     immediately spring up. When this has been done thoroughly, the
     objects can be run over in any order from beginning to end, or
     from end to beginning, or the place of any particular one can at
     once be given. All that is further necessary is to associate the
     ideas we wish to remember with the objects in the various places,
     by which means they are readily remembered, and can be gone over
     in any order. In this way, one may learn to repeat several
     hundred disconnected words or ideas in any order, after hearing
     them only once."

This rather complicated machinery for aiding the memory is quite too
mechanical to commend itself to any one accustomed to reflect or to take
note of his own mental processes. Such an elaborate system crowds the
mind with a lot of useless furniture, and hinders rather than helps a
rational and straightforward habit of memorizing. It too much resembles
the feat of trying to jump over a wall by running back a hundred or more
yards to acquire a good start or momentum. The very complication of the
system is fitted to puzzle rather than to aid the memory. It is based on
mechanical or arithmetical associations--not founded on nature, and is of
very small practical utility. It does not strengthen or improve the habit
of memorizing, which should always be based upon close attention, and a
logical method of classifying, associating, and analyzing facts or ideas.

Lord Bacon, more than two centuries ago, wisely characterized mnemonic
systems as "barren and useless." He wrote, "For immediately to repeat a
multitude of names or words once repeated before, I esteem no more than
rope-dancing, antic postures, and feats of activity; and, indeed, they
are nearly the same thing, the one being the abuse of the bodily, as the
other is of mental powers; and though they may cause admiration, they
cannot be highly esteemed."

In fact, these mnemonical systems are only a kind of crutches, sometimes
useful to people who cannot walk, but actual impediments to those having
the use of their limbs, and who by proper exercise can maintain their
healthy and natural use indefinitely.

I have given you an account of one of these artificial systems of memory,
or systems of artificial memory, as you may choose to call them. There
have been invented more than one hundred different systems of mnemonics,
all professing to be invaluable, and some claiming to be infallible. It
appears to be a fatal objection to these memory-systems that they
substitute a wholly artificial association of ideas for a natural one.
The habit of looking for accidental or arbitrary relations of names and
things is cultivated, and the power of logical, spontaneous thought is
injured by neglecting essential for unessential relations. These
artificial associations of ideas work endless mischief by crowding out
the natural ones.

How then, you may ask, is a weak memory to be strengthened, or a fairly
good memory to be cultivated into a better one? The answer is, by
constant practice, and for this the vocation of a librarian furnishes far
more opportunities than any other. At the basis of this practice of the
memory, lies the habit of attention. All memory depends upon the strength
or vividness of the impression made upon the mind, by the object, the
name, the word, the date, which is sought to be remembered. And this, in
turn, depends on the degree of attention with which it was first
regarded. If the attention was so fixed that a clear mental image was
formed, there will be no difficulty in remembering it again. If, on the
other hand, you were inattentive, or listless, or pre-occupied with other
thoughts, when you encountered the object, your impression of it would be
hazy and indistinct, and no effort of memory would be likely to recall

Attention has been defined as the fixing of the mind intently upon one
particular object, to the exclusion for a time, of all other objects
soliciting notice. It is essential to those who would have a good memory,
to cultivate assiduously the habit of concentration of thought. As the
scattering shot hits no mark, so the scattering and random thoughts that
sweep through an unoccupied brain lead to no memorable result, simply
from want of attention or of fixation upon some one mental vision or
idea. With your attention fastened upon any subject or object, you see it
more clearly, and it impresses itself more vividly in the memory, as a
natural consequence. Not only so, but its related objects or ideas are
brought up by the principle of association, and they too make a deeper
impression and are more closely remembered. In fact, one thing carefully
observed and memorized, leads almost insensibly to another that is
related to it, and thus the faculty of association is strengthened, the
memory is stimulated, and the seeds of knowledge are deeply planted in
that complex organism which we call the mind. This power of attention, of
keeping an object or a subject steadily in view until it is absorbed or
mastered, is held by some to be the most distinctive element in genius.
Most people have not this habit of concentration of the mind, but allow
it to wander aimlessly on, flitting from subject to subject, without
mastering any; but then, most people are not geniuses. The habit to be
cultivated is that of thinking persistently of only one thing at a time,
sternly preventing the attention from wandering.

It may be laid down as an axiom that the two corner-stones of memory are
attention and association. And both of these must act in harmony, the
habit of fixed attention being formed or guided by the will, before a
normal or retentive memory becomes possible. What is called cultivating
the memory, therefore, does not mean anything more than close attention
to whatever we wish to remember, with whatever associations naturally
cling to it, until it is actually mastered. If one has not an instinctive
or naturally strong memory, he should not rest satisfied with letting the
days go by until he has improved it. The way to improve it, is to begin
at the foundation, and by the constant exercise of the will-power, to
take up every subject with fixed attention, and one at a time, excluding
every other for the time being. There is no doubt whatever that the
memory is capable of indefinite improvement; and though one's first
efforts in that direction may prove a disappointment, because only
partially successful, he should try, and try again, until he is rewarded
with the full fruits of earnest intellectual effort, in whatever field.
He may have, at the start, instead of a fine memory, what a learned
professor called, "a fine forgettery," but let him persevere to the end.
None of us were made to sit down in despair because we are not endowed
with an all-embracing memory, or because we cannot "speak with the
tongues of men and of angels," and do not know "all mysteries and all
knowledge." It rather becomes us to make the best and highest use, day by
day, of the talents that are bestowed upon us, remembering that however
short of perfection they may be, we are yet far more gifted than myriads
of our fellow-creatures in this very imperfect world.

There is no question that the proper cultivation of the memory is, or
ought to be, the chief aim of education. All else is so dependent upon
this, that it may be truly affirmed that, without memory, knowledge
itself would be impossible. By giving up oneself with fixed attention to
what one seeks to remember, and trusting the memory, though it may often
fail, any person can increase his powers of memory and consequently of
learning, to an indefinite degree. To improve and strengthen the memory,
it must be constantly exercised. Let it be supplied with new knowledge
frequently, and called on daily to reproduce it. If remembered only
imperfectly or in part, refresh it by reference to the source whence the
knowledge came; and repeat this carefully and thoroughly, until memory
becomes actually the store-house of what you know on that subject. If
there are certain kinds of facts and ideas which you more easily forget
than others, it is a good way to practice upon them, taking up a few
daily, and adding to them by degrees. Dr. W. T. Harris, the United States
Commissioner of Education, gave his personal experience to the effect
that he always found it hard to remember dates. He resolved to improve a
feeble memory in this respect by learning the succession of English
Kings, from William the Conqueror, down to Victoria. With his
characteristic thoroughness, he began by learning three or four dates of
accession only, the first day; two new ones were added the second day;
then one new king added the third day; and thereafter even less frequency
was observed in learning the chronology. By this method he had the whole
table of thirty-six sovereigns learned, and made familiar by constant
review. It had to be learned anew one year after, and once again after
years of neglect. But his memory for dates steadily grew, and without
conscious effort, dates and numbers soon came to be seized with a firmer
grasp than before. This kind of memory, he adds, now improves or
increases with him from year to year. Here is an instance of cultivation
of memory by a notable scholar, who adds a monition to learners with weak
memories, not to undertake to memorize too much at once. Learning a
succession of fifty names slowly, he says, will so discipline the memory
for names, as to partially or even permanently remove all embarrassment
from that source. I may add that a long table of names or dates, or any
prolonged extract in verse or prose, if learned by repeating it over and
over as a whole, will be less tenaciously retained in memory, than if
committed in parts.

The highest form of memory is actually unconscious, _i. e._, that in
which what we would recall comes to us spontaneously, without effort or
lapse of time in thinking about it. It is this kind of memory that has
been possessed by all the notable persons who have been credited with
knowing everything, or with never forgetting anything. It is not to be
reckoned to their credit, so much as to their good fortune. What merit is
there in having a good memory, when one cannot help remembering?

There is one caution to be given to those who are learning to improve a
memory naturally weak. When such a one tries to recall a date, or name,
or place, or idea, or book, it frequently happens that the endeavor fails
utterly. The more he tries, the more obstinately the desired object fails
to respond. As the poet Pope wrote about the witless author:

    "You beat your pate, and fancy wit will come;
     Knock as you please, there's nobody at home."

In these cases, no attempt to force the memory should be made, nor should
the attention be kept long on the subject, for this course only injures
the faculty, and leads to confusion of mind. To persist in a constantly
baffled effort to recover a word, or other forgotten link in memory, is a
laborious attempt which is itself likely to cause failure, and induce a
distrust of the memory which is far from rational. The forgotten object
will probably recur in no long time after, when least expected.

Much discursive reading is not only injurious to the faculty of memory,
but may be positively destructive of it. The vast extent of our modern
world of reviews, magazines and newspapers, with their immense variety of
subjects, dissipates the attention instead of concentrating it, and
becomes fatal to systematic thought, tenacious memory, and the
acquirement of real knowledge. The mind that is fed upon a diet of
morning and evening newspapers, mainly or solely, will become flabby,
uncertain, illogical, frivolous, and, in fact, little better than a
scatterbrains. As one who listens to an endless dribble of small talk
lays up nothing out of all the palaver, which, to use a common phrase,
"goes in at one ear, and out at the other," so the reader who
continuously absorbs all the stuff which the daily press, under the
pretext of "printing the news," inflicts upon us, is nothing benefited in
intellectual gifts or permanent knowledge. What does he learn by his
assiduous pursuit of these ephemeral will o' the wisps, that only "lead
to bewilder, and dazzle to blind?" He absorbs an incredible amount of
empty gossip, doubtful assertions, trifling descriptions, apocryphal
news, and some useful, but more useless knowledge. The only visible
object of spending valuable time over these papers appears to be to
satisfy a momentary curiosity, and then the mass of material read passes
almost wholly out of the mind, and is never more thought of. Says
Coleridge, one of the foremost of English thinkers: "I believe the habit
of perusing periodical works may be properly added to the catalogue of
anti-mnemonics, or weakeners of the memory."

If read sparingly, and for actual events, newspapers have a value which
is all their own; but to spend hours upon them, as many do, is mere
mental dissipation.



In directing attention to some of the more important elements which
should enter into the character and acquirements of a librarian, I shall
perhaps not treat them in the order of their relative importance. Thus,
some persons might consider the foremost qualification for one aspiring
to the position of a librarian to be wide knowledge in literature and
science: others would say that the possession of sound common sense is
above all things essential; others an excellent and retentive memory;
still others might insist that business habits and administrative faculty
are all-important; and others again, a zeal for learning and for
communicating it to others.

I shall not venture to pronounce what, among the multitude of talents
that are requisite to constitute a good librarian is the most requisite.
Suffice it to say, that all of them which I shall notice are important,
and that the order of their treatment determines nothing as to which are
more and which are less important. So much is expected of librarians that
it actually appears as if a large portion of the public were of the
opinion that it is the duty of him who has a library in charge to possess
himself, in some occult or mysterious way, unknown to the common mind, of
all the knowledge which all the books combine.

The Librarian of the British Museum, speaking to a conference of
librarians in London, quoted a remark of Pattison, in his "Life of
Casaubon," that "the librarian who reads is lost." This was certainly
true of that great scholar Casaubon, who in his love for the contents of
the books under his charge, forgot his duties as a librarian. And it is
to a large degree true of librarians in general, that those who pursue
their own personal reading or study during library hours do it at the
expense of their usefulness as librarians. They must be content with such
snatches of reading as come in the definite pursuit of some object of
research incident to their library work, supplemented by such reading
time as unoccupied evenings, Sundays, and annual vacations may give them.

Yet nothing is more common than for applicants for the position of
librarians or assistant librarians to base their aspiration upon the
foolish plea that they are "so fond of reading", or that they "have
always been in love with books." So far from this being a qualification,
it may become a disqualification. Unless combined with habits of
practical, serious, unremitting application to labor, the taste for
reading may seduce its possessor into spending the minutes and the hours
which belong to the public, in his own private gratification. The
conscientious, the useful librarian, living amid the rich intellectual
treasures of centuries, the vast majority of which he has never read,
must be content daily to enact the part of Tantalus, in the presence of a
tempting and appetizing banquet which is virtually beyond his reach.

But he may console himself by the reflection that comparatively few of
the books upon his shelves are so far worth reading as to be essential.
"If I had read as many books as other men," said Hobbes of Malmesbury, "I
should have been as ignorant as they."

If the librarian, in the precious time which is indisputably his, reads a
wise selection of the best books, the masterpieces of the literature of
all lands, which have been consecrated by time and the suffrages of
successive generations of readers, he can well afford to apply to the
rest, the short-hand method recommended in a former chapter, and skim
them in the intervals of his daily work, instead of reading them. Thus he
will become sufficiently familiar with the new books of the day (together
with the information about their contents and merits furnished by the
literary reviews, which he must read, however sparingly, in order to keep
up with his profession) to be able to furnish readers with some word of
comment as to most books coming into the Library. This course, or as
close an approximation to it as his multifarious duties will permit, will
go far to solve the problem that confronts every librarian who is
expected to be an exponent of universal knowledge. Always refraining from
unqualified praise of books (especially of new ones) always maintaining
that impartial attitude toward men and opinions which becomes the
librarian, he should act the part of a liberal, eclectic, catholic guide
to inquirers of every kind.

And here let me emphasize the great importance to every librarian or
assistant of early learning to make the most of his working faculties. He
cannot afford to plod along through a book, sentence by sentence, like an
ordinary reader. He must learn to read a sentence at a glance. The moment
his eye lights upon a title-page he should be able to take it all in by a
comprehensive and intuitive mental process. Too much stress cannot be
laid upon the every-day habit or method of reading. It makes all the
difference between time saved, and time wasted; between efficiency and
inefficiency; between rapid progress and standing still, in one's daily
work. No pains should be spared, before entering upon the all-engrossing
work of a library, to acquire the habit of rapid reading. An eminent
librarian of one of the largest libraries was asked whether he did not
find a great deal of time to read? His reply was--"I wish that I could
ever get as much as one hour a day for reading--but I have never been
able to do it." Of course every librarian must spend much time in special
researches; and in this way a good deal of some of his days will be spent
in acquainting himself with the resources of his library; but this is
incidental and not systematic reading.

In viewing the essential qualifications of a librarian, it is necessary
to say at the outset that a library is no place for uneducated people.
The requirements of the position are such as to demand not only native
talent above the average, but also intellectual acquirements above the
average. The more a librarian knows, the more he is worth, and the
converse of the proposition is equally true, that the less he knows the
less he is worth. Before undertaking the arduous task of guiding others
in their intellectual pursuits, one should make sure that he is himself
so well-grounded in learning that he can find the way in which to guide
them. To do this, he must indispensably have something more than a
smattering of the knowledge that lies at the foundation of his
profession. He must be, if not widely read, at least carefully grounded
in history, science, literature, and art. While he may not, like Lord
Bacon, take all knowledge to be his province, because he is not a Lord
Bacon, nor if he were, could he begin to grasp the illimitable domain of
books of science and literature which have been added to human knowledge
in the two centuries and a half since Bacon wrote, he can at least, by
wise selection, master enough of the leading works in each field, to make
him a well-informed scholar. That great treasury of information on the
whole circle of the sciences, and the entire range of literature, the
Encyclopaedia Britannica, judiciously studied, will alone give what would
appear to the average mind, a very liberal education.

One of the most common and most inconsiderate questions propounded to a
librarian is this: "Do you ever expect to read all these books through?"
and it is well answered by propounding another question, namely--"Did
_you_ ever read your dictionary through?" A great library is the
scholar's dictionary--not to be read through, but to enable him to put
his finger on the fact he wants, just when it is wanted.

A knowledge of some at least of the foreign languages is indispensable to
the skilled librarian. In fact, any one aspiring to become an assistant
in any large library, or the head of any small one, should first acquire
at least an elementary knowledge of French and Latin. Aside from books in
other languages than English which necessarily form part of every
considerable library, there are innumerable quotations or words in
foreign tongues scattered through books and periodicals in English, which
a librarian, appealed to by readers who are not scholars, would be
mortified if found unable to interpret them. The librarian who does not
understand several languages will be continually at a loss in his daily
work. A great many important catalogues, and bibliographies, essential
parts of the equipment of a library, will be lost to him as aids, and he
can neither select foreign books intelligently nor catalogue them
properly. If he depends upon the aid of others more expert, his position
will be far from agreeable or satisfactory. How many and what foreign
languages should be learned may be matter for wide difference of opinion.
But so far-reaching is the prevalence of the Latin, as one of the
principal sources of our own language, and of other modern tongues, that
a knowledge of it is most important. And so rich is the literature of
France, to say nothing of the vast number of French words constantly
found in current English and American books and periodicals, that at
least a fairly thorough mastery of that language should be acquired. The
same may be said of the German, which is even more important in some
parts of the United States, and which has a literature most copious and
valuable in every varied department of knowledge. With these three
tongues once familiar, the Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, and
Scandinavian languages may be, through the aid of dictionaries, so far
utilized as to enable one to read titles and catalogue books in any of
them, although a knowledge of all, so as to be able to read books in
them, is highly desirable.

In the Boston Public Library, the assistants are required to possess an
adequate knowledge of Latin, French, and German. And all candidates for
positions in the reading-room of the British Museum Library must undergo
a thorough test examination as to their knowledge of the Latin language.
Opportunities for acquiring foreign languages are now so abundant that
there is small excuse for any one who wants to know French, Latin or
German, and yet goes through life without learning them. There are even
ways of learning these languages with sufficient thoroughness for reading
purposes without a teacher, and sometimes without a text-book. Two
assistant librarians taught themselves French and German in their
evenings, by setting out to read familiar works of English fiction in
translations into those languages, and soon acquired a good working
knowledge of both, so as to be able to read any work in either, with only
occasional aid from the dictionary for the less common words. It is
surprising how soon one can acquire a sufficient vocabulary in any
language, by reading any of its great writers. A good way for a beginner
to learn French without a master is to take a French New Testament, and
read the four Gospels through. After doing this three or four times,
almost any one who is at all familiar with the Scriptures, will be able
to read most books in the French language with facility. In the great art
of learning, all doors are easily unlocked--by those who have the key.

It should go without saying that the librarian should possess a wide
knowledge of books. This knowledge should include (1) an acquaintance
with ancient and modern literature, so as to be able to characterize the
notable writers in each of the leading languages of the world; (2) a
knowledge of history extensive enough to enable him to locate all the
great characters, including authors, in their proper century and country;
(3) a knowledge of editions, so as to discriminate between the old and
the new, the full and the abridged, the best edited, best printed, etc.;
(4) an acquaintance with the intrinsic value or the subject and scope of
most of the great books of the world; (5) a knowledge of commercial
values, so as to be able to bid or to buy understandingly, and with
proper economy; (6) a familiarity with what constitutes condition in
library books, and with binding and repairing processes, for the
restoration of imperfect volumes for use.

The librarian should be one who has had the benefit of thorough
preliminary training, for no novice is qualified to undertake the role of
an expert, and any attempt to do so can result only in disappointment and
failure. No one who has read little or nothing but novels since leaving
school need ever hope to succeed.

No librarian can know too much, since his work brings him into relation
with the boundless domain of human knowledge. He should not be a
specialist in science (except in the one science of bibliography) but
must be content with knowing a little about a great many things, rather
than knowing everything about one thing. Much converse with books must
fill him with a sense of his own ignorance. The more he comes to know,
the wider will open before him the illimitable realm of what is yet to
be known. In the lowest deep which research the most profound can reach,
there is a lower deep still unattained--perhaps, even, unattainable. But
the fact that he cannot by any possibility master all human knowledge
should not deter the student from making ever advancing inroads upon that
domain. The vast extent of the world of books only emphasizes the need of
making a wise selection from the mass. We are brought inevitably back to
that precept by every excursion that we make into whatever field of

The librarian should possess, besides a wide acquaintance with books, a
faculty of administration, and this rests upon careful business habits.
He should have a system in all the library work. Every assistant should
have a prescribed task, and be required to learn and to practice all the
methods peculiar to library economy, including the economy of time. Each
day's business should be so organized as to show an advance at the end.
The library must of course have rules, and every rule should be so simple
and so reasonable that it will commend itself to every considerate reader
or library assistant. All questions of doubt or dispute as to the
observance of any regulation, should be decided at once, courteously but
firmly, and in a few words. Nothing can be more unseemly than a wrangle
in a public library over some rule or its application, disturbing readers
who are entitled to silence, and consuming time that should be given to
the service of the public.

When Thomas Carlyle, one of the great scholars of modern times, testified
in 1848 before a Parliamentary Commission upon the British Museum
Library, he thus spoke of the qualifications of a librarian:

"All must depend upon the kind of management you get within the library
itself. You must get a good pilot to steer the ship, or you will never
get into the harbor. You must have a man to direct who knows well what
the duty is that he has to do, and who is determined to go through that,
in spite of all clamor raised against him; and who is not anxious to
obtain approbation, but is satisfied that he will obtain it by and by,
provided he acts ingenuously and faithfully."

Another quality most important in a librarian is an even temper. He
should be always and unfailingly courteous, not only to scholars and
visitors of high consideration, but to every reader, however humble or
ignorant, and to every employee, however subordinate in position. There
is nothing which more detracts from one's usefulness than a querulous
temper. Its possessor is seldom happy himself, and is the frequent cause
of unhappiness in others. Visitors and questions should never be met with
a clouded brow. A cheerful "good-morning" goes a great way oftentimes.
Many library visitors come in a complaining mood--it may be from long
waiting to be served, or from mistake in supplying them with the wrong
books, or from errors in charging their accounts, or from some fancied
neglect or slight, or from any other cause. The way to meet such
ill-humored or offended readers is to gently explain the matter, with
that "soft answer which turneth away wrath." Many a foolish and useless
altercation may thus be avoided, and the complainant restored to
cheerfulness, if not to courtesy; whereas, if the librarian were to meet
the case with a sharp or haughty answer, it would probably end without
satisfaction on either side. Whatever you do, never permit yourself to be
irritable, and resolve never to be irritated. It will make you unhappy,
and will breed irritation in others. Cheerfulness under all
circumstances, however difficult, is the duty and the interest of the
librarian. Thus he will cultivate successfully an obliging disposition,
which is a prime requisite to his success with the public and his
usefulness as a librarian.

It ought not to be requisite to insist upon good health as a condition
precedent for any one aspiring to be a librarian. So very much depends
upon this, that it should form a part of the conscientious duty of every
one to acquire and maintain a sound condition of physical health, as a
most important adjunct of a thoroughly sound and healthy condition of the
mind. This is easier than most persons are aware. If we except inherited
constitutional weaknesses, or maladies of a serious character, there is
almost no one who is not able by proper diet, regimen, and daily
exercise, to maintain a degree of health which will enable him to use his
brain to its full working capacity. It demands an intelligent and
watchful care of the daily regimen, so that only simple and wholesome
food and drink may be taken into the system, and what is equally
important, adequate sleep, and habitual moderate exercise. No one can
maintain perfect health without breathing good unadulterated air, and
exercising in it with great frequency. One's walks to and from the
library may be sufficient to give this, and it is well to have the motive
of such a walk, since exercise taken for the mere purpose of it is of far
less value. The habit of taking drugs, or going to a doctor for every
little malady, is most pernicious. Every one, and especially a librarian,
who is supposed (however erroneously) to know everything, should know
more of his own constitution than any physician. With a few judicious
experiments in daily regimen, and a little abstinence now and then, he
can subdue head-aches, catarrhs and digestive troubles, and by exercising
an intelligent will, can generally prevent their recurrence. If one finds
himself in the morning in a state of languor and lassitude, be sure he
has abused some physical function, and apply a remedy. An invalid will
make a poorly equipped librarian. How can a dyspeptic who dwells in the
darkness of a disease, be a guiding light to the multitudes who beset him
every hour? There are few callings demanding as much mental and physical
soundness and alertness as the care of a public library.

Sound common sense is as essential to the librarian as sound health. He
should always take the practical straightforward view of every item of
library business and management, remembering that the straight road is
always the shortest way between two points. While he may be full of
ideas, he should be neither an idealist nor a dreamer. In library
methods, the cardinal requisites to be aimed at, are utility and
convenience. A person of the most perfect education, and the highest
literary attainments, but destitute of common sense, will not succeed in
the conduct of a library. That intuitive judgment, which sees the reason
of everything at a glance, and applies the proper agencies to the case in
hand, is wanting in his composition. Multitudes of emergencies arise in
library service, where the prompt and practical sense of the librarian is
required to settle a dispute, adjust a difficulty, or to direct what is
to be done in some arrangement or re-arrangement of books, or some
library appliance or repair. In such cases, the unpractical or
impracticable man will be very likely to decide wrongly, choosing the
inconvenient method instead of the convenient, the more costly instead of
the more economical, the laborious in place of the obvious and easy; in
short, some way of doing the work or settling the difficulty which will
not permit it to stay settled, or will require the work to be done over
again. The man of common-sense methods, on the other hand, will at once
see the end from the beginning, anticipate every difficulty, and decide
upon the proper course without trouble or hesitation, finding his
judgment fully vindicated by the result.

The librarian in whom the quality of common sense is well developed will
be ever ready to devise or to accept improvements in library methods.
Never a slave to "red tape," he will promptly cut it wherever and
whenever it stands in the way of the readiest service of books and
information to all comers.

Another quality which every librarian or assistant in a library should
possess is a thorough love of his work. He should cherish a noble
enthusiasm for the success and usefulness of the institution with which
he has chosen to be associated. Nor should this spirit be by any means
limited to the literary and scientific aid which he is enabled to extend
to others, nor to the acquisition of the knowledge requisite to meet the
endless inquiries that are made of him. He should take as much interest
in restoring a broken binding, or in seeing that a torn leaf is repaired,
as in informing a great scholar what the library contains upon any

No one who is listless or indifferent in the discharge of daily duties is
fit for a place in a public library. There should be an _esprit de
corps_, a zeal for his profession, which will lead him to make almost any
sacrifice of outside interests to become proficient in it. Thus only will
he render himself indispensable in his place, and do the greatest amount
of service to the greatest number of readers. I have seen employees in
libraries so utterly careless of what belongs to their vocation, as to
let books, totally unfit for use, ragged or broken, or with plates
loosened, ready to drop out and disappear, go back to the shelves
unrepaired, to pursue the downward road toward destruction. And I have
been in many libraries in which the books upon the shelves exhibited such
utter want of care, such disarrangement, such tumbling about and
upside-down chaos, and such want of cleanliness, as fairly to make one's
heart ache. In some cases this may have been due in great part to unwise
free admission of the public to the shelves, and consequent inevitable
disorder; in others, it may be partially excused by the librarian's
absolute want of the needful help or time, to keep the library in order;
but in others, it was too apparent that the librarian in charge took no
interest in the condition of the books. Too many librarians (at least of
the past, however it may now be) have been of the class described by Dr.
Poole, the Chicago librarian. He said that library trustees too often
appeared to think that anybody almost would do for a librarian; men who
have failed in everything else, broken-down clergymen, or unsuccessful
teachers, and the like.

Passing now to other needful qualifications of librarians and library
assistants, let me say that one of the foremost is accuracy. Perhaps I
have before this remarked that exact accuracy is one of the rarest of
human qualities. Even an approximation to it is rare, and absolute
accuracy is still rarer. Beware of the person who is sure of every
thing--who retails to you a conversation he has heard, affecting to give
the exact words of a third person, or who quotes passages in verse or in
prose, with glib assurance, as the production of some well-known writer.
The chances are ten to one that the conversation is mainly manufactured
in the brain of the narrator, and that the quotation is either not
written by the author to whom it is attributed, or else is a travesty of
his real language. It is Lord Byron who tells of that numerous class of
sciolists whom one finds everywhere--

    "With just enough of learning to misquote."

The books one reads abound in erroneous dates, mistaken names, garbled
extracts, and blundering quotations. So much the more important is it to
the librarian, who is so continually drawn upon for correct information
upon every subject, to make sure of his facts, before communicating them.
When (as frequently happens) he has no way of verifying them, he should
report them, not as his own conclusions, but on the authority of the book
or periodical where found. This will relieve him of all responsibility,
if they turn out to be erroneous. Whenever I find a wrong date or name in
a printed book, or an erroneous reference in the index, or a mis-spelled
word, I always pencil the correct date, or name, or page of reference in
the margin. This I do as a matter of instinct, as well as of duty, for
the benefit of future inquirers, so that they may not be misled. I speak
here of errors which are palpable, or of the inaccuracy of which I have
positive knowledge; if in doubt, I either let the matter go entirely, or
write a query in pencil at the place, with the presumed correct
substitute appended.

Never be too sure of what you find in books; but prove all things and
hold fast to those only which you find to be beyond dispute. Thus will
you save yourself from falling into many errors, and from recanting many
opinions. It is the method of ordinary education to take everything for
granted; it is the method of science to take nothing for granted.

I may refer here to another rule always to be observed, and pertaining to
the theme of strict accuracy in your daily work. That is, the necessity
of carefully examining every piece of work you may have done, before it
leaves your hands, for the purpose of correcting errors. All of us are
not only liable to make mistakes, but all of us do make them; and if any
one has a conceit of his own accuracy, the surest way to take it out of
him is to let him serve an apprenticeship in some library, where there
is competent revision of all the labor performed. There are multitudes of
assistants in libraries who cannot write a letter, even, without making
one or more errors. How often do you leave out a word in your writing
experience, which may change the meaning of a whole sentence? So, in
writing titles, whether for the catalogue, or for a library order, or for
the information of some inquirer, you are liable to make errors of date,
or edition, or place of publication, or size, or to misplace or omit or
substitute some word in the description of the book. There is nothing in
the world quite so easy as to be mistaken: and the only remedy (and it is
an all-essential one) is to go over every line and every word of what you
have written, before it leaves your hands. As second thoughts are
proverbially best, so a second careful glance over a piece of writing
will almost always reveal some error or omission to be corrected. Think
of the mortification you must feel at finding an unverified piece of work
returned upon your hands, with several glaring mistakes marked by the
reviser! Think, on the other hand, of the inward satisfaction experienced
when you have done your best, written and revised your own work, and
found it always passed as perfect. I have tried many persons by many
tests, and while I have found a great number who were industrious,
intelligent, zealous, conscientious, good-tempered, and expeditious, I
have found scarcely one who was always accurate. One of the rarest things
in a library is to find an assistant who has an unerring sense of the
French accents. This knowledge, to one expert in that language, even if
he does not speak it, should be as intuitive as the art of spelling
correctly, either in English or French. He should write the proper accent
over a letter just as infallibly as he writes the proper letters in a
word. But, strange to say, it is very common, even with good French
scholars (in the book-sense or literary sense of scholarship) to find
them putting the acute accent for the grave over a vowel, or the grave
instead of the acute, or omitting the circumflex accent entirely, and so

Every one commits errors, but the wise man is he who learns by his
mistakes, and applies the remedy. The best remedy (as I said in the case
of memory in another chapter,) is to cultivate a habit of trained
attention in whatever we do. Yet many people (and I am afraid we must say
most people) go on through life, making the same blunders, and repeating
them. It appears as if the habit of inaccuracy were innate in the human
race, and only to be reformed by the utmost painstaking, and even with
the aid of that, only by a few. I have had to observe and correct such
numberless errors in the work of well-educated, adult, and otherwise
accomplished persons, as filled me with despair. Yet there is no more
doubt of the improvability of the average mind, however inaccurate at the
start, than of the power of the will to correct other bad habits into
which people unconsciously fall.

One of the requisites of a successful librarian is a faculty of order and
system, applied throughout all the details of library administration.
Without these, the work will be performed in a hap-hazard, slovenly
manner, and the library itself will tend to become a chaos. Bear in mind
the great extent and variety of the objects which come under the care of
the librarian, all of which are to be classified and reduced to order.
These include not only books upon every earthly subject (and very many
upon unearthly ones) but a possibly wide range of newspapers and
periodicals, a great mass of miscellaneous pamphlets, sometimes of maps
and charts, of manuscripts and broadsides, and frequently collections of
engravings, photographs, and other pictures, all of which come in to form
a part of most libraries. This great complexity of material, too,
exhibits only the physical aspect of the librarian's labors. There are,
besides, the preparation, arrangement and continuation of the catalogue,
in its three or more forms, the charging and crediting of the books in
circulation, the searching of many book lists for purchases, the library
bills and accounts, the supervision and revision of the work of
assistants, the library correspondence, often requiring wide researches
to answer inquiries, the continual aid to readers, and a multitude of
minor objects of attention quite too numerous to name. Is it any
over-statement of the case to say that the librarian who has to organize
and provide for all this physical and intellectual labor, should be
systematic and orderly in a high degree?

That portion of his responsible task which pertains to the arrangement
and classification of books has been elsewhere treated. But there is
required in addition, a faculty of arranging his time, so as to meet
seasonably the multifarious drafts upon it. He should early learn not
only the supreme value of moments, but how to make all the library hours
fruitful of results. To this end the time should be apportioned with
careful reference to each department of library service. One hour may be
set for revising one kind of work of assistants; another for a different
one; another for perusing sale catalogues, and marking _desiderata_ to be
looked up in the library catalogue; another for researches in aid of
readers or correspondents; still another for answering letters on the
many subjects about which librarians are constantly addressed; and still
another for a survey of all the varied interests of the library and its
frequenters, to see what features of the service need strengthening, what
improvements can be made, what errors corrected, and how its general
usefulness can be increased. So to apportion one's time as to get out of
the day (which is all too short for what is to be done in it) the utmost
of accomplishment is a problem requiring much skill, as well as the
ability to profit by experience. One has always to be subject to
interruptions--and these must be allowed for, and in some way made up
for. Remember, when you have lost valuable time with some visitor whose
claims to your attention are paramount, that when to-morrow comes one
should take up early the arrears of work postponed, and make progress
with them, even though unable to finish them.

Another suggestion; proper system in the management and control of one's
time demands that none of it be absorbed by trifles or triflers; and so
every librarian must indispensably know how to get rid of bores. One may
almost always manage to effect this without giving offense, and at the
same time without wasting any time upon them, which is the one thing
needful. The bore is commonly one who, having little or nothing to do,
inflicts himself upon the busy persons of his acquaintance, and
especially upon the ones whom he credits with knowing the most--to wit,
the librarians. Receive him courteously, but keep on steadily at the work
you are doing when he enters. If you are skilful, you can easily do two
things at once, for example, answer your idler friend or your bore, and
revise title-cards, or mark a catalogue, or collate a book, or look up a
quotation, or write a letter, at the same time. Never lose your good
humor, never say that your time is valuable, or that you are very busy;
never hint at his going away; but never quit your work, answer questions
cheerfully, and keep on, allowing nothing to take your eyes off your
business. By and by he will take the hint, if not wholly pachydermatous,
and go away of his own accord. By pursuing this course I have saved
infinite time, and got rid of infinite bores, by one and the same

The faculty of organizing one's work is essential, in order to efficiency
and accomplishment. If you do not have a plan and adhere to it, if you
let this, that, and the other person interrupt you with trifling gossip,
or unnecessary requests, you will never get ahead of your work; on the
contrary, your work will always get ahead of you. The same result will
follow if you interrupt yourself, by yielding to the temptation of
reading just a page or a paragraph of something that attracts your eye
while at work. This dissipation of time, to say nothing of its unfair
appropriation of what belongs to the library, defeats the prompt
accomplishment of the work in hand, and fosters the evil habit of
scattering your forces, in idleness and procrastination.

It ought not to be needful to urge habits of neatness and the love of
order upon candidates for places in libraries. How much a neat and
carefully arranged shelf of books appeals to one's taste, I need not say,
nor urge the point how much an orderly and neatly kept room, or desk, or
table adds to one's comfort. The librarian who has the proper spirit of
his calling should take pains to make the whole library look neat and
attractive, to have a place for everything, and everything in its place.
This, with adequate space existing, will be found easier than to have the
books and other material scattered about in confusion, thus requiring
much more time to find them when wanted. A slovenly-kept library is
certain to provoke public criticism, and this always tells to the
disadvantage of the librarian; while a neatly kept, carefully arranged
collection of books is not only pleasing to the eye, but elicits
favorable judgment from all visitors.

Among the qualities that should enter into the composition of a
successful librarian must be reckoned an inexhaustible patience. He will
be sorely tried in his endeavors to satisfy his own ideals, and sometimes
still more sorely in his efforts to satisfy the public. Against the
mistakes and short-comings of assistants, the ignorance of many readers,
and the unreasonable expectations of others, the hamperings of library
authorities, and the frequently unfounded criticisms of the press, he
should arm himself with a patience and equanimity that are unfailing.
When he knows he is right, he should never be disturbed at complaint, nor
suffer a too sensitive mood to ruffle his feelings. When there is any
foundation for censure, however slight, he should learn by it and apply
the remedy. The many and varied characters who come within the
comprehensive sphere of the librarian necessarily include people of all
tempers and dispositions, as well as of every degree of culture. To be
gracious and courteous to all is his interest as well as his duty. With
the ignorant he will often have to exercise a vast amount of patience,
but he should never betray a supercilious air, as though looking down
upon them from the height of his own superior intelligence. To be always
amiable toward inferiors, superiors, and equals, is to conciliate the
regard of all. Courtesy costs so little, and makes so large a return in
proportion to the investment, that it is surprising not to find it
universal. Yet it is so far from being so that we hear people praising
one whose manners are always affable, as if he were deserving of special
credit for it, as an exception to the general rule. It is frequently
observed that a person of brusque address or crusty speech begets
crustiness in others. There are subtle currents of feeling in human
intercourse, not easy to define, but none the less potent in effect. A
person of marked suavity of speech and bearing radiates about him an
atmosphere of good humor, which insensibly influences the manners and the
speech of others.

There will often come into a public library a man whose whole manner is
aggressive and over-bearing, who acts and talks as if he had a right to
the whole place, including the librarian. No doubt, being a citizen, he
has every right, except the right to violate the rules--or to make
himself disagreeable. The way to meet him is to be neither aggressive,
nor submissive and deferential, but with a cool and pleasant courtesy,
ignoring any idea of unpleasant feeling on your part. You will thus at
least teach a lesson in good manners, which may or may not be learned,
according to circumstances and the hopeful or hopeless character of the

Closely allied to the virtue of patience, is that of unfailing tact. This
will be found an important adjunct in the administration of a public
library. How to meet the innumerable inquiries made of him with just the
proper answer, saying neither too much, nor too little, to be civil to
all, without needless multiplication of words, this requires one to hold
his faculties well in hand, never to forget himself, and to show that no
demand whatever can vex or fluster him. The librarian should know how, or
learn how to adapt himself to all readers, and how to aid their
researches without devoting much time to each. This requires a fine
quality of tact, of adapting one's self quickly to the varied
circumstances of the case in hand. One who has it well developed will go
through the manifold labors and interviews and annoyances of the day
without friction, while one who is without tact will be worried and
fretted until life seems to him a burden.

Need I mention, after all that has been said of the exacting labors that
continually wait upon the librarian, that he should be possessed both of
energy and untiring industry? By the very nature of the calling to which
he is dedicated, he is pledged to earnest and thorough work in it. He
cannot afford to be a trifler or a loiterer on the way, but must push on
continually. He should find time for play, it is true, and for reading
for his own recreation and instruction, but that time should be out of
library hours. And a vigilant and determined economy of time in library
hours will be found a prime necessity. I have dwelt elsewhere upon the
importance of choosing the shortest methods in every piece of work to be
accomplished. Equally important is it to cultivate economy of speech, or
the habit of condensing instructions to assistants, and answers to
inquiries into the fewest words. A library should never be a
circumlocution office. The faculty of condensed expression, though
somewhat rare, can be cultivated.

In the relations existing between librarian and assistants there should
be mutual confidence and support. All are equally interested in the
credit and success of the institution which engages their services, and
all should labor harmoniously to that end. Loyalty to one's employers is
both the duty and the interest of the employed: and the reciprocal duty
of faithfulness to those employed, and interest in their improvement and
success should mark the intercourse of the librarian with his assistants.
He should never be too old nor too wise to learn, and should welcome
suggestions from every intelligent aid. I have suggested the importance
of an even temper in the relations between librarians and readers; and it
is equally important as between all those associated in the
administration of a library. Every one has faults and weaknesses; and
those encountered in others will be viewed with the most charity by those
who are duly conscious of their own. Every one makes mistakes, and these
are often provoking or irritating to one who knows better; but a mild and
pleasant explanation of the error is far more likely to lead to
amendment, than a sharp reproof, leaving hard feeling or bitterness
behind. Under no circumstances is peevishness or passion justifiable.
Library assistants in their bearing toward each other, should suppress
all feelings of censoriousness, fault-finding or jealousy, if they have
them, in favor of civility and good manners, if not of good fellowship.
They are all public servants engaged in a common cause, aiming at the
enlightenment and improvement of the community; they should cherish a
just pride in being selected for this great service, and to help one
another in every step of the work, should be their golden rule.
Everything should be done for the success and usefulness of the library,
and all personal considerations should be merged in public ones.

Turning now to what remains of suggestion regarding the qualities which
should enter into the character, or form a part of the equipment of a
librarian, let me urge the importance of his possessing a truly liberal
and impartial mind. It is due to all who frequent a public library to
find all those in charge ready and willing to aid their researches in
whatever direction they may lie. Their attitude should be one of constant
and sincere open-mindedness. They are to remember that it is the function
of the library to supply the writings of all kinds of authors, on all
sides of all questions. In doing this, it is no part of a librarian's
function to interpose any judgments of his own upon the authors asked
for. He has no right as a librarian to be an advocate of any theories, or
a propagandist of any opinions. His attitude should be one of strict and
absolute impartiality. A public library is the one common property of
all, the one neutral ground where all varieties of character, and all
schools of opinion meet and mingle. Within its hallowed precincts, sacred
to literature and science, the voice of controversy should be hushed.
While the librarian may and should hold his own private opinions with
firmness and entire independence, he should keep them private--as regards
the frequenters of the library. He may, for example, be profoundly
convinced of the truth of the Christian religion; and he is called on, we
will suppose, for books attacking Christianity, like Thomas Paine's "Age
of Reason," or Robert G. Ingersoll's lectures on "Myth and Miracle." It
is his simple duty to supply the writers asked for, without comment, for
in a public library, Christian and Jew, Mahometan and Agnostic, stand on
the same level of absolute equality. The library has the Koran, and the
Book of Mormon, as well as the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament,
and one is to be as freely supplied as the other. A library is an
institution of universal range--of encyclopaedic knowledge, which gathers
in and dispenses to all comers, the various and conflicting opinions of
all writers upon religion, science, politics, philosophy, and sociology.
The librarian may chance to be an ardent Republican or a zealous
Democrat; but in either case, he should show as much alacrity in
furnishing readers with W. J. Bryan's book "The First Battle," as with
McKinley's speeches, or the Republican Hand-Book. A library is no place
for dogmatism; the librarian is pledged, by the very nature of his
profession, which is that of a dispenser of all knowledge--not of a part
of it--to entire liberality, and absolute impartiality. Remembering the
axiom that all errors may be safely tolerated, while reason is left free
to combat them, he should be ever ready to furnish out of the
intellectual arsenal under his charge, the best and strongest weapons to
either side in any conflict of opinion.

It will have been gathered from what has gone before, in recapitulation
of the duties and responsibilities of the librarian's calling, that it is
one demanding a high order of talent. The business of successfully
conducting a public library is complex and difficult. It is full of
never-ending detail, and the work accomplished does not show for what it
is really worth, except in the eyes of the more thoughtful and discerning

I may here bring into view some of the drawbacks and discouragements
incident to the librarian's vocation, together with an outline of the
advantages which belong to it.

In the first place, there is little money in it. No one who looks upon
the acquisition of money as one of the chief aims of life, should think
for a moment of entering on a librarian's career. The prizes in the
profession are few--so few indeed, as to be quite out of the question for
most aspirants. The salaries paid in subordinate positions are very low
in most libraries, and even those of head-librarians are not such that
one can lay up money on them. A lady assistant librarian in one city said
she had found that one of a librarian's proper qualifications was to be
able to live on two meals a day. This doubtless was a humorous
exaggeration, but it is true that the average salaries hitherto paid in
our public libraries, with few exceptions, do not quite come up to those
of public school teachers, taking the various grades into account. Most
of the newly formed libraries are poor, and have to be economical. But
there is some reason to hope that as libraries multiply and their
unspeakable advantages become more fully appreciated, the standard of
compensation for all skilled librarians will rise. I say skilled, because
training and experience are the leading elements which command the better
salaries, in this, as in other professions.

Another drawback to be recognized in the librarian's calling, is that
there are peculiar trials and vexations connected with it. There are
almost no limits to the demands made upon the knowledge and the time of
the librarian. In other professions, teaching for example, there are
prescribed and well-defined routines of the instruction to be given, and
the teacher who thoroughly masters this course, and brings the pupils
through it creditably, has nothing to do beyond. The librarian, on the
other hand, must be, as it were, a teacher of all sciences and
literatures at once. The field to be covered by the wants of readers, and
the inquiries that he is expected to answer, are literally illimitable.
He cannot rest satisfied with what he has already learned, however expert
or learned he may have become; but he must keep on learning forevermore.
The new books that are continually flooding him, the new sciences or new
developments of old ones that arise, must be so far assimilated that he
can give some account of the scope of all of them to inquiring readers.

In the third place, there are special annoyances in the service of a
public, which includes always some inconsiderate and many ignorant
persons, and these will frequently try one's patience, however angelic
and forbearing. So, too, the short-comings of library assistants or
associates may often annoy him, but as all these trials have been before
referred to, it may be added that they are not peculiar to library
service, but are liable to occur in the profession of teaching or in any

In the next place, the peculiar variety and great number of the calls
incessantly made upon the librarian's knowledge, constitute a formidable
draft upon any but the strongest brain. There is no escape from these
continual drafts upon his nervous energy for one who has deliberately
chosen to serve in a public library. And he will sometimes find, wearied
as he often must be with many cares and a perfect flood of questions,
that the most welcome hour of the day is the hour of closing the

Another of the librarian's vexations is frequently the interference with
his proper work by the library authorities. Committees or trustees to
oversee the management and supervise expenditures are necessary to any
public library. Sometimes they are quick-sighted and intelligent persons,
and recognize the importance of letting the librarian work out everything
in his own way, when once satisfied that they have got a competent head
in charge. But there are sometimes men on a board of library control who
are self-conceited and pragmatical, thinking that they know everything
about how a library should be managed, when in fact, they are profoundly
ignorant of the first rudiments of library science. Such men will
sometimes overbear their fellows, who may be more intelligent, but not so
self-asserting, and so manage as to overrule the best and wisest plans,
or the most expedient methods, and vex the very soul of the librarian. In
such cases the only remedy is patience and tact. Some day, what has been
decided wrongly may be reversed, or what has been denied the librarian
may be granted, through the conversion of a minority of the trustees into
a majority, by the gentle suasion and skilful reasoning of the librarian.

There are other drawbacks and discomforts in the course of a librarian's
duties which have been referred to in dealing with the daily work under
his charge. There remains the fact that the profession is no bed of
roses, but a laborious and exacting calling, the price of success in
which is an unremitting industry, and energy inexhaustible. But these
will not appear very formidable requisites to those who have a native
love of work, and it is a fact not to be doubted that work of some kind
is the only salvation of every human creature.

Upon the whole, if the calling of the librarian involves many trials and
vexations, it has also many notable compensations. Foremost among these
is to be reckoned the fact that it opens more and wider avenues to
intellectual culture than any other profession whatever. This comes in a
two-fold way: first, through the stimulus to research given by the
incessant inquiries of readers, and by the very necessity of his being,
as a librarian; and secondly, by the rare facilities for investigation
and improvement supplied by the ample and varied stores of the library
always immediately at hand. Other scholars can commonly command but few
books, unless able to possess a large private library: their researches
in the public one are hampered by the rule that no works of reference can
be withdrawn, and that constitutes a very large and essential class,
constantly needed by every scholar and writer. The librarian, on the
other hand, has them all at his elbow.

In the next place, there are few professions which are in themselves so
attractive as librarianship. Its tendency is both to absorb and to
satisfy the intellectual faculties. No where else is the sense of
continual growth so palpable; in no other field of labor is such an
enlargement of the bounds of one's horizon likely to be found. Compare it
with the profession of teaching. In that, the mind is chained down to a
rigorous course of imparting instruction in a narrow and limited field.
One must perforce go on rehearsing the same rudiments of learning,
grinding over the same Latin gerunds, hearing the same monotonous
recitations, month after month, and year after year. This continual
threshing over of old straw has its uses, but to an ardent and active
mind, it is liable to become very depressing. Such a mind would rather be
kept on the _qui vive_ of activity by a volley of questions fired at him
every hour in a library, than to grind forever in an intellectual
tread-mill, with no hope of change and very little of relief. The very
variety of the employments which fill up the library hours, the
versatility required in the service, contributes to it a certain zest
which other professions lack.

Again, the labors of the librarian bring him into an intimate knowledge
of a wide range of books, or at least an acquaintance with authors and
titles far more extensive than can be acquired by most persons. The
reading of book catalogues is a great and never-ending fascination to one
who has a love for books. The information thus acquired of the mighty
range of the world's literature and science is of inestimable value. Most
of it, if retained in a retentive memory, will enable its possessor to
answer multitudes of the questions continually put to the librarian.

Then, too, the service of a public library is a valuable school for the
study of human nature. One comes in contact with scholars, men of
business, authors, bright young people, journalists, professional men and
cultured women, to an extent unequaled by the opportunities of any other
calling. This variety of intercourse tends to broaden one's sympathies,
to strengthen his powers of observation, to cultivate habits of courtesy,
to develop the faculty of adapting himself to all persons--qualities
which contribute much to social interest and success. The discipline of
such an intercourse may sometimes make out of a silent and bashful
recluse, a ready and engaging adept in conversation, able to command the
attention and conciliate the regard of all. Farther than this, one
brought into so wide a circle of communication with others, cannot fail
to learn something from at least some among them, and so to receive
knowledge as well as to impart it. The curious and diverse elements of
character brought out in such intercourse will make their impress, and
may have their value. All these many facilities for intellectual
intercourse both with books and with men, contribute directly to keep
the librarian in contact with all the great objects of human interest.
They supply an unfailing stimulus to his intellectual and moral nature.
They give any active-minded person rare facilities, not only for the
acquisition, but for the communication of ideas. And there is one avenue
for such communication that is peculiarly open to one whose mind is
stored with the ripe fruits of reading and observation. I mean the field
of authorship--not necessarily the authorship of books, but of writing in
the form of essays, reviews, lectures, stories or contributions to the
periodical press. There are in every community literary societies, clubs,
and evening gatherings, where such contributions are always in demand,
and always welcomed, in exact proportion to their inherent interest and
value. Such avenues for the communication of one's thought are of great
and sometimes permanent advantage. The knowledge which we acquire is
comparatively barren, until it is shared with others. And whether this be
in an appreciative circle of listeners, or in the press, it gives a
certain stimulus and reward to the thinker and writer, which nothing else
can impart. To convey one's best thought to the world is one of the
purest and highest of intellectual pleasures.

Let me add that there are two sides to the question of authorship, as
concerns librarians. On the one hand, their advantages for entering that
field are undoubtedly superior, both from the ready command of the most
abundant material, and from experience in its use. On the other hand,
while authorship may be said to be the most besetting temptation of the
librarian, it is one that should be steadily resisted whenever it
encroaches on the time and attention due to library duties. If he makes
it a rule to write nothing and to study nothing for his own objects
during library hours, he is safe. Some years since it was a common
subject of reproach regarding the librarians of several university
libraries in England that they were so engaged in writing books, that no
scholar could get at them for aid in his literary researches. The
librarians and assistants employed in the British Museum Library, where
the hours of service are short, have found time to produce numerous
contributions to literature. Witness the works, as authors and editors,
of Sir Henry Ellis, Antonio Panizzi, Dr. Richard Garnett, Edward Edwards,
J. Winter Jones, Thomas Watts, George Smith, and others. And in America,
the late Justin Winsor was one of the most prolific and versatile of
authors, while John Fiske, once assistant librarian at Harvard, Reuben A.
Guild, William F. Poole, George H. Moore, J. N. Larned, Frederick
Saunders and others have been copious contributors to the press.

       *       *       *       *       *

In a retrospective view of what has been said in respect to the
qualifications of a librarian, it may appear that I have insisted upon
too high a standard, and have claimed that he should be possessed of
every virtue under heaven. I freely admit that I have aimed to paint the
portrait of the ideal librarian; and I have done it in order to show what
might be accomplished, rather than what has been accomplished. To set
one's mark high--higher even than we are likely to reach, is the surest
way to attain real excellence in any vocation. It is very true that it is
not given to mortals to achieve perfection: but it is none the less our
business to aim at it, and the higher the ideal, the nearer we are likely
to come to a notable success in the work we have chosen.

Librarianship furnishes one of the widest fields for the most eminent
attainments. The librarian, more than any other person whatever, is
brought into contact with those who are hungering and thirsting after
knowledge. He should be able to satisfy those longings, to lead
inquirers in the way they should go, and to be to all who seek his
assistance a guide, philosopher and friend. Of all the pleasures which a
generous mind is capable of enjoying, that of aiding and enlightening
others is one of the finest and most delightful. To learn continually for
one's self is a noble ambition, but to learn for the sake of
communicating to others, is a far nobler one. In fact, the librarian
becomes most widely useful by effacing himself, as it were, in seeking to
promote the intelligence of the community in which he lives. One of the
best librarians in the country said that such were the privileges and
opportunities of the profession, that one might well afford to live on
bread and water for the sake of being a librarian, provided one had no
family to support.

There is a new and signally marked advance in recent years, in the public
idea of what constitutes a librarian. The old idea of a librarian was
that of a guardian or keeper of books--not a diffuser of knowledge, but a
mere custodian of it. This idea had its origin in ages when books were
few, were printed chiefly in dead languages, and rendered still more dead
by being chained to the shelves or tables of the library. The librarian
might be a monk, or a professor, or a priest, or a doctor of law, or
theology, or medicine, but in any case his function was to guard the
books, and not to dispense them. Those who resorted to the library were
kept at arm's length, as it were, and the fewer there were who came, the
better the grim or studious custodian was pleased. Every inquiry which
broke the profound silence of the cloistered library was a kind of rude
interruption, and when it was answered, the perfunctory librarian resumed
his reading or his studies. The institution appeared to exist, not for
the benefit of the people, but for that of the librarian; or for the
benefit, besides, of a few sequestered scholars, like himself, and any
wide popular use of it would have been viewed as a kind of profanation.

We have changed all that in the modern world, and library service is now
one of the busiest occupations in the whole range of human enterprise.
One cannot succeed in the profession, if his main idea is that a public
library is a nice and easy place where one may do one's own reading and
writing to the best advantage. A library is an intellectual and material
work-shop, in which there is no room for fossils nor for drones. My only
conception of a useful library is a library that is used--and the same of
a librarian. He should be a lover of books--but not a book-worm. If his
tendencies toward idealism are strong, he should hold them in check by
addicting himself to steady, practical, every-day work. While careful of
all details, he should not be mastered by them. If I have sometimes
seemed to dwell upon trifling or obvious suggestions as to temper, or
conduct, or methods, let it be remembered that trifles make up
perfection, and that perfection is no trifle.

I once quoted the saying that "the librarian who reads is lost"; but it
would be far truer to say that the librarian who does not read is lost;
only he should read wisely and with a purpose. He should make his reading
helpful in giving him a wide knowledge of facts, of thoughts, and of
illustrations, which will come perpetually in play in his daily
intercourse with an inquiring public.



Let us now consider the subject of the uses of public libraries to
schools and those connected with them. Most town and city libraries are
supported, like the free schools, by the public money, drawn from the
tax-payers, and supposed to be expended for the common benefit of all the
people. It results that one leading object of the library should be to
acquire such a collection of books as will be in the highest degree
useful to all. And especially should the wants of the younger generation
be cared for, since they are always not only nearly one half of the
community, but they are also to become the future citizens of the
republic. What we learn in youth is likely to make a more marked and
lasting impression than what we may acquire in later years. And the
public library should be viewed as the most important and necessary
adjunct of the school, in the instruction and improvement of the young.
Each is adapted to supply what the other lacks. The school supplies oral
instruction and public exercises in various departments of learning; but
it has few or no books, beyond the class text-books which are used in
these instructions. The library, on the other hand, is a silent school of
learning, free to all, and supplying a wide range of information, in
books adapted to every age. It thus supplements, and in proportion to the
extent and judicious choice of its collections, helps to complete that
education, which the school falls short of. In this view, we see the
great importance of making sure that the public library has not only a
full supply of the best books in every field, avoiding (as previously
urged) the bad or the inferior ones, but also that it has the best
juvenile and elementary literature in ample supply. This subject of
reading for the young has of late years come into unprecedented
prominence. Formerly, and even up to the middle of our century, very
slight attention was paid to it, either by authors or readers. Whole
generations had been brought up on the New England Primer, with its
grotesque wood-cuts, and antique theology in prose and verse, with a few
moral narratives in addition, as solemn as a meeting-house, like the
"Dairyman's Daughter," the "History of Sandford and Merton," or "The
Shepherd of Salisbury Plain." Very dreary and melancholy do such books
appear to the frequenters of our modern libraries, filled as they now are
with thousands of volumes of lively and entertaining juvenile books.

The transition from the old to the new in this class of literature was
through the Sunday-school and religious tract society books, professedly
adapted to the young. While some of these had enough of interest to be
fairly readable, if one had no other resource, the mass were irredeemably
stale and poor. The mawkishness of the sentiment was only surpassed by
the feebleness of the style. At last, weary of the goody-goody and
artificial school of juvenile books, which had been produced for
generations, until a surfeit of it led to something like a nausea in the
public mind, there came a new type of writers for the young, who at least
began to speak the language of reason. The dry bones took on some
semblance of life and of human nature, and boys and girls were painted as
real boys and genuine girls, instead of lifeless dolls and manikins. The
reformation went on, until we now have a world of books for the young to
choose from, very many of which are fresh and entertaining.

But the very wealth and redundancy of such literature is a new
embarrassment to the librarian, who must indispensably make a selection,
since no library can have or ought to have it all. Recurring to the
function of the public library as the coadjutor of the school, let us see
what classes of books should form essential parts of its stores.

1. As geography, or an account of the earth on which we live, is a
fundamental part of education, the library should possess a liberal
selection of the best books in that science. The latest general gazetteer
of the world, the best modern and a good ancient atlas, one or more of
the great general collections of voyages, a set of Baedeker's admirable
and inexpensive guide books, and descriptive works or travels in nearly
all countries--those in America and Europe predominating--should be
secured. The scholars of all grades will thus be able to supplement their
studies by ready reference, and every part of the globe will lie open
before them, as it were, by the aid of the library.

2. The best and latest text-books in all the sciences, as geology,
chemistry, natural history, physics, botany, agriculture, mechanic arts,
mathematics, mental and moral science, architecture, fine arts, music,
sociology, political science, etc., should be accessible.

3. Every important history, with all the latest manuals or elementary
books in general and national history should be found.

4. The great collections of biography, with separate lives of all noted
characters, should be provided.

5. Dictionaries, cyclopaedias, statistical annuals, and other books of
reference will be needed in abundance.

6. A small but select number of approved works in law, medicine, and
theology should be embraced in the library.

7. I need not add that the poets and novelists should be well
represented, as that goes without saying in all popular libraries.

And special attention should be paid to building up a collection of the
best books for juvenile readers, such as have passed the ordeal of good
critical judgment among the librarians, as eminently fit to be read.
There are several useful catalogues of such reading, as: Caroline M.
Hewins' "Books for the Young," G. E. Hardy's "Five Hundred Books for the
Young," and the admirable "List of Books for Girls and Women" by Augusta
H. Leypoldt and Geo. Iles, contributed to by many experts, and copiously
supplied with notes describing the scope and quality of the books. The
last two are published by the Library Bureau.

With this broad equipment of the best books in every field, and vigilance
in constant exercise to add fresh stores from the constantly appearing
and often improved text-books in every science, the library will be a
treasury of knowledge both for teachers and pupils in the schools. And
the fact should not be overlooked, that there will be found as much
growth for teachers as for scholars in such a collection of books. Very
few teachers, save those of well-furnished minds and of much careful
reading, are competent to guide their scholars into the highways and
byways of knowledge, as the librarian should be able to do.

To establish a relation of confidence and aid with teachers is the
preliminary step to be taken in order to make the library at once
practically useful to them and to their scholars. In case there are
several public schools in charge of a general superintendent, that
officer should be first consulted, and tendered the free aid of the
library and its librarian for himself and the teachers. In some public
libraries, the school superintendent is made an _ex officio_ member of
the library board. Then suitable regulations should be mutually agreed
upon, fixing the number of books to be drawn on account of the schools at
any one time, and the period of return to the library. It is most usual
to charge such books on teachers' cards, or account, to fix
responsibility, although the teachers loan them to the scholars at their

In places where there are no school libraries proper, the public library
will need to provide a goodly number of duplicates, in order to meet the
special school demand. This, however, will usually be of low-priced
rather than costly books, as the elementary text-books do not draw
heavily upon library funds.

A very attractive feature in providing books for the young is the large
number of illustrated books now available to all libraries. All the
kingdoms of nature are depicted in these introductory manuals of science,
rendering its pursuit more interesting, and cultivating the habits of
observation of form and of proportion, in the minds of the young. Pupils
who have never accomplished anything in school have been roused by
interest in illustrated natural histories to take an eager interest in
learning all about birds and animals. This always leads on and up to
other study, since the mind that is once awakened to observation and to
thought, needs only a slight guidance to develop an unappeasable hunger
for finding out all about things.

The ancient maxim that "it is only the first step that costs" is
especially true in the great art of education. It matters little what it
is that first awakens the intellect--the great fact is that it is
awakened, and sleeps no more thenceforward. A mottled bird's egg, found
on the way to school, excites the little finder to ascertain the name of
the bird that laid it. The school or the teacher supplies no means of
finding out, but the public library has books upon birds, with colored
plates of their eggs, and an eager search ensues, until the young student
is rewarded by finding the very bird, with its name, plumage, habits,
size, and season, all described. That child has taken an enormous step
forward on the road to knowledge, which will never be forgotten.

Instances might be multiplied indefinitely of such valuable aids to
research, afforded by libraries, all along the innumerable roads
travelled by students of every age in search of information. One of the
most profitable of school exercises is to take up successively the great
men and notable women of the past, and, by the effective and practical
aid of the libraries, to find out what is best worth knowing about
Columbus, Franklin, Walter Scott, Irving, Prescott, Bancroft, Longfellow,
Hawthorne, Whittier, Emerson, Lowell, Victor Hugo, or others too numerous
to name. Reading Longfellow's Evangeline will lead one to search out the
history and geography of Acadia, and so fix indelibly the practical facts
concerned, as well as the imagery of a fine poem. So in the notable
events of history, if a study is made of the English Commonwealth, or the
French Revolution, or the war between the United States and England in
1812-15, the library will supply the student with copious materials for

Not alone in the fields of science, history, and biography, but in the
attractive fields of literature, also, can the libraries aid and
supplement the teachings of the school. A fine poem, or a simple,
humorous, or pathetic story, told with artless grace or notable literary
skill, when read aloud by a teacher in school, awakens a desire in many
to have the same book at home to read, re-read, and perhaps commit to
memory the finer passages. What more inspiring or pleasing reading than
some of Longfellow's poems, or the Vicar of Wakefield, or Milton's
L'Allegro and Il Penseroso, or Saintine's Picciola, or selections from
the poems of Holmes, Whittier, Kipling, or Lowell? For all these and
similar wants, the library has an unfailing supply.

As a practical illustration of the extensive, use of books by schools in
some advanced communities, I may note that Librarian Green, of the
Worcester (Mass.) Public Library, said in 1891 that his average daily
account of the books loaned to schools in two busy winter months showed
over 1,600 volumes thus in daily use. This too, was in addition to all
that were drawn out by pupils on their own independent cards as
borrowers. Such a record speaks volumes.

In the same city, where the Massachusetts State Normal School is located,
sixty-four per cent. of the scholars visited the library to look up
subjects connected with their studies.

A forcible argument for librarians taking an interest in reading for
schools is that both parents and teachers often neglect to see that the
young get only proper books to read. The children are themselves quite
ignorant what to choose, and if left to themselves, are likely to choose
unwisely, and to read story papers or quite unimproving books. Their
parents, busied as they are, commonly give no thought to the matter, and
are quite destitute of that knowledge of the various classes of books
which it is the province of the librarian to know and to discriminate.
Teachers themselves do not possess this special knowledge, except in rare
instances, and have to become far more conversant with libraries than is
usual, in order to acquire it.

That the very young, left to themselves, will choose many bad or
worthless books is shown in the account of a principal of a school in San
Francisco, who found that sixty per cent. of the books drawn from the
public library by pupils had been dime novels, or other worthless
literature. The wide prevalence of the dime novel evil appeared in the
report of the reading of 1,000 boys in a western New York city. Out of
this number, 472 (or nearly one-half) were in the habit of devouring this
pernicious trash, procured in most cases by purchase at the news stands.
The matter was taken up by teachers, and, by wise direction and by aid of
the public library, the reading of these youthful candidates for
citizenship was led into more improving fields. To lead a mind in the
formative stage from the low to the high, from tales of wild adventure to
the best stories for the young, is by no means difficult. Take a book
that you know is wholesome and entertaining, and it will be eagerly read
by almost every one. There is an endless variety of good books adapted to
the most rudimentary capacity. Even young minds can become interested in
the works of standard writers, if the proper selection is made. Wonderful
is the stimulus which the reading of a purely written, fascinating book
gives to the young mind. It opens the way for more books and for infinite
growth. All that is needed is to set the youth in the right direction,
and he will go forward with rapid strides of his own accord. This
teaching how to read is really the most profitable part of any education.
To recite endless lessons is not education: and one book eagerly read
through, has often proved more valuable than all the text-books that ever
were printed.


Closely allied to the benefits derived from the library by the teachers
and scholars in public schools are its uses to all those engaged in the
pursuit of higher education. For our colleges and universities and their
researches, the library must have all that we have suggested as important
for the schools, and a great deal more. The term university implies an
education as broad as the whole world of books can supply: yet we must
here meet with limitations that are inevitable. In this country we have
to regret the application of the word "university" to institutions where
the training is only academical, or at the highest, collegiate. The
university, properly speaking, is an institution for the most advanced
scholars or graduates of our colleges. Just as the college takes up and
carries forward the training of those who have been through the academy,
the seminary, or the high school, so it is the function of the university
to carry forward (we will not say complete) the education of the graduate
of the college. No education is ever completed: the doctor who has
received the highest honors at the university has only begun his
education--for that is to go on through life--and who knows how far

Now the aid which a well equipped library can furnish to all these higher
institutions of learning, the academy, the seminary, the college, and the
university, is quite incalculable. Their students are constantly engaged
upon themes which not only demand the text-books they study, but
collateral illustrations almost without number. The professors, too, who
impart instruction, perpetually need to be instructed themselves, with
fuller knowledge upon the themes they are daily called upon to elucidate.
There is no text-book that can teach all, or anywhere near all there is
upon the subject it professes to cover. So the library, which has many
books upon that subject, comes in to supply its deficiencies. And the
librarian is useful to the professors and students just in proportion as
he knows, not the contents, but the range of books upon each subject
sought to be investigated. Here is where the subject catalogue, or the
dictionary catalogue, combining the subjects and the authors under a
single alphabet, comes into play. But, as no catalogue of subjects was
ever yet up to date in any considerable library, the librarian should be
able to supplement the catalogue by his own knowledge of later works in
any line of inquiry.

The most profitable studies carried on in libraries are, beyond all
question, what we may term topical researches. To pursue one subject
though many authorities is the true way to arrive at comprehensive
knowledge. And in this kind of research, the librarian ought to be better
equipped than any who frequent his library. Why? Simply because his
business is bibliography; which is not the business of learned
professors, or other scholars who visit the library.

The late Librarian Winsor said that he considered the librarian's
instruction far more valuable than that of the specialist. And this may
be owing largely to the point of view, as well as to the training, of
each. The specialist, perhaps, is an enthusiast or a devotee to his
science, and so apt to give undue importance to the details of it, or to
magnify some one feature: the librarian, on the other hand, who is
nothing if not comprehensive, takes the larger view of the wide field of
literature on each subject, and his suggestions concerning sources of
information are correspondingly valuable.

In those constantly arising questions which form the subjects of essays
or discussions in all institutions of learning, the well-furnished
library is an unfailing resource. The student who finds his unaided mind
almost a blank upon the topic given out for treatment, resorts at once to
the public library, searches catalogues, questions the librarian, and
surrounds himself with books and periodicals which may throw light upon
it. He is soon master of facts and reasonings which enable him to start
upon a train of thought that bears fruit in an essay or discourse. In
fact, it may be laid down as an axiom, that nearly every new book that is
written is indebted to the library for most of its ideas, its facts, or
its illustrations, so that libraries actually beget libraries.

Some of the endlessly diversified uses of a well-equipped library, not
only to scholars but to the general public, may here be referred to.
Among the most sought for sources of information, the periodical press,
both of the past and the current time, holds a prominent rank. When it is
considered how far-reaching are the fields embraced in the wide range of
these periodicals, literary, religious, scientific, political, technical,
philosophical, social, medical, legal, educational, agricultural,
bibliographical, commercial, financial, historical, mechanical, nautical,
military, artistic, musical, dramatic, typographical, sanitary, sporting,
economic, and miscellaneous, is it any wonder that specialists and
writers for the press seek and find ready aid therein for their
many-sided labors?

To the skeptical mind, accustomed to undervalue what does not happen to
come within the range of his pet idols or pursuits, the observation of a
single day's multifold research in a great library might be in the nature
of a revelation. Hither flock the ever-present searchers into family
history, laying under contribution all the genealogies and town and
county histories which the country has produced. Here one finds an
industrious compiler intent upon the history of American duels, for which
the many files of Northern and Southern newspapers, reaching back to the
beginning of the century, afford copious material. At another table sits
a deputation from a government department, commissioned to make a record
of all notable strikes and labor troubles for a series of years, to be
gleaned from the columns of the journals of leading cities.

An absorbed reader of French romances sits side by side with a clergyman
perusing homilies, or endeavoring to elucidate, through a mass of
commentators, a special text. Here are to be found ladies in pursuit of
costumes of every age; artists turning over the great folio galleries of
Europe for models or suggestions; lawyers seeking precedents or leading
cases; journalists verifying dates, speeches, conventions, or other
forgotten facts; engineers studying the literature of railways or
machinery; actors or amateurs in search of plays or works on the dramatic
art; physicians looking up biographies of their profession or the history
of epidemics; students of heraldry after coats of arms; inventors
searching the specifications and drawings of patents; historical students
pursuing some special field in American or foreign annals; scientists
verifying facts or citations by original authorities; searchers tracing
personal residences or deaths in old directories or newspapers; querists
seeking for the words of some half-remembered passage in poetry or prose,
or the original author of one of the myriad proverbs which have no
father; architects or builders of houses comparing hundreds of designs
and models; teachers perusing works on education or comparing text-books
new or old; readers absorbing the great poems of the world; writers in
pursuit of new or curious themes among books of antiquities or folk-lore;
students of all the questions of finance and economic science;
naturalists seeking to trace through many volumes descriptions of
species; pursuers of military or naval history or science; enthusiasts
venturing into the occult domains of spiritualism or thaumaturgy;
explorers of voyages and travels in every region of the globe; fair
readers, with dreamy eyes, devouring the last psychological novel;
devotees of musical art perusing the lives or the scores of great
composers; college and high-school students intent upon "booking up" on
themes of study or composition or debate; and a host of other seekers
after suggestion or information in a library of encyclopedic range.



The Library, from very early times, has enlisted the enthusiasm of the
learned, and the encomiums of the wise. The actual origin of the earliest
collection of books (or rather of manuscripts) is lost in the mists of
remote antiquity. Notwithstanding professed descriptions of several
libraries found in Aulus Gellius, Athenaeus, and others, who wrote
centuries after the alleged collections were made, we lack the convincing
evidence of eye-witnesses and contemporaries. But so far as critical
research has run, the earliest monuments of man which approached
collections of written records are found not in Europe, but in Africa and

That land of wonders, Egypt, abounds in hieroglyphic inscriptions, going
back, as is agreed by modern scholars, to the year 2000 before the
Christian era. A Papyrus manuscript, too, exists, which is assigned to
about 1600 B. C. And the earliest recorded collection of books in the
world, though perhaps not the first that existed, was that of the
Egyptian king Ramses I.--B. C. 1400, near Thebes, which Diodorus Siculus
says bore the inscription "Dispensary of the soul." Thus early were books
regarded as remedial agents of great force and virtue.

But before the library of Ramses the Egyptian king, there existed in
Babylonia collections of books, written not on parchment, nor on the more
perishable papyrus, but on clay. Whole poems, fables, laws, and hymns of
the gods have been found, stamped in small characters upon baked bricks.
These clay tablets or books were arranged in numerical order, and the
library at Agane, which existed about 2000 B. C. even had a catalogue, in
which each piece of literature was numbered, so that readers had only to
write down the number of the tablet wanted, and the librarian would hand
it over. Two of these curious poems in clay have been found intact, one
on the deluge, the other on the descent of Istar into Hades.

The next ancient library in point of time yet known to us was gathered in
Asia by an Assyrian King, and this collection has actually come down to
us, _in propria persona_. Buried beneath the earth for centuries, the
archaeologist Layard discovered in 1850 at Nineveh, an extensive
collection of tablets or tiles of clay, covered with cuneiform
characters, and representing some ten thousand distinct works or
documents. The Assyrian monarch Sardanapalus, a great patron of letters,
was the collector of this primitive and curious library of clay. He
flourished about 1650 B. C.

In Greece, where a copious and magnificent literature had grown up
centuries before Christ, Pisistratus collected a library at Athens, and
died B. C. 527. When Xerxes captured Athens, this collection, which
represents the earliest record of a library dedicated to the public, was
carried off to Persia, but restored two centuries later. The renowned
philosopher Aristotle gathered one of the largest Greek libraries, about
350 B. C. said to have embraced about 1400 volumes, or rather, rolls.
Plato called Aristotle's residence "the house of the reader." This
library, also, was carried off to Scepsis, and later by the victorious
Sulla to Rome. History shows that the Greek collections were the earliest
"travelling libraries" on record, though they went as the spoils of war,
and not to spread abroad learning by the arts of peace.

Rome having conquered Athens, we hear no more of the Athenian libraries,
but the seat of ancient learning was transferred to Alexandria, where
were gathered under the liberal sway of the Ptolemies, more books than
had ever been assembled together in any part of the world. Marc Antony
presented to Cleopatra the library of the Kings of Pergamus, said to have
contained 200,000 rolls. There is no space to sketch the ancient
libraries, so scantily commemorated, of Greece. Through Aristotle's
enthusiasm for learning, as it is believed, the Ptolemies were fired with
the zeal of book-collecting, and their capital of Alexandria became the
seat of extensive libraries, stored in the Brucheion and the Serapeum.
Here, according to general belief, occurred the burning of the famous
Alexandrian library of 700,000 volumes, by the Saracens under Omar, A. D.
640. If any one would have an object lesson in the uncertainties of
history and of human testimony, let him read the various conflicting
accounts of the writers who have treated upon this subject. The number of
volumes varies from 700,000, as stated by Aulus Gellius, to 100,000 by
Eusebius. The fact that in ancient times each book or division of an
author's work written on a roll of papyrus was reckoned as a volume, may
account for the exaggeration, since the nine books of Herodotus would
thus make nine volumes, and the twenty-four of Homer's Iliad, twenty-four
volumes, instead of one. So, by an arbitrary application of averages, the
size of the Alexandrian Library might be brought within reasonable
dimensions, though there is nothing more misleading than the doctrine of
averages, unless indeed it be a false analogy. But that any library eight
hundred years before the invention of printing contained 700,000 volumes
in the modern sense of the word, when the largest collection in the
world, three centuries after books began to be multiplied by types, held
less than 100,000 volumes, is one of the wildest fictions which writers
have imposed upon the credulity of ages.

I cannot even touch upon the libraries of the Romans, though we have very
attractive accounts, among others, of the literary riches of Lucullus, of
Atticus, and of Cicero. The first library in Rome was founded 167 B. C.
and in the Augustan age they multiplied, until there were twenty-nine
public libraries in Hadrian's time, 120 A. D. The emperor Julian, in the
fourth century, was a founder of libraries, and is said to have placed
over the doors this inscription: "_Alii quidem equos amant, alii oves,
alii feros; mihi vero a puerulo mirandum acquirendi et possidendi libros
insedit desiderium._"

The libraries of the middle ages were neither large nor numerous. The
neglect of learning and of literature was wide-spread; only in the
monasteries of Europe were to be found scholars who kept alive the sacred
flame. In these were renewed those fruitful labors of the _scriptorium_
which had preserved and multiplied so many precious books in classic
times among the Romans. The monks, indeed, were not seldom creators as
well as copyists, though the works which they composed were mainly
theological (as became their sacred profession and ascetic life). The
Latin, however, being the almost universal language for so many
centuries, the love of learning conspired to widen the field of monastic
study. Many zealous ecclesiastics were found who revived the classic
authors, and copies of the works of poets, historians, philosophers and
rhetoricians were multiplied. Then were gradually formed those monastic
libraries to which so many thousands of mediaeval scholars owed a debt of
gratitude. The order of Benedictines took a leading and effective part in
this revival of learning. Taxes were levied on the inmates of monasteries
expressly for furnishing the library with books, and the novices in many
houses must contribute writing materials upon entering, and books at the
close of their novitiate, for the enrichment of the library. Among
notably valuable libraries, several of which still survive, were those of
Monte Cassino in Italy, the Abbey of Fleury in France, St. Gall in
Switzerland, and that of the illustrious congregation of St. Maur in
France. The latter had at one time no less than one hundred and seven
writers engaged in multiplying books.

The first library in England is recorded (in the Canterbury Chartulary)
to have been given by Pope Gregory the Great, and brought by St.
Augustine, first Archbishop of Canterbury, on his mission to England
about A. D. 600. It consisted of nine precious volumes on vellum, being
copies of parts of the Scriptures, with commentaries, and a volume of
Lives of the Martyrs. The library of the Benedictine Monastery at
Canterbury had grown in the 13th century to 3000 titles, being very rich
in theology, but with many books also in history, poetry and science. At
York had been founded, in the 8th century, a noble library by Archbishop
Egbert, and the great scholar Alcuin here acquired, amidst that "infinite
number of excellent books," his life-long devotion to literature. When he
removed to Tours, in France, he lamented the loss of the literary
treasures of York, in a poem composed of excellent hexameters. He begged
of Charlemagne to send into Britain to procure books, "that the garden of
paradise may not be confined to York."

Fine libraries were also gathered at the monasteries of Durham, of
Glastonbury, and of Croyland, and at the Abbeys of Whitby and

Nor were the orders of Franciscans and Dominicans far behind as
book-collectors, though they commonly preferred to buy rather than to
transcribe manuscripts, like the Benedictines. "In every convent of
friars," wrote Fitzralph to the Pope, in 1350, "there is a large and
noble library." And Richard de Bury, Bishop of Durham, and Chancellor of
England in 1334, whose "Philobiblon" is the most eloquent treatise in
praise of books ever written, said, when visiting places where the
mendicants had convents; "there amid the deepest poverty, we found the
most precious riches stored up." The Pope, it appears, relaxed for these
orders the rigor of their vows of poverty, in favor of amassing
books--mindful, doubtless, of that saying of Solomon the wise--"Therefore
get wisdom, because it is better than gold."

Richard de Bury, the enthusiast of learning, wrote thus:

"The library, therefore, of wisdom is more precious than all riches, and
nothing that can be wished for is worthy to be compared with it.
Whosoever, therefore, acknowledges himself to be a zealous follower of
the truth, of happiness, of wisdom, of science, or even of the faith,
must of necessity make himself a lover of books."

And said Joseph Hall, Bishop of Norwich--"I can wonder at nothing more
than how a man can be idle--but of all others a scholar; in so many
improvements of reason, in such sweetness of knowledge, in such variety
of studies, in such importunity of thoughts. To find wit in poetry; in
philosophy profoundness; in history wonder of events; in oratory, sweet
eloquence; in divinity, supernatural light and holy devotion--whom would
it not ravish with delight?"

Charles the Fifth of France amassed a fine library, afterwards sold to an
English nobleman. Lorenzo de Medici, of Hungary, and Frederic Duke of
Urbino, each gathered in the 15th century a magnificent collection of
books. All of these became widely dispersed in later years, though the
manuscripts of the Duke of Urbino's collection are preserved in the
library of the Vatican.

I may here note a very few of the most extensive library collections now
existing in Europe and America.

1. Of the great public libraries of Europe, which owe much of their
riches to the government privilege of the copy-tax, the national library
of France is the oldest and the largest, now numbering two million six
hundred thousand volumes. Founded in the 15th century, it has had four
hundred years of opportunity for steady and large increase. Paris abounds
in other public libraries also, in which respect it is far superior to

2. Next to the Bibliothèque nationale of France, comes the Library of the
British Museum, with 2,000,000 volumes, very rich both in manuscripts and
in printed books in all languages. A liberal Parliamentary grant of
$60,000 a year for purchase of books and manuscripts keeps this great
collection well up to date as to all important new works, besides
enabling it constantly to fill up deficiencies in the literature of the
past. Following this, among the great libraries having over half a
million books, come in numerical order

 3. Russian Imperial Library, St. Petersburg,    1,200,000
 4. Royal Library of Prussia, Berlin,            1,000,000
 5. Royal Library of Bavaria, Munich,              980,000
 6. Library of Congress, Washington City,          840,000
 7. Boston Public Library,                         734,000
 8. University Library, Strasburg, Germany,        700,000
 9. Imperial Public Library, Vienna,               575,000
10. Bodleian Library, Oxford                       530,000

It is a notable fact that among the richest monuments of learning that
have been gathered by mankind, the University libraries hold a very high
rank. Reckoned in number of volumes, there are many of them which far
outrank the government libraries, except in six instances. Out of 174
libraries, all exceeding 100,000 volumes, as reported in the annual
_Minerva_, in October, 1898, no less than 72 are the libraries of
universities. Strasburg heads the list, with a noble collection of
700,000 volumes; then Oxford university, whose Bodleian library numbers
530,000; Leipzig university, 504,000; Cambridge university, England,
Göttingen university, and Harvard university, 500,000 each; the
university of Vienna, 475,000; the universities of Heidelberg and of
Munich, 400,000 each; Ghent and Würzburg universities, 350,000 each;
Christiania, Norway, university, and Tübingen, each 340,000; University
of Chicago, 330,000; Copenhagen university, 305,000; Breslau, Cracow,
Rostock and Upsala, 300,000 each; Yale university, New Haven, 280,000;
St. Petersburg, 257,000; Bologna, 255,000; Freiburg and Bonn
universities, 250,000 each; Prague, 245,000; Trinity, Dublin, 232,000;
Königsberg, 231,000; Kiel, 229,000; Naples, 224,000; and Buda-Pest,
210,000. I need not detain you by enumerating those that fall below
200,000 volumes, but will say that the whole number of volumes in the 72
university libraries embraced in my table is more than fifteen millions,
which would be much enlarged if smaller libraries were included. A noble
exhibit is this, which the institutions of the highest education hold up
before us.

       *       *       *       *       *

We may now consider, somewhat more in detail as to particulars, the
origin and growth of the libraries of the United States. The record will
show an amazingly rapid development, chiefly accomplished during the last
quarter of a century, contrasted with the lamentably slow growth of
earlier years.

Thirty years ago the present year, I was invited to give to the American
Social Science Association, then meeting at New York, a discourse upon
Public Libraries in the United States. On recurring to this address, I
have been agreeably surprised to find how completely its facts and
figures belong to the domain of ancient history. For, while it may excite
a smile to allude to anything belonging to a period only thirty years
back as ancient history, yet, so rapid has been the accumulation, not
only of books, but of libraries themselves in that brief period of three
decades, as almost to justify the term employed.

Antiquarians must ever regard with interest the first efforts for the
establishment of public libraries in the New World. The first record of
books dedicated to a public purpose in that part of this country now
occupied by the English-speaking race is, I believe, to be found in the
following entry in the Records of the Virginia Company of London:

"November 15, 1620.--After the Acts of the former Courte were read, a
straunger stept in presentinge a Mapp of S^r Walter Rawlighes contayinge
a Descripcon of Guiana, and with the same fower great books as the Guifte
of one unto the Company that desyred his name might not be made knowne,
whereof one booke was a treatise of St. Augustine of the Citty of God
translated into English, the other three greate Volumes wer the works of
Mr. Perkins' newlie corrected and amended, wch books the Donor desyred
they might be sent to the Colledge in Virginia there to remayne in saftie
to the use of the collegiates thereafter, and not suffered at any time to
be sent abroade or used in the meane while. For wch so worthy a guifte my
Lord of Southampton desyred the p'tie that presented them to returne
deserued thanks from himselfe and the rest of the Company to him that had
so kindly bestowed them."[1]

The college here referred to was the first ever founded in America, and
was seated at Henrico, at the confluence of the James River with the
Chickahominy. It was designed not only for the education of the Virginia
settlers, but to teach science and Christianity to the Indians. Large
contributions were raised in England by Sir Edwin Sandys, and others of
the Virginia Company, for its support. But this Virginia college and its
incipient library were doomed to a speedy extinction. Like so many other
brilliant "prospects for planting arts and learning in America," it did
not survive the perils of the colonial epoch. It was brought to a period
by the bloody Indian massacre of March 22, 1622, when three hundred and
forty-seven of the Virginia settlers were slaughtered in a day, the new
settlement broken up, and the expanding lines of civilization contracted
to the neighborhood of Jamestown.

Harvard University Library was founded in 1638 by the endowment of John
Harvard, who bequeathed to the new college his library and half of his
estate. Soon afterwards enriched by the zealous contributions of English
Puritans and philosophers, of Berkeley, and Baxter, and Lightfoot, and
Sir Kenelm Digby, the first university library in America, after a
century and a quarter of usefulness, was totally destroyed with the
college edifice in the year 1764 by fire. When we contemplate the ravages
of this element, which has consumed so many noble libraries, destroying
not only printed books of priceless value, but often precious manuscripts
which are unique and irreplaceable, a lively sense of regret comes over
us that these creations of the intellect, which should be imperishable,
are even yet at the mercy of an accident in all the libraries of the
world save a very few. The destruction of books in private hands is
natural and inevitable enough, and goes on continually. Whole editions of
books, now sought with avidity as the rarest volumes known to literature,
have been gradually destroyed in innumerable fires, worn out in the hands
of readers, used for waste paper by grocers and petty tradesmen,
swallowed up in the sack of towns, or consumed by dampness, mould, or, in
rare instances, by the remorseless tooth of time. Yet there have always
existed public libraries enough, had they been fire-proof, to have
preserved many copies of every book bequeathed to the world, both before
the invention of printing and since. But, when your insurance office is
bankrupt, what becomes of the insured? When nearly all our public
libraries are so constructed as to become an easy prey to the flames, the
loss of so many books which have completely perished from the earth
ceases to be wonderful.

The growth of Harvard University library, from its second foundation a
century ago, has been steady, though at no time rapid. Select and
valuable in its principal contents, it has received numerous benefactions
from the friends of learning, and promises to become the best, as it
already is much the largest, among the university libraries of the
country. Its present strength is about 500,000 volumes.

The year 1700 witnessed the birth of the first New York library open to
public use. The Rev. John Sharp, then chaplain of His Majesty's forces in
that city (it was in the days of good King William of Orange), bequeathed
his private collection of books to found a "public library" in New York.
The library thus organized was placed in charge of the corporation of the
city, but the first city library of New York languished with little or no
increase until 1754, when a society of gentlemen undertook to found a
public library by subscription, and succeeded so well that the city
authorities turned over to them what remained of the Public City Library.
This was the beginning of the New York Society Library, one of the
largest of the proprietary libraries of the country. It was then, and for
a long time afterwards, commonly known as "The City Library." The
Continental Congress profited by its stores, there being no other library
open to their use; and the First Congress under the Constitution, which
met in New York in 1789, received the free use of the books it contained.
The library is conducted on the share system, the payment of twenty-five
dollars, and an annual assessment of six dollars, giving any one the
privilege of membership. It now contains about 100,000 volumes.

The same year, 1700, in which the New York Library was founded, ten
Connecticut ministers met together at Lyme, each bringing a number of
books, and saying, "I give these books for the founding of a college in
this colony." Such was the foundation of Yale University, an institution
that has done inestimable service to the cause of letters, having been
fruitful of writers of books, as well as of living contributions to the
ranks of every learned profession. Thirty years later, we find the good
Bishop Berkeley pausing from the lofty speculations which absorbed him,
to send over to Yale College what was called "the finest collection of
books that ever came together at one time into America." For a century
and a half the growth of this library was very slow, the college being
oppressed with poverty. In 1869, the number of volumes had risen only to
50,000, but it is cheering to relate that the last thirty years have
witnessed a growth so rapid that in 1899 Yale University Library had
285,000 volumes.

The fourth considerable library founded in the United States was due in a
large degree to the industry and zeal for knowledge of the illustrous
Franklin. As unquestionably the first established proprietary library in
America, the Library Company of Philadelphia merits especial notice. Let
us reverently take a leaf out of the autobiography of the
printer-statesman of Pennsylvania:

"And now I set on foot my first project of a public nature, that for a
subscription library. I drew up the proposals, got them put into form by
our great scrivener, Brockden, and by the help of my friends in the Junto
[the Junto was a club for mutual improvement, founded by Franklin]
procured fifty subscribers at forty shillings each to begin with, and ten
shillings a year for fifty years, the term our company was to continue.
We afterwards obtained a charter, the company being increased to one
hundred; this was the mother of all the North American subscription
libraries now so numerous. It is become a great thing itself, and
continually increasing. These libraries have improved the general
conversation of the Americans, made the common tradesmen and farmers as
intelligent as most gentlemen from other countries, and perhaps have
contributed in some degree to the stand so generally made throughout the
colonies in defence of their privileges."

When this Philadelphia Library was founded, in 1731, not a single city or
town in England possessed a subscription library. Even the library of the
British Museum, since become the greatest collection of books in the
world, save one, was not opened until 1759, more than a quarter of a
century afterwards. Although not designed as a public library of
circulation, save to its own subscribers, the Philadelphia Library has
been kept free to all for reference and consultation. The record of the
gradual increase of the first Philadelphia Library from its first few
hundred volumes, when Franklin was but twenty-five years of age, to its
present rank as the largest proprietary library in America, with 195,000
volumes of books, is highly interesting. Its history, in fact, is to a
large extent the history of intellectual culture in Philadelphia, which
remained, until the second decade in the present century, the foremost
city of the Union in population, and, from 1791 to 1800, the seat of
government of the United States.

The Philadelphia Library Company, in 1774, voted that "the gentlemen who
were to meet in Congress" in that city should be furnished with such
books as they might have occasion for; and the same privilege was
exercised on the return of the Government to that city, in 1791, and
until the removal of Congress to Washington in 1800. During the nine
months' occupation of Philadelphia by the British army, it is refreshing
to read that the conquerors lifted no spear against the Muses' bower, but
that "the officers, without exception, left deposits, and paid hire for
the books borrowed by them." The collection, in respect of early printed
books, is one of the largest and most valuable in America, embracing some
books and files of newspapers which are to be found in no other public
library. The selection of new books has been kept unusually free from the
masses of novels and other ephemeral publications which overload most of
our popular libraries, and the collection, although limited in extent in
every field, and purposely leaving special topics, such as the medical
and natural sciences, to the scientific libraries which abound in
Philadelphia, affords to the man of letters a good working library. The
shares in the library cost forty dollars, with an annual assessment of
four dollars to each stockholder.

In 1869, the great bequest of Doctor James Rush to the Philadelphia
Library of his whole property, valued at over $1,000,000, was accepted by
its stockholders, by the bare majority of five votes in a poll of over
five hundred. This lack of harmony is attributable to the fact that the
bequest, so generous in itself, was hampered by the donor with numerous
conditions, deemed by many friends of the library to be highly onerous
and vexatious. Not the least among these was the following, which is
cited from the will itself:

"Let the library not keep cushioned seats for time-wasting and lounging
readers, nor places for every-day novels, mind-tainting reviews,
controversial politics, scribblings of poetry and prose, biographies of
unknown names, nor for those teachers of disjointed thinking, the daily

Here is one more melancholy instance of a broad and liberal bequest
narrowly bestowed. The spirit which animated the respectable testator in
attempting to exclude the larger part of modern literature from the
library which his money was to benefit may have been unexceptionable
enough. Doubtless there are evils connected with a public supply of
frivolous and trifling literature; and perhaps our periodicals may be
justly chargeable with devoting an undue proportion of their columns to
topics of merely ephemeral interest. But it should never be forgotten
that the literature of any period is and must be largely occupied with
the questions of the day. Thus, and thus only, it becomes a
representative literature, and it is precious to posterity in proportion
as it accurately reflects the spirit, the prejudices, and the
personalities of a time which has passed into history, leaving behind it
no living representatives. If we admit that the development of the human
intellect at any particular period is worth studying, then all books are,
or may become, useful. It is amazing that a person with any pretensions
to discernment should denounce newspapers as unfitted to form a part of a
public library. The best newspapers of the time are sometimes the best
books of the time. A first-class daily journal is an epitome of the
world, recording the life and the deeds of men, their laws and their
literature, their politics and religion, their social and criminal
statistics, the progress of invention and of art, the revolutions of
empires, and the latest results of science. Grant that newspapers are
prejudiced, superficial, unfair; so also are books. Grant that the
journals often give place to things scurrilous and base; but can there be
anything baser or more scurrilous than are suffered to run riot in books?
There is to be found hidden away in the pages of some books such filth as
no man would dare to print in a newspaper, from fear of the instant wrath
of the passers-by.

When I consider the debt which libraries and literature alike owe to the
daily and weekly press, it is difficult to characterize with patience the
Parthian arrow flung at it from the grave of a querulous millionaire, who
will owe to these very newspapers the greater part of his success and his
reputation. The father of the respectable testator, Doctor Benjamin Rush,
has left on record many learned speculations concerning the signs and
evidences of lunacy. We may now add to the number the vagaries of the
author of a ponderous work on the human intellect, who gravely proposed
to hand over to posterity an expurgated copy of the nineteenth century,
with all its newspapers left out.

The Library of Congress, or, as it was called in its first general
catalogue in 1815, "The Library of the United States," was founded in
1800, by the purchase of five thousand dollars' worth of books by act of
Congress, upon the removal of the government to Washington. By the act of
January 26, 1802, entitled "An act concerning the Library for the use of
both Houses of Congress," this library was placed in charge of a joint
committee of both Houses of Congress, consisting of three Senators and
three Representatives, and a Librarian, to be appointed by the President
of the United States. It had grown to the number of only 3,000 volumes in
1814, when the British army made a bonfire of our national Capitol, and
the library was consumed in the ruins. The first library of Congress
being thus destroyed, ex-President Jefferson, then living, involved in
debt, and in his old age, at Monticello, offered his fine private library
of 6,700 volumes to Congress, through friends in that body, the terms of
payment to be made convenient to the public, and the price to be fixed by
a committee. The proposition met with able advocacy and also with some
warm opposition. It is illustrative of the crude conceptions regarding
the uses of books which prevailed in the minds of some members, that the
library was objected to on the somewhat incongruous grounds of embracing
too many editions of the Bible, and a number of the French writers in
skeptical philosophy. It was gravely proposed to pack up this portion of
the library, and return it to the illustrious owner at Monticello, paying
him for the remainder. More enlightened counsels, however, prevailed, and
the nation became possessed, for about $23,000, of a good basis for a
public library which might become worthy of the country. The collection
thus formed grew by slow accretion until, in 1851, it had accumulated
55,000 volumes. On the 24th of December in that year, a defective flue
in the Capitol set fire to the wood-work with which the whole library was
surrounded, and the result was a conflagration, from which 20,000 volumes
only were saved. Congress at once appropriated, with praiseworthy
liberality, $75,000 for the purchase of new books, and $92,500 for
rebuilding the library room in solid iron; the first instance of the
employment of that safe and permanent material, so capable of the
lightest and most beautiful architectural effects, in the entire interior
structure of any public building. The appropriation of $75,000 was
principally expended in the purchase of standard English literature,
including complete sets of many important periodicals, and a selection of
the more costly works in science and the fine arts. In 1866, two wings,
each as large as the central library, and constructed of the same
fire-proof material, were added to it, and quickly filled by the
accession, the same year and the following, of two large libraries, that
of the Smithsonian Institution, and the historical library of Peter
Force, of Washington. The latter was the largest private library ever
then brought together in the United States, but its chief value consisted
in its possession of a very great proportion of the books relating to the
settlement, history, topography, and politics of America, its 45,000
pamphlets, its files of early newspapers of the Revolution, its early
printed books, and its rich assemblage of maps and manuscripts, many of
the latter being original autographs of the highest historical interest,
including military letters and papers of the period of the American
Revolution. The Smithsonian library, the custody of which was accepted by
Congress as a trust, is rich in scientific works in all the languages of
Europe, and forms an extensive and appropriate supplement to the Library
of Congress, the chief strength of which lies in jurisprudence,
political science, history, and books relating to America. Yet no
department of literature or science has been left unrepresented in its
formation, and the fact has been kept steadily in view that the Library
of the Government must become, sooner or later, a universal one. As the
only library which is entitled to the benefit of the copyright law, by
which copies of each publication for which the Government grants an
exclusive right must be deposited in the National Library, this
collection must become annually more important as an exponent of the
growth of American literature. This wise provision of law prevents the
dispersion or destruction of books that tend continually to disappear; a
benefit to the cause of letters, the full value of which it requires
slight reflection to estimate.

This National Library now embraces 840,000 volumes, besides about 250,000
pamphlets. It is freely open, as a library of reference and reading, to
the whole people; but the books are not permitted to be drawn out, except
by Senators and Representatives and a few officials for use at the seat
of government. Its new, commodious and beautiful building, which may
fitly be called the book-palace of the American people, open day and
evening to all comers, is a delight to the eye, and to the mind.

       *       *       *       *       *

The library of the Boston Athenaeum originated, in the year 1806, with a
society of gentlemen of literary tastes, who aimed at creating a
reading-room for the best foreign and American periodicals, together with
a library of books. To this a gallery of art was subsequently added. The
undertaking proved at once successful, leaving us to wonder why
cultivated Boston, though abounding in special and parish libraries,
should so long have done without a good general library; New York having
anticipated her by fifty-two years, and Philadelphia by three-quarters
of a century. The Athenaeum Library is peculiarly rich in files of
American newspapers, both old and new, and its collection of early
pamphlets is one of the largest in the country. In literature and science
it embraces a heavy proportion of the best books, its total number of
volumes being reckoned at 190,000. Its collection of books, pamphlets,
and newspapers relating to the recent civil war is among the completest
known. The price of a share in the Athenaeum is three hundred dollars, a
large sum when compared with that of other proprietary libraries; but it
involves much more valuable property-rights than any other. The annual
assessment is five dollars to shareholders, who alone possess the right
to draw books. The proprietors have also the power to grant free
admission to others, and the library and reading-room are thus thrown
open for reference to a wide range of readers.

The history of the Astor Library, opened in 1854, has been made too
familiar by repeated publication to need repetition here. The generous
founder gave two per cent. out of his fortune of $20,000,000 to create a
free public library for the city which had given him all his wealth. The
gift was a splendid one, greater than had ever before been given in money
to found a library. Moreover, the $400,000 of Mr. Astor, half a century
ago, appeared to be, and perhaps was, a larger sum relatively than four
millions in New York of to-day. Yet it remains true that the bequest was
but one-fiftieth part of the fortune of the donor, and that the growth
and even the proper accommodation of the library must have stopped, but
for the spontaneous supplementary gifts of the principal inheritors of
his vast wealth.

The growth of the Astor library has been very slow, the annual income
from what was left of Mr. Astor's $400,000 bequest, after defraying the
cost of the library building, and the $100,000 expended for books at its
foundation in 1848, having been so small as to necessitate a pinching
economy, both in salaries of the library staff, and in the annual
purchase of books. It was an example of a generous act performed in a
niggardly way. But after the lapse of half a century, enlightened public
policy, building upon the Astor foundation, and on the Lenox and Tilden
bequests for founding public libraries in New York city, is about to
equip that long neglected city with a library worthy of the name. There
has already been gathered from these three united benefactions, a
collection of no less than 450,000 volumes, making the New York Public
Library take rank as the fourth, numerically, in the United States.

While no library in America has yet reached one million volumes, there
are five libraries in Europe, which have passed the million mark. Some of
these, it is true, are repositories of ancient and mediaeval literature,
chiefly, with a considerable representation of the books of the last
century, and but few accessions from the more modern press. Such, for the
most part, are the numerous libraries of Italy, while others, like the
Library of the British Museum, in London, and the National Library, at
Paris, are about equally rich in ancient and modern literature. The one
great advantage which European libraries possess over American consists
in the stores of ancient literature which the accumulations of the past
have given them. This advantage, so far as manuscripts and early printed
books are concerned, can never be overcome. With one or two hundred
thousand volumes as a basis, what but utter neglect can prevent a library
from becoming a great and useful institution? The most moderate share of
discrimination, applied to the selection of current literature, will keep
up the character of the collection as a progressive one. But with nothing
at all as a basis, as most of our large American libraries have started,
it will take generations for us to overtake some of the vast collections
of Europe--even numerically.

In the "American Almanac" for 1837 was published the earliest statistical
account of American libraries which I have found. It is confined to a
statement of the numerical contents of twenty public and university
libraries, being all the American libraries which then (sixty years
since) contained over 10,000 volumes each. The largest library in the
United States at that date was that of the Philadelphia Library Company,
which embraced 44,000 volumes. The first organized effort to collect the
full statistics of libraries in the United States was made in 1849, by
Professor C. C. Jewett, then librarian of the Smithsonian Institution,
and the results were published in 1851, under the auspices of that
institution, in a volume of 207 pages. It contains interesting notices of
numerous libraries, only forty of which, however, contained as many as
10,000 volumes each. In 1859, Mr. W. J. Rhees, of the Smithsonian
Institution, published "A Manual of Public Libraries, Institutions, and
Societies in the United States," a large volume of 687 pages, filled with
statistical information in great detail, and recording the number of
volumes in 1338 libraries. This work was an expansion of that of
Professor Jewett. The next publication of the statistics of American
Libraries, of an official character, was published in "The National
Almanac," Philadelphia, for the year 1864, pp. 58-62, and was prepared by
the present writer. It gave the statistics of 104 libraries, each
numbering 10,000 volumes or upwards, exhibiting a gratifying progress in
all the larger collections, and commemorating the more advanced and
vigorous of the new libraries which had sprung into life.

The work of collecting and publishing the statistics of American
Libraries has for years past been admirably performed by the United
States Bureau of Education. Begun in 1875, that institution has issued
four tabular statements of all libraries responding to its circulars of
inquiry, and having (as last reported in 1897) one thousand volumes or
upwards. Besides these invaluable reports, costing much careful labor and
great expense, the Bureau of Education published, in 1876, an extensive
work wholly devoted to the subject of libraries, bearing the title
"Special Report on Public Libraries in the United States." This
publication (now wholly out of print) consisted of 1222 pages, replete
with information upon the history, management, and condition of American
Libraries, under the editorship of S. R. Warren and S. N. Clark, of the
Bureau of Education. It embraced many original contributions upon topics
connected with library science, by experienced librarians, _viz._:
Messrs. W. F. Poole, Justin Winsor, C. A. Cutter, J. S. Billings, Theo.
Gill, Melvil Dewey, O. H. Robinson, W. I. Fletcher, F. B. Perkins, H. A.
Homes, A. R. Spofford, and others.

I have prepared a table of the numerical contents of the thirty-four
largest libraries in this country in 1897, being all those having 100,000
volumes each or upwards:

Library of Congress, Washington,                          840,000
Boston Public Library, Boston,                            730,000
Harvard University Library, Cambridge,                    510,000
New York Public Library, New York City,                   450,000
University of Chicago Library,                            335,000
New York State Library, Albany,                           320,710
Yale University Library, New Haven,                       285,000
New York Mercantile Library, New York,                    270,000
Columbia University Library, New York,                    260,000
Chicago Public Library,                                   235,385
Cincinnati Public Library,                                223,043
Cornell University Library, Ithaca, N. Y.,                220,000
Sutro Library, San Francisco,                             206,300
Newberry Library, Chicago,                                203,108
Philadelphia Library Company,                             200,000
Philadelphia Mercantile Library,                          190,000
Boston Athenaeum Library,                                 190,000
Enoch Pratt Library, Baltimore,                           185,902
Philadelphia Mercantile Library,                          183,000
Detroit Public Library, Detroit, Mich.,                   148,198
University of Pennsylvania Library, Phila.,               140,000
Princeton University Library, Princeton, N. J.,           135,000
Pennsylvania State Library, Harrisburg,                   134,000
Peabody Institute Library, Baltimore,                     130,000
Cleveland Public Library, Cleveland, O.,                  129,000
St. Louis Public Library,                                 125,000
Mechanics and Tradesmen's Library, New York,              115,185
Free Public Library, Worcester, Mass.,                    115,000
San Francisco Public Library,                             108,066
Philadelphia Free Library,                                105,000
American Antiquarian Society Library, Worcester, Mass.,   105,000
California State Library, Sacramento,                     100,032
Massachusetts State Library, Boston,                      100,000
New York Society Library, New York,                       100,000

Public libraries endowed by private munificence form already a large
class, and these are constantly increasing. Of the public libraries
founded by individual bequest, some of the principal are the Public
Library of New York, the Watkinson Library, at Hartford, the Peabody
Institute Libraries, of Baltimore, and at Danvers and Peabody, Mass., the
Newberry Library and the John Crerar Library at Chicago, the Sutro
Library, San Francisco, the Enoch Pratt Library, Baltimore, and the
Carnegie Libraries at Pittsburgh and Allegheny City, Pa. Nearly all of
them are the growth of the last quarter of a century. The more prominent,
in point of well equipped buildings or collections of books, are here
named, including all which number ten thousand volumes each, or upwards,
among the public libraries associated with the founder's name.

New York Public Library (Astor Lenox and Tilden Foundations),  450,000
Newberry Library, Chicago,                                     203,100
Sutro Library, San Francisco,                                  206,300
Enoch Pratt Library, Baltimore,                                185,900
Peabody Institute Library, Baltimore,                          130,000
Davenport Library, Bath, N. Y.,                                 90,000
Silas Bronson Library, Waterbury, Conn.,                        52,000
Pratt Institute Free Library, Brooklyn, N. Y.,                  51,000
Watkinson Library, Hartford, Conn.,                             47,000
Sage Library, New Brunswick, N. Y.,                             43,000
Case Library, Cleveland, Ohio,                                  40,000
Grosvenor Library, Buffalo, N. Y.,                              39,000
Forbes Library, Northampton, Mass.,                             36,000
Cooper Union Library, New York,                                 34,000
Fisk Free Public Library, New Orleans,                          33,000
Peabody Institute Library, Peabody, Mass.,                      33,000
Reynolds Library, Rochester, N. Y.,                             33,000
Carnegie Free Library, Allegheny, Pa.,                          30,000
Fletcher Free Library, Burlington, Vt.,                         30,000
Howard Memorial Library, New Orleans,                           26,000
Carnegie Library, Pittsburgh, Pa.,                              25,000
Sage Public Library, West Bay City, Mich.,                      25,000
Hoyt Public Library, Saginaw, Mich.,                            24,000
Osterhout Free Library, Wilkesbarre, Pa.,                       24,000
Seymour Library, Auburn, N. Y.,                                 24,000
Hackley Public Library, Muskegon, Mich.,                        22,000
Willard Library, Evansville, Ind.,                              22,000
Otis Library, Norwich, Conn.,                                   21,000
Morrison-Reeves Library, Richmond, Ind.,                        21,000
Baxter Memorial Library, Rutland, Vt.,                          20,000
Cornell Library Association, Ithaca, N. Y.,                     20,000
Thomas Crane Public Library, Quincy, Mass.,                     19,000
Dimmick Library, Mauch Chunk, Pa.,                              18,000
Gail Borden Public Library, Elgin, Ill.,                        17,000
Peabody Institute Library, Danvers, Mass.,                      17,000
Tufts Library, Weymouth, Mass.,                                 17,000
Warder Public Library, Springfield, Ohio,                       17,000
Withers Public Library, Bloomington, Ill.,                      15,000
Cary Library, Lexington, Mass.,                                 15,000
Fritz Public Library, Chelsea, Mass.,                           15,000
Turner Free Library, Randolph, Mass.,                           15,000
Ames Free Library, North Easton, Mass.,                         14,000
Bigelow Free Library, Clinton, Mass.,                           14,000
Clarke Public Library, Coldwater, Mich.,                        14,000
Harris Institute Library, Woonsocket, R. I.,                    14,000
Merrick Public Library, Brookfield, Mass.,                      14,000
Robbins Library, Arlington, Mass.,                              14,000
Nevins Memorial Library, Methuen, Mass.,                        14,000
Sturgis Library, Barnstable, Mass.,                             13,000
Birchard Library, Fremont, Ohio,                                12,500
James Prendergast Library, Jamestown, N. Y.,                    12,500
Rogers Free Library, Bristol, R. I.,                            12,300
Abbott Public Library, Marblehead, Mass.,                       12,000
Armour Institute, Chicago, Ill.,                                12,000
Beebe Town Library, Wakefield, Mass.,                           12,000
Carnegie Free Library, Braddock, Pa.,                           12,000
Goodnow Library, South Sudbury, Mass.,                          12,000
Millicent Library, Fairhaven, Mass.,                            12,000
Thayer Public Library, South Braintree, Mass.,                  11,000
Dyer Library, Saco, Maine,                                      10,500
Cossit Library, Memphis, Tenn.,                                 10,000
Gloucester (Mass.) Sawyer Free Library,                         10,000
Ferguson Library, Stamford, Conn.,                              10,000
Parlin Memorial Library, Everett, Mass.,                        10,000
Jennie D. Haynes Library, Alton, Ill.,                          10,000
Hornell Free Library, Hornellsville, N. Y.,                     10,000

Besides the preceding list, purposely confined to free libraries chiefly
founded by individuals, which have reached the ten thousand volume mark,
there are a multitude of others, too numerous to be named, having a less
number of volumes. In fact, the public spirit which gives freely of
private wealth to enlarge the intelligence of the community may be said
to grow by emulation. Many men who have made fortunes have endowed their
native places with libraries. It is yearly becoming more and more widely
recognized that a man can build no monument to himself so honorable or so
lasting as a free public library. Its influence is well nigh universal,
and its benefits are perennial.

       *       *       *       *       *

We now come to consider the city or town libraries, created or maintained
by voluntary taxation. These, like the class of libraries founded by
private munificence, are purely a modern growth. While the earliest
movement in this direction in Great Britain dates back only to 1850, New
Hampshire has the honor of adopting the first free public library law, in
America, in the year 1849. Massachusetts followed in 1851, and the
example was emulated by other States at various intervals, until there
now remain but fifteen out of our forty-five States which have no public
library law. The general provisions of these laws authorize any town or
city to collect taxes by vote of the citizens for maintaining a public
library, to be managed by trustees elected or appointed for the purpose.

But a more far-reaching provision for supplying the people with public
libraries was adopted by New Hampshire (again the pioneer State), in
1895. This was nothing less than the passage of a State law making it
compulsory on every town in New Hampshire to assess annually the sum of
thirty dollars for every dollar of public taxes apportioned to such town,
the amount to be appropriated to establish and maintain a free public
library. Library trustees are to be elected, and in towns where no public
library exists, the money is to be held by them, and to accumulate until
the town is ready to establish a library.

This New Hampshire statute, making obligatory the supply of public
information through books and periodicals in free libraries in every
town, may fairly be termed the high-water mark of modern means for the
diffusion of knowledge. This system of creating libraries proceeds upon
the principle that intellectual enlightenment is as much a concern of the
local government as sanitary regulations or public morality. Society has
an interest that is common to all classes in the means that are provided
for the education of the people. Among these means free town or city
libraries are one of the most potent and useful. New Hampshire and
Massachusetts, in nearly all of their towns and cities, have recognized
the principle that public books are just as important to the general
welfare as public lamps. What are everywhere needed are libraries open to
the people as a matter of right, and not as a matter of favor.

The largest library in the country, save one (that at Washington), owes
its origin and success to this principle, combined with some private
munificence. The Boston Public Library is unquestionably one of the most
widely useful collections of books open to the public in this country. Of
all the greater collections, it is the only one which lends out books
free of charge to all citizens. Instituted in 1852, its career has been
one of rapid progress and ever widening usefulness. I shall not dwell
upon it at length, as the facts regarding it have been more widely
published than those relating to any other library.

Under the permissive library laws of thirty States, there had been formed
up to 1896, when the last comprehensive statistics were gathered, about
1,200 free public libraries, supported by taxation, in the United States.

A still more widely successful means of securing a library foundation
that shall be permanent is found in uniting private benefactions with
public money to found or to maintain a library. Many public-spirited
citizens, fortunately endowed with large means, have offered to erect
library buildings in certain places, on condition that the local
authorities would provide the books, and the means of maintaining a free
library. Such generous offers, whether coupled with the condition of
perpetuating the donor's name with that of the library, or leaving the
gift unhampered, so that the library may bear the name of the town or
city of its location, have generally been accepted by municipal bodies,
or by popular vote. This secures, in most cases, a good working library
of choice reading, as well as its steady annual growth and management,
free of the heavy expense of building, of which the tax-payers are
relieved. The many munificent gifts of library buildings by Mr. Andrew
Carnegie, to American towns and cities, and to some in his native
Scotland, are worthy of special note. And the reader will see from the
long list heretofore given of the more considerable public libraries to
be credited wholly or in part to private munificence, that American men
of wealth have not been wanting as public benefactors.

In some cases, whole libraries have been given to a town or village where
a public library already existed, or liberal gifts or bequests of money,
to be expended in the enrichment of such libraries, have been bestowed.
Very interesting lists of benefactions for the benefit of libraries may
be found in the volumes of the Library Journal, New York. It is with
regret that candor requires me to add, that several proffers of fine
library buildings to certain places, coupled with the condition that the
municipal authorities would establish and maintain a free library, have
remained without acceptance, thus forfeiting a liberal endowment. Where
public education has been so neglected as to render possible such a
niggardly, penny-wise and pound-foolish policy, there is manifestly
signal need of every means of enlightenment.

       *       *       *       *       *

We now come to the various State libraries founded at the public charge,
and designed primarily for the use of the respective legislatures of the
States. The earliest of these is the New Hampshire State Library,
established in 1790, and the largest is the New York State Library, at
Albany, founded in 1818, now embracing 325,000 volumes, and distinguished
alike by the value of its stores and the liberality of its management.
The reason for being of a State library is obviously and primarily to
furnish the legislative body and State courts with such ample books of
reference in jurisprudence, history, science, etc., as will aid them in
the intelligent discharge of their duties as law-makers and judges of the
law. The library thus existing at each State capital may well be opened
to the public for reading and reference, thus greatly enlarging its

Every State in the Union has now at least a legislative library, although
the most of them consist chiefly of laws and legislative documents, with
a few works of reference superadded; and their direct usefulness to the
public is therefore very circumscribed. The New York State Library is a
model of what a great public library should be in the capital of a State.
In it are gathered a great proportion of the best books in each
department of literature and science, while indefatigable efforts have
been made to enrich it in whatever relates to American history and
polity. Its reading-room is freely opened to the public during many hours
daily. But a State library should never be made a library of circulation,
since its utility as a reference library, having its books always in for
those who seek them, would thereby be destroyed. Even under the existing
system, with the privilege of drawing books out confined to the
Legislature, some of the State libraries have been depleted and despoiled
of many of their most valuable books, through loaning them freely on the
orders of members. The sense of responsibility is far less in the case of
borrowed books which are government property, than in other cases. The
only safe rule for keeping a government library from being scattered, is
strict refusal of orders for loaning to any one not legally entitled to
draw books, and short terms of withdrawal to legislators, with
enforcement of a rule of replacement, at their expense, as to all books
not returned at the end of each session.

       *       *       *       *       *

There is one class of libraries not yet touched upon, namely, school
district libraries. These originated for the first time in a legally
organized system, through an act of the New York State Legislature in
1835, authorizing the voters in each school district to levy a tax of
twenty dollars with which to start a library, and ten dollars a year for
adding to the same. These were not to be for the schools alone, but for
all the people living in the district where the school was located. This
was supplemented in 1838 by a State appropriation of $55,000 a year, from
New York's share of the surplus revenue fund distributed by Congress to
the States in 1837, and the income of which was devoted by New York to
enlarging the school district libraries. After spending nearly two
millions of dollars on these libraries in forty years, the system was
found to have been so far a failure that the volumes in the libraries had
decreased from 1,600,000 to 700,000 volumes.

This extraordinary and deplorable result was attributed to several
distinct causes. 1st. No proper responsibility as to the use and return
of books was enforced. 2d. The insignificance of the sum raised by
taxation in each district prevented any considerable supply of books from
being acquired. 3d. The funds were largely devoted to buying the same
books in each school district, instead of being expended in building up a
large and varied collection. Thus the system produced innumerable petty
libraries of duplicates, enriching publishers and booksellers, while
impoverishing the community. The school district library system, in
short, while promising much in theory, in the way of public intelligence,
broke down completely in practice. The people quickly lost interest in
libraries which gave them so little variety in books, either of
instruction or of recreation.

Although widely introduced in other States besides New York, from 1837 to
1877, it proved an admitted failure in all. Much public money, raised by
taxation of the people, was squandered upon sets of books, selected by
State authority, and often of inferior interest and utility. Finally, it
was recognized that school district libraries were an evanescent dream,
and that town libraries must take their place. This instructive chapter
in Library history shows an experience by which much was learned, though
the lesson was a costly one.

The Historical libraries of the country are numerous, and some of the
larger ones are rich in printed Americana, and in historical manuscripts.
The oldest is that of the Massachusetts Historical Society, founded in
1791, and among the most extensive are those of the New York Historical
Society, American Antiquarian Society, the Historical Society of
Pennsylvania, the New England Historic-genealogical Society, and the
Wisconsin State Historical Society. There are no less than 230 historical
societies in the U. S., some forty of which are State associations.

The Mercantile libraries are properly a branch of the proprietary, though
depending mostly upon annual subscriptions. The earliest of these was the
Boston Mercantile Library, founded in 1820, and followed closely by the
New York Mercantile the same year, the Philadelphia in 1821, and the
Cincinnati Mercantile in 1835.

Next we have the professional libraries, law, medical, scientific, and,
in several cities, theological. These supply a want of each of these
professions seldom met by the public collections, and are proportionately

       *       *       *       *       *

The most recent plan for the wide diffusion of popular books is the
travelling library. This originated in New York in 1893, when the
Legislature empowered the Regents of the State University (a body of
trustees having charge of all library interests in that State) to send
out selections of books to any community without a library, on request of
25 resident taxpayers. The results were most beneficial, the sole
expense being five dollars for each library.

Travelling libraries, (mostly of fifty volumes each) have been set on
foot in Massachusetts, Michigan, Iowa, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and other
States, and, as the system appears capable of indefinite expansion, great
results are anticipated in the direction of the public intelligence. It
is pointed out that while the State, by its free school system, trains
all the people to read, it should not leave the quality of their reading
to chance or to utter neglect, when a few cents _per capita_ annually
would help them to an education of inestimable value in after life.

Some objections, on the other hand, have been urged to the system, as
introducing features of paternalism into State government, and taking out
of the hands of individual generosity and local effort and enterprise
what belongs properly to such agencies. The vexed question of the proper
function and limitations of State control in the domain of education
cannot here be entered upon.

In the volume last published of statistics of American libraries, that of
1897, great progress was shown in the five years since 1891. The record
of libraries reported in 1896 embraced 4,026 collections, being all which
contained over 1,000 volumes each. The increase in volumes in the five
years was a little over seven millions, the aggregate of the 4,026
libraries being 33,051,872 volumes. This increase was over 27 per cent.
in only five years.

If the good work so splendidly begun, in New England, New York,
Pennsylvania, and some of the Western States, in establishing libraries
through public taxation and private munificence, can only be extended in
the Southern and Middle States, the century now about to dawn will
witness an advance quite as remarkable as we have seen in the latter
years of the century about to close.


[1] MS. Records of the Virginia Company, in the Library of Congress.



Proceeding now to the subject of library buildings, reading-rooms, and
furnishings, it must be remarked at the outset that very few rules can be
laid down which are of universal application. The architectural plans,
exterior and interior, of such great institutions as the Library of
Congress, or the Boston Public Library, with their costly marbles,
splendid mural decorations, and electric book-serving machinery, afford
no model for the library building in the country village. Where the
government of a nation or a wealthy city has millions to devote for
providing a magnificent book-palace for its library, the smaller cities
or towns have only a few thousands. So much the more important is it,
that a thoroughly well-considered plan for building should be marked out
before beginning to build, that no dollars should be wasted, or costly
alterations required, in order to fit the interior for all the uses of a

The need of this caution will be abundantly evident, in the light of the
unfit and inconvenient constructions seen in so many public libraries,
all over the country. So general has been the want of carefully planned
and well-executed structures for books, that it may fairly be said that
mistakes have been the rule, and fit adaptation the exception. For twenty
years past, at every meeting of the American Library Association, the
reports upon library buildings have deplored the waste of money in
well-meant edifices designed to accommodate the library service, but
successful only in obstructing it. Even in so recent a construction as
the Boston Public Library building, so many defects and inconveniences
were found after it was supposed to have been finished, that rooms had to
be torn out and re-constructed on three floors, while the pneumatic tube
system had been found so noisy as to be a public nuisance, and had to be
replaced by a later improved construction.

One leading cause for the mistakes which are so patent in our library
buildings is that they are not planned by librarians but mainly by
architects. The library authorities commonly take it for granted that the
able architect is master of his profession, and entrust him with the
whole design, leaving out of account the librarian, as a mere
subordinate, entitled only to secondary consideration. The result is a
plan which exhibits, in its prominent features, the architect's skill in
effective pilasters, pillars, architraves, cornices, and balustrades,
while the library apartments which these features ornament are planned,
not for convenient and rapid book-service, but mainly for show. It is the
interest of architects to magnify their profession: and as none of them
has ever been, or ever will be a librarian, they cannot be expected to
carry into effect unaided, what they have never learned; namely, the
interior arrangements which will best meet the utilities of the library
service. Here is where the librarian's practical experience, or his
observation of the successes or failures in the reading-room and delivery
service of other libraries, should imperatively be called in. Let him
demonstrate to the governing board that he knows what is needed for
prompt and economical administration, and they will heed his judgment, if
they are reasonable men. While it belongs to the architect to plan,
according to his own ideas, the outside of the building, the inside
should be planned by the architect in direct concert with the librarian,
in all save merely ornamental or finishing work.

We do not erect a building and then determine whether it is to be a
school house or a church: it is planned from the start with strict
reference to the utilities involved; and so should it always be with a

In treating this subject, I shall not occupy space in outlining the
proper scheme of building and interior arrangement for a great library,
with its many distinct departments, for such institutions are the
exceptions, while most libraries come within the rule of very moderate
size, and comparatively inexpensive equipment. The first requisite for a
public library, then, is a good location. It is important that this
should be central, but it is equally important that the building should
be isolated--that is, with proper open space on all sides, and not
located in a block with other buildings. Many libraries have been
destroyed or seriously damaged by fire originating in neighboring
buildings, or in other apartments in the same building; while fires in
separate library buildings have been extremely rare. It would be a wise
provision to secure a library lot sufficiently large in area to admit of
further additions to the building, both in the rear and at the side; and
with slight addition to the cost, the walls and their supports may be so
planned as to admit of this. Committees are seldom willing to incur the
expense of an edifice large enough to provide for very prolonged growth
of their collection; and the result is that the country is full of
overcrowded libraries, without money to build, and prevented from
expanding on the spot because no foresight was exercised in the original
construction or land purchase, to provide for ready increase of space by
widening out, and removing an outer wall so as to connect the old
building with the new addition. If a library has 10,000 volumes, it would
be very short-sighted policy to plan an edifice to contain less than
40,000, which it is likely to reach in from ten to forty years.

The next requisite to a central and sufficient site is that the location
must be dry and airy. Any low site, especially in river towns, will be
damp, and among the enemies of books, moisture holds a foremost place.
Next, the site should afford light on all sides, and if necessary to
place it near any thoroughfare, it should be set back so as to afford
ample light and ventilation in front.

It need hardly be said that every library building should be fire-proof,
after the many costly lessons we have had of the burning of public
libraries at home and abroad. The material for the outside walls may be
brick or stone, according to taste or relative cost. Brick is good
enough, and if of the best quality, and treated with stone trimmings, is
capable of sufficiently ornate effects, and is quite as durable as any
granite or marble. No temptation of cheapness should ever be allowed to
introduce wood in any part of the construction: walls, floors, and roof
should be only of brick, stone, iron, or slate. A wooden roof is nothing
but a tinder-box that invites the flames.

In general, two stories is a sufficient height for library buildings,
except in those of the largest class, and the upper floors may be amply
lighted by sky-lights. The side-lights can hardly be too numerous: yet I
have seen library buildings running back from a street fifty to
seventy-five feet, without a single window in either of the side walls.
The result was to throw all the books on shelves into a gloomy shade for
many hours of each day.

The interior construction should be so managed as to effect the finding
and delivery of books to readers with the greatest possible economy of
time and space. No shelves should be placed higher than can be reached by
hand without mounting upon any steps or ladders; _i. e._, seven to seven
and a half feet. The system of shelving should all be constructed of iron
or steel, instead of surrounding the books on three sides with
combustible wood, as is done in most libraries. Shelves of oxidized metal
will be found smooth enough to prevent any abrasion of bindings. Shelves
should be easily adjustable to any height, to accommodate the various
sizes of books.

In calculating shelf capacity, one and a half inches thickness a volume
is a fair average, so that each hundred volumes would require about
thirteen feet of linear shelf measurement. The space between uprights,
that is, the length of each shelf, should not exceed two and a half feet.
All spaces between shelves should be 10½ or 11 inches high, to
accommodate large octavos indiscriminately with smaller sizes; and a base
shelf for quartos and folios, at a proper height from the floor, will
restrict the number of shelves to six in each tier.

In the arrangement of the cases or book-stacks, the most economical
method is to place book-cases of double face, not less than three feet
apart, approached by aisles on either side, so as to afford free passage
for two persons meeting or passing one another. The cases may be about
ten feet each in length. There should be electric lights between all
cases, to be turned on only when books are sought. The cases should be
set at right angles to the wall, two or three feet from it, with the
light from abundant windows coming in between them. The width of shelves
may be from 16 to 18 inches in these double cases, thus giving about
eight to nine inches depth to each side. No partition is required between
the two sides.

It should be stated that the light obtained from windows, when thrown
more than twenty feet, among cases of books on shelves, becomes too
feeble for effective use in finding books. This fact should be considered
in advance, while plans of construction, lighting, and interior
arrangement are being made. All experience has shown that too much light
cannot be had in any public library.

Railings and stair-cases for the second or upper floors should be of
perforated iron.

The reading-room should be distinct from the book delivery or
charging-room, to secure quiet for readers at all hours, avoiding the
pressure, hurry and noise of conversation inevitable in a lending library
or department. In the reading-room should be shelved a liberal supply of
books of reference, and bibliographies, open without tickets to the
readers. Next the central desk there should be shelves for the deposit of
books reserved day by day for the use of readers. The library chairs, of
whatever pattern may be preferred, should always combine the two
requisites of strength and lightness. The floor should be covered with
linoleum, or some similar floor covering, to deaden sound. Woolen
carpets, those perennial breeders of dust, are an abomination.

In a library reading-room of any considerable size, each reader should be
provided with table or desk room, not flat but sloping at a moderate
angle, and allowing about three feet of space for each reader. These
appliances for study need not be single pieces of furniture, but made in
sections to accommodate from three to six readers at each. About thirty
inches from the floor is a proper height.

For large dictionaries, atlases, or other bulky volumes, the adjustable
revolving case, mounted on a pedestal, should be used.

For moving any large number of volumes about the library, book-trucks or
barrows, with noiseless rubber wheels, are required.

Every library will need one or more catalogue cases to hold the
alphabetical card catalogue. These are made with a maximum of skill by
the Library Bureau, Boston.

The location of the issue-counter or desk is of cardinal importance. It
should be located near the centre of the system of book-cases, or near
the entrance to the stack, so as to minimize the time consumed in
collecting the books wanted. It should also have a full supply of light,
and this may be secured by a location directly in front of a large side
window. Readers are impatient of delay, and the farther the books are
from the issue-counter the longer they will have to wait for them.

Among modern designs for libraries, that of Dr. W. F. Poole, adapted for
the Newberry Library, Chicago, is notable for dividing the library into
many departments or separate rooms, the book shelves occupying one half
the height of each, or 7½ feet out of 15, the remaining space being
occupied by windows. This construction, of course, does not furnish as
compact storage for books as the stack system. It is claimed to possess
the advantage of extraordinarily good light, and of aiding the researches
of readers. But it has the disadvantage of requiring readers to visit
widely separated rooms to pursue studies involving several subjects, and
of mounting in elevators to reach some departments. A system which brings
the books to the reader, instead of the readers travelling after the
books, would appear to be more practically useful to the public, with
whom time is of cardinal importance.

In all libraries, there should be a receiving or packing room, where
boxes and parcels of books are opened and books mended, collated, and
prepared for the shelves. This room may well be in a dry and well lighted
basement. Two small cloak-rooms for wraps will be needed, one for each
sex. Two toilet rooms or lavatories should be provided. A room for the
library directors or trustees, and one for the librarian, are essential
in libraries of much extent. A janitor's room or sleeping quarters
sometimes needs to be provided. A storage room for blanks, stationery,
catalogues, etc., will be necessary in libraries of much extent. A
periodical room is sometimes provided, distinct from the reading-room or
the delivery department. In this case, if several hundred periodicals are
taken, an attendant should be always present to serve them to readers,
from the shelves or cases where they should be kept in alphabetical
order. Without this, and a ticket system to keep track of what are in
use, no one can readily find what is needed, nor ascertain whether it is
in a reader's hands when sought for. System and the alphabet alone will
solve all difficulties.

As to the space required for readers in a periodical room, it may be
assumed that about five hundred square feet will accommodate twenty-five
readers, and the same proportion for a larger number at one time. A room
twenty-five by forty would seat fifty readers, while one twenty-five by
twenty would accommodate twenty-five readers, with proper space for
tables, &c. The files for newspapers are referred to in another chapter
on periodicals.

In a library building, the heating and ventilation are of prime
importance. Upon their proper regulation largely depends the health and
consequently the efficiency of all employed, as well as the comfort of
the reading public. There is no space to enter upon specific
descriptions, for which the many conflicting systems, with experience of
their practical working, should be examined. Suffice it to say in
general, that a temperature not far below nor above 70 degrees Fahrenheit
should be aimed at; that the furnace, with its attendant nuisances of
noise, dust, and odors, should be outside the library building--not under
it; and that electric lighting alone should be used, gas being highly
injurious to the welfare of books.

In calculating the space required for books shelved as has been
heretofore suggested, it may be approximately stated that every one
thousand volumes will require at least eighty to one hundred square feet
of floor measurement. Thus, a library of 10,000 volumes would occupy an
area of nearly one thousand square feet. But it is necessary to provide
also for the continual growth of the collection. To do this, experience
shows that in any flourishing public library, space should be reserved
for three or four times the number of volumes in actual possession. If
rooms are hired for the books, because of inability to build, the library
should be so arranged as to leave each alternate shelf vacant for
additions, or, in the more rapidly growing divisions, a still greater
space. This will permit accessions to be shelved with their related
books, without the trouble of frequently moving and re-arranging large
divisions of the library. This latter is a very laborious process, and
should be resorted to only under compulsion. The preventive remedy, of
making sure of space in advance, by leaving a sufficiency of unoccupied
shelves in every division of the library, is the true one.

In some libraries, a separate reading-room for ladies is provided. Mr. W.
F. Poole records that in Cincinnati such a room was opened at the
instance of the library directors. The result was that the ladies made it
a kind of social rendezvous, where they talked over society matters, and
exhibited the bargains made in their shopping excursions. Ladies who came
to study preferred the general reading room, where they found every
comfort among well conducted gentlemen, and the "ladies' reading-room"
was abandoned, as not fulfilling its object. The same experiment in the
Chicago Public Library had the same result.

Some libraries in the larger towns provide a special reading-room for
children; and this accomplishes a two-fold object, namely, to keep the
public reading-room free from flocks of little people in pursuit of books
under difficulties, and to furnish the boys and girls with
accommodations of their own. It may be suggested as an objection, that
the dividing line as to age is difficult to be drawn: but let each
applicant be questioned, and if falling below twelve, or fifteen, or
whatever the age limit may be, directed to the juvenile reading-room, and
there need be no trouble. Of course there will be some quite young
readers who are gifted with intelligence beyond their years, and who may
dislike to be reckoned as children; but library rules are not made to
suit exceptions, but for the average; and as no book need be refused to
any applicant in the juvenile department, no just cause of complaint can

In some libraries, and those usually of the larger size, an art room is
provided, where students of works on painting, sculpture, and the
decorative arts can go, and have about them whatever treasures the
library may contain in that attractive field. The advantages of this
provision are, first, to save the necessity of handling and carrying so
many heavy volumes of galleries of art and illustrated books to the
general reading-room, and back again, and secondly, to enable those in
charge of the art department to exercise more strict supervision in
enforcing careful and cleanly treatment of the finest books in the
library, than can be maintained in the miscellaneous crowd of readers in
the main reading-room. The objections to it concern the general want of
room to set apart for this purpose, and the desirability of concentrating
the use of books in one main hall or reading-room. Circumstances and
experience should determine the question for each library.

Some public libraries, and especially those constructed in recent years,
are provided with a lecture-hall, or a large room for public meetings,
concerts, or occasionally, even an opera-house, in the same building with
the library. There are some excellent arguments in favor of this; and
especially where a public benefactor donates to a city a building which
combines both uses. The building given by Mr. Andrew Carnegie to the
Public Library of Washington will be provided with a small hall suited to
meetings, &c. But in all cases, such a public hall should be so isolated
from the library reading-room as not to annoy readers, to whom quiet is
essential. This end can be effected by having the intervening walls and
floors so constructed as completely to deaden sound. A wholly distinct
entrance should also be provided, not communicating with the doors and
passages leading to the library.

Comparisons are sometimes made as to the relative cost of library
buildings to the number of volumes they are designed to accommodate; but
such estimates are misleading. The cost of an edifice in which
architectural beauty and interior decoration concur to make it a
permanent ornament to a city or town, need not be charged up at so much
per volume. Buildings for libraries have cost all the way from
twenty-five cents up to $4. for each volume stored. The Library of
Congress, which cost six million dollars, and will ultimately accommodate
4,500,000 volumes, cost about $1.36 per volume. But it contains besides
books, some half a million musical compositions, works of graphic art,
maps and charts, etc.

The comparative cost of some library buildings erected in recent years,
with ultimate capacity of each, may be of interest. Kansas City Public
Library, 132+144, 125,000 vols., $200,000. Newark, N. J. Free Library,
138+216, 400,000 vols., $188,000. Forbes Library, Northampton, Mass.
(granite), 107+137, 250,000 vols., $134,000. Fall River, Ms. Library,
80+130, 250,000 vols., $100,000. Peoria, Ill. Public Library (brick),
76+135, $70,000. Smiley Memorial Library, Redlands, Cal. (brick), 96+100,
$50,000. Reuben Hoar Library, Littleton, Mass. (brick), 50+57, 25,000
vols., $25,000. Rogers Memorial Library, Southworth, N. Y. 70+100, 20,000
vols., $20,000. Belfast (Me.) Free Library (granite), 27+54, $10,000.
Gail-Borden Public Library, Elgin, Ill. (brick), 28+52, $9,000. Warwick,
Mass. Public Library (wood), 45+60, 5,000 vols., $5,000.

The largely increased number of public library buildings erected in
recent years is a most cheering sign of the times. Since 1895, eleven
extensive new library buildings have been opened: namely, the Library of
Congress, the Boston Public Library, the Pratt Institute Library,
Brooklyn, the Columbia University Library, New York, the Princeton, N. J.
University Library, the Hart Memorial Library, of Troy, N. Y., the
Carnegie Library, Pittsburgh, the Chicago Public Library, the Peoria,
Ill. Public Library, the Kansas City, Mo. Public Library, and the Omaha,
Neb. Public Library.

And there are provided for eight more public library buildings, costing
more than $100,000 each; namely, the Providence, R. I. Public Library,
the Lynn, Mass. Public Library, the Fall River, Mass. Public Library, the
Newark, N. J. Free Public Library, the Milwaukee, Wis. Public Library and
Museum, the Wisconsin State Historical Society Library, Madison, the New
York Public Library, and the Jersey City Public Library.

To these will be added within the year 1900, as is confidently expected,
the Washington City Public Library, the gift of Andrew Carnegie, to cost

No philanthropist can ever find a nobler object for his fortune, or a
more enduring monument to his memory, than the founding of a free public
library. The year 1899 has witnessed a new gift by Mr. Carnegie of a one
hundred thousand dollar library to Atlanta, the Capital of Georgia, on
condition that the city will provide a site, and $5,000 a year for the
maintenance of the library. Cities in the east are emulating one another
in providing public library buildings of greater or less cost. If the
town library cannot have magnificence, it need not have meanness. A
competition among architects selected to submit plans is becoming the
favorite method of preparing to build. Five of the more extensive
libraries have secured competitive plans of late from which to
select--namely, the New York Public Library, the Jersey City Public
Library, the Newark Free Public Library, the Lynn Public Library, and the
Phoebe Hearst building for the University of California, which is to be
planned for a library of 750,000 volumes. It is gratifying to add that in
several recent provisions made for erecting large and important
structures, the librarian was made a member of the building
committee--_i. e._, in the New York Public Library, the Newark Free
Public Library, and the Lynn Public Library.



We now come to consider the management of libraries as entrusted to
boards of directors, trustees or library managers. These relations have a
most intimate bearing upon the foundation, the progress and the
consequent success of any library. Where a liberal intelligence and a
hearty coöperation are found in those constituting the library board, the
affairs of the institution will be managed with the best results. Where
a narrow-minded and dictatorial spirit is manifested, even by a portion
of those supervising a public library, it will require a large endowment
both of patience and of tact in the librarian, to accomplish those aims
which involve the highest usefulness.

Boards of library trustees vary in number, usually from three to nine or
more. A board of three or five is found in practice more active and
efficient than a larger number. The zeal and responsibility felt is apt
to diminish in direct proportion to the increased numbers of the board.
An odd number is preferable, to avoid an equal division of opinion upon
any question to be determined.

In town or city libraries, the mode of selection of library trustees
varies much. Sometimes the mayor appoints the library board, sometimes
they are chosen by the city council, and sometimes elected by the people,
at the annual selection of school or municipal officers. The term of
service (most usually three years) should be so arranged that retirement
of any members should always leave two at least who have had experience
on the board. Library trustees serve without salary, the high honor of so
serving the public counting for much.

The librarian is often made secretary of the trustees, and then he keeps
the record of their transactions. He should never be made treasurer of
the library funds, which would involve labor and responsibility
incompatible with the manifold duties of the superintendent of a library.
In case of a library supported by municipal taxation, the town treasurer
may well serve as library treasurer also, or the trustees can choose one
from their own board. The librarian, however, should be empowered to
collect book fines or other dues, to be deposited with the treasurer at
regular intervals, and he should have a small fund at disposal for such
petty library expenses as constantly arise. All bills for books and
other purchases, and all salaries of persons employed in the library
should be paid by the treasurer.

The meetings of the trustees should be attended by the librarian, who
must always be ready to supply all information as to the workings of the
library, the needs for books, etc. Frequently the trustees divide up the
business before them, appointing sub-committees on book selections, on
library finances, on administration, furnishings, &c., with a view to
prompt action.

If a library receives endowments, money gifts or legacies, they are held
and administered by the trustees as a body corporate, the same as the
funds annually appropriated for library maintenance and increase. Their
annual report to the council, or municipal authorities, should exhibit
the amount of money received from all sources in detail, and the amount
expended for all purposes, in detail; also, the number of books purchased
in the year, the aggregate of volumes in the library, the number of
readers, and other facts of general interest.

All accounts against the library are first audited by the proper
sub-committee, and payment ordered by the full board, by order on the
treasurer. The accounts for all these expenditures should be kept by the
treasurer, who should inform the librarian periodically as to balances.

The selection of books for a public library is a delicate and responsible
duty, involving wider literary and scientific knowledge than falls to the
lot of most trustees of libraries. There are sometimes specially
qualified professional men or widely read scholars on such boards, whose
services in recruiting the library are of great value. More frequently
there are one or more men with hobbies, who would spend the library funds
much too freely upon a class of books of no general interest. Thus, one
trustee who plays golf may urge the purchase of all the various books
upon that game, when one or at most two of the best should supply all
needful demands. Another may want to add to the library about all the
published books on the horse; another, who is a physician, may recommend
adding a lot of medical books to the collection, utterly useless to the
general reader. Beware of the man who has a hobby, either as librarian or
as library trustee; he will aim to expend too much money on books which
suit his own taste, but which have little general utility. Two mischiefs
result from such a course: the library gets books which very few people
read, and its funds are diverted from buying many books that may be of
prime importance.

Trustees, although usually, (at least the majority of them) persons of
culture and intelligence, cannot be expected to be bibliographers, nor to
be familiar with the great range of new books that continually pour from
the press. They have their own business or profession to engage them, and
are commonly far too busy to study catalogues, or to follow the journals
of the publishing world. So these busy men, charged with the oversight of
the library interests, call to their aid an expert, and that expert is
the librarian. It is his interest and his business to know far more than
they do both of what the library already contains, and what it most
needs. It is his to peruse the critical journals and reviews, as well as
the literary notices of the select daily press, and to be prepared to
recommend what works to purchase. He must always accompany his lists of
wants with the prices, or at least the approximate cost of each, and the
aggregate amount. If the trustees or book committee think the sum too
large to be voted at any one time from the fund at their disposal, the
librarian must know what can best be postponed, as well as what is most
indispensable for the immediate wants of the library. If they object to
any works on the list, he should be prepared to explain the quality and
character of those called in question, and why the library, in his
judgment, should possess them. If the list is largely cut down, and he
considers himself hardly used, he should meet the disappointment with
entire good humor, and try again when the members of the committee are in
better mood, or funds in better supply.

It is very customary for boards of library officers to assume the charge
of the administration so far as regards the library staff, and to make
appointments, promotions or removals at their own pleasure. In most
libraries, however, this power is exercised mainly on the advice or
selection of the librarian, his action being confirmed when there is no
serious objection. In still other cases, the librarian is left wholly
free to choose the assistants. This is perhaps the course most likely to
secure efficient service, since his judgment, if he is a person of tried
capacity and mature experience, will lead to the selection of the fittest
candidates, for the work which he alone thoroughly knows. No library
trustee can put himself fully in the place of a librarian, and see for
himself the multitude of occasions arising in the daily work of the
library, where promptness, tact, and wide knowledge of books will make a
success, and the want of any of these qualities a failure. Still less can
he judge the competency or incompetency of one who is to be employed in
the difficult and exact work of cataloguing books. Besides, there is
always the hazard that trustees, or some of them, may have personal
favorites or relatives to prefer, and will use their influence to secure
the appointment or promotion of utterly uninstructed persons, in place of
such candidates as are known to the librarian to be best qualified. In no
case should any person be employed without full examination as to fitness
for library work, conducted either by the librarian, or by a committee
of which the librarian is a member or chief examiner. A probationary
trial should also follow before final appointment.

The power of patronage, if unchecked by this safeguard, will result in
filling any library with incompetents, to the serious detriment of the
service on which its usefulness depends. The librarian cannot keep a
training school for inexperts: he has no time for this, and he
indispensably needs and should have assistants who are competent to their
duties, from their first entrance upon them. As he is held responsible
for all results, in the conduct of the library, both by the trustees and
by the public, he should have the power, or at least the approximate
power, to select the means by which those results are to be attained.

In the Boston Public Library, all appointments are made by the trustees
upon nomination by the librarian, after an examination somewhat similar
to that of the civil service, but by a board of library experts. In the
British Museum Library, the selection and promotion of members of the
staff are passed upon by the trustees, having the recommendation of the
principal librarian before them. In the Library of Congress, appointments
are made directly by the librarian after a probationary trial, with
previous examination as to education, former experience or employments,
attainments, and fitness for library service.

In smaller libraries, both in this country and abroad, a great diversity
of usage prevails. Instances are rare in which the librarian has the
uncontrolled power of appointment, promotion and removal. The requirement
of examinations to test the fitness of candidates is extending, and since
the establishment of five or six permanent schools of library science in
the United States, with their graduates well equipped for library work,
there is no longer any excuse for putting novices in charge of
libraries--institutions where wide knowledge and thorough training are
more indispensable than in any other profession whatever.

In State libraries, no uniformity prevails as to control. In some States,
the governor has the appointment of the librarian, while in others, he is
an elective officer, the State Legislature being the electors. As
governors rarely continue in office longer than two or three years, the
tenure of a librarian under them is precarious, and a most valuable
officer may at any time be superseded by another who would have to learn
all that the other knows. The result is rarely favorable to the efficient
administration of the library. In a business absolutely demanding the
very largest compass of literary and scientific knowledge, frequent
rotation in office is clearly out of place. In a public or State library,
every added year of experience adds incalculably to the value of a
librarian's services, provided he is of active habits, and full of zeal
to make his acquired knowledge constantly useful to those who use the
library. Partizan politics, with their frequent changes, if suffered to
displace a tried librarian and staff, will be sure to defeat the highest
usefulness of any library. What can a political appointee, a man totally
without either library training or library experience, do with the tools
of which he has never learned the use? It will take him years to learn,
and by the time he has learned, some other political party coming
uppermost will probably displace him, to make room for another novice, on
the principle that "to the victors belong the spoils" of office.
Meanwhile, "the hungry sheep look up and are not fed," as Milton
sings--that is, readers are deprived of expert and intelligent guidance.

This bane of political jobbery has not been confined to the libraries of
States, but has invaded the management of many city and town libraries
also. We have yet to learn of any benefit resulting to those who use the

In the case of a few of the State libraries, trustees or library
commissioners or boards of control have been provided by law, but in
others, a joint library committee, composed of members of both houses of
the Legislature, has charge of the library interests. This is also the
case in the Library of Congress at Washington, where three Senators and
three Representatives constitute the Joint Committee of both Houses of
Congress on the Library. The membership of this committee, as of all
others in Congress, is subject to change biennially. It has been proposed
to secure a more permanent and careful supervision of this National
Library by adding to the Joint Committee of Congress three or more
trustees of eminent qualifications, elected by Congress, as the Regents
of the Smithsonian Institution now are, for a longer term of years. The
trustees of the British Museum are appointed by the Crown, their tenure
of office being for life.

In several States the librarian is appointed by the supreme court, as the
State libraries are composed more largely of law books, than of
miscellaneous literature, and special knowledge of case law, and the
principles of jurisprudence, is demanded of the librarian.

Where the trustees of a public library are elected by the people, they
have in their own hands the power of choosing men who are far above party
considerations, and they should exercise it. In no department of life is
the maxim--"the tools to the hands that can use them," more important
than in the case of librarians and boards of managers of libraries. The
value of skilled labor over the unskilled is everywhere recognized in the
business of the world, by more certain employment and larger
compensation: and why should it not be so in libraries?



No feature in library administration is more important than the
regulations under which the service of the library is conducted. Upon
their propriety and regular enforcement depends very much of the utility
of the collection.

Rules are of two kinds, those which concern the librarian and assistants,
and those which concern the public resorting to the library. Of the first
class are the regulations as to hours, division of labor, leaves or
vacations of employees, &c. The larger the library, and consequently the
force employed, the more important is a careful adjustment of relative
duties, and of the times and seasons to be devoted to them. The
assignment of work to the various assistants will naturally depend upon
their respective qualifications. Those who know Latin, and two or more of
the modern languages, would probably be employed upon the catalogue.
Those who are familiar with the range of books published, in literature
and science, will be best qualified for the service of the reading-room,
which involves the supply of books and information. In direct proportion
to the breadth of information possessed by any one, will be his
usefulness in promptly supplying the wants of readers. Nothing is so
satisfactory to students in libraries, or to the casual seekers of
information of any kind, as to find their wants immediately supplied. The
reader whom an intelligent librarian or assistant answers at once is
grateful to the whole establishment; while the reader who is required to
wait ten to twenty minutes for what he wants, becomes impatient and
sometimes querulous, or leaves the library unsatisfied.

One rule of service at the library desk or counter should be that every
assistant there employed should deem it his duty to aid immediately any
one who is waiting, no matter what other concerns may engage his
attention. In other words, the one primary rule of a public library
should be that the service of the public is always paramount. All other
considerations should be subordinate to that.

It is desirable that assistants in every library should learn all
departments of library work, cataloguing, supplying books and
information, preparing books for the shelves, etc. This will enable each
assistant to take the place of another in case of absence, a most
important point. It will also help to qualify the more expert for

A second rule for internal administration in any library should be that
all books are to be distributed, or replaced upon their shelves, daily.
If this is not systematically done, the library will tend to fall into
chaos. And even a small number of volumes not in their places will
embarrass the attendants seeking them, and often deprive readers of their
use--a thing to be always sedulously avoided.

In the Library of Congress, the replacement of books upon the shelves is
carried out much more frequently than once daily. As fast as books come
in at the central desk by the returns of readers, they are sent back
through the book-carriers, to the proper floors, where the outside
label-numbers indicate that they belong, and replaced by the attendant
there on their proper shelves. These mechanical book-carriers run all
day, by electric power, supplied by a dynamo in the basement, and, with
their endless chain and attached boxes constantly revolving, they furnish
a near approach to perpetual motion. Thus I have seen a set of Macaulay's
England, called for by ticket from the reading-room, arrive in three
minutes from the outlying book-repository or iron stack, several hundreds
of feet distant on an upper floor, placed on the reader's table,
referred to, and returned at once, then placed in the book-carrier by the
desk attendant, received back on its proper floor, and distributed to its
own shelf by the attendant there, all within half an hour after the
reader's application. Another rule to be observed by the reading-room
attendants is to examine all call-slips, or readers' tickets, remaining
uncalled for at the close of each day's business, and see if the books on
them are present in the library. This precaution is demanded by the
security of the collection, as well as by the good order and arrangement
of the library. Neglect of it may lead to losses or misplacements, which
might be prevented by careful and unremitting observance of this rule.

Another rule of eminent propriety is that librarians or assistants are
not to read newspapers during library hours. When there happen to be no
readers waiting to be helped, the time should be constantly occupied with
other library work. There is no library large enough to be worthy of the
name, that does not have arrears of work incessantly waiting to be done.
And while this is the case, no library time should be wasted upon
periodicals, which should be perused only outside of library hours. If
one person employed in a library reads the newspaper or magazine, the bad
example is likely to be followed by others. Thus serious inattention to
the wants of readers, as well as neglect of library work postponed, will
be sure to follow.

A fourth rule, resting upon the same reason, should prevent any long
sustained gossip or conversation during library hours. That time belongs
explicitly to the public or to the work of the library. The rule of
silence which is enforced upon the public in the interest of readers
should not be broken by the library managers themselves. Such brief
question and answer as emergency or the needful business of the library
requires should be conducted in a low tone, and soon ended. Library
administration is a business, and must be conducted in a business way. No
library can properly be turned into a place of conversation.

All differences or disputes between attendants as to the work to be done
by each, or methods, or any other question leading to dissension, should
be promptly and decisively settled by the librarian, and of course
cheerfully submitted to by all. Good order and discipline require that
there should be only one final authority in any library. Controversies
are not only unseemly in themselves, but they are time-consuming, and are
liable to be overheard by readers, to the prejudice of those who engage
in them.

Another rule to be observed is to examine all books returned, as
carefully as a glance through the volume will permit, to detect any
missing or started leaves, or injury to bindings. No volume bearing marks
of dilapidation of any kind should be permitted to go back to the
shelves, or be given to readers, but placed in a bindery reserve for
needful repairs.

It should hardly be necessary to say that all those connected with a
public library should be carefully observant of hours, and be always in
their places, unless excused. The discipline of every library should be
firm in this respect, and dilatory or tardy assistants brought to regard
the rule of prompt and regular service. "No absence without leave" should
be mentally posted in the consciousness and the conscience of every one.

Another rule should limit the time for mid-day refreshment, and so
arrange it that the various persons employed go at different hours. As to
time employed, half-an-hour for lunch, as allowed in the Washington
departments, is long enough in any library.

Furloughs or vacations should be regulated to suit the library service,
and not allow several to be absent at the same time. As to length of
vacation time, few libraries can afford the very liberal fashion of
twelve months wages for eleven months work, as prevalent in the
Washington Departments. The average vacation time of business
houses--about two weeks--more nearly corresponds to that allowed in the
smaller public libraries. Out of 173 libraries reporting in 1893, 61
allowed four weeks or more vacation, 27 three weeks, 54 two weeks, and 31
none. But in cases of actual illness, the rule of liberality should be
followed, and no deduction of wages should follow temporary disability.

Where many library attendants are employed, all should be required to
enter on a daily record sheet or book, the hour of beginning work. Then
the rule of no absence without special leave should be enforced as to all
during the day.

We now come to such rules of library administration as concern the
readers, or the public. The rule of silence, or total abstinence from
loud talking, should be laid down and enforced. This is essential for the
protection of every reader from annoyance or interruption in his
pursuits. The rule should be printed on all readers' tickets, and it is
well also to post the word SILENCE, in large letters, in two or more
conspicuous places in the reading-room. This will give a continual
reminder to all of what is expected, and will usually prevent any loud
conversation. While absolute silence is impossible in any public library,
the inquiries and answers at the desk can always be made in a low and
even tone, which need attract no attention from any readers, if removed
only a few feet distant. As there are always persons among readers who
will talk, notwithstanding rules, they should be checked by a courteous
reminder from the librarian, rather than from any subordinate. This--for
the obvious reason that admonition from the highest authority carries the
greatest weight.

Another rule, which should always be printed on the call-slips, or
readers' tickets, is the requirement to return books and receive back
their tickets always before leaving the library. This duty is very
commonly neglected, from the utter carelessness of many readers, who do
not realize that signing their ticket for any book holds them responsible
for it until it is returned. Many are unwilling to spend a moment's time
in waiting for a ticket to be returned to them. Many will leave their
books on tables or seats where they were reading, and go away without
reclaiming their receipts. While complete observance of this rule is of
course hopeless of attainment in a country where free and easy manners
prevail, every librarian should endeavor to secure at least an
approximate compliance with a rule adopted alike for the security and
good order of the library, and the efficient service of the reader.

All readers should be privileged to reserve books from day to day which
they have not completed the use of, and instructed always to give notice
of such reservation before leaving the library. This saves much time,
both to the reader and to the librarian in sending repeatedly for books
put away needlessly.

In a circulating library, a fixed rule limiting the time for which a book
may be kept, is essential. This may be from three days to two weeks,
according to the demand for the book, but it should not exceed the latter
period. Still, a renewal term may be conceded, provided the book is not
otherwise called for. A small fine of so much a day for each volume kept
out beyond the time prescribed by the rule, will often secure prompt
return, and is the usage in most libraries where books are lent out. In
the Boston Public Library no renewals are allowed. A rule requiring the
replacement or repair of books damaged while in the hands of a reader
should be printed and enforced. It may properly be waived where the
damage is slight or unavoidable.

In public circulating libraries, a rule of registration is required, and
in some libraries of reference also; but in the Library of Congress all
readers over sixteen are admitted without any formality or registration

In popular libraries, the need of a registry list of those entitled to
borrow books, is obvious, to prevent the issue to improper or
unauthorized persons; as, for example, residents of another town, or
persons under the prescribed age of admission to library privileges. A
printed library card should be issued to each person privileged to draw
books; corresponding in number to the page or index-card of the library
record. Each card should bear the full name and address of the applicant,
and be signed with an obligation to obey the rules of the library. On
this card all books drawn may be entered, always with month and day date,
and credited with date of return, the parallel entries being at the same
time made in the library charging record.

Library cards of registration should be issued for a limited period, say
twelve months, in order to bring all persons to a systematic review of
their privilege, and should be renewed annually, so long as the holder is
entitled to registration. No books should be issued except to those
presenting registration cards, together with a call-slip or ticket for
the book wanted.

Another rule should fix a limit to the number of volumes to be drawn by
any reader. Two volumes out at any one time would be a fair limit. If
made more to all readers, there is likely to be sometimes a scarcity of
books to be drawn upon; and if a few readers are permitted to draw more
than others, the charge of undue favoritism will be justified.

Another rule should be that any incivility or neglect on the part of any
library attendant should be reported to the librarian. In such cases, the
attendant should always be heard, before any admonition or censure is

An almost necessary rule in most libraries is that no book should be
taken from the shelves by any person not employed in the library. The
exceptions are of course, the books provided expressly for the free and
open reference of the readers.

Another essential rule is that no writing or marks may be made in any
library book or periodical; nor is any turning down of leaves permitted.
A printed warning is important to the effect that any cutting or defacing
of library books or periodicals is a penal offense, and will be
prosecuted according to law.

The regulations for admission to library privileges are important. In
this country the age limitation is more liberal than in Europe. The
Boston Public Library, for example, is free to all persons over twelve
years of age. In the Library of Congress, the age limit is sixteen years
or upward, to entitle one to the privileges of a reader. In the Astor
Library, none are admitted under nineteen, and in the British Museum
Library none below twenty-one years.

The hours during which the library is open should be printed as part of
the regulations.

All the library rules should be printed and furnished to the public. The
most essential of them, if carefully expressed in few words, can be
grouped in a single small sheet, of 16mo. size or less, and pasted in the
inside cover of every book belonging to the library. Better still, (and
it will save expense in printing) let the few simple rules, in small but
legible type, form a part of the book plate, or library label, which goes
on the left-hand inner cover of each volume. Thus every reader will have
before him, in daily prominence, the regulations which he is to observe,
and no excuse can be pleaded of ignorance of the rules.

As no law is ever long respected unless it is enforced, so no regulations
are likely to be observed unless adhered to in every library. Rules are a
most essential part of library administration, and it should be a primary
object of every librarian or assistant to see that they are observed by



We now come to consider the annual reports of librarians. These should be
made to the trustees or board of library control, by whatever name it may
be known, and should be addressed to the chairman, as the organ of the
board. In the preparation of such reports, two conditions are equally
essential--conciseness and comprehensiveness. Every item in the
administration, frequentation, and increase of the library should be
separately treated, but each should be condensed into the smallest
compass consistent with clear statement. Very long reports are costly to
publish, and moreover, have small chance of being read. In fact, the wide
perusal of any report is in direct proportion to its brevity.

This being premised, let us see what topics the librarian's report should
deal with.

1. The progress of the library during the year must be viewed as most
important. A statistical statement of accessions, giving volumes of
books, and number of pamphlets separately, added during the year, should
be followed by a statement of the aggregate of volumes and pamphlets in
the collection. This is ascertained by actual count of the books upon the
shelves, adding the number of volumes charged out, or in the bindery, or
in readers' hands at the time of the enumeration. This count is far from
a difficult or time-consuming affair, as there is a short-hand method of
counting by which one person can easily arrive at the aggregate of a
library of 100,000 volumes, in a single day of eight to ten hours. This
is done by counting by twos or threes the rows of books as they stand on
the shelves, passing the finger rapidly along the backs, from left to
right and from top to bottom of the shelves. As fast as one hundred
volumes are counted, simply write down a figure one; then, at the end of
the second hundred, a figure two, and so on, always jotting down one
figure the more for each hundred books counted. The last figure in the
counter's memorandum will represent the number of hundreds of volumes the
library contains. Thus, if the last figure is 92, the library has just
9,200 volumes. This rapid, and at the same time accurate method, by which
any one of average quickness can easily count two hundred volumes a
minute, saves all counting up by tallies of five or ten, and also all
slow additions of figures, since one figure at the end multiplied by one
hundred, expresses the whole.

2. Any specially noteworthy additions to the library should be briefly

3. A list of donors of books during the year, with number of volumes
given by each, should form part of the report. This may properly come at
the end as an appendix.

4. A brief of the money income of the year, with sources whence derived,
and of all expenditures, for books, salaries, contingent expenses, etc.,
should form a part of the report, unless reported separately by a
treasurer of the library funds.

5. The statistics of a librarian's report, if of a lending library,
should give the aggregate number of volumes circulated during the year,
also the number of borrowers recorded who have used and who have not used
the privilege of borrowing. The number of volumes used by readers in the
reference or reading-room department should be given, as well as the
aggregate of readers. It is usual in some library reports to classify the
books used by readers, as, so many in history, poetry, travels, natural
science, etc., but this involves labor and time quite out of proportion
to its utility. Still, a comparative statement of the aggregate volumes
of fiction read or drawn out, as against all other books, may be highly
useful as an object lesson, if embodied in the library report.

6. A statement of the actual condition of the library, as to books,
shelving accommodations, furniture, etc., with any needful suggestions
for improvement, should be included in the annual report.

7. A well-considered suggestion of the value of contributions to the
library in books or funds to enrich the collection, should not be

8. The librarian should not forget a word of praise for his assistants,
in the great and useful work of carrying on the library. This will tend
to excite added zeal to excel, when the subordinates feel that their
services are appreciated by their head, as well as by the public.

The preparation of an annual report affords some test of the librarian's
skill and judgment. It should aim at plain and careful statement, and all
rhetoric should be dispensed with. Divided into proper heads, a condensed
statement of facts or suggestions under each should be made, and all
repetition avoided.

Such a library report should never fail to set forth the great benefit to
the community which a free use of its treasures implies, while urging the
importance of building up the collection, through liberal gifts of books,
periodicals, or money, thus enabling it to answer the wants of readers
more fully, year by year. It will sometimes be a wise suggestion to be
made in a librarian's report, that the library still lacks some specially
important work, such as Larned's "History for Ready Reference," or the
extensive "Dictionary of National Biography," or Brunet's _Manuel du
Libraire_, or a set of Congressional Debates from the beginning; and such
a suggestion may often bear fruit in leading some public-spirited citizen
to supply the want by a timely contribution.

Of course, the annual report of every public library should be printed,
and as pamphlets are seldom read, and tend rapidly to disappear, its
publication in the newspapers is vastly more important than in any other
form. While a pamphlet report may reach a few people, the newspaper
reaches nearly all; and as a means of diffusing information in any
community, it stands absolutely without rival. Whether the library
reports shall be printed in pamphlet form or not is a matter of
expediency, to be determined by the managing board. Funds are rarely
ample enough, in the smaller town libraries, to justify the expense, in
view of the small circulation which such reports receive, and it is much
better to put the money into printing library catalogues, which every
body needs and will use, than into library reports, which comparatively
few will make any use of. A judicious compromise may be usefully made, by
inducing some newspaper, which would print a liberal share of the report
free of charge, as news, for public information, to put the whole in type
and strike off a few hundred copies in sheet form or pages, at a moderate

This would enable the library officers to distribute a goodly number, and
to keep copies of each annual report for reference, without the expense
of a pamphlet edition.

In some of the larger and more enterprising of city libraries, reports
are made quarterly or monthly by the librarian. These of course are much
more nearly up to date, and if they publish lists of books added to the
library, they are correspondingly useful. Frequently they contain special
bibliographies of books on certain subjects. Among these, the monthly
bulletins of the Boston Public Library, Harvard University Library, New
York Public Library, Salem, Mass., Public Library, and the Providence
Public Library are specially numerous and important.

The relations of a public library to the local press of the city or town
where it is situated will now be noticed. It is the interest of the
librarian to extend the usefulness of the library by every means; and the
most effective means is to make it widely known. In every place are found
many who are quite ignorant of the stores of knowledge which lie at their
doors in the free library. And among those who do know it and resort to
it, are many who need to have their interest and attention aroused by
frequent notices as to its progress, recent additions to its stores, etc.
The more often the library is brought before the public by the press, the
more interest will be taken in it by the community for whose information
it exists.

It is of the utmost importance that the library conductors should have
the active good will of all the newspaper editors in its vicinity. This
will be acquired both by aiding them in all researches which the daily or
frequent wants of their profession render necessary; and also, by giving
them freely and often items of intelligence about the library for
publication. Enterprising journals are perpetually on the hunt for new
and varied matter to fill their columns. They send their reporters to the
library to make "a story," as it is called, out of something in it or
about it. These reporters are very seldom persons versed in books, or
able to write understandingly or attractively about them. Left to
themselves to construct "a story" out of a half hour's conversation with
the librarian, the chances are that an article will be produced which
contains nearly as many errors as matters of fact, with the names of
authors or the titles of their books mis-spelled or altered, and with
matters manufactured out of the reporter's fancy which formed no part of
the interview, while what did form important features in it are perhaps
omitted. The remedy, or rather the preventive of such inadequate reports
of what the librarian would say to the public is to become his own
reporter. The papers will willingly take for publication short "library
notes," as they may be called, containing information about the library
or its books, carefully type-written. This course at once secures
accurate and authentic statements, and saves the time of the press
reporters for other work.

Bear in mind always that the main object of such library notices is to
attract attention, and encourage people to use the library. Thus there
should be sought frequent opportunities of advertising the library by
this best of all possible means, because it is the one which reaches the
largest number. To do it well requires some skill and practice, and to do
it often is quite as essential as to do it well. Keep the library
continually before the public. What are the business houses which are
most thronged with customers? They are those that advertise most
persistently and attractively. So with the library; it will be more and
more resorted to, in proportion as it keeps its name and its riches
before the public eye.

A certain timeliness in these library notices should be cultivated. The
papers are eager to get anything that illustrates what is uppermost in
the public mind. If a local fair is in progress or preparing, give them a
list of the best books the library has in that field; the history of the
Philadelphia Exposition, the Chicago World's Fair, the Paris Expositions,
&c. On another day, set forth the books on manufactures, horses, cattle,
domestic animals, decorative art, &c. If there is a poultry exhibition,
or a dog show, call public attention to the books on poultry or dogs. If
an art exhibition, bring forward the titles of books on painting,
sculpture, drawing, and the history of art, ancient and modern.

If some great man has died, as Bismarck or Gladstone, give the titles of
any biographies or books about him, adding even references to notable
magazine articles that have appeared. When the summer vacation is coming
around, advertise your best books of travel, of summer resorts, of ocean
voyages, of yachting, camping, fishing and shooting, golf and other
out-door games, etc. If there is a Presidential campaign raging, make
known the library's riches in political science, the history of
administrations, and of nominating conventions, lives of the Presidents,
books on elections, etc. If an international dispute or complication is
on foot, publish the titles of your books on international law, and those
on the history or resources of the country or countries involved; and
when a war is in progress, books on military science, campaigns, battles,
sieges, and the history of the contending nations will be timely and

Whatever you do in this direction, make it short and attractive. Organize
your material, describe a specially interesting work by a reference to
its style, or its illustrations, or its reputation, etc. Distribute your
library notes impartially; that is, if several papers are published, be
careful not to slight any of them. Find out the proper days to suit their
want of matter, and never send in your notes when the paper is
overcrowded. Always read a proof-slip of each article; time spent in
going to a newspaper office to correct proof is well spent, for misprints
always await the unwary who trusts to the accuracy of types.

If the library acquires any extensive or notable book, whether old or
new, do not fail to make it known through the press. If any citizen gives
a number of volumes to the library, let his good deeds have an
appreciative notice, that others may go and do likewise.

Another feature of library advertising is the publication in the press of
the titles of new books added to the library. As this is merely catalogue
printing, however abbreviated in form the titles may be, it will usually
(and very properly) be charged for by the newspapers. But it will pay, in
the direction of inducing a much larger use of the library, and as the
sole object of the institution is to contribute to public intelligence,
it becomes library managers not to spare any expense so conducive to that



In the widely extended and growing public interest in libraries for the
people, and in the ever increasing gatherings of books by private
collectors, I may be pardoned for some suggestions pertaining specially
to the formation of libraries. I do not refer to the selection of books,
which is treated in the first chapter, nor to the housing and care of
libraries, but to some important points involved in organizing the
foundation, so to speak, of a library.

The problem, of course, is a widely different one for the private
collector of an individual or family library, and for the organizers of a
public one. But in either case, it is important, first of all, to have a
clearly defined and well considered plan. Without this, costly mistakes
are apt to be made, and time, energy and money wasted, all of which might
be saved by seeing the end from the beginning, and planning accordingly.

Let us suppose that a resident in a community which has never enjoyed the
benefit of a circulating library conceives the idea of using every means
to secure one. The first question that arises is, what are those means?
If the State in which his residence lies has a Library law, empowering
any town or city to raise money by taxation for founding and maintaining
a free library, the way is apparently easy, at first sight. But here
comes in the problem--can the requisite authority to lay the tax be
secured? This may involve difficulties unforeseen at first. If there is a
city charter, does it empower the municipal authorities (city council or
aldermen) to levy such a tax? If not, then appeal must be made to a
popular vote, at some election of municipal officers, at which the
ballots for or against a Library tax should determine the question. This
will at once involve a campaign of education, in which should be enlisted
(1) The editors of all the local papers. (2) The local clergymen, lawyers
and physicians. (3) All literary men and citizens of wealth or influence
in the community. (4) All teachers in the public schools and other
institutions of learning. (5) The members of the city or town government.
These last will be apt to feel any impulse of public sentiment more
keenly than their own individual opinions on the subject. In any case,
the public-spirited man who originates the movement should enlist as many
able coadjutors as he can. If he is not himself gifted with a ready
tongue, he should persuade some others who are ready and eloquent talkers
to take up the cause, and should inspire them with his own zeal. A public
meeting should be called, after a goodly number of well-known and
influential people are enlisted (not before) and addresses should be
made, setting forth the great advantage of a free library to every
family. Its value to educate the people, to furnish entertainment that
will go far to supplant idleness and intemperance, to help on the work of
the public schools, and to elevate the taste, improve the morals, quicken
the intellect and employ the leisure hours of all, should be set forth.

With all these means of persuasion constantly in exercise, and
unremitting diligence in pushing the good cause through the press and by
every private opportunity, up to the very day of the election, the
chances are heavily in favor of passing the library measure by a good
majority. It must be a truly Boeotian community, far gone in stupidity
or something worse, which would so stand in its own light as to vote down
a measure conducing in the highest degree to the public intelligence.
But even should it be defeated, its advocates should never be
discouraged. Like all other reforms or improvements, its progress may be
slow at first, but it is none the less sure to win in the end. One defeat
has often led to a more complete victory when the conflict is renewed.
The beaten party gathers wisdom by experience, finds out any weakness
existing in its ranks or its management, and becomes sensible where its
greatest strength should be put forth in a renewal of the contest. The
promoters of the measure should at once begin a fresh agitation. They
should pledge every friend of the library scheme to stand by it himself,
and to secure at least one new convert to the cause. And the chances are
that it will be carried triumphantly through at the next trial, or, if
not then, at least within no long time.

But we should consider also the case of those communities where no State
Library law exists. These are unhappily not a few; and it is a remarkable
fact that even so old, and rich, and well-developed a State as
Pennsylvania had no such provision for public enlightenment until within
three years. In the absence of a law empowering local governments or
voters to lay a tax for such a purpose, the most obvious way of founding
a library is by local subscription. This is of course a less desirable
method than one by which all citizens should contribute to the object in
proportion to their means. But it is better to avail of the means that
exist in any place than to wait an indefinite period for a State
Legislature to be educated up to the point of passing measures which
would render the formation of libraries easy in all places.

Let the experiment be tried of founding a library by individual effort
and concert. With only two or three zealous and active promoters, even
such a plan can be carried into successful operation in almost any
community. A canvass should be made from house to house, with a short
prospectus or agreement drawn up, pledging the subscribers to give a
certain sum toward the foundation of a library. If a few residents with
large property can be induced to head the list with liberal
subscriptions, it will aid much in securing confidence in the success of
the movement, and inducing others to subscribe. No contributions, however
small, should fail to be welcomed, since they stand for a wider interest
in the object. After a thorough canvass of the residents of the place, a
meeting of those subscribing should be called, and a statement put before
them of the amount subscribed. Then an executive committee, say of three
or five members, should be chosen to take charge of the enterprise. This
committee should appoint a chairman, a secretary, and a treasurer, the
latter to receive and disburse the funds subscribed. The chairman should
call and preside at meetings of the committee, of which the secretary
should record the proceedings in a book kept for the purpose.

The first business of the Library committee should be to confer and
determine upon the ways and means of organizing the library. This
involves a selection of books suitable for a beginning, a place of
deposit for them, and a custodian or librarian to catalogue them and keep
the record of the books drawn out and returned. Usually, a room can be
had for library purposes in some public building or private house,
centrally located, without other expense than that of warming and
lighting. The services of a librarian, too, can often be secured by
competent volunteer aid, there being usually highly intelligent persons
with sufficient leisure to give their time for the common benefit, or to
share that duty with others, thus saving all the funds for books to
enrich the library.

The chief trouble likely to be encountered by a Library committee will
lie in the selection of books to form the nucleus or starting point of
the collection. Without repeating anything heretofore suggested, it may
be said that great care should be taken to have books known to be
excellent, both interesting in substance and attractive in style. To so
apportion the moderate amount of money at disposal as to give variety and
interest to the collection, and attract readers from the start, is a
problem requiring good judgment for its solution. Much depends upon the
extent of the fund, but even with so small a sum as two or three hundred
dollars, a collection of the very best historians, poets, essayists,
travellers and voyagers, scientists, and novelists can be brought
together, which will furnish a range of entertaining and instructive
reading for several hundred borrowers. The costlier encyclopaedias and
works of reference might be waited for until funds are recruited by a
library fair, or lectures, or amateur concerts, plays, or other evening

Another way of recruiting the library which has often proved fruitful is
to solicit contributions of books and magazines from families and
individuals in the vicinity. This should be undertaken systematically
some time after the subscriptions in money have been gathered in. It is
not good policy to aim at such donations at the outset, since many might
make them an excuse for not subscribing to the fund for founding the
library, which it is to the interest of all to make as large as possible.
But when once successfully established, appeals for books and periodicals
will surely add largely to the collection, and although many of such
accessions may be duplicates, they will none the less enlarge the
facilities for supplying the demands of readers. Families who have read
through all or nearly all the books they possess will gladly bestow them
for so useful a purpose, especially when assured of reaping reciprocal
benefit by the opportunity of freely perusing a great variety of choice
books, new and old, which they have never read. Sometimes, too, a
public-spirited citizen, when advised of the lack of a good cyclopaedia,
or of the latest extensive dictionary, or collective biography, in the
library, will be happy to supply it, thereby winning the gratitude and
good will of all who frequent the library. All donations should have
inserted in them a neat book-plate, with the name of the donor inscribed,
in connection with the name of the Library.

Many a useful library of circulation has been started with a beginning of
fifty to a hundred volumes, and the little acorn of learning thus planted
has grown up in the course of years to a great tree, full of fruitful and
wide-spreading branches.



If there is any subject which, more than all others, divides opinion and
provokes endless controversy among librarians and scholars, it is the
proper classification of books. From the beginning of literature this has
been a well-nigh insoluble problem. Treatise after treatise has been
written upon it, system has been piled upon system, learned men have
theorised and wrangled about it all their lives, and successive
generations have dropped into their graves, leaving the vexed question as
unsettled as ever. Every now and then a body of _savans_ or a convention
of librarians wrestles with it, and perhaps votes upon it,

    "And by decision more embroils the fray"

since the dissatisfied minority, nearly as numerous and quite as
obstinate as the majority, always refuses to be bound by it. No sooner
does some sapient librarian, with the sublime confidence of conviction,
get his classification house of cards constructed to his mind, and stands
rapt in admiration before it, when there comes along some wise man of the
east, and demolishes the fair edifice at a blow, while the architect
stands by with a melancholy smile, and sees all his household gods lying
shivered around him.

Meanwhile, systems of classification keep on growing, until, instead of
the thirty-two systems so elaborately described in Edwards's Memoirs of
Libraries, we have almost as many as there are libraries, if the endless
modifications of them are taken into account. In fact, one begins to
realise that the schemes for the classification of knowledge are becoming
so numerous, that a classification of the systems themselves has fairly
become a desideratum. The youthful neophyte, who is struggling after an
education in library science, and thinks perhaps that it is or should be
an exact science, is bewildered by the multitude of counsellors, gets a
head-ache over their conflicting systems, and adds to it a heart-ache,
perhaps, over the animosities and sarcasms which divide the warring
schools of opinion.

Perhaps there would be less trouble about classification, if the
system-mongers would consent to admit at the outset that no infallible
system is possible, and would endeavor, amid all their other learning, to
learn a little of the saving grace of modesty. A writer upon this subject
has well observed that there is no man who can work out a scheme of
classification that will satisfy permanently even himself. Much less
should he expect that others, all having their favorite ideas and
systems, should be satisfied with his. As there is no royal road to
learning, so there can be none to classification; and we democratic
republicans, who stand upon the threshold of the twentieth century, may
rest satisfied that in the Republic of Letters no autocrat can be

The chief difficulty with most systems for distributing the books in a
library appears to lie in the attempt to apply scientific minuteness in a
region where it is largely inapplicable. One can divide and sub-divide
the literature of any science indefinitely, in a list of subjects, but
such exhaustive sub-divisions can never be made among the books on the
shelves. Here, for example, is a "Treatise on diseases of the heart and
lungs." This falls naturally into its two places in the subject
catalogue, the one under "Heart," and the second under "Lungs;" but the
attempt to classify it on the shelves must fail, as regards half its
contents. You cannot tear the book to pieces to satisfy logical
classification. Thousands of similar cases will occur, where the same
book treats of several subjects. Nearly all periodicals and transactions
of societies of every kind refuse to be classified, though they can be
catalogued perfectly on paper by analysing their contents. To bring all
the resources of the library on any subject together on the shelves is
clearly impossible. They must be assembled for readers from various
sections of the library, where the rule of analogy or of superior
convenience has placed them.

What is termed close classification, it will be found, fails by
attempting too much. One of the chief obstacles to its general use is
that it involves a too complicated notation. The many letters and figures
that indicate position on the shelves are difficult to remember in the
direct ratio of their number. The more minute the classification, the
more signs of location are required. When they become very numerous, in
any system of classification, the system breaks down by its own weight.
Library attendants consume an undue amount of time in learning it, and
library cataloguers and classifiers in affixing the requisite signs of
designation to the labels, the shelves, and the catalogues. Memory, too,
is unduly taxed to apply the system. While a superior memory may be found
equal to any task imposed upon it, average memories are not so fortunate.
The expert librarian, in whose accomplished head the whole world of
science and literature lies coördinated, so that he can apply his
classification unerringly to all the books in a vast library, must not
presume that unskilled assistants can do the same.

One of the mistakes made by the positivists in classification is the
claim that their favorite system can be applied to all libraries alike.
That this is a fallacy may be seen in an example or two. Take the case of
a large and comprehensive Botanical library, in which an exact scientific
distribution of the books may and should be made. It is classified not
only in the grand divisions, such as scientific and economic botany,
etc., but a close analytical treatment is extended over the whole
vegetable kingdom. Books treating of every plant are relegated to their
appropriate classes, genera, and species, until the whole library is
organised on a strictly scientific basis. But in the case, even of what
are called large libraries, so minute a classification would be not only
unnecessary, but even obstructive to prompt service of the books. And the
average town library, containing only a shelf or two of botanical works,
clearly has no use for such a classification. The attempt to impose a
universal law upon library arrangement, while the conditions of the
collections are endlessly varied, is foredoomed to failure.

The object of classification is to bring order out of confusion, and to
arrange the great mass of books in science and literature of which every
library is composed, so that those on related subjects should be as
nearly as possible brought together. Let us suppose a collection of some
hundred thousand volumes, in all branches of human knowledge, thrown
together without any classification or catalogue, on the tables, the
shelves, and the floor of an extensive reading-room. Suppose also an
assemblage of scholars and other readers, ready and anxious to avail
themselves of these literary treasures, this immense library without a
key. Each wants some certain book, by some author whose name he knows, or
upon some subject upon which he seeks to inform himself. But how vain and
hopeless the effort to go through all this chaos of learning, to find the
one volume which he needs! This illustration points the prime necessity
of classification of some kind, before a collection of books can be used
in an available way.

Then comes in the skilled bibliographer, to convert this chaos into a
cosmos, to illumine this darkness with the light of science. He
distributes the whole mass, volume by volume, into a few great distinct
classes; he creates families or sub-divisions in every class; he
assembles together in groups all that treat of the same subject, or any
of its branches; and thus the entire scattered multitude of volumes is at
length coördinated into a clear and systematic collection, ready for use
in every department. A great library is like a great army: when
unorganized, your army is a mere undisciplined mob: but divide and
sub-divide it into army corps, divisions, brigades, regiments, and
companies, and you can put your finger upon every man.

To make this complete organization of a library successful, one must have
an organising mind, a wide acquaintance with literature, history, and the
outlines, at least, of all the sciences; a knowledge of the ancient and
of various modern languages; a quick intuition, a ripe judgment, a
cultivated taste, a retentive memory, and a patience and perseverance
that are inexhaustible.

Even were all these qualities possessed, there will be in the arrangement
elements of discord and of a failure. A multitude of uncertain points in
classification, and many exceptions will arise; and these must of
necessity be settled arbitrarily. The more conversant one becomes with
systems of classification, when reduced to practice, the more he becomes
assured that a perfect bibliographical system is impossible.

Every system of classification must find its application fraught with
doubts, complications, and difficulties; but the wise bibliographer will
not pause in his work to resolve all these insoluble problems; he will
classify the book in hand according to his best judgment at the moment it
comes before him. He can no more afford to spend time over intricate
questions of the preponderance of this, that, or the other subject in a
book, than a man about to walk to a certain place can afford to debate
whether he shall put his right foot forward or his left. The one thing
needful is to go forward.

Referring to the chapter on bibliography for other details, I may here
say that the French claim to have reached a highly practical system of
classification in that set forth in J. C. Brunet's _Manuel du Libraire_.
This is now generally used in the arrangement of collections of books in
France, with some modifications, and the book trade find it so well
adapted to their wants, that classified sale and auction catalogues are
mostly arranged on that system. It has only five grand divisions:
Theology, Law, Arts and Sciences, Belles-lettres, and History. Each of
these classes has numerous sub-divisions. For example, geography and
voyages and travels form a division of history, between the philosophy of
history and chronology, etc.

The classification in use in the _Bibliothèque nationale_ of France
places Theology first, followed by Law, History, Philosophy and
Belles-lettres. The grand division of Philosophy includes all which is
classified under Arts and Sciences in the system of Brunet.

In the Library of the British Museum the classification starts with
Theology, followed by 2. Jurisprudence; 3. Natural History (including
Botany, Geology, Zoölogy, and Medicine); 4. Art (including Archaeology,
Fine Arts, Architecture, Music, and Useful Arts); 5. Philosophy
(including Politics, Economics, Sociology, Education, Ethics,
Metaphysics, Mathematics, Military and Naval Science, and Chemistry); 6.
History (including Heraldry and Genealogy); 7. Geography (including
Ethnology); 8. Biography (including Epistles); 9. Belles-lettres
(including Poetry, Drama, Rhetoric, Criticism, Bibliography, Collected
Works, Encyclopaedias, Speeches, Proverbs, Anecdotes, Satirical and
facetious works, Essays, Folklore and Fiction); 10. Philology.

Sub-divisions by countries are introduced in nearly all the classes.

In the Library of Congress the classification was originally based upon
Lord Bacon's scheme for the division of knowledge into three great
classes, according to the faculty of the mind employed in each. 1.
History (based upon memory); 2. Philosophy (based upon reason); 3. Poetry
(based upon imagination). This scheme was much better adapted to a
classification of ideas than of books. Its failure to answer the ends of
a practical classification of the library led to radical modifications of
the plan, as applied to the books on the shelves, for reasons of logical
arrangement, as well as of convenience. A more thorough and systematic
re-arrangement is now in progress.

Mr. C. A. Cutter has devised a system of "Expansive classification," now
widely used in American libraries. In this, the classes are each
indicated by a single letter, followed by numbers representing divisions
by countries, and these in turn by letters indicating sub-divisions by
subjects, etc. It is claimed that this method is not a rigid unchangeable
system, but adaptable in a high degree, and capable of modification to
suit the special wants of any library. In it the whole range of
literature and science is divided into several grand classes, which, with
their sub-classes, are indicated by the twenty-six letters of the
alphabet. Thus Class A embraces Generalia; B to D, Spiritual sciences
(including philosophy and religion); E to G, Historical sciences
(including, besides history and biography, geography and travels); H to
K, Social sciences (including law and political science and economics); L
to P, Natural sciences; Q, Medicine; and R to Z, Arts (including not only
mechanical, recreative and fine arts, but music, languages, literature,
and bibliography).

The sub-divisions of these principal classes are arranged with
progressive fullness, to suit smaller or larger libraries. Thus, the
first classification provides only eleven classes, suited to very small
libraries: the second is expanded to fifteen classes, the third to thirty
classes, and so on up to the seventh or final one, designed to provide
for the arrangement of the very largest libraries.

This is the most elaborate and far-reaching library classification yet
put forth, claiming superior clearness, flexibility, brevity of notation,
logical coördination, etc., while objections have been freely made to it
on the score of over-refinement and aiming at the unattainable.

What is known as the decimal or the Dewey system of classification was
originally suggested by Mr. N. B. Shurtleff's "Decimal system for the
arrangement and administration of libraries," published at Boston in
1856. But in its present form it has been developed by Mr. Melvil Dewey
into a most ingenious scheme for distributing the whole vast range of
human knowledge into ten classes, marked from 0 to 9, each of which
sub-divides into exactly ten sub-classes, all divisible in their turn
into ten minor divisions, and so on until the material in hand, or the
ingenuity of the classifier is exhausted. The notation of the books on
the shelves corresponds to these divisions and sub-divisions. The claims
of this system, which has been quite extensively followed in the smaller
American libraries, and in many European ones, are economy, simplicity,
brevity of notation, expansibility, unchanging call-numbers, etc. It has
been criticised as too mechanical, as illogical in arrangement of
classes, as presenting many incongruities in its divisions, as
procrustean, as wholly inadequate in its classification of jurisprudence,
etc. It is partially used by librarians who have had to introduce radical
changes in portions of the classification, and in fact it is understood
that the classification has been very largely made over both in Amherst
College library and in that of Columbia University, N. Y., where it was
fully established.

This only adds to the cumulative proofs that library classification
cannot be made an exact science, but is in its nature indefinitely
progressive and improvable. Its main object is not to classify knowledge,
but books. There being multitudes of books that do not belong absolutely
to any one class, all classification of them is necessarily a compromise.
Nearly all the classification schemers have made over their schemes--some
of them many times. I am not arguing against classification, which is
essential to the practical utility of any library. An imperfect
classification is much better than none: but the tendency to erect
classification into a fetish, and to lay down cast-iron rules for it,
should be guarded against. In any library, reasons of convenience must
often prevail over logical arrangement; and he who spends time due to
prompt library service in worrying over errors in a catalogue, or vexing
his soul at a faulty classification, is as mistaken as those fussy
individuals who fancy that they are personally responsible for the
obliquity of the earth's axis.

It may be added that in the American Library Association's Catalogue of
5,000 books for a popular library, Washington, 1893, the classification
is given both on the Dewey (Decimal) system, and on the Cutter expansive
system, so that all may take their choice.

The fixed location system of arrangement, by which every book is assigned
by its number to one definite shelf, is objectionable as preventing
accessions from being placed with their cognate books. This is of such
cardinal importance in every library, that a more elastic system of some
kind should be adopted, to save continual re-numbering. No system which
makes mere arithmetical progression a substitute for intrinsic qualities
can long prove satisfactory.

The relative or movable location on shelves is now more generally adopted
than the old plan of numbering every shelf and assigning a fixed location
to every volume on that shelf. The book-marks, if designating simply the
relative order of the volumes, permit the books to be moved along, as
accessions come in, from shelf to shelf, as the latter become crowded.
This does not derange the numbers, since the order of succession is

For small town libraries no elaborate system of classification can
properly be attempted. Here, the most convenient grouping is apt to prove
the best, because books are most readily found by it. Mr. W. I. Fletcher
has outlined a scheme for libraries of 10,000 volumes or less, as

A. Fiction (appended, J. Juvenile books); B. English and American
literature; C. History; D. Biography; E. Travels; F. Science; G. Useful
arts; H. Fine and recreative arts; I. Political and social science; K.
Philosophy and religion; L. Works on language and in foreign languages;
R. Reference books.

Numerous sub-divisions would be required to make such a scheme (or indeed
any other) fit any collection of books.

In arranging the main classes, care should be taken to bring those most
drawn upon near to the delivery desk, or charging system of the library.

The alphabet is usefully applied in the arrangement of several of the
great classes of books, and in many sub-divisions of other classes. Thus,
all English and American fiction may be arranged in a single alphabet of
authors, including English translations of foreign works. All collected
works, or polygraphy, may form an alphabet, as well as poetry, dramatic
works, collections of letters, and miscellanea, arranged by authors'
names. In any of these classes, sub-divisions by languages may be made,
if desired.

The class biography may best be arranged in an alphabet of the subjects
of the biographies, rather than of writers, for obvious reasons of
convenience in finding at once the books about each person.



Catalogues of libraries are useful to readers in direct proportion to
their fulfilment of three conditions: (1) Quick and ready reference. (2)
Arranging all authors' names in an alphabet, followed by titles of their
works. (3) Subjects or titles in their alphabetical order in the same
alphabet as the authors. This is what is known as a "Dictionary
catalogue"; but why is it preferable to any other? Because it answers
more questions in less time than any other.

The more prevalent styles of catalogues have been, 1. A list of authors,
with titles of their works under each. 2. A catalogue of subjects, in a
classified topical or alphabetical order, the authors and their works
being grouped under each head. 3. A catalogue attempting to combine these
two, by appending to the author-catalogue a classed list of subjects,
with a brief of authors under each, referring to the page on which the
titles of their works may be found; or else, 4. Appending to the
subject-catalogue an alphabet of authors, with similar references to
pages under subjects.

Each of these methods of catalogue-making, while very useful, contrives
to miss the highest utility, which lies in enabling the reader to put his
finger on the book he wants, at one glance of the eye. The catalogue of
authors will not help him to subjects, nor will the catalogue of
subjects, as a rule, give the authors and titles with the fullness that
may be needed. In either case, a double reference becomes necessary,
consuming just twice the time, and in a two-column catalogue, three
times the time required in a dictionary catalogue.

The reader who wants Darwin's "Origin of Species" finds it readily enough
by the author-catalogue; but he wants, at the same time, to find other
works on the same subject, and all the author-catalogues in the world
will not help him to them. But give him a dictionary catalogue, and he
has, in the same alphabet with his Darwin, (if the library is large)
dozens of books discussing the theory of that great naturalist, under
species, evolution, Darwinism, etc.

Thus he finds that there is no key which so quickly unlocks the stores of
knowledge which a library contains, as a dictionary catalogue.

The objections to it are chiefly brought by minds schooled in systems,
who look askance on all innovations, and instinctively prefer round-about
methods to short-hand ones.

Ask such an objector if he would prefer his dictionary of the English
language arranged, not alphabetically, but subjectively, so that all
medical terms should be defined only under medicine, all species of fish
described only under fishes, etc., and he will probably say that there is
no analogy in the case. But the analogy becomes apparent when we find, in
what are called systematic catalogues, no two systems alike, and the
finding of books complicated by endless varieties of classification, with
no common alphabet to simplify the search. The authors of systems
doubtless understand them themselves, but no one else does, until he
devotes time to learn the key to them; and even when learned, the
knowledge is not worth the time lost in acquiring it, since the field
covered in any one catalogue is so small. Alphabetical arrangement, on
the other hand, strictly adhered to, is a universal key to the authors
and subjects and titles of all the books contained in the library it
represents. The devotee of a bibliographical system may be as mistaken as
the slave of a scientific terminology. He forgets that bibliography is
not a school for teaching all departments of knowledge, but a brief and
handy index to books that may contain that knowledge. A student who has
once made a thorough comparative test of the merits, as aids to wide and
rapid research, of the old-fashioned bibliographies and the best modern
dictionary catalogues, will no more deny the superiority of the latter,
than he will contest the maxim that a straight line is the nearest road
between two points. Meantime, "while doctors disagree, disciples are
free;" and the disciples who would follow the latest guides in the art
"how to make and use a catalogue," must get rid of many formulas.

The reader will find in the chapter on bibliography, notes on some
classes of catalogues, with the more notable examples of them. We are
here concerned with the true method of preparing catalogues, and such
plain rules as brevity will permit to be given, will be equally adapted
to private or public libraries. For more ample treatment, with reasons
for and against many rules laid down, reference is made to the able and
acute work, "Rules for a Dictionary Catalogue," by C. A. Cutter,
published by the U. S. Bureau of Education, 3d ed. 1891.


_Prepared by the Co-operation Committee of the American Library


     Books are to be entered under the:

     Surnames of authors when ascertained, the abbreviation "_Anon._"
     being added to the titles of anonymous works.

     Initials of authors' names when these only are known, the last
     initial being put first.

     Pseudonyms of the writers when the real names are not

     Names of editors of collections, each separate item to be at the
     same time sufficiently catalogued under its own heading.

     Names of countries, cities, societies, or other bodies which are
     responsible for their publication.

     First word (not an article or serial number) of the titles of
     periodicals and of anonymous books, the names of whose authors
     are not known. And a motto or the designation of a series may be
     neglected when it begins a title, and the entry may be made under
     the first word of the real title following.

     Commentaries accompanying a text, and translations, are to be
     entered under the heading of the original work; but commentaries
     without the text under the name of the commentator. A book
     entitled "Commentary on ...." and containing the text, should be
     put under both.

     The Bible, or any part of it (including the Apocrypha), in any
     language, is to be entered under the word Bible.

     The Talmud and Koran (and parts of them) are to be entered under
     those words; the sacred books of other religions are to be
     entered under the names by which they are generally known;
     references to be given from the names of editors, translators,

     The respondent or defender of an academical thesis is to be
     considered as the author, unless the work unequivocally appears
     to be the work of the _praeses_.

     Books having more than one author to be entered under the one
     first named in the title, with a reference from each of the

     Reports of civil actions are to be entered under the name of the
     party to the suit which stands first on the title page. Reports
     of crown and criminal proceedings are to be entered under the
     name of the defendant. Admiralty proceedings relating to vessels
     are to be put under the name of the vessel.

     Noblemen are to be entered under their titles, unless the family
     name is decidedly better known.

     Ecclesiastical dignitaries, unless popes or sovereigns, are to be
     entered under their surnames.

     Sovereigns (other than Greek or Roman), ruling princes, Oriental
     writers, popes, friars, persons canonized, and all other persons
     known _only_ by their first name, are to be entered under this
     first name.

     Married women, and other persons who have changed their names,
     are to be put under the last well-known form.

     A pseudonym may be used instead of the surname (and only a
     reference to the pseudonym made under the surname) when an author
     is much more known by his false than by his real name. In case of
     doubt, use the real name.

     A society is to be entered under the first word, not an article,
     of its corporate name, with references from any other name by
     which it is known, especially from the name of the place where
     its headquarters are established, if it is often called by that


     When an author has been known by more than one name, references
     should be inserted from the name or names not to be used as
     headings to the one used.

     References are also to be made to the headings chosen:
       asked for by their titles;

       from other striking titles;

       from noticeable words in anonymous titles, especially from the
       names of subjects of anonymous biographies;

       from the names of editors of periodicals, when the periodicals are
       generally called by the editor's name;

       from the names of important translators (especially poetic
       translators) and commentators;

       from the title of an ecclesiastical dignitary, when that, and not
       the family name, is used in the book catalogued;

       and in other cases where a reference is needed to insure the ready
       finding of the book.


     In the heading of titles, the names of authors are to be given in
     full, and in their vernacular form, except that the Latin form
     may be used when it is more generally known, the vernacular form
     being added in parentheses; except, also, that sovereigns and
     popes may be given in the English form.

     English and French surnames beginning with a prefix (except the
     French de and d') are to be recorded under the prefix; in other
     languages under the word following.

     English compound surnames are to be entered under the last part
     of the name; foreign ones under the first part.

     Designations are to be added to distinguish writers of the same
     name from each other.

     Prefixes indicating the rank or profession of writers may be
     added in the heading, when they are part of the usual designation
     of the writers.

     Names of places to be given in the English form. When both an
     English and a vernacular form are used in English works, prefer
     the vernacular.


     The title is to be an exact transcript of the title-page, neither
     amended, translated, nor in any way altered, except that mottos,
     titles of authors, repetitions, and matter of any kind not
     essential, are to be omitted. Where great accuracy is desirable,
     omissions are to be indicated by three dots (...). The titles of
     books especially valuable for antiquity or rarity may be given in
     full, with all practicable precision. The phraseology and
     spelling, but not necessarily the punctuation, of the title are
     to be exactly copied.

     Any additions needed to make the title clear are to be supplied,
     and inclosed by brackets.

     Initial capitals are to be given in English:
       noted events, and periods (each separate word not an article,
       conjunction, or preposition, may be capitalized in these cases);

       to adjectives and other derivatives from proper names when they
       have a direct reference to the person, place, etc., from which
       they are derived;

       to the first word of every sentence and of every quoted title;

       to titles of honor when standing instead of a proper name
       (_e. g._, the Earl of Derby, but John Stanley, earl of Derby);

       In foreign languages, according to the local usage;

       In doubtful cases capitals are to be avoided.

     Foreign languages.--Titles in foreign characters may be
     transliterated. The languages in which a book is written are to be
     stated when there are several, and the fact is not apparent from the


     After the title are to be given, in the following order, those in
     [ ] being optional:

       the place of publication;

       [and the publisher's name] (these three in the language of
       the title);

       the year as given on the title-page, but in Arabic figures;

       [the year of copyright or actual publication, if known to be
       different in brackets, and preceded by c. or p. as the case may be];

       the number of volumes, or of pages if there is only one volume;

       [the number of maps, portraits, or illustrations not included in the

       and either the approximate size designated by letter, or the
       exact size in centimeters;

       the name of the series to which the book belongs is to be given in
       parentheses after the other imprint entries.

     After the place of publication, the place of printing may be
     given if different. This is desirable only in rare and old books.

     The number of pages is to be indicated by giving the last number
     of each paging, connecting the numbers by the sign +; the
     addition of unpaged matter may be shown by a +, or the number of
     pages ascertained by counting may be given in brackets. When
     there are more than three pagings, it is better to add them
     together and give the sum in brackets.

     These imprint entries are to give the facts, whether ascertained
     from the book or from other sources; those which are usually
     taken from the title (edition, place, publisher's name, and
     series) should be in the language of the title, corrections and
     additions being inclosed in brackets. It is better to give the
     words, "maps," "portraits," etc., and the abbreviations for
     "volumes" and "pages," in English.

                 CONTENTS, NOTES.

     Notes (in English) and contents of volumes are to be given when
     necessary to properly describe the works. Both notes and lists of
     contents to be in a smaller type.


     A single dash or indent indicates the omission of the preceding
     heading; a subsequent dash or indent indicates the omission of a
     subordinate heading, or of a title.

     A dash connecting numbers signifies to and including; following a
     number it signifies continuation.

     A ? following a word or entry signifies probably.

     Brackets inclose words added to titles or imprints, or changed in

     Arabic figures are to be used rather than Roman; but small
     capitals may be used after the names of sovereigns, princes, and

     A list of abbreviations to be used was given in the Library
     journal, Vol. 3: 16-20.


     The surname when used alone precedes the same name used with
     forenames; where the initials only of the forenames are given,
     they are to precede fully written forenames beginning with the
     same initials (_e. g._, Brown, Brown, J.; Brown, J. L.; Brown,

     The prefixes M and Mc, S., St., Ste., Messrs., Mr., and Mrs., are
     to be arranged as if written in full, Mac, Sanctus, Saint,
     Sainte, Messieurs, Mister, and Mistress.

     The works of an author are to be arranged in the following order:

       2. Partial collections.

       3. Single works, alphabetically, by the first word of the title.

     The order of alphabeting is to be that of the English alphabet.

     The German ae, oe, ue, are always to be written as ä, ö, ü, and
     arranged as a, o, u.

     Names of persons are to precede similar names of places, which in turn
     precede similar first words of titles.

A few desirable modifications or additions to these rules may be

1. In title-entries, let the year of publication stand last, instead of
the indication of size.

2. Noblemen to be entered under their family names, with reference from
their titles.

3. Instead of designations of title, profession, residence, or family, to
distinguish authors, let every name be followed by the chronology, as--

    James (Henry) 1811-82.
    James (Henry) 1843-

It is highly desirable to give this information as to the author's period
in every title-heading, without exception, when ascertainable. If
unknown, the approximate period to be given, with a query.

4. All titles to be written in small letters, and printed in lower case,
whether in English, German, or any other language, avoiding capitals
except in cases named in the rule.

5. Works without date, when the exact date is not found, are to be
described conjecturally, thus:

    [1690?] or [about 1840.]

6. In expressing collations, use commas rather than the sign + between
the pagings, as--xvi, 452, vii pp.--not xvi+452+vii pp.

7. Forenames should be separated from the surnames which precede them by
parenthesis rather than commas, as a clearer discrimination: as--

    Alembert (Jean Baptiste le Rond d')--not
    Alembert, Jean Baptiste le Rond d'.

The printed catalogue of the British Museum Library follows this method,
as well as that in the preceding paragraph.

8. All books of history, travels, or voyages to have the period covered
by them inserted in brackets, when not expressed in the title-page.

9. All collected works of authors, and all libraries or collections of
different works to be analysed by giving the contents of each volume,
either in order of volumes, or alphabetically by authors' names.

Of course there are multitudes of points in catalogue practice not
provided for in the necessarily brief summary preceding: and, as books on
the art abound, the writer gives only such space to it as justice to the
wide range of library topics here treated permits.

Probably the most important question in preparing catalogue titles, is
what space to give to the author's frequently long-drawn-out verbiage in
his title-page. There are two extremes to be considered: (1) Copying the
title literally and in full, however prolix; and (2) reducing all
title-pages, by a Procrustean rule, to what we may call "one-line
titles." Take an example:

"Jones (Richard T.) A theoretical and practical treatise on the benefits
of agriculture to mankind. With an appendix containing many useful
reflections derived from practical experience. iv, 389 pp. 8°. London,
MDCCXLIV." As abridged to a short title, this would read: "Jones (Richard
T.) Benefits of agriculture, iv, 389 pp. 8°. Lond. 1744." Who will say
that the last form of title does not convey substantially all that is
significant of the book, stripped of superfluous verbiage? But we need
not insist upon titles crowded into a single line of the catalogue,
whether written or printed. This would do violence to the actual scope of
many books, by suppressing some significant or important part of their
titles. The rule should be to give in the briefest words selected out of
the title (never imported into it) the essential character of the book,
so far as the author has expressed it. Take another example:

"Bowman (Thomas) A new, easy, and complete Hebrew course; containing a
Hebrew grammar, with copious Hebrew and English exercises, strictly
graduated: also, a Hebrew-English and English-Hebrew lexicon. In two
parts. Part I. Regular verbs. Edinburgh, 1879."

This might be usefully condensed thus:

     Bowman, (Thomas) Hebrew course: grammar, exercises, lexicon,
     [&c.] Part I. Regular verbs. Edinburgh, 1879.

One objection brought against the dictionary catalogue is that it widely
separates subjects that belong together. In the Boston Athenaeum
catalogue, for example, the topic Banks is found in Vol. 1, while Money
is in Vol. 3; and for Wages, one must go to Vol. 5, while Labor is in
Vol. 3. But there are two valid reasons for this. First, the reader who
wants to know about banks or wages may care nothing about the larger
topics of money or of labor; and secondly, if he does want them, he is
sent to them at once by cross-reference, where they belong in the
alphabet; whereas, if they were grouped under Political Economy, as in
classed catalogues, he must hunt for them through a maze of unrelated
books, without any alphabet at all.

It is often forgotten by the advocates of systematic subject catalogues
rather than alphabetical ones, that catalogues are for those who do not
know, more than for those who do. The order of the alphabet is settled
and familiar; but no classification by subjects is either familiar or
settled. Catalogues should aim at the greatest convenience of the
greatest number of readers.

It is noteworthy that the English Catalogue (the one national
bibliography of the current literature of that country) has adopted,
since 1891, the dictionary form of recording authors, titles and subjects
in one alphabet, distinguishing authors' names by antique type. It is
hoped that the American Catalogue, an indispensable work in all
libraries, will adopt in its annual and quinquennial issues the
time-saving method of a single alphabet.

It is not claimed that the dictionary catalogue possesses fully all the
advantages in educating readers that the best classed catalogues embody.
But the chief end of catalogues being to find books promptly, rather than
to educate readers, the fact that the dictionary catalogue, though far
from perfect, comes nearer to the true object than any other system,
weighs heavily in its favor. Edward Edwards said--"Many a reader has
spent whole days in book-hunting [in catalogues] which ought to have been
spent in book-reading." It is to save this wasted time that catalogues
should aim.

Nothing can be easier than to make a poor catalogue, while nothing is
more difficult than to make a good one. The most expert French
bibliographers who have distinguished themselves by compiling catalogues
have been most severely criticised by writers who no doubt would have
been victimized in their turn if they had undertaken similar work. Byron

    "A man must serve his time to every trade,
     Save censure;--critics all are ready made."

When De Bure and Van Praet, most accomplished bibliographers, published
the catalogue of the precious library of the duke de La Vallière, the
abbé Rive boasted that he had discovered a blunder in every one of the
five thousand titles of their catalogue. Barbier and Brunet have both
been criticised for swarms of errors in the earlier editions of their
famous catalogues. The task of the exact cataloguer is full of
difficulty, constantly renewed, and demanding almost encyclopaedic
knowledge, and incessant care of minute particulars.

The liability to error is so great in a kind of work which, more than
almost any other, demands the most scrupulous accuracy, lest a catalogue
should record a book with such mistakes as to completely mislead a
reader, that rules are imperatively necessary. And whatever rules are
adopted, a rigid adherence to them is no less essential, to avoid
misapprehension and confusion. A singular instance of imperfect and
misleading catalogue work was unwittingly furnished by Mr. J. Payne
Collier, a noted English critic, author, and librarian, who criticised
the slow progress of the British Museum catalogue, saying that he could
himself do "twenty-five titles an hour without trouble." His twenty-five
titles when examined, were found to contain almost every possible error
that can be made in cataloguing books. These included using names of
translators or editors as headings, when the author's name was on the
title-page; omitting christian names of authors; omitting to specify the
edition; using English instead of foreign words to give the titles of
foreign books; adopting titled instead of family names for authors (which
would separate Stanhope's "England under Queen Anne" from the same
writer's "History of England," published when he was Lord Mahon); errors
in grammar, etc. These ridiculous blunders of a twenty-five-title-an-hour
man exemplify the maxim "the more haste, the worse speed," in

That our British brethren are neither adapted nor inclined to pose as
exemplars in the fine art of cataloguing, we need only cite their own
self-criticisms to prove. Here are two confessions found in two authors
of books on catalogue-making, both Englishmen. Says one: "We are
deficient in good bibliographies. It is a standing disgrace to the
country that we have no complete bibliography of English authors, much
less of English literature generally." Says another: "The English are a
supremely illogical people. The disposition to irregularity has made
English bibliography, or work on catalogues, a by-word among those who
give attention to these matters."

An American may well add, "They do these things better in France and
Germany," while declining to claim the meed of superiority for the United

Too much prominence should not be given to place-numbers in library
catalogues. The tendency to substitute mere numerical signs for authors
and subjects has been carried so far in some libraries, that books are
called for and charged by class-numbers only, instead of their
distinctive names. An English librarian testifies that assistants trained
in such libraries are generally the most ignorant of literature. When
mechanical or mnemonical signs are wholly substituted for ideas and for
authors, is it any wonder that persons incessantly using them become
mechanical? Let catalogue and classification go hand in hand in bringing
all related books together, and library assistants will not stunt their
intellects by becoming bond-slaves to the nine digits, nor lose the power
of thought and reflection by never growing out of their _a b c's_.

There are two forms of catalogue not here discussed, which are adjuncts
to the library catalogue proper. The accession catalogue, kept in a large
volume, records the particulars regarding every volume, on its receipt by
the library. It gives author, title, date, size, binding, whence
acquired, cost, etc., and assigns it an accession number, which it ever
after retains. The shelf catalogue (or shelf-list) is a portable one
divided into sections representing the cases of shelves in the library.
It gives the shelf classification number, author, brief title and number
of volumes of each book, as arranged on the shelves; thus constituting an
inventory of each case, or stack, throughout the library.

To check a library over is to take an account of stock of all the books
it should contain. This is done annually in some libraries, and the
deficiencies reported. All libraries lose some books, however few, and
these losses will be small or great according to the care exercised and
the safe-guards provided. The method is to take one division of the
library at a time, and check off all books on the shelves by their
numbers on the shelf-list, supplemented by careful examination of all
numbers drawn out, or at bindery, or in other parts of the library. Not a
volume should be absent unaccounted for. Those found missing after a
certain time should be noted on the shelf-list and accession book, and
replaced, if important, after the loss is definitely assured.

The reason for writing and printing all catalogue titles in small
letters, without capitals (except for proper names) is two-fold. First,
there can be no standard prescribing what words should or should not be
capitalized, and the cataloguer will be constantly at a loss, or will use
capitals in the most unprincipled way. He will write one day, perhaps,
"The Dangers of great Cities," and the next, "The dangers of Great
cities"--with no controlling reason for either form. Secondly, the
symmetry of a title or a sentence, whether written or printed, is best
attained by the uniform exclusion of capitals. That this should be
applied to all languages, notwithstanding the habit of most German
typographers of printing all nouns with capitals, is borne out by no less
an authority than the new Grimm's _Deutsches Wörterbuch_, which prints
all words in "lower case" type except proper names. Nothing can be more
unsightly than the constant breaking up of the harmony of a line by the
capricious use of capitals.

To discriminate carefully the various editions of each work is part of
the necessary duty of the cataloguer. Many books have passed through
several editions, and as these are by no means always specified on the
title-page, one should establish the sequence, if possible, by other
means. The first edition is one which includes all copies printed from
the plates or the type as first set; the second, one which is reprinted,
with or without changes in the text or the title. First editions often
acquire a greatly enhanced value, in the case of a noted author, by
reason of changes made in the text in later issues of the work. For
though the latest revision may and should be the author's best improved
expression, his earliest furnishes food for the hunters of literary
curiosities. Every catalogue should distinguish first editions thus [1st
ed.] in brackets.

In the arrangement of titles in catalogues, either of the various works
of the same writer, or of many books on the same subject, some compilers
follow the alphabetical order, while others prefer the chronological--or
the order of years of publication of the various works. The latter has
the advantage of showing the reader the earlier as distinguished from the
recent literature, but in a long sequence of authors (in a
subject-catalogue) it is more difficult to find a given writer's work, or
to detect its absence.

The task of accurately distributing the titles in a catalogue of subjects
would be much simplified, if the books were all properly named. But it is
an unhappy failing of many writers to give fanciful or far-fetched titles
to their books, so that, instead of a descriptive name, they have names
that describe nothing. This adds indefinitely to the labor of the
cataloguer, who must spend time to analyse to some extent the contents of
the book, before he can classify it. This must be done to avoid what may
be gross errors in the catalogue. Familiar examples are Ruskin's Notes on
Sheep-folds (an ecclesiastical criticism) classified under Agriculture;
and Edgeworth's Irish Bulls under Domestic animals.

The work of alphabeting a large number of title-cards is much simplified
and abbreviated by observing certain obvious rules in the distribution.
(1) Gather in the same pile all the cards in the first letter of the
alphabet, A, followed in successive parallel rows by all the B's, and so
on, to the letter Z. (2) Next, pursue the same course with all the
titles, arranging under the second letter of the alphabet, Aa, Ab, Ac,
etc., and so with all the cards under B. C. &c. for all the letters. (3)
If there still remain a great many titles to distribute into a closer
alphabetic sequence, the third operation will consist in arranging under
the third letter of the alphabet, _e. g._, Abb, Abc, Abd, etc. The same
method is pursued throughout the entire alphabet, until all the
title-cards are arranged in strict order.

Too much care cannot be taken to distinguish between books written by
different authors, but bearing the same name. Many catalogues are full of
errors in this respect, attributing, for example, works written by
Jonathan Edwards, the younger, (1745-1801) to Jonathan Edwards the elder,
(1703-58); or cataloguing under Henry James, Jr., the works of his
father, Henry James. The abundant means of identification which exist
should cause such errors to be avoided; and when the true authorship is
fixed, every author's chronology should appear next after his name on
every card-title: _e. g._ James (Henry, 1811-82) Moralism and
Christianity, New York, 1850. James (Henry, 1843- ) Daisy Miller, N. Y.

The designation of book sizes is a vexed question in catalogues. The
generally used descriptions of size, from folio down to 48mo. signify no
accurate measurement whatever, the same book being described by different
catalogues as 12mo. 8vo, crown 8vo. &c., according to fancy; while the
same cataloguer who describes a volume as octavo to-day, is very likely
to call it a duodecimo to-morrow. Library catalogues are full of these
heterogeneous descriptions, and the size-notation is the _bête noir_ of
the veteran bibliographer, and the despair of the infant librarian. Yet
it is probable that the question has excited a discussion out of all
proportion to its importance. Of what consequence is the size of a book
to any one, except to the searcher who has to find it on the shelves?
While the matter has been much exaggerated, some concert or uniformity in
describing the sizes of books is highly desirable.

A Committee of the American Library Association agreed to a
size-notation, figured below, adopting the metric system as the standard,
to which we add the approximate equivalents in inches.

                            _Size_           _outside_
_Sizes._               _abbreviations._      _height._    _Inches._

Folio, F°.                     F                 40          16
Quarto, 4°.                    Q                 30          12
Octavo, 8°.                    O                 25          10
Duodecimo, 12°.                D                 20           8
Sixteen mo., 16°.              S                 17.5         7
Twenty-four mo., 24°.          T                 15           6
Thirty-two mo., 32°.          Tt                 12.3         5
Forty-eight mo., 48°.         Fe                 10           4

It will be understood that the figure against each size indicated
represents the maximum measure: _e. g._ a volume is octavo when above 20
and below 25 centimetres (8 to 10 inches high).

As this question of sizes concerns publishers and booksellers, as well as
librarians, and the metric system, though established in continental
Europe, is in little use in the United States and England, it remains
doubtful if any general adherence to this system of notation can be
reached--or, indeed, to any other. The Publishers' Weekly (N. Y.) the
organ of the book trade, has adopted it for the titles of new books
actually in hand, but follows the publishers' descriptions of sizes as to
others. Librarian J. Winter Jones, of the British Museum, recommended
classing all books above twelve inches in height as folios, those
between ten and twelve inches as quartos, those from seven to ten inches
as octavos, and all measuring seven inches or under as 12mos. Mr. H. B.
Wheatley, in his work, "How to Catalogue a Library," 1889, proposed to
call all books small octavos which measure below the ordinary octavo
size. As all sizes "run into each other," and the former classification
by the fold of the sheets is quite obsolete, people appear to be left to
their own devices in describing the sizes of books. While the metric
notation would be exact, if the size of every book were expressed in
centimetres, the size-notation in the table given is wholly wanting in
precision, and has no more claim to be adopted than any other arbitrary
plan. Still, it will serve ordinary wants, and the fact that we cannot
reach an exact standard is no reason for refusing to be as nearly exact
as we can.

And while we are upon the subject of notation may be added a brief
explanation of the method adopted in earlier ages, (and especially the
years reckoned from the Christian era) to express numbers by Roman
numerals. The one simple principle was, that each letter placed after a
figure of greater equal value adds to it just the value which itself has;
and, on the other hand, a letter of less value placed before (or on the
left of) a larger figure, diminishes the value of that figure in the same
proportion. For example:

These letters--VI represent six; which is the same as saying V+I. On the
contrary, these same letters reversed represent four; thus--IV: that is
V-I=4. Nine is represented by IX, _i. e._, X-I, ten minus one. On the
same principle, LX represents 60--or L+N: whereas XL means 40--being L-X.
Proceeding on the same basis, we find that LXX=L+XX=70; and LXXX or L+XXX
is 80. But when we come to ninety, instead of adding four X's to the L,
they took a shorter method, and expressed it in two figures instead of
five, thus, XC, _i. e._ 100 or C-X=90.

The remarkable thing about this Roman notation is that only six letters
sufficed to express all numbers up to one thousand, and even beyond, by
skilful and simple combinations: namely the I, the V, the X, the L, the
C, and the M, and by adding or subtracting some of these letters, when
placed before or after another letter, they had a whole succession of
numbers done to their hand--thus:

   I,                1      XX,               20      CC,              200
  II,                2     XXX,               30     CCC,              300
 III,                3      XL,               40    CCCC,              400
  IV,                4       L,               50       D,              500
   V,                5      LX,               60      DC,              600
  VI,                6     LXX,               70     DCC,              700
 VII,                7    LXXX,               80    DCCC,              800
VIII,                8      XC,               90      CM,              900
  IX,                9       C (centum),     100       M, (mille),   1,000
   X,               10

Now, when the early printers came to apply dates of publication to the
books they issued, (and here is where their methods of notation become
most important to librarians) they used precisely these methods. For
example, to express the year 1695, they printed it thus: MDCVC, that
is--1000+500+100+100-5. But the printers of the 15th century and later,
often used complications of letters, dictated by caprice rather than by
any fixed principles, so that it is sometimes difficult to interpret
certain dates in the colophons or title-pages of books, without
collateral aid of some kind, usually supplied to the librarian by
bibliographies. One of the simpler methods of departure from the regular
notation as above explained, was to substitute for the letter D (500) two
letters, thus--I[inverted C], an I and a C inverted, supposed to resemble
the letter D in outline. Another fancy was to replace the M, standing for
1,000, by the symbols CI[inverted C]--which present a faint approach to
the outline of the letter M, for which they stand. Thus, to express the
year 1610, we have this combination--CI[inverted C] I[inverted C] CX,
which would be indecipherable to a modern reader, uninstructed in the
numerical signs anciently used, and their values. In like manner, 1548 is
expressed thus: MDXLIIX, meaning 1000+500+40+10-2. And for 1626, we have
CI[inverted C] I[inverted C] C XXVI.

As every considerable library has early printed books, a librarian must
know these peculiarities of notation, in order to catalogue them
properly, without mistake as to their dates. In some books, where a
capricious combination of Roman numerals leaves him without a precedent
to guide him to the true date, reference must be had to the
bibliographies of the older literature, (as Hain, Panzer, etc.), which
will commonly solve the doubt.

As to the mechanics of catalogue-making, widely different usages and
materials prevail. In America, the card or title-slip system is well nigh
universal, while in England it is but slowly gaining ground, as against
the ledger or blank book catalogue. Its obvious advantage lies in
affording the only possible means of maintaining a strict alphabetical
sequence in titles, whether of authors or subjects. The title-cards
should be always of uniform size, and the measure most in vogue is five
inches in length by three inches in breadth. They should not be too
stiff, though of sufficient thickness, whether of paper or of thin card
board, to stand upright without doubling at the edges. They may be ruled
or plain, at pleasure, and kept in drawers, trays, or (in case of a small
catalogue) in such paste-board boxes as letter envelopes come in.

The many advantages of the card system, both for catalogues and indexes,
should not lead us to overlook its palpable defects. These are (1) It
obliges readers to manipulate many cards, to arrive at all the works of
an author, or all the books on any subject, instead of having them under
his eye at once, as in printed catalogues. (2) It can be used only in the
library, and in only one place in the library, and by only one person at
a time in the same spot, while a printed catalogue can be freely used
anywhere, and by any numbers, copies being multiplied. (3) It entails
frequent crowding of readers around the catalogue drawers, who need to
consult the same subjects or authors at the same time. (4) It requires
immeasurably more room than a printed catalogue, and in fact, exacts
space which in some libraries can be ill afforded. (5) It obliges readers
to search the title-cards at inconvenient angles of vision, and often
with inadequate light. (6) It is cumbersome in itself, and doubly
cumbersome to searchers, who must stand up instead of sitting to consult
it, and travel from drawer to drawer, interfering with other searchers
almost constantly, or losing time in waiting. (7) To this is added the
inconvenience of constant insertion of new title-cards by members of the
library staff, and the time-consuming process of working the rods which
keep the cards in place, if they are used, and if not used, the risk of
loss of titles, or misplacement equivalent to loss for a time.

Says Mr. H. B. Wheatley: "I can scarcely imagine anything more maddening
than a frequent reference to cards in a drawer." But it is to be
considered that all systems have defects, and the problem of choosing the
least defective is ever before us. Most of the suggested defects of the
card catalogue, as concerns the readers, can be obviated by making a
two-fold catalogue, the type-written titles being manifolded, and one set
arranged in card-drawers for the use of the library staff, while another
is mounted on large sheets in bound volumes for use of the public. This
would secure the advantages of a printed catalogue, with no more expense
than the manuscript titles would cost. If desired, a number of copies
could be bound up for reading-room use. Accessions of new books could be
incorporated from month to month, by leaving the right-hand pages blank
for that purpose. This would be near enough to alphabetical order for
most readers, with the immense advantage of opening at one glance before
the eye, any author or subject. It would go far to solve the problem how
to unite the flexibility and perfect alphabeting of the card system, with
the superior comfort, safety, and ease of reference of the book. It would
also be a safe-guard against the loss or displacement of titles, a danger
inherent in the card system, as they could be replaced by copying missing
titles from the catalogue volumes.

While the undoubted merits of the card system have been much overrated,
it would be as unwise to dispense with it as the complete official
catalogue of the library, as it would be to tie down the public to its
use, when there is a more excellent way, saving time and patience, and
contributing to the comfort of all.

To print or not to print? is a vital question for libraries, and it is in
most cases decided to forego or to postpone printing, because of its
great expense. Yet so manifest are the advantages of a printed catalogue,
that all public libraries should make every effort to endow their readers
with its benefits. These advantages are (1) Greater facility of reading
titles. (2) Much more rapid turning from letter to letter of the
catalogue alphabet. (3) Ability to consult it outside of the library. (4)
Unlimited command of the catalogue by many readers at once, from the
number of copies at hand, whereas card catalogues or manuscript volumes
involve loss of time in waiting, or interfering with the researches of
others. A part of these advantages may be realized by printing
type-written copies of all titles in duplicate, or by carbon paper in
manifold, thus furnishing the library with several copies of its
catalogue: but why not extend this by multiplying copies through the
ingenious processes now in use, by which the printing of titles can be
effected far more cheaply than in any printing office? Might not every
library become its own printer, thus saving it from the inconvenience and
risk of sending its titles outside, or the great expense of copying them
for the printer?

The titles thus manifolded could be combined into volumes, by cutting
away all superfluous margins and mounting the thin title-slips
alphabetically on paper of uniform size, which, when bound, would be
readily handled. All the titles of an author's works would be under the
eye at a glance, instead of only one at a time, as in the card catalogue.
And the titles of books on every subject would lie open, without slowly
manipulating an infinite series of cards, one after another, to reveal
them to the eye. The classification marks could be readily placed against
each title, or even printed as a part of the manifold card titles.

Not that the card catalogue system would be abolished: it would remain as
the only complete catalogue of the library, always up to date, in a
single alphabet. Daily accessions inserted in it would render it the
standard of appeal as to all that the library contained, and it would
thus supplement the printed catalogue.

Of course, large and increasing accessions would require to be combined
in occasional supplementary volumes of the catalogue; and in no long
number of years the whole might be re-combined in a single alphabet,
furnishing a printed dictionary catalogue up to its date.

The experience of the great British Museum Library in this matter of
catalogues is an instructive one. After printing various incomplete
author-catalogues in the years from 1787 to 1841, the attempt to print
came to a full stop. The extensive collection grew apace, and the
management got along somehow with a manuscript catalogue, the titles of
which (written in script with approximate fullness) were pasted in a
series of unwieldy but alphabetically arranged volumes. To incorporate
the accessions, these volumes had continually to be taken apart by the
binder, and the new titles combined in alphabetical order, entailing a
literally endless labor of transcribing, shifting, relaying and
rebinding, to secure even an imperfect alphabetical sequence. In 1875,
the catalogue had grown to over two thousand thick folio volumes, and it
was foreseen, by a simple computation of the rate of growth of the
library, that in a very few years its catalogue could no longer be
contained in the reading-room. The bulky manuscript catalogue system
broke down by its own weight, and the management was compelled to resort
to printing in self defence. Before the printing had reached any where
near the concluding letters of the alphabet, the MS. catalogue had grown
to three thousand volumes, and was a daily and hourly incubus to
librarians and readers.

This printed catalogue of the largest library in the world, save one, is
strictly a catalogue of authors, giving in alphabetical order the names,
followed by the titles of all works by each writer which that library
possesses. In addition, it refers in the case of biographies or comments
upon any writer found in the index, to the authors of such works; and
also from translators or editors to the authors of the translated or
edited work. The titles of accessions to the library (between thirty and
forty thousand volumes a year) were incorporated year by year as the
printing went on. All claim to minute accuracy had to be ignored, and the
titles greatly abridged by omitting superfluous words, otherwise its cost
would have been prohibitory. The work was prosecuted with great energy
and diligence by the staff of able scholars in the service of the Museum
Library. As the catalogue embraces far more titles of books, pamphlets,
and periodicals than any other ever printed, it is a great public boon,
the aid it affords to all investigators being incalculable. And any
library possessing it may find, with many titles of rare and unattainable
works, multitudes of books now available by purchase in the market, to
enrich its own collection. It is said to contain about 3,500,000 titles
and cross-references. It is printed in large, clear type, double columns,
well spaced, and its open page is a comfort to the eye. Issued in paper
covers, the thin folios can be bound in volumes of any thickness desired
by the possessor.

It has several capital defects: (1) It fails to discriminate authors of
the same name by printing the years or period of each; instead of which
it gives designations like "the elder", "the younger", or the residence,
or occupation, or title of the author. The years during which any writer
flourished would have been easily added to the name in most cases, and
the value of such information would have been great, solving at once many
doubts as to many writers. (2) The catalogue fails to print the
collations of all works, except as to a portion of those published since
1882, or in the newer portions issued. This omission leaves a reader
uncertain whether the book recorded is a pamphlet or an extensive work.
(3) The letters I and J and U and V are run together in the alphabet,
after the ancient fashion, thus placing Josephus before Irving, and Utah
after Virginia; an arrangement highly perplexing, not to say
exasperating, to every searcher. To follow an obsolete usage may be
defended on the plea that it is a good one, but when it is bad as well as
outworn, no excuse for it can satisfy a modern reader. (4) No analysis is
given of the collected works of authors, nor of many libraries made up of
monographs. One cannot find in it the contents of the volumes of any of
Swift's Works, nor even of Milton's Prose Writings. (5) It fails to
record the names of publishers, except in the case of some early or rare

The printing of this monumental catalogue began in 1881, the volumes of
MS. catalogue being set up by the printer without transcription, which
would have delayed the work indefinitely, and it is now substantially
completed. Its total cost will be not far from £50,000. There are about
374 volumes or parts in all. Only 250 copies were printed, part of which
were presented to large libraries, and others were offered for sale at
£3.10 per annum, payable as issued, so that a complete set costs about
£70. One learns with surprise that only about forty copies have been
subscribed for. This furnishes another evidence of the low estate of
bibliography in England, where, in a nation full of rich book-collectors
and owners of fine libraries, almost no buyers are found for the most
extensive bibliography ever published, a national work, furnishing so
copious and useful a key to the literature of the world in every
department of human knowledge.



The preservation of literature through public libraries has been and will
ever be one of the most signal benefits which civilization has brought to
mankind. When we consider the multitude of books which have perished from
the earth, from the want of a preserving hand, a lively sense of regret
comes over us that so few libraries have been charged with the duty of
acquiring and keeping every publication that comes from the press. Yet we
owe an immeasurable debt to the wisdom and far-sightedness of those who,
centuries ago, provided by this means for the perpetuity of literature.

The earliest step taken in this direction appears to have been in France.
By an ordinance proclaimed in 1537, regulating the printing of books, it
was required that a copy of each work issued from the press should be
deposited in the royal library. And it was distinctly affirmed that the
ground of this exaction was to preserve to posterity the literature of
the time, which might otherwise disappear.[2] This edict of three
centuries and a half ago was the seed-grain from which has grown the
largest library yet gathered in the world--the _Bibliothèque Nationale_
of France. It antedated by more than two hundred years, any similar
provision in England for the preservation of the national literature.

It is a notable fact that the United States of America was the first
nation that ever embodied the principle of protection to the rights of
authors in its fundamental law. "The Congress shall have power to promote
the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to
authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings
and discoveries." Thus anchored in the Constitution itself, this
principle has been further recognized by repeated acts of Congress, aimed
in all cases at giving it full practical effect.

If it is asked why the authors of the Constitution gave to Congress no
plenary power, which might have authorized a grant of copyright in
perpetuity, the answer is, that in this, British precedent had a great,
if not a controlling influence. Copyright in England, by virtue of the
statute of Anne, passed in 1710 (the first British copyright act), was
limited to fourteen years, with right of renewal, by a living author, of
only fourteen years more; and this was in full force in 1787, when our
Constitution was framed. Prior to the British statute of 1710, authors
had only what is called a common law right to their writings; and however
good such a right might be, so long as they held them in manuscript, the
protection to printed books was extremely uncertain and precarious.

It has been held, indeed, that all copyright laws, so far from
maintaining an exclusive property right to authors, do in effect deny it
(at least in the sense of a natural right), by explicitly limiting the
term of exclusive ownership, which might otherwise be held (as in other
property) to be perpetual. But there is a radical distinction between the
products of the brain, when put in the concrete form of books and
multiplied by the art of printing, and the land or other property which
is held by common law tenure. Society views the absolute or exclusive
property in books or inventions as a monopoly. While a monopoly may be
justified for a reasonable number of years, on the obvious ground of
securing to their originators the pecuniary benefit of their own ideas, a
perpetual monopoly is generally regarded as odious and unjust. Hence
society says to the author or inventor: "Put your ideas into material
form, and we will guarantee you the exclusive right to multiply and sell
your books or your inventions for a term long enough to secure a fair
reward to you and to your family; after that period we want your
monopoly, with its individual benefits, to cease in favor of the greatest
good of all." If this appears unfair to authors, who contribute so
greatly to the instruction and the advancement of mankind, it is to be
considered that a perpetual copyright would (1) largely increase the cost
of books, which should be most widely diffused for the public benefit,
prolonging the enhanced cost indefinitely beyond the author's lifetime;
(2) it would benefit by a special privilege, prolonged without limit, a
class of book manufacturers or publishers who act as middle-men between
the author and the public, and who own, in most cases, the entire
property in the works of authors deceased, and which they did not
originate; (3) it would amount in a few centuries to so vast a sum, taxed
upon the community who buy books, that the publishers of Shakespeare's
works, for example, who under perpetual copyright could alone print the
poet's writings, might have reaped colossal fortunes, perhaps unequalled
by any private wealth yet amassed in the world.

If it is said that copyright, thus limited, is a purely arbitrary right,
it may be answered that all legal provisions are arbitrary. That which is
an absolute or natural right, so long as held in idea or in manuscript,
becomes, when given to the world in multiplied copies, the creature of
law. The most that authors can fairly claim is a sufficiently prolonged
exclusive right to guarantee them for a lifetime the just reward of their
labors, with a reversion for their immediate heirs. That such exclusive
rights should run to their remotest posterity, or, _a fortiori_, to mere
merchants or artificers who had no hand whatever in the creation of the
intellectual work thus protected, would be manifestly unjust. The
judicial tribunals, both in England and America, have held that copyright
laws do not affirm an existing right, but create a right, with special
privileges not before existing, and also with special limitations.

The earliest copyright enactment of 1790 granted the exclusive privilege
of printing his work to the author or his assigns for 14 + 14, or
twenty-eight years in all.

The act further required entry of the title, before publication, in the
office of the Clerk of the United States District Court in the State
where the author or proprietor resided.

This remained the law, with slight amendment, until 1831, when a new
copyright act extended the duration of copyright from fourteen to
twenty-eight years for the original, or first term, with right of renewal
to the author (now first extended to his widow or children, in case of
his decease) for fourteen additional years, making forty-two years in

By the same act the privilege of copyright was extended to cover musical
compositions, as it had been earlier extended (in 1802) to include
designs, engravings, and etchings. Copyright was further extended in 1856
to dramatic compositions, and in 1865 to photographs and negatives
thereof. In 1870 a new copyright code, to take the place of all existing
and scattered statutes, was enacted, and there were added to the lawful
subjects of copyright, paintings, drawings, chromos, statues, statuary,
and models or designs intended to be perfected as works of the fine
arts. And finally, by act of March 3, 1891, the benefits of copyright
were extended so as to embrace foreign authors. In 1897, Congress created
the office of Register of Copyrights, but continued the Copyright office,
with its records, in the Library of Congress.

In 1846, the first enactment entitling the Library of the United States
Government to a copy of every work protected by copyright was passed.
This act, to establish the Smithsonian Institution, required that one
copy of each copyright publication be deposited therein, and one copy in
the Library of Congress. No penalties were provided, and in 1859, on
complaint of the authorities of the Smithsonian Institution that the law
brought in much trash in the shape of articles which were not books, the
law was repealed, with the apparent concurrence of those in charge of the
Congressional Library.

This left that Library without any accessions of copyright books until
1865, when, at the instance of the present writer, the Library Committee
recommended, and Congress passed an act restoring the privilege to the
Library of Congress. But it was found to require, in order to its
enforcement, frequent visits to the records of the clerks of United
States District Courts in many cities, with costly transcripts of records
in more than thirty other offices, in order to ascertain what books had
actually been copyrighted. To this was added the necessity of issuing
demands upon delinquent authors or publishers for books not sent to the
Library; no residence of the delinquents, however, being found in any of
the records, which simply recorded those claiming copyright as "of the
said District."

It resulted that no complete, nor even approximate compliance with the
law was secured, and after five years' trial, the Librarian was obliged
to bring before the committees of Congress the plan of a copyright
registry at the seat of government, as had been the requirement in the
case of Patents from the beginning.

The law of copyright, as codified by act of July 8, 1870, made an epoch
in the copyright system of the United States. It transferred the entire
registry of books and other publications, under copyright law, to the
city of Washington, and made the Librarian of Congress sole register of
copyrights, instead of the clerks of the District Courts of the United
States. Manifold reasons existed for this radical change, and those which
were most influential with Congress in making it were the following:

1. The transfer of the copyright records to Washington it was foreseen
would concentrate and simplify the business, and this was a cardinal
point. Prior to 1870 there were between forty and fifty separate and
distinct authorities for issuing copyrights. The American people were put
to much trouble to find out where to apply, in the complicated system of
District Courts, several of them frequently in a single State, to enter
titles for publication. They were required to make entry in the district
where the applicant resided, and this was frequently a matter of doubt.
Moreover, they were required to go to the expense and trouble of
transmitting a copy of the work, after publication, to the District
clerk, and another copy to the Library of Congress. Were both copies
mailed to Washington (post-free by law) this duty would be diminished by

2. A copyright work is not an invention nor a patent; it is a
contribution to literature. It is not material, but intellectual, and has
no natural relation to a department which is charged with the care of the
mechanic arts; and it belongs rather to a national library system than to
any other department of the civil service. The responsibility of caring
for it would be an incident to the similar labors already devolved upon
the Librarian of Congress; and the receipts from copyright certificates
would much more than pay its expense, thus leaving the treasury the
gainer by the change.

3. The advantage of securing to our national library a complete
collection of all American copyright publications can scarcely be
over-estimated. If such a law as that enacted in 1870 had been enforced
since the beginning of the government, we should now have in the Library
of Congress a complete representation of the product of the American mind
in every department of science and literature. Many publications which
are printed in small editions, or which become "out of print" from the
many accidents which continually destroy books, would owe to such a
library their sole chance of preservation. We ought to have one
comprehensive library in the country, and that belonging to the nation,
whose aim it should be to preserve the books which other libraries have
not the room nor the means to procure.

4. This consideration assumes additional weight when it is remembered
that the Library of Congress is freely open to the public day and evening
throughout the year, and is rapidly becoming the great reference library
of the country, resorted to not only by Congress and the residents of
Washington, but by students and writers from all parts of the Union, in
search of references and authorities not elsewhere to be found. The
advantage of having all American publications accessible upon inquiry
would be to build up at Washington a truly national library,
approximately complete and available to all the people.

These considerations prevailed with Congress to effect the amendment in
copyright registration referred to.

By enactment of the statute of 1870 all the defects in the methods of
registration and deposit of copies were obviated. The original records of
copyright in all the States were thenceforward kept in the office of the
Librarian of Congress. All questions as to literary property, involving a
search of records to determine points of validity, such as priority of
entry, names and residence of actual owners, transfers or assignments,
timely deposit of the required copies, etc., could be determined upon
inquiry at a single office of record. These inquiries are extremely
numerous, and obviously very important, involving frequently large
interests in valuable publications in which litigation to establish the
rights of authors, publishers or infringers has been commenced or
threatened. By the full records of copyright entries thus preserved,
moreover, the Library of Congress (which is the property of the nation)
has been enabled to secure what was before unattainable, namely, an
approximately complete collection of all American books, etc., protected
by copyright, since the legislation referred to went into effect. The
system has been found in practice to give general satisfaction; the
manner of securing copyright has been made plain and easy to all, the
office of record being now a matter of public notoriety; and the test of
experience during thirty years has established the system so thoroughly
that none would be found to favor a return to the former methods.

The Act of 1870 provided for the removal of the collection of copyright
books and other publications from the over-crowded Patent Office to the
Library of Congress. These publications were the accumulations of about
eighty years, received from the United States District Clerks' offices
under the old law. By request of the Commissioner of Patents all the law
books and a large number of technical works were reserved at the
Department of the Interior. The residue, when removed to the Capitol,
were found to number 23,070 volumes, a much smaller number than had been
anticipated, in view of the length of time during which the copy tax had
been in operation. But the observance of the acts requiring deposits of
copyright publications with the Clerks of the United States District
Courts had been very defective (no penalty being provided for
non-compliance), and, moreover, the Patent Office had failed to receive
from the offices of original deposit large numbers of publications which
should have been sent to Washington. From one of the oldest States in the
Union not a single book had been sent in evidence of copyright. The
books, however, which were added to the Congressional Library, although
consisting largely of school books and the minor literature of the last
half century, comprised many valuable additions to the collection of
American books, which it should be the aim of a National Library to
render complete. Among them were the earliest editions of the works of
many well-known writers, now out of print and scarce.

The first book ever entered for copyright privileges under the laws of
the United States was "The Philadelphia Spelling Book," which was
registered in the Clerk's Office of the District of Pennsylvania, June 9,
1790, by John Barry as author. The spelling book was a fit introduction
to the long series of books since produced to further the diffusion of
knowledge among men. The second book entered was "The American
Geography," by Jedediah Morse, entered in the District of Massachusetts
on July 10, 1790, a copy of which is preserved in the Library of
Congress. The earliest book entered in the State of New York was on the
30th of April, 1791, and it was entitled "The Young Gentleman's and
Lady's Assistant, by Donald Fraser, Schoolmaster."

Objection has occasionally, though rarely, been made to what is known as
the copy-tax, by which two copies of each publication must be deposited
in the National Library. This requirement rests upon two valid grounds:
(1) The preservation of copies of everything protected by copyright is
necessary in the interest of authors and publishers, in evidence of
copyright, and in aid of identification in connection with the record of
title; (2) the library of the government (which is that of the whole
people) should possess and permanently preserve a complete collection of
the products of the American press, so far as secured by copyright. The
government makes no unreasonable exaction in saying to authors and
publishers: "The nation gives you exclusive right to make and sell your
publication, without limit as to quantity, for forty-two years; give the
nation in return two copies, one for the use and reference of Congress
and the public in the National Library, the other for preservation in the
copyright archives, in perpetual evidence of your right."

In view of the valuable monopoly conceded by the public, does not the
government in effect give far more than a _quid pro quo_ for the
copy-tax? Of course it would not be equitable to exact even one copy of
publications not secured by copyright, in which case the government gives
nothing and gets nothing; but the exaction of actually protected
publications, while it is almost unfelt by publishers, is so clearly in
the interest of the public intelligence, as well as of authors and
publishers themselves, that no valid objection to it appears to exist. In
Great Britain five copies of every book protected by copyright are
required for five different libraries, which appears somewhat

Regarding the right of renewal of the term of copyright, it is a
significant fact that it is availed of in comparatively few instances,
compared with the whole body of publications. Multitudes of books are
published which not only never reach a second edition, but the sale of
which does not exhaust more than a small part of the copies printed of
the first. In these cases the right of renewal is waived and suffered to
lapse, from defect of commercial value in the work protected. In many
other cases the right of renewal expires before the author or his assigns
bethink them of the privilege secured to them under the law. It results
that more than nine-tenths, probably, of all books published are free to
any one to print, without reward or royalty to their authors, after a
very few years have elapsed. On the other hand, the exclusive right in
some publications of considerable commercial value is kept alive far
beyond the forty-two years included in the original and the renewal term,
by entry of new editions of the work, and securing copyright on the same.
While this method may not protect any of the original work from
republication by others, it enables the publishers of the copyright
edition to advertise such unauthorized reprints as imperfect, and without
the author's or editor's latest revision or additions.

The whole number of entries of copyright in the United States since we
became a nation considerably exceeds a million and a half. It may be of
interest to give the aggregate number of titles of publications entered
for copyright in each year since the transfer of the entire records to
Washington in 1870.


1870    5,600     1874   16,283     1878   15,798
1871   12,688     1875   14,364     1879   18,125
1872   14,164     1876   14,882     1880   20,686
1873   15,352     1877   15,758     1881   21,075
1882   22,918     1888   38,225     1894   62,762
1883   25,273     1889   40,777     1895   67,572
1884   26,893     1890   42,758     1896   72,470
1885   28,410     1891   48,908     1897   74,321
1886   31,241     1892   54,735     1898   76,874
1887   35,083     1893   58,936     1899   86,492

     Total, 30 years,                   1,079,445

It will readily be seen that this great number of copyrights does not
represent books alone. Many thousands of entries are daily and weekly
periodicals claiming copyright protection, in which case they are
required by law to make entry of every separate issue. These include a
multitude of journals, literary, political, scientific, religious,
pictorial, technical, commercial, agricultural, sporting, dramatic, etc.,
among which are a number in foreign languages. These entries also embrace
all the leading monthly and quarterly magazines and reviews, with many
devoted to specialties--as metaphysics, sociology, law, theology, art,
finance, education, and the arts and sciences generally. Another large
class of copyright entries (and the largest next to books and
periodicals) is musical compositions, numbering recently some 20,000
publications yearly. Much of this property is valuable, and it is nearly
all protected by entry of copyright, coming from all parts of the Union.
There is also a large and constantly increasing number of works of
graphic art, comprising engravings, photographs, photogravures, chromos,
lithographs, etchings, prints, and drawings, for which copyright is
entered. The steady accumulation of hundreds of thousands of these
various pictorial illustrations will enable the government at no distant
day, without a dollar of expense, to make an exhibit of the progress of
the arts of design in America, which will be highly interesting and
instructive. An art gallery of ample dimensions for this purpose is
provided in the new National Library building.

It remains to consider briefly the principles and practice of what is
known as international copyright.

Perhaps there is no argument for copyright at all in the productions of
the intellect which is not good for its extension to all countries. The
basis of copyright is that all useful labor is worthy of a recompense;
but since all human thought when put into material or merchantable form
becomes, in a certain sense, public property, the laws of all countries
recognize and protect the original owners, or their assigns to whom they
may convey the right, in an exclusive privilege for limited terms only.
Literary property therefore is not a natural right, but a conventional
one. The author's right to his manuscript is, indeed, absolute, and the
law will protect him in it as fully as it will guard any other property.
But when once put in type and multiplied through the printing-press, his
claim to an exclusive right has to be guarded by a special statute,
otherwise it is held to be abandoned (like the articles in a newspaper)
to the public. This special protection is furnished in nearly all
civilized countries by copyright law.

What we call "copyright" is an exclusive right to multiply copies of any
publication for sale. Domestic copyright, which is all we formerly had in
this country, is limited to the United States. International copyright,
which has now been enacted, extends the right of American authors to
foreign countries, and recognizes a parallel right of foreign authors in
our own. There is nothing in the constitutional provision which restrains
Congress from granting copyright to other than American citizens. Patent
right, coming under the same clause of the Constitution, has been
extended to foreigners. Out of over 20,000 patents annually issued, about
2,500 (or 12 per cent.) are issued to foreigners, while American patents
are similarly protected abroad. If we have international patent right,
why not international copyright? The grant of power is the same; both
patent right and copyright are for a limited time; both rights during
this time are exclusive; and both rest upon the broad ground of the
promotion of science and the useful arts. If copyright is justifiable at
all, if authors are to be secured a reward for their labors, they claim
that all who use them should contribute equally to this result. The
principle of copyright once admitted, it cannot logically be confined to
State lines or national boundaries. There appears to be no middle ground
between the doctrine of common property in all productions of the
intellect--which leads us to communism by the shortest road--and the
admission that copyright is due, while its limited term lasts, from all
who use the works of an author, wherever found.

Accordingly, international copyright has become the policy of nearly all
civilized nations. The term of copyright is longer in most countries than
in the United States, ranging from the life of the author and seven years
beyond, in England, to a life term and fifty years additional in France
and Russia. Copyright is thus made a life tenure and something more in
all countries except our own, where its utmost limit is forty-two years.
This may perhaps be held to represent a fair average lifetime, reckoned
from the age of intellectual maturity. There have not been wanting
advocates for a perpetual copyright, to run to the author and his heirs
and assigns forever. This was urged before the British Copyright
Commission in 1878 by leading British publishers, but the term of
copyright is hitherto, in all nations, limited by law.

Only brief allusion can be made to the most recent (and in some respects
most important) advance step which has been taken in copyright
legislation in the United States. This act of Congress is aimed at
securing reciprocal protection to American and foreign authors in the
respective countries which may comply with its provisions. There is here
no room to sketch the hitherto vain attempt to secure to authors, here
and abroad, an international protection to their writings. Suffice it to
say that a union of interests was at last effected, whereby authors,
publishers and manufacturers are supposed to have secured some measure of
protection to their varied interests. The measure is largely
experimental, and the satisfaction felt over its passage into law is
tempered by doubt in various quarters as to the justice, or liberality,
or actual benefit to authors of its provisions. What is to be said of a
statute which was denounced by some Senators as a long step backward
toward barbarism, and hailed by others as a great landmark in the
progress of civilization?

The main features added to the existing law of copyright by this act,
which took effect July 1, 1891, are these:

1. All limitation of the privilege of copyright to citizens and residents
of the United States is repealed.

2. Foreigners applying for copyright are to pay fees of $1 for record, or
$1.50 for certificate of copyright.

3. Importation of books, photographs, chromos or lithographs entered here
for copyright is prohibited, except two copies of any book for use and
not for sale.

4. The two copies of books, photographs, chromos or lithographs deposited
with the Librarian of Congress must be printed from type set, or plates,
etc., made in the United States. It follows that all foreign works
protected by American copyright must be wholly manufactured in this

5. The copyright privilege is restricted to citizens or subjects of
nations permitting the benefit of copyright to Americans on
substantially the same terms as their own citizens, or of nations who
have international agreements providing for reciprocity in the grant of
copyright, to which the United States may at its pleasure become a party.

6. The benefit of copyright in the United States is not to take effect as
to any foreigner until the actual existence of either of the conditions
just recited, in the case of the nation to which he belongs, shall have
been made known by a proclamation of the President of the United States.

One very material benefit has been secured through international
copyright. Under it, authors are assured the control of their own text,
both as to correctness and completeness. Formerly, republication was
conducted on a "scramble" system, by which books were hastened through
the press, to secure the earliest market, with little or no regard to a
correct re-production. Moreover, it was in the power of the American
publisher of an English book, or of a British publisher of an American
one, to alter or omit passages in any work reprinted, at his pleasure.
This license was formerly exercised, and imperfect, garbled, or truncated
editions of an author's writings were issued without his consent, an
outrage against which international copyright furnishes the only

Another benefit of copyright between nations has been to check the
relentless flood of cheap, unpaid-for fiction, which formerly poured from
the press, submerging the better literature. The Seaside and other
libraries, with their miserable type, flimsy paper, and ugly form, were
an injury alike to the eyesight, to the taste, and in many cases, to the
morals of the community. More than ninety per cent. of these wretched
"Libraries" were foreign novels. An avalanche of English and translated
French novels of the "bigamy school" of fiction swept over the land,
until the cut-throat competition of publishers, after exhausting the
stock of unwholesome foreign literature, led to the failure of many
houses, and piled high the counters of book and other stores with
bankrupt stock. Having at last got rid of this unclean brood, (it is
hoped forever) we now have better books, produced on good paper and type,
and worth preserving, at prices not much above those of the trash
formerly offered us.

At the same time, standard works of science and literature are being
published in England at prices which tend steadily toward increased
popular circulation. Even conservative publishers are reversing the rule
of small editions at high prices, for larger editions at low prices. The
old three-volume novel is nearly supplanted by the one volume,
well-printed and bound book at five or six shillings. Many more
reductions would follow in the higher class of books, were not the
measure of reciprocal copyright thus far secured handicapped by the
necessity of re-printing on this side at double cost, if a large American
circulation is in view.

The writers of America, with the steady and rapid progress of the art of
making books, have come more and more to appreciate the value of their
preservation, in complete and unbroken series, in the library of the
government, the appropriate conservator of the nation's literature.
Inclusive and not exclusive, as this library is wisely made by law, so
far as copyright works are concerned, it preserves with impartial care
the illustrious and the obscure. In its archives all sciences and all
schools of opinion stand on equal ground. In the beautiful and ample
repository, now erected and dedicated to literature and art through the
liberal action of Congress, the intellectual wealth of the past and the
present age will be handed down to the ages that are to follow.


[2] G. H. Putnam, "Books and their makers in the Middle Ages," N. Y.
1897, vol. 2, p. 447.




    He sat at night by his lonely bed,
      With an open book before him;
    And slowly nodded his weary head,
      As slumber came stealing o'er him.

    And he saw in his dream a mighty host
      Of the writers gone before,
    And the shadowy form of many a ghost
      Glided in at the open door.

    Great Homer came first in a snow-white shroud,
      And Virgil sang sweet by his side;
    While Cicero thundered in accents loud,
      And Caesar most gravely replied.

    Anacreon, too, from his rhythmical lips
      The honey of Hybla distilled,
    And Herodotus suffered a partial eclipse,
      While Horace with music was filled.

    The procession of ancients was brilliant and long,
      Aristotle and Plato were there,
    Thucydides, too, and Tacitus strong,
      And Plutarch, and Sappho the fair.

    Aristophanes elbowed gay Ovid's white ghost,
      And Euripides Xenophon led,
    While Propertius laughed loud at Juvenal's jokes,
      And Sophocles rose from the dead.

    Then followed a throng to memory dear,
      Of writers more modern in age,
    Cervantes and Shakespeare, who died the same year,
      And Chaucer, and Bacon the sage.

    Immortal the laurels that decked the fair throng,
      And Dante moved by with his lyre,
    While Montaigne and Pascal stood rapt by his song,
      And Boccaccio paused to admire.

    Sweet Spenser and Calderon moved arm in arm,
      While Milton and Sidney were there,
    Pope, Dryden, and Molière added their charm,
      And Bunyan, and Marlowe so rare.

    Then Gibbon stalked by in classical guise,
      And Hume, and Macaulay, and Froude,
    While Darwin, and Huxley, and Tyndall looked wise,
      And Humboldt and Comte near them stood.

    Dean Swift looked sardonic on Addison's face,
      And Johnson tipped Boswell a wink,
    Walter Scott and Jane Austen hobnobbed o'er a glass,
      And Goethe himself deigned to drink.

    Robert Burns followed next with Thomas Carlyle,
      Jean Paul paired with Coleridge, too,
    While De Foe elbowed Goldsmith, the master of style,
      And Fielding and Schiller made two.

    Rousseau with his eloquent, marvellous style,
      And Voltaire, with his keen, witty pen,
    Victor Hugo so grand, though repellent the while,
      And Dumas and Balzac again.

    Dear Thackeray came in his happiest mood,
      And stayed until midnight was done,
    Bulwer-Lytton, and Reade, and Kingsley and Hood,
      And Dickens, the master of fun.

    George Eliot, too, with her matter-full page,
      And Byron, and Browning, and Keats,
    While Shelley and Tennyson joined youth and age,
      And Wordsworth the circle completes.

    Then followed a group of America's best,
      With Irving, and Bryant, and Holmes,
    While Bancroft and Motley unite with the rest,
      And Thoreau with Whittier comes.

    With his Raven in hand dreamed on Edgar Poe,
      And Longfellow sweet and serene,
    While Prescott, and Ticknor, and Emerson too,
      And Hawthorne and Lowell were seen.

    While thus the assembly of witty and wise
      Rejoiced the librarian's sight,
    Ere the wonderful vision had fled from his eyes,
      From above shone a heavenly light:

    And solemn and sweet came a voice from the skies,
      "All battles and conflicts are done,
    The temple of Knowledge shall open all eyes,
      And law, faith, and reason are one!"

    When the radiant dawn of the morning broke,
    From his glorious dream the librarian woke.

       *       *       *       *       *


    That place that does contain my books,
    My books, the best companions, is to me,
    A glorious court, where hourly I converse
    With the old sages and philosophers;
    And sometimes, for variety I confer
    With kings and emperors, and weigh their counsels.
                                BEAUMONT AND FLETCHER.

       *       *       *       *       *

    The bard of every age and clime,
    Of genius fruitful and of soul sublime,
    Who from the glowing mint of fancy pours
    No spurious metal, fused from common ores,
    But gold to matchless purity refined,
    And stamped with all the Godhead in his mind.

       *       *       *       *       *

    Books, we know,
    Are a substantial world, both pure and good;
    Round these, with tendrils strong as flesh and blood,
    Our pastime and our happiness will grow.

       *       *       *       *       *


        The Bokeworme sitteth in his celle,
    He studyethe all alone,
    And burnethe oute the oile,
    'Till ye midnight hour is gone
    Then gethe he downe upon his bedde,
    Ne mo watch will he a-keepe,
    He layethe his heade on ye pillowe,
    And eke he tryes to sleepe.
    Then swyfte there cometh a vision grimme,
    And greetythe him sleepynge fair,
    And straighte he dreameth of grislie dreames,
    And dreades fellowne and rayre.
    Wherefore, if cravest life to eld
    Ne rede longe uppe at night,
    But go to bed at Curfew bell
    And ryse wythe mornynge's lyte.

       *       *       *       *       *


        In torrid heats of late July,
        In March, beneath the bitter _bise_,
        He book-hunts while the loungers fly,--
        He book-hunts, though December freeze;
        In breeches baggy at the knees,
        And heedless of the public jeers,
        For these, for these, he hoards his fees,--
        Aldines, Bodonis, Elzevirs.

        No dismal stall escapes his eye,
        He turns o'er tomes of low degrees,
        There soiled romanticists may lie,
        Or Restoration comedies;
        Each tract that flutters in the breeze
        For him is charged with hopes and fears,
        In mouldy novels fancy sees
        Aldines, Bodonis, Elzevirs.

        With restless eyes that peer and spy,
        Sad eyes that heed not skies nor trees,
        In dismal nooks he loves to pry,
        Whose motto evermore is _Spes_!
        But ah! the fabled treasure flees;
        Grown rarer with the fleeting years,
        In rich men's shelves they take their ease,--
        Aldines, Bodonis, Elzevirs!

    Prince, all the things that tease and please,--
      Fame, hope, wealth, kisses, jeers and tears,
    What are they but such toys as these--
      Aldines, Bodonis, Elzevirs?         ANDREW LANG.

       *       *       *       *       *

    'Tis in books the chief
    Of all perfections to be plain and brief.
                                      SAMUEL BUTLER.

    Of all those arts in which the wise excel,
    Nature's chief master-piece is writing well.

    Books should to one of these four ends conduce:
    For wisdom, piety, delight, or use.
                                      SIR JOHN DENHAM.

       *       *       *       *       *


    Oh, happy he who, weary of the sound
    Of throbbing life, can shut his study door,
    Like Heinsius, on it all, to find a store
    Of peace that otherwise is never found!
    Such happiness is mine, when all around
    My dear dumb friends in groups of three or four
    Command my soul to linger on the shore
    Of those fair realms where they reign monarchs crowned.
    To-day the strivings of the world are naught,
    For I am in a land that glows with God,
    And I am in a path by angels trod.
    Dost ask what book creates such heavenly thought?
    Then know that I with Dante soar afar,
    Till earth shrinks slowly to a tiny star.
                                          J. WILLIAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *


    Speak low! tread softly through these halls;
      Here genius lives enshrined;
    Here reign in silent majesty
      The monarchs of the mind.

    A mighty spirit host they come
      From every age and clime;
    Above the buried wrecks of years
      They breast the tide of time.

    Here shall the poets chant for thee
      Their sweetest, loftiest lays,
    And prophets wait to guide thy steps
      In Wisdom's pleasant ways.

    Come, with these God-anointed kings
      Be thou companion here;
    And in the mighty realm of mind
      Thou shalt go forth a peer!
                                  ANNE C. LYNCH BOTTA.

       *       *       *       *       *


    Give me that book whose power is such
    That I forget the north wind's touch.

    Give me that book that brings to me
    Forgetfulness of what I be.

    Give me that book that takes my life
    In seeming far from all its strife.

    Give me that book wherein each page
    Destroys my sense of creeping age.
                                  JOHN KENDRICK BANGS.

       *       *       *       *       *


    Give me a nook and a book,
    And let the proud world spin round;
    Let it scramble by hook or by crook
    For wealth or a name with a sound.
    You are welcome to amble your ways,
    Aspirers to place or to glory;
    May big bells jangle your praise,
    And golden pens blazon your story;
    For me, let me dwell in my nook,
    Here by the curve of this brook,
    That croons to the tune of my book:
    Whose melody wafts me forever
    On the waves of an unseen river.
                                     WILLIAM FREELAND.

    The love of learning, the sequestered nooks,
    And all the sweet serenity of books.
                                     H. W. LONGFELLOW.

    Oh for a booke and a shady nooke
      Eyther in door or out,
    With the greene leaves whispering overhead,
      Or the streete cryes all about:
    Where I maie reade all at my ease
      Both of the newe and olde,
    For a jollie goode booke whereon to looke
      Is better to me than golde!

       *       *       *       *       *


(_From the Latin of Ménage._)

    What do I see! Oh! gods divine
    And Goddesses--this Book of mine--
    This child of many hopes and fears,
    Is published by the Elzevirs!
    Oh Perfect publishers complete!
    Oh dainty volume, new and neat!
    The Paper doth outshine the snow,
    The Print is blacker than the crow,
    The Title-page, with crimson bright,
    The vellum cover smooth and white,
    All sorts of readers to invite;
    Ay, and will keep them reading still,
    Against their will, or with their will!
    Thus what of grace the Rhymes may lack
    The Publisher has given them back,
    As Milliners adorn the fair
    Whose charms are something skimp and spare.

    Oh dulce decus, Elzevirs!
    The pride of dead and dawning years,
    How can a poet best repay
    The debt he owes your House to-day?
    May this round world, while aught endures,
    Applaud, and buy, these books of yours.
    May purchasers incessant pop,
    My Elzevirs, within your shop,
    And learned bards salute, with cheers,
    The volumes of the Elzevirs,
    Till your renown fills earth and sky,
    Till men forget the Stephani,
    And all that Aldus wrought, and all
    Turnebus sold in shop or stall,
    While still may Fate's (and Binders') shears
    Respect, and spare, the Elzevirs!

       *       *       *       *       *

    Blessings be with them, and eternal praise,
    Who gave us nobler loves and nobler cares!
    The Poets, who on earth have made us heirs
    Of truth and pure delight by heavenly lays.

       *       *       *       *       *


    But books, old friends that are always new,
    Of all good things that we know are best;
    They never forsake us, as others do,
    And never disturb our inward rest.
    Here is truth in a world of lies,
    And all that in man is great and wise!
    Better than men and women, friend,
    That are dust, though dear in our joy and pain,
    Are the books their cunning hands have penned,
    For they depart, but the books remain.
                               RICHARD HENRY STODDARD.

       *       *       *       *       *


    I'm strange contradictions; I'm new and I'm old,
    I'm often in tatters, and oft decked with gold.
    Though I never could read, yet lettered I'm found;
    Though blind, I enlighten; though loose, I am bound.
    I'm always in black, and I'm always in white;
    I am grave and I'm gay, I am heavy and light.
    In form too I differ,--I'm thick and I'm thin;
    I've no flesh and no bone, yet I'm covered with skin;
    I've more points than the compass, more stops than the flute;
    I sing without voice, without speaking confute;
    I'm English, I'm German, I'm French, and I'm Dutch;
    Some love me too fondly, some slight me too much;
    I often die soon, though I sometimes live ages,
    And no monarch alive has so many pages.
                                          HANNAH MORE.

       *       *       *       *       *

    I love my books as drinkers love their wine;
    The more I drink, the more they seem divine;
    With joy elate my soul in love runs o'er,
    And each fresh draught is sweeter than before:
    Books bring me friends where'er on earth I be,--
    Solace of solitude, bonds of society.

    I love my books! they are companions dear,
    Sterling in worth, in friendship most sincere;
    Here talk I with the wise in ages gone,
    And with the nobly gifted in our own:
    If love, joy, laughter, sorrow please my mind,
    Love, joy, grief, laughter in my books I find.
                                      FRANCIS BENNOCH.

       *       *       *       *       *


    All round the room my silent servants wait,--
    My friends in every season, bright and dim
    Angels and seraphim
    Come down and murmur to me, sweet and low,
    And spirits of the skies all come and go
    Early and late;
    From the old world's divine and distant date,
    From the sublimer few,
    Down to the poet who but yester-eve
    Sang sweet and made us grieve,
    All come, assembling here in order due.
    And here I dwell with Poesy, my mate,
    With Erato and all her vernal sighs,
    Great Clio with her victories elate,
    Or pale Urania's deep and starry eyes.
    Oh friends, whom chance or change can never harm,
    Whom Death the tyrant cannot doom to die,
    Within whose folding soft eternal charm
    I love to lie,
    And meditate upon your verse that flows,
    And fertilizes wheresoe'er it goes.
                                 BRYAN WALLER PROCTER.

       *       *       *       *       *


_A Song, for the Lover of Curious and Rare Books._

    Come, boys, fill your glasses, and fill to the brim,
    Here's the essence of humor, the soul, too, of whim!
    Attend and receive (and sure 'tis no vapour)
    A "hap' worth of wit on a pennyworth of paper."

    Those joys which the Bibliomania affords
    Are felt and acknowledged by Dukes and by Lords!
    And the finest estate would be offer'd in vain
    For an exemplar bound by the famed Roger Payne!

    To a proverb goes madness with love hand in hand,
    But our senses we yield to a double command;
    The dear frenzy in both is first rous'd by fair looks,--
    Here's our sweethearts, my boys! not forgetting our books!

    Thus our time may we pass with rare books and rare friends,
    Growing wiser and better, till life itself ends:
    And may those who delight not in black-letter lore,
    By some obsolete act be sent from our shore!

       *       *       *       *       *


    While others are asking for beauty or fame,
    Or praying to know that for which they should pray,
    Or courting Queen Venus, that affable dame,
    Or chasing the Muses the weary and grey,
    The sage has found out a more excellent way--
    To Pan and to Pallas his incense he showers,
    And his humble petition puts up day by day,
    For a house full of books, and a garden of flowers.

    Inventors may bow to the God that is lame,
    And crave from the fire on his stithy a ray;
    Philosophers kneel to the God without name,
    Like the people of Athens, agnostics are they;
    The hunter a fawn to Diana will slay,
    The maiden wild roses will wreathe for the Hours;
    But the wise man will ask, ere libation he pay,
    For a house full of books, and a garden of flowers.

    Oh grant me a life without pleasure or blame
    (As mortals count pleasure who rush through their day
    With a speed to which that of the tempest is tame)
    O grant me a house by the beach of a bay,
    Where the waves can be surly in winter, and play
    With the sea-weed in summer, ye bountiful powers!
    And I'd leave all the hurry, the noise, and the fray,
    For a house full of books, and a garden of flowers.


    Gods, grant or withhold it; your "yea" and your "nay"
    Are immutable, heedless of outcry of ours:
    But life is worth living, and here we would stay
    For a house full of books, and a garden of flowers.
                                          ANDREW LANG.

       *       *       *       *       *


    They soothe the grieved, the stubborn they chastise,
    Fools they admonish, and confirm the wise:
    Their aid they yield to all: they never shun
    The man of sorrow, nor the wretch undone:
    Unlike the hard, the selfish, and the proud,
    They fly not sullen from the suppliant crowd;
    Nor tell to various people various things,
    But show to subjects, what they show to kings.

    Blest be the gracious Power, who taught mankind
    To stamp a lasting image of the mind!

    With awe, around these silent walks I tread;
    These are the lasting mansions of the dead:--
    "The dead!" methinks a thousand tongues reply;
    "These are the tombs of such as cannot die!
    Crown'd with eternal fame, they sit sublime,
    And laugh at all the little strife of time."

    Lo, all in silence, all in order stand,
    And mighty folios first, a lordly band;
    Then quartos their well-order'd ranks maintain,
    And light octavos fill a spacious plain:
    See yonder, rangèd in more frequent rows,
    A humbler band of duodecimos;
    While undistinguished trifles swell the scene,
    The last new play and fritter'd magazine.

    Here all the rage of controversy ends,
    And rival zealots rest like bosom friends:
    An Athanasian here, in deep repose,
    Sleeps with the fiercest of his Arian foes;
    Socinians here with Calvinists abide,
    And thin partitions angry chiefs divide;
    Here wily Jesuits simple Quakers meet,
    And Bellarmine has rest at Luther's feet.
                                        GEORGE CRABBE.

       *       *       *       *       *


    For deeds doe die, however noblie donne,
    And thoughts do as themselves decay;
    But wise words, taught in numbers for to runne
    Recorded by the Muses, live for ay;
    Ne may with storming showers be washt away,
    Ne bitter breathing windes with harmful blast,
    Nor age, nor envie, shall them ever wast.

       *       *       *       *       *


    The old books, the old books, the books of long ago!
    Who ever felt Miss Austen tame, or called Sir Walter slow?
    We did not care the worst to hear of human sty or den;
    We liked to love a little bit, and trust our fellow-men.
    The old books, the old books, as pure as summer breeze!
    We read them under garden boughs, by fire-light on our knees,
    They did not teach, they did not preach, or scold us into good;
    A noble spirit from them breathed, the rest was understood.

    The old books, the old books, the mother loves them best;
    They leave no bitter taste behind to haunt the youthful breast:
    They bid us hope, they bid us fill our hearts with visions fair;
    They do not paralyze the will with problems of despair.
    And as they lift from sloth and sense to follow loftier planes,
    And stir the blood of indolence to bubble in the veins:
    Inheritors of mighty things, who own a lineage high,
    We feel within us budding wings that long to reach the sky:
    To rise above the commonplace, and through the cloud to soar,
    And join the loftier company of grander souls of yore.
                                        THE SPECTATOR.




_By Librarian F. M. Crunden._

    Classification is vexation,
        Shelf-numbering is as bad;
            The rule of D
            Doth puzzle me;
        Mnemonics drives me mad.

_Air--The Lord Chancellor's Song._

    When first I became a librarian,
        Says I to myself, says I,
    I'll learn all their systems as fast as I can,
        Says I to myself, says I;
    The Cutter, the Dewey, the Schwartz, and the Poole,
    The alphabet, numeral, mnemonic rule,
    The old, and the new, and the eclectic school,
        Says I to myself, says I.

    Class-numbers, shelf-numbers, book-numbers, too,
        Says I to myself, says I,
    I'll study them all, and I'll learn them clear thro',
        Says I to myself, says I;
    I'll find what is good, and what's better and best,
    And I'll put two or three to a practical test;
    And then--if I've time--I'll take a short rest,
        Says I to myself, says I.

    But art it is long and time it doth fly,
        Says I to myself, says I,
    And three or four years have already passed by,
        Says I to myself, says I;
    And yet on those systems I'm not at all clear,
    While new combinations forever appear,
    To master them all is a life-work, I fear,
        Says I to myself, says I.

       *       *       *       *       *

Classification in a Library in Western New York: Gail Hamilton's
"Woolgathering," under Agriculture.

       *       *       *       *       *

Book asked for. "An attack philosopher in Paris."

A changed title. A young woman went into a library the other day and
asked for the novel entitled "She combeth not her head," but she finally
concluded to take "He cometh not, she said."

       *       *       *       *       *

Labor-saving devices. The economical catalogue-maker who thus set down
two titles--

    "Mill on the Floss,
      do. Political economy."

has a sister who keeps a universal scrap-book into which everything goes,
but which is carefully indexed. She, too, has a mind for saving, as

    "Patti, Adelina.
      do. Oyster."

       *       *       *       *       *

From a New York auction catalogue:

"267. Junius Stat Nominis Umbrii, with numerous splendid portraits."

       *       *       *       *       *

At the New York Free Circulating Library, a youth of twenty said
Shakespeare made him tired. "Why couldn't he write English instead of
indulging in that _thee_ and _thou_ business?" Miss Braddon he pronounced
"a daisy". A pretty little blue-eyed fellow "liked American history best
of all," but found the first volume of Justin Winsor's history too much
for him. "The French and German and Hebrew in it are all right, but
there's Spanish and Italian and Latin, and I don't know those."

       *       *       *       *       *

A gentleman in Paris sent to the bookbinder two volumes of the French
edition of "Uncle Tom's Cabin." The title in French is "L'Oncle Tom," and
the two volumes were returned to him marked on their backs:

L'Oncle,               L'Oncle,
Tome I.                Tome II.

       *       *       *       *       *


    I'd like my favorite books to bind
    So that their outward dress
    To every bibliomaniac's mind
    Their contents should express.

    Napoleon's life should glare in red,
    John Calvin's life in blue;
    Thus they would typify bloodshed
    And sour religion's hue.

    The Popes in scarlet well may go;
    In jealous green, Othello;
    In gray, Old Age of Cicero,
    And London Cries in yellow.

    My Walton should his gentle art
    In salmon best express,
    And Penn and Fox the friendly heart
    In quiet drab confess.

    Crimea's warlike facts and dates
    Of fragrant Russia smell;
    The subjugated Barbary States
    In crushed Morocco dwell.

    But oh! that one I hold so dear
    Should be arrayed so cheap
    Gives me a qualm; I sadly fear
    My Lamb must be half-sheep!
                                        IRVING BROWNE.

       *       *       *       *       *

In a Wisconsin library, a young lady asked for the "Life of National
Harthorne" and the "Autograph on the breakfast table."

       *       *       *       *       *

"Have you a poem on the Victor of Manengo, by Anon?"

       *       *       *       *       *

Library inquiry--"I want the catalogue of temporary literature."

Query--What did she want?

A friend proposes to put Owen's "Footfalls on the Boundaries of Another
World" in Travels. Shall we let him?

       *       *       *       *       *

A poet, in Boston, filled out an application for a volume of Pope's
works, an edition reserved from circulation, in the following tuneful

    "You ask me, dear sir, to a reason define
    Why you should for a fortnight this volume resign
    To my care.--_I am also a son of the nine._"

       *       *       *       *       *

A worthy Deutscher, confident in his mastery of the English tongue, sent
the following quaint document across the sea:

"I send you with the Post six numbers, of our Allgemeine Militär-Zeitung,
which is published in the next year to the fifty times. Excuse my bath
english I learned in the school and I forgot so much. If you have
interest to german Antiquariatskataloge I will send to you some. I remain
however yours truly servant."

       *       *       *       *       *

A gentlemanly stranger once asked the delivery clerk for "a genealogy."
"What one?" she asked. "Oh! any," he said. "Well--Savage's?" "No; white

       *       *       *       *       *

Said Melvil Dewey: "To my thinking, a great librarian must have a clear
head, a strong hand, and, above all, a great heart. Such shall be
greatest among librarians; and, when I look into the future, I am
inclined to think that most of the men who will achieve this greatness
will be women."

       *       *       *       *       *


_By an Assistant Librarian._

I have endeavored to clothe the dull prose of the usual Library Rules
with the mantle of poetry, that they may be more attractive, and more
easily remembered by the great public whom we serve.

    Gently, reader, gently moving,
    Wipe your feet beside the door;
    Hush your voice to whispers soothing,
    Take your hat off, I implore!
    Mark your number, plainly, rightly,
    From the catalogue you see;
    With the card projecting slightly,
    Then your book bring unto me.
        Quickly working,
        With no shirking,
    Soon another there will be.

    If above two weeks you've left me,
    Just two cents a day I'll take,
    And, unless my mind's bereft me,
    Payment you must straightway make.
    Treat your books as if to-morrow,
    Gabriel's trump would surely sound,
    And all scribbling, to your sorrow,
    'Gainst your credit would be found.
        Therefore tear not,
        Spot and wear not
    All these books so neatly bound.

    These few simple rules abiding,
    We shall always on you smile:
    There will be no room for chiding,
    No one's temper will you rile.
    And when Heaven's golden portals
    For you on their hinges turn,
    With the books for all immortals,
    There will be no rules to learn.
        Therefore heed them,
        Often read them,
    Lest your future weal you spurn.

       *       *       *       *       *


    Aristopholus translated by Buckley.
    Alfreri Tragedus.
    Bertall Lavie Hors De Ches Soi.
    Cooke M. C. M. A. L. L. D. their nature and uses.
        Edited by Rev. J. M. Berkeley M. A. F. R. S. (Fungi.)
    Caralus Note Book (A Cavalier's).
    Gobden Club-Essays.
    Specie the origin of Darwin.
    An Epistropal Prayer Book.

       *       *       *       *       *


    Gasparin. The uprising of a great many people.
    Hughes, Tom. The scouring of the White House.
    Mayhew. The pheasant boy.
    Wind in the lower animals (Mind.)

       *       *       *       *       *


    Account of Monte Cristo.
    Acrost the Kontinent by Boles.
    Count of Corpus Cristy.
    Dant's Infernal comedy.
    Darwin's Descent on man.
    Feminine Cooper's works.
    Less Miserable.
    Some of Macbeth's writings.
    Something in the way of friction.
    Squeal to a book.

       *       *       *       *       *

In Vol. 3 of Laporte's "Bibliographie contemporaine," Dibdin's famous
book is entered thus: "Bibliomania, or boock, madnss: a bibliographical
romance...ilustrated with cats."

       *       *       *       *       *

A well-known librarian writes:

"The Catalogue of the Indiana State Library for the year 1859 has long
been my wonder and admiration. "Bank's History of the Popes" appears
under the letter B. Strong in the historical department, it offers a
choice between the "Life of John Tyler, by Harper & Brothers," "Memoirs
of Moses Henderson, by Jewish Philosophers," "Memoirs and Correspondence
of Viscount Castlereach, by the Marquis of Londonderry," and "Memoirs of
Benvenuto, by Gellini." In fiction, you may find "Tales of My Landlord by
Cleishbotham," and "The Pilot, by the Author of the Pioneers;" while, if
your passion for plural authorship is otherwise unappeasable--if Beaumont
and Fletcher or Erckman-Chatrian seem to you too feeble a combination of
talents--you may well be captivated by the title "Small Arms, by the
United States Army."

"The State of Indiana has undoubtedly learned a good many things since
1859; but whosoever its present librarian may be, it is hardly probable
that its highest flight in bibliography has surpassed the catalogue from
which the above are quoted."

       *       *       *       *       *

Books demanded at a certain public library:

    "The Stuck-up Minister"--(Stickit Minister.)
    "From Jessie to Ernest" (Jest to Earnest).

       *       *       *       *       *

A country order for books called for "The Thrown of David," "Echo of
Hummo" (Ecce Homo) and "Echo of Deas" (Ecce Deus).

       *       *       *       *       *

The Nation mentions as an instance of "the havoc which types can make
with the titles of books, that a single catalogue gives us 'Clara Reeve's
Old English Barn,' 'Swinburne's Century of Scoundrels,' and 'Una and her
Papuse.' But this is outdone by the bookseller who offered for sale
"Balvatzky, Mrs. Izis unveiled." Another goddess is offended in "Transits
of Venice, by R. A. Proctor."

       *       *       *       *       *

In a certain city, an examination of applicants for employment in the
public library was held. The following is an exact copy of the answer to
a question, asking for the title of a work written by each of the authors
named: "John Ruskin, 'The Bread Winners;' William H. Prescott, 'The
Frozen Pirate;' Charles Darwin, 'The Missing Link;' Thomas Carlyle,
'Caesar's Column.'" The same man is responsible for saying that "B. C."
stands for the Creation, and "A. D." for the Deluge.

Who wants this bright young man?

       *       *       *       *       *


    "When A Man's Single," all "Vanity Fair"
     Courts his favor and smiles,
     And feminine "Moths" "In Silk Attire"
     Try on him "A Woman's Wiles."

    "The World, the Flesh and the Devil"
     Were "Wormwood" and gall to me,
     Weary and sick of "The Passing Show,"
     No "Woman's Face" was "Fair to See."

     I fled away to "The Mill on the Floss"
     "Two Years Ago," "In an Evil Hour,"
     For "The Miller's Daughter" there I met,
     Who "Cometh Up as a Flower."

     She was a simple "Rose in June,"
     And I was "An Average Man;"
     "We Two" were "Far From the Madding Crowd"
     When our "Love and Life" began.

     It was but "A Modern Instance"
     Of true "Love's Random Shot,"
     And I, "The Heir of Redclyffe"
     Was "Kidnapped": and "Why Not"?

     We cannot escape the hand of "Fate,"
     And few are "Fated to be Free,"
     But beware of "A Social Departure"--
     You'll live "Under the Ban," like me.

     I tried to force the "Gates Ajar"
     For my "Queen of Curds and Cream,"
     But "The Pillars of Society"
     Shook with horror at my "Dream."

     I am no more "A Happy Man,"
     Though blessed with "Heavenly Twins,"
     Because "The Wicked World" maintains
     "A Low Marriage" the worst of sins.

    "Pride and Prejudice" rule the world,
    "A Marriage for Love" is "A Capital Crime,"
     Beware of "A Country Neighborhood"
     And shun "Mad Love" in time.

       *       *       *       *       *

Says the Nation:

A Philadelphia catalogue, whose compiler must have been more interested
in current events than in his task, offers for sale "Intrigues of the
Queen of Spain with McKinley, the Prince of Peace, Boston, 1809." How
Godoy should become McKinley, or McKinley should become the Prince of
Peace, is a problem for psychologists.

       *       *       *       *       *


The following are some specimens of answers to Examinations of candidates
for Library employment, given within the past five years:

"A sonnet is a poem which is adapted to music, as Petrarch's sonnets"; "a
sonnet is a short poem sometimes and sometimes a long one and generally a
reflection, or thoughts upon some inanimate thing, as Young's 'Night
thoughts.'" "An epic is a critical writing, as 'Criticism on man'"; "an
epic is a literary form written in verse, and which teaches us some
lesson not necessarily of a moral nature"; "an epic is a dramatic poem."

Epigrammatic writing is very clearly defined as "critical in a
grammatical way." "Allegory is writing highly colored, as Pope's works";
"allegory is writing of something that never happened, but it is purely
imaginary, often a wandering from the main point." A common mistake
regarding the meaning of the word bibliography results in such answers as
"bibliography--a study of the Bible;" or "gives the lives of the people
in the Bible." An encyclopaedia was aptly defined as "a storehouse of
knowledge for the enlightenment of the public," while another answer
reads "Book of Books, giving the life of famous persons, life and habits
of animals and plants, and some medical knowledge." A collection of works
of any author is termed "an anthropology." "Anthology is the study of
insects." Folklore is defined as "giving to animals and things human
sense"; an elegy means "a eulogy," oratory, "the deliverance of words."
Belles-lettres is to one applicant "beautiful ideas," to another "the
title of a book," to another "short stories"; again "are the letters of
French writers," and still another writes "French for prominent
literature and light literature." A concordance "is the explication or
definition of something told in a simpler form," is the extremely lucid
answer to one question, which was answered by another candidate as "a
table of reference at back of book."

The titles of books are too seldom associated with their authors' names,
resulting in such answers as "Homer is the author of the Aeneid"; "Lalla
Rookh" was written by James Blackmore; "Children of the Abbey," by Walter
Besant (while another attributed it to Jane Porter); "Bow of orange
Ribbon," by George Meredith; "Hon. Peter Stirling," by Fielding; "Quo
Vadis," by Browning; "Pamela," by Frank Stockton (according to another by
Marie Edgworth); "Love's Labour's Lost," by Bryant (another gives Thomas
Reade as the author, while still another guesses Schiller); "Descent of
Man," by Alexander Pope (another gives Dryden); "The Essay on Man," by
Francis Bacon.

One candidate believes "Hudibras" to be an early Saxon poem; another that
"Victor Hugo's best known work is William Tell"; another that "Aesop's
Fables is a famous allegory." Charlotte Brontë is described as an
"American--nineteenth century--children's book." Cicero was "known for
Latin poetry." "Dante is an exceedingly bitter writer; he takes you into
hell and describes Satan and his angels. He wrote his play for the
stage." Another's idea of the Divine Comedy is "a play which could be
acted by the priests on the steps of a church for the benefit of the
poorer class."

Civil service in the mind of one young woman was "the service done by the
government in a country, domesticly."

A Christian socialist is "an advocate of Christian science." "A limited
monarchy is a kingdom whose ruler is under the ruler of another country."
Legal tender is "the legal rate of interest"; another considers it "Paper
money." In economics, some of the answers were "profit-sharing, a term
used in socialism, the rich to divide among the poor." "Monopolies is the
money gained by selling church properties"; while "a trust is usually a
place where a person puts some money where it will be safe to keep it."

About noted personages and historic events and places the answers are
equally startling. "Molière was a French essayist and critic" (also "a
French writer of the nineteenth century,") Cecil Rhodes, "the founder of
Bryn Mawr College"; "Seth Low--England, eighteenth century;" Attila "a
woman mentioned in the Bible for her great cruelty to her child;" Warren
Hastings "was a German soldier" (also "was a discoverer; died about
1870"); "Nero was a Roman emperor B. C. 450." Perhaps the most unique
guess in this line was "Richard Wagner invented the Wagner cars;"
Abbotsford is "the title of a book by Sir Walter Scott;" "Vassar College
is a dream, high-up and unattainable;" "Tammany Hall is a political
meeting place in London;" "the Parthenon, an art gallery in Athens."

Pedagogy seemed one of the most perplexing of words. It was defined by
one as "the science of religion," by another as "learned pomposity;" but
the most remarkable of all was "pedagogy is the study of feet."

       *       *       *       *       *


              Three little maids from school are we,
              Filled to the brim with economy--
              Not of the house but library,
              Learnt in the Library School.

    _1st Maid_--I range my books from number one.
    _2nd Maid_--Alphabetically I've begun.
    _3rd Maid_--In regular classes mine do run.
         _All_--Three maids from the Library School.

         _All_--Three little maidens all unwary,
              Each in charge of a library,
              Each with a system quite contrary
                  To every other school.

              Our catalogues, we quite agree,
              From faults and errors must be free,
              If only we our way can see
                  To find the proper rule.

       *       *       *       *       *

Boy's remark on returning a certain juvenile book to the library: "I
don't want any more of them books. The girls is all too holy."

       *       *       *       *       *

"Half the books in this library are not worth reading," said a
sour-visaged, hypercritical, novel-satiated woman.--"Read the other half,
then," advised a bystander.

       *       *       *       *       *


    Let us give a brief rehearsal
    Of the learning universal,
    Which men expect to find
    In Librarians to their mind.

    He must undergo probation,
    Before he gets a situation;
    Must begin at the creation,
    When the world was in formation,
    And come down to its cremation,
    In the final consummation
    Of the old world's final spasm:
    He must study protoplasm,
    And bridge over every chasm
    In the origin of species,
    Ere the monkey wore the breeches,
    Or the Simian tribe began
    To ascend from ape to man.

    He must master the cosmology,
    And know all about psychology,
    And the wonders of biology,
    And be deep in ornithology,
    And develop ideology,
    With the aid of craniology.
    He must learn to teach zoölogy,
    And be skilled in etymology,
    And the science of philology,
    And calculate chronology,
    While he digs into geology,
    And treats of entomology,
    And hunts up old mythology,
    And dips into theology,
    And grows wise in sociology,
    And expert in anthropology.

    He must also know geography,
    And the best works on photography,
    And the science of stenography,
    And be well up on cosmography,
    And the secrets of cryptography.
    Must interpret blind chirography,
    Know by heart all mens' biography,
    And the black art of typography,
    And every book in bibliography.

    These things are all essential
    And highly consequential.

    If he's haunted by ambition
    For a library position,
    And esteems it a high mission,
    To aspire to erudition;
    He will find some politician
    Of an envious disposition,
    Getting up a coalition
    To secure his non-admission,
    And send him to perdition,
    Before he's reached fruition.

    If he gets the situation,
    And is full of proud elation
    And of fond anticipation,
    And has in contemplation
    To enlighten half the nation,
    He may write a dissertation
    For the public information
    On the laws of observation,
    And the art of conversation.

    He must know each famed oration,
    And poetical quotation,
    And master derivation,
    And the science of translation,
    And complex pagination,
    And perfect punctuation,
    And binomial equation,
    And accurate computation,
    And boundless permutation,
    And infinite gradation,
    And the craft of divination,
    And Scripture revelation,
    And the secret of salvation.

    He must know the population
    Of every separate nation,
    The amount of immigration,
    And be wise in arbitration,
    And the art of navigation,
    And colonial annexation,
    And problems Australasian.

    He must take his daily ration
    Of catalogue vexation,
    And endless botheration
    With ceaseless complication
    Of decimal notation,
    Or Cutter combination.

    To complete his education,
    He must know the valuation
    Of all the publications
    Of many generations,
    With their endless variations,
    And true interpretations.

    When he's spent a life in learning,
    If his lamp continues burning,
    When he's mastered all philosophy,
    And the science of theosophy,
    Grown as learned as Mezzofanti,
    As poetical as Dante,
    As wise as Magliabecchi,
    As profound as Mr. Lecky--
    Has absorbed more kinds of knowledge
    Than are found in any college;
    He may take his full degree
    Of Ph. or LL. D.
    And prepare to pass the portal
    That leads to life immortal.


[3] Mostly from the Library Journal, New York.



There is perhaps no field of inquiry concerning literature in which so
large an amount of actual mis-information or of ignorance exists as that
of the rarity of many books. The makers of second-hand catalogues are
responsible for much of this, in describing the books which they wish to
sell as "rare," "very scarce," etc., but more of it proceeds from
absolute ignorance of the book-markets of the world. I have had
multitudes of volumes offered for sale whose commercial value was hardly
as many cents as was demanded in dollars by their ill-informed owners,
who fancied the commonest book valuable because they "had never seen
another copy." No one's ideas of the money value of any book are worth
anything, unless he has had long experimental knowledge of the market for
books both in America and in Europe.

What constitutes rarity in books is a question that involves many
particulars. Thus, a given book may be rare in the United States which is
abundant in London; or rare in London, when common enough in Germany. So
books may be rare in one age which were easily found in another: and
again, books on certain subjects may be so absorbed by public demand when
events excite interest in that subject, as to take up most of the copies
in market, and enhance the price of the remainder. Thus, Napoleon's
conquering career in Egypt created a great demand for all books on Egypt
and Africa. The scheme for founding a great French colony in Louisiana
raised the price of all books and pamphlets on that region, which soon
after fell into the possession of the United States. President Lincoln's
assassination caused a demand for all accounts of the murder of the heads
of nations. Latterly, all books on Cuba, the West Indies, and the
Philippines have been in unprecedented demand, and dealers have raised
the prices, which will again decline after the recent public interest in
them has been supplanted by future events.

There is a broad distinction to be drawn between books which are
absolutely rare, and those which are only relatively scarce, or which
become temporarily rare, as just explained. Thus, a large share of the
books published in the infancy of printing are _rare_; nearly all which
appeared in the quarter century after printing began are _very_ rare; and
several among these last are _superlatively_ rare. I may instance the
Mazarin Bible of Gutenberg and Schoeffer (1455?) of which only
twenty-four copies are known, nearly all in public libraries, where they
ought to be; the Mentz Psalter of the same printers, 1457, the first book
ever printed with a date; and the first edition of Livy, Rome [1469] the
only copy of which printed on vellum is in the British Museum Library.

One reason of the scarcity of books emanating from the presses of the
fifteenth century is that of many of them the editions consisted of only
two hundred to three hundred copies, of which the large number absorbed
in public libraries, or destroyed by use, fire or decay, left very few in
the hands of booksellers or private persons. Still, it is a great mistake
to infer that all books printed before A. D. 1500 are rare. The editions
of many were large, especially after about 1480, many were reprinted in
several editions, and of such incunabula copies can even now be picked up
on the continent at very low prices.

Contrary to a wide-spread belief, mere age adds very little to the value
of any book, and oft-times nothing at all. All librarians are pestered
to buy "hundred year old" treatises on theology or philosophy, as dry as
the desert of Sahara, on the ground that they are both old and rare,
whereas such books, two hundred and even three hundred years old, swarm
in unsalable masses on the shelves of London and provincial booksellers
at a few pence per volume. The reason that they are comparatively rare in
this country is that nobody wants them, and so they do not get imported.

A rare book is, strictly speaking, only one which is found with
difficulty, taking into view all the principal book markets of various
countries. Very few books printed since 1650 have any peculiar value on
account of their age. Of many books, both old and new, the reason of
scarcity is that only a few copies actually remain, outside of public
libraries, and these last, of course, are not for sale. This scarcity of
copies is produced by a great variety of causes, most of which are here

(1) The small number of the books originally printed leads to rarity.
This is by no means peculiar to early impressions of the press: on the
contrary, of some books printed only last year not one tenth as many
exist as of a multitude of books printed four centuries ago. Not only
privately printed books, not designed for publication, but some family or
personal memoirs, or original works circulated only among friends, and
many other publications belong to this class of rarities. The books
printed at private presses are mostly rare. Horace Walpole's Strawberry
Hill press produced some thirty works from 1757 to 1789, in editions
varying from fifty to six hundred copies. The Lee Priory press of Sir E.
Brydges printed many literary curiosities, none of which had more than
one hundred impressions. Most of the editions of the Shakespearean and
other critical essays of J. O. Halliwell-Phillipps were limited to forty
copies, or even less. The genealogical and heraldic imprints of Sir
Thomas Phillipps, at the Middle Hill press, 1819-59, numbering some
hundreds of different works, were mostly confined to twenty copies each,
and some to only six copies. Some of them are as rare as many
manuscripts, of which several copies have been made, and sell at prices
dictated by their scarcity. Most of them are in the Library of Congress.
The Kelmscott press of William Morris printed in sumptuous style,
improved upon the finest models of antique typography, a number of
literary works, which now bring enhanced prices. Of the many historical
and literary publications of the Roxburghe Club, the Percy Society, the
Maitland, the Abbotsford, and the Bannatyne Clubs abroad, only thirty to
one hundred copies were printed. Of those of the Prince Society, the
Grolier Club, and others in America, only from 150 to 300 copies were
printed, being for subscribers only. Rarity and enhanced prices
necessarily result in all these cases. Of some books, only five to ten
copies have been printed, or else, out of fifty or more printed, all but
a very few have been ruthlessly destroyed, in order to give a fanciful
value to the remainder. In these extreme instances, the rarity commonly
constitutes almost the sole value of the work.

(2) Even where many copies have been printed, the destruction of the
greater part of the edition has rendered the book very rare. Printing
offices and book binderies are peculiarly subject to fires, and many
editions have thus been consumed before more than a few copies have been
issued. The great theological libraries edited by the Abbé J. P. Migne,
the _Patrologie Grecque, et Latine_, owe their scarcity and advanced
prices to a fire which consumed the entire remainder of the edition. All
the copies of a large edition of "Twenty years among our savage Indians,"
by J. L. Humfreville, were destroyed by fire in a Hartford printing
office in 1899, except two, which had been deposited in the Library of
Congress, to secure the copyright. The whole edition of the _Machina
coelestis_ of Hevelius was burned, except the few copies which the author
had presented to friends before the fire occurred. The earlier issues in
Spanish of the Mexican and Peruvian presses prior to 1600 are exceedingly
rare. And editions of books printed at places in the United States where
no books are now published are sought for their imprint alone and seldom

(3) Many books have become rare because proscribed and in part destroyed
by governmental or ecclesiastical authority. This applies more especially
to the ages that succeeded the application of printing to the art of
multiplying books. The freedom of many writers upon politics and popular
rights led to the suppression of their books by kings, emperors or
parliaments. At the same time, books of church history or doctrinal
theology which departed, in however slight a degree, from the standard of
faith proclaimed by the church, were put in the Index Expurgatorius, or
list of works condemned in whole or in part as heretical and unlawful to
be read. A long and melancholy record of such proscriptions, civil and
ecclesiastical, is found in Gabriel Peignot's two volumes--_Dictionnaire
des livres condamnés au feu, supprimés, ou censurés_, etc. Works of
writers of genius and versatile ability were thus proscribed, until it
gave rise to the sarcasm among the scholars of Europe, that if one wanted
to find what were the books best worth reading, he should look in the
Index Expurgatorius. It appears to have been quite forgotten by those in
authority that persecution commonly helps the cause persecuted, and that
the best way to promote the circulation of a book is to undertake to
suppress it. This age finds itself endowed with so many heretics that it
is no longer possible to find purchasers at high prices for books once
deemed unholy. Suppressed passages in later editions lead to a demand for
the uncastrated copies which adds an element of enhanced cost in the

(4) Another source of rarity is the great extent and cost of many works,
outrunning the ability of most collectors to buy or to accommodate them
on their shelves. These costly possessions have been commonly printed in
limited numbers for subscribers, or for distribution by governments under
whose patronage they were produced. Such are some of the notable
collections of early voyages, the great folios of many illustrated
scientific works on natural history, local geography, etc. That great
scholar, Baron von Humboldt, used jocosely to say that he could not
afford to own a set of his own works, most of which are folios
sumptuously printed, with finely engraved illustrations. The collection
known as the "_Grands et petits Voyages_" of De Bry, the former in 13
volumes, relating to America, and finely illustrated with copper-plates
produced in the highest style of that art, are among the rarest sets of
books to find complete. The collection of voyages by Hulsius is equally
difficult to procure. A really perfect set of Piranesi's great
illustrated work on the art and architecture of ancient Rome is very
difficult to acquire. The _Acta Sanctorum_, in the original edition, is
very seldom found. But there is no room to multiply examples.

(5) What adds to the rarity and cost of certain books is the peculiarly
expensive style or condition in which they are produced or preserved.
Some few copies of an edition, for example, are printed on vellum, or on
China or India or other choice paper, in colored ink or bronze, on
colored paper, (rose-tinted, or green, blue or yellow,) on large paper,
with broad margins, etc. Uncut copies always fetch a higher price than
those whose edges are trimmed down in binding. To some book-collecting
amateurs cut edges are an abomination. They will pay more for a book "in
sheets," which they can bind after their own taste, than for the finest
copy in calf or morocco with gilt edges. Some books, also, are
exceptionally costly because bound in a style of superior elegance and
beauty, or as having belonged to a crowned head or a noble person,
("books with a pedigree") or an eminent author, or having autographs of
notable characters on the fly-leaves or title-pages, or original letters
inserted in the volume. Others still are "extra-illustrated" works, in
which one volume is swelled to several by the insertion of a multitude of
portraits, autographs, and engravings, more or less illustrative of the
contents of the book. This is called "Grangerising," from its origin in
the practice of thus illustrating Granger's Biographical History of
England. Book amateurs of expensive tastes are by no means rare,
especially in England, France, and America, and the great commercial
value placed upon uncut and rarely beautiful books, on which the highest
arts of the printer and book-binder have been lavished, evinces the fact.

(6) The books emanating from the presses of famous printers are more
sought for by collectors and libraries than other publications, because
of their superior excellence. Sometimes this is found in the beauty of
the type, or the clear and elegant press-work; sometimes in the printers'
marks, monograms, engraved initial letters, head and tail-pieces, or
other illustrations; and sometimes in the fine quality of the choice
paper on which the books are printed. Thus, the productions of the
presses of Aldus, Giunta, Bodoni, Etienne, Elzevir, Froben, Gutenberg,
Fust and Schoeffer, Plantin, Caxton, Wynkyn de Worde, Bulmer, Didot,
Baskerville, Pickering, Whittingham, and others, are always in demand,
and some of the choicer specimens of their art, if in fine condition,
bring great prices in the second-hand book-shops, or the auction room. An
example of Caxton's press is now almost unattainable, except in
fragmentary copies. There are known to be only about 560 examples of
Caxtons in the world, four-fifths of which are in England, and thirty-one
of these are unique. His "King Arthur" (1485) brought £1950 at auction in
1885, and the Polychronicon (1482) was sold at the Ives sale (N. Y.) in
1891, for $1,500.

(7) In the case of all finely illustrated works, the earlier impressions
taken, both of text and plates, are more rare, and hence more valuable,
than the bulk of the edition. Thus, copies with "proofs before letters"
of the steel engravings or etchings, sometimes command more than double
the price of copies having only the ordinary plates. Each added
impression deteriorates a little the sharp, clear outlines and brilliant
impressions which are peculiar to the first copies printed.

(8) Of some books, certain volumes only are rare, and very costly in
consequence. Thus, Burk's History of Virginia is common enough in three
volumes, but volume 4 of the set, by Jones and Girardin, (1816,) is
exceedingly rare, and seldom found with the others. The fifth and last
volume of Bunsen's Egypt's Place in Universal History is very scarce,
while the others are readily procured. Of De Bry's Voyages, the 13th or
final part of the American voyages is so rare as to be quite
unattainable, unless after long years of search, and at an unconscionable

(9) The condition of any book is an unfailing factor in its price. Many,
if not most books offered by second-hand dealers are shop-worn, soiled,
or with broken bindings, or some other defect. A pure, clean copy, in
handsome condition without and within, commands invariably an extra
price. Thus the noted Nuremberg Chronicle of 1493, a huge portly folio,
with 2,250 wood-cuts in the text, many of them by Albert Dürer or other
early artists, is priced in London catalogues all the way from £7.15 up
to £35, for identically the same edition. The difference is dependent
wholly on the condition of the copies offered. Here is part of a
description of the best copy: "Nuremberg Chronicle, by Schedel, printed
by Koberger, first edition, 1493, royal folio, with fine original
impressions of the 2,250 large wood-cuts of towns, historical events,
portraits, etc., very tall copy, measuring 18½ inches by 12½, beautifully
bound in morocco super extra, full gilt edges, by Riviere, £35. All the
cuts are brilliant impressions, large and spirited. The book is genuine
and perfect throughout; _no washed leaves_, and all the large capitals
filled in by the rubricator by different colored inks: it has the six
additional leaves at end, which Brunet says are nearly always wanting."

(10) The first editions printed of many books always command high prices.
Not only is this true of the _editio princeps_ of Homer, Virgil, Tacitus
and other Greek and Roman writers, published in the infancy of printing,
but of every noted author, of ancient or modern date. The edition printed
during the life of the writer has had his own oversight and correction.
And when more than one issue of his book has thus appeared, one sees how
his maturer judgment has altered the substance or the style of his work.
First editions of any very successful work always tend to become scarce,
since the number printed is smaller, as a rule, and a large part of the
issue is absorbed by public libraries. The earliest published writings of
Tennyson, now found with difficulty, show how much of emendation and
omission this great poet thought proper to make in his poems in after
years. A first edition of Ivanhoe, 3 vols., 1820, brings £7 or more, in
the original boards, but if rebound in any style, the first Waverley
novels can be had at much less, though collectors are many.

(11) Another class of rare books is found in many local histories, both
among the county histories of Great Britain, and those of towns and
counties in the United States. Jay Gould's History of Delaware County, N.
Y., published in 1856, and sought after in later times because of his
note as a financier, is seldom found. Of family genealogies, too, printed
in small editions, there are many which cannot be had at all, and many
more which have risen to double or even quadruple price. The market value
of these books, always dependent on demand, is enhanced by the wants of
public libraries which are making or completing collections of these much
sought sources of information.

(12) There is a class of books rarely found in any reputable book shop,
and which ought to be much rarer than they are--namely, those that belong
to the domain of indecent literature. Booksellers who deal in such wares
often put them in catalogues under the head of _facetiae_, thus making a
vile use of what should be characteristic only of books of wit or humor.
Men of prurient tastes become collectors of such books, many of which are
not without some literary merit, while many more are neither fit to be
written, nor printed, nor read.

(13) There is a large variety of books that are sought mainly on account,
not of their authors, nor for their value as literature, but for their
illustrators. Many eminent artists (in fact most of those of any period)
have made designs for certain books of their day. The reputation of an
artist sometimes rests more upon his work given to the public in
engravings, etchings, wood-cuts, etc., that illustrate books, than upon
his works on canvas or in marble. Many finely illustrated works bear
prices enhanced by the eagerness of collectors, who are bent upon
possessing the designs of some favorite artist, while some amateurs covet
a collection of far wider scope. This demand, although fitful, and
sometimes evanescent, (though more frequently recurrent,) lessens the
supply of illustrated books, and with the constant drafts of new
libraries, raises prices. Turner's exquisite pictures in Rogers's Italy
and Poems (1830-34) have floated into fame books of verse which find very
few readers. Hablot K. Browne ("Phiz") designed those immortal Wellers in
Pickwick, which have delighted two whole generations of readers. The
"Cruikshankiana" are sought with avidity, in whatever numerous volumes
they adorn. Books illustrated with the designs of Bartolozzi, Marillier,
Eisen, Gravelot, Moreau, Johannot, Grandville, Rowlandson, Bewick,
William Blake, Stothard, Stanfield, Harvey, Martin, Cattermole, Birket
Foster, Mulready, Tenniel, Maclise, Gilbert, Dalziel, Leighton, Holman
Hunt, Doyle, Leech, Millais, Rossetti, Linton, Du Maurier, Sambourne,
Caldecott, Walter Crane, Kate Greenaway, Haden, Hamerton, Whistler, Doré,
Anderson, Darley, Matt Morgan, Thos. Nast, Vedder, and others, are in
constant demand, especially for the early impressions of books in which
their designs appear.

(14) Finally, that extensive class of books known as early _Americana_
have been steadily growing rarer, and rising in commercial value, since
about the middle of the nineteenth century. Books and pamphlets relating
to any part of the American continent or islands, the first voyages,
discoveries, narratives or histories of those regions, which were hardly
noted or cared for a century ago, are now eagerly sought by collectors
for libraries both public and private. In this field, the keen
competition of American Historical Societies, and of several great
libraries, besides the ever increasing number of private collectors with
large means, has notably enhanced the prices of all desirable and rare
books. Nor do the many reprints which have appeared much affect the
market value of the originals, or first editions.

This rise in prices, while far from uniform, and furnishing many examples
of isolated extravagance, has been marked. Witness some examples. The
"Bay Psalm Book," Cambridge, Mass., A. D. 1640, is the Caxton of New
England, so rare that no perfect copy has been found for many years. In
1855, Henry Stevens had the singular good fortune to find this
typographical gem sandwiched in an odd bundle of old hymn books, unknown
to the auctioneers or catalogue, at a London book sale. Keeping his own
counsel, he bid off the lot at nine shillings, completed an imperfection
in the book, from another imperfect copy, had it bound in Bedford's best,
and sold it to Mr. Lenox's library at £80. In 1868, Stevens sold another
copy to George Brinley for 150 guineas, which was bought for $1,200 in
1878, by C. Vanderbilt, at the Brinley sale.

John Smith's folio "Historie of Virginia," 1st ed., 1624, large paper,
was sold to Brinley in 1874 at $1,275, and re-sold in 1878 for $1,800 to
Mr. Lenox. In 1884 a copy on large paper brought £605 at the Hamilton
Library sale in London. In 1899, a perfect copy of the large paper
edition was presented to the Library of Congress by Gen. W. B. Franklin.
Perfect copies of Smith's Virginia of 1624 on small paper have sold for
$1,000, and those wanting some maps at $70 to $150.

The earlier English tracts relating to Virginia and New England, printed
between 1608 and 1700, command large prices: _e. g._, Lescarbot's New
France, [Canada,] 1609, $50 to $150; Wood's New England's Prospect, 1635,
$50 to $320; Hubbard's Present State of New England, Boston, 1677, $180
to $316.

It is curious to note, in contrast, the following record of prices at the
sale of Dr. Bernard's Library in London, in 1686:

T. Morton's New England, 1615, eight pence; Lescarbot's New France, 1609,
ten pence; Wood's New England's Prospect, 1635, and three others, 5 s. 8
d.; nine Eliot Tracts, &c., 5 s. 2 d.; Hubbard's Present State of New
England, 1677, 1 s.; Smith's Historie of Virginia, 1624, 4 s. 2 d.

The numerous and now rare works of Increase and Cotton Mather, printed
from 1667 to 1728, though mostly sermons, are collected by a sufficient
number of libraries to maintain prices at from $4 to $25 each, according
to condition. They number over 470 volumes.

Several collections have been attempted of Frankliniana, or works printed
at Benjamin Franklin's press, and of the many editions of his writings,
with all books concerning the illustrious printer-statesman of America.
His "Poor Richard's Almanacs," printed by him from 1733 to 1758, and by
successors to 1798, are so rare that Mr. P. L. Ford found a visit to
three cities requisite to see all of them. The Library of Congress
possesses thirty-five years of these issues.

A word may be added as to early newspapers, of some special numbers of
which prices that are literally "fabulous" are recorded. There are many
reprints afloat of the first American newspaper, and most librarians have
frequent offers of the Ulster County, (N. Y.) Gazette of Jan. 10, 1800,
in mourning for the death of Washington, a genuine copy of which is worth
money, but the many spurious reprints (which include all those offered)
are worth nothing.

Of many rare early books reprints or facsimiles are rife in the market,
especially of those having but few leaves; these, however, are easily
detected by an expert eye, and need deceive no one.

Of some scarce books, it may be said that they are as rare as the
individuals who want them: and of a very few, that they are as rare as
the extinct dodo. In fact, volumes have been written concerning extinct
books, not without interest to the bibliomaniac who is fired with the
passion for possessing something which no one else has got. Some books
are quite as worthless as they are rare. But books deemed worthless by
the common or even by the enlightened mind are cherished as treasures by
many collectors. The cook-book, entitled _Le Pastissier françois_, an
Elzevir of 1655, is so rare as to have brought several times its weight
in gold. Nearly all the copies of some books have been worn to rags by
anglers, devout women, cooks, or children.

When a book is sold at a great price as "very rare," it often happens
that several copies come into the market soon after, and, there being no
demand, the commercial value is correspondingly depressed. The books most
sure of maintaining full prices are first editions of master-pieces in
literature. Fitzgerald's version of Omar Khayyam was bought by nobody
when Quaritch first published it in 1859. After eight years, he put the
remainder of the edition,--a paper-covered volume--down to a penny each.
When the book had grown into fame, and the many variations in later
issues were discovered, this first edition, no longer procurable, rose to
£21, the price actually paid by Mr. Quaritch himself at a book auction in

Auction sales of libraries having many rare books have been frequent in
London and Paris. The largest price yet obtained for any library was
reached in 1882-3, when that of Mr. Wm. Beckford brought £73,551, being
an average of nearly $40 a volume. But W. C. Hazlitt says of this sale,
"the Beckford books realized perfectly insane prices, and were afterwards
re-sold for a sixth or even tenth of the amount, to the serious loss of
somebody, when the barometer had fallen."

The second-hand bookseller, having the whole range of printed literature
for his field, has a great advantage in dealing with book collectors over
the average dealer, who has to offer only new books, or such as are "in

It may be owned that the love of rare books is chiefly sentimental. He
who delights to spend his days or his nights in the contemplation of
black-letter volumes, quaint title-pages, fine old bindings, and curious
early illustrations, may not add to the knowledge or the happiness of
mankind, but he makes sure of his own.

The passion for rare books, merely because of their rarity, is a low
order of the taste for books. But the desire to possess and read wise old
books which have been touched by the hoar frost of time is of a higher
mood. The first impression of Paradise Lost (1667) with its quarto page
and antique orthography, is it not more redolent of the author's age than
the elegant Pickering edition, or the one illustrated by John Martin or
Gustave Doré? When you hold in your hand Shakespeare's "Midsommer Night's
Dream" (A. D. 1600) and read with fresh admiration and delight the
exquisite speeches of Oberon and Titania, may not the thought that
perhaps that very copy may once have been held in the immortal bard's own
hand send a thrill through your own?

When you turn over the classic pages of Homer illustrated by Flaxman,
that "dear sculptor of eternity," as William Blake called him, or drink
in the beauty of those delicious landscapes of Turner, that astonishing
man, who shall wonder at your desire to possess them?

The genuine book lover is he who reads books; who values them for what
they contain, not for their rarity, nor for the preposterous prices which
have been paid for them. To him, book-hunting is an ever-enduring
delight. Of all the pleasures tasted here below, that of the book lover
in finding a precious and long sought volume is one of the purest and
most innocent. In books, he becomes master of all the kingdoms of the



To the book collector and the Librarian, books of bibliography are the
tools of the profession. Without them he would be lost in a maze of
literature without a clue. With them, his path is plain, and, in exact
proportion to his acquaintance with them, will his knowledge and
usefulness extend. Bibliography may be defined as the science which
treats of books, of their authors, subjects, history, classification,
cataloguing, typography, materials (including paper, printing and
binding) dates, editions, etc. This compound word, derived from two Greek
roots, _Biblion_, book, and _graphein_, to write, has many analogous
words, some of which, ignorantly used to express a bibliographer, may be
set down for distinction: as, for example--Bibliopole--a seller of books,
often erroneously applied to a librarian, who buys but never sells:
Bibliophile, a lover of books, a title which he should always exemplify:
Bibliopegist, a book-binder: Bibliolater, a worshipper of books:
Bibliophobe, a hater of books: Bibliotaph, a burier of books--one who
hides or conceals them: Bibliomaniac, or bibliomane, one who has a mania
or passion for collecting books. (Bibliomania, some one has said, is a
disease: Bibliophily is a science: The first is a parody of the second.)
Bibliophage, or bibliophagist, a book-eater, or devourer of books.
Bibliognost, one versed in the science of books. Biblioklept, a book
thief. (This, you perceive, is from the same Greek root as kleptomaniac.)
Bibliogist, one learned about books, (the same nearly as bibliographer);
and finally, Bibliothecary, a librarian.

This brings me to say, in supplementing this elementary list (needless
for some readers) that _Bibliotheca_ is Latin for a library;
_Bibliothèque_ is French for the same; _Bibliothécaire_ is French for
Librarian, while the French word _Libraire_ means book seller or
publisher, though often mistaken by otherwise intelligent persons, for
librarian, or library.

The word "bibliotechny" is not found in any English dictionary known to
me, although long in use in its equivalent forms in France and Germany.
It means all that belongs to the knowledge of the book, to its handling,
cataloguing, and its arrangement upon the shelves of a library. It is
also applied to the science of the formation of libraries, and their
complete organization. It is employed in the widest and most extended
sense of what may be termed material or physical bibliography.
Bibliotechny applies, that is to say, to the technics of the librarian's
work--to the outside of the books rather than the inside--to the
mechanics, not the metaphysics of the profession. The French word
"_Bibliothéconomie_," much in use of late years, signifies much the same
thing as _Bibliotechnie_, and we translate it, not into one word, but
two, calling it "library economy." This word "economy" is not used in the
most current sense--as significant of saving--but in the broad, modern
sense of systematic order, or arrangement.

There are two other words which have found their way into Murray's Oxford
Dictionary, the most copious repository of English words, with
illustrations of their origin and history, ever published, namely,
Biblioclast--a destroyer of books (from the same final root as
iconoclast) and Bibliogony, the production of books. I will add that out
of the fifteen or more words cited as analogous to Bibliography, only
three are found used earlier than the last quarter century, the first use
of most having been this side of 1880. This is a striking instance of the
phenomenal growth of new words in our already rich and flexible English
tongue. Carlyle even has the word "Bibliopoesy," the making of
books,--from _Biblion_, and _poiein_--to make.

Public libraries are useful to readers in proportion to the extent and
ready supply of the helps they furnish to facilitate researches of every
kind. Among these helps a wisely selected collection of books of
reference stands foremost. Considering the vast extent and opulence of
the world of letters, and the want of experience of the majority of
readers in exploring this almost boundless field, the importance of every
key which can unlock its hidden stores becomes apparent. The printed
catalogue of no single library is at all adequate to supply full
references, even to its own stores of knowledge; while these catalogues
are, of course, comparatively useless as to other stores of information,
elsewhere existing. Even the completest and most extensive catalogue in
the world, that of the British Museum Library, although now extended to
more than 370 folio volumes in print, representing 3,000 volumes in
manuscript, is not completed so as to embrace the entire contents of that
rich repository of knowledge.

From lack of information of the aid furnished by adequate books of
reference in a special field, many a reader goes groping in pursuit of
references or information which might be found in some one of the many
volumes which may be designated as works of bibliography. The diffidence
and reserve of many students in libraries, and the mistaken fear of
giving trouble to librarians, frequently deprives them of even those aids
which a few words of inquiry might bring forth from the ready knowledge
of the custodians in charge.

That is the best library, and he is the most useful librarian, by whose
aid every reader is enabled to put his finger on the fact he wants, just
when it is wanted. In attaining this end it is essential that the more
recent, important, and valuable aids to research in general science, as
well as in special departments of each, should form a part of the
library. In order to make a fit selection of books (and all libraries are
practically reduced to a selection, from want of means to possess the
whole) it is indispensable to know the relative value of the books
concerned. Many works of reference of great fame, and once of great
value, have become almost obsolete, through the issue of more extensive
and carefully edited works in the same field. While a great and
comprehensive library should possess every work of reference, old or new,
which has aided or may aid the researches of scholars, (not forgetting
even the earlier editions of works often reprinted), the smaller
libraries, on the other hand, are compelled to exercise a close economy
of selection. The most valuable works of reference, among which the more
copious and extensive bibliographies stand first, are frequently
expensive treasures, and it is important to the librarian furnishing a
limited and select library to know what books he can best afford to do
without. If he cannot buy both the _Manuel du libraire_ by Brunet, in
five volumes, and the _Trésor des livres rares et précieux_ of Graesse,
seven volumes, both of which are dictionaries of the choicer portions of
literature, it is important to know that Brunet is the more indispensable
of the two. From the 20,000 reference books lying open to the
consultation of all readers in the great rotunda of the British Museum
reading room, to the small and select case of dictionaries, catalogues,
cyclopaedias, and other works of reference in a town or subscription
library, the interval is wide indeed. But where we cannot have all, it
becomes the more important to have the best; and the reader who has at
hand for ready reference the latest and most copious dictionary of each
of the leading languages of the world, two or three of the best general
bibliographies, the most copious catalogue raisonné of the literature in
each great department of science, the best biographical dictionaries, and
the latest and most copious encyclopaedias issued from the press, is
tolerably well equipped for the prosecution of his researches.

Next in importance to the possession in any library of a good selection
of the most useful books of reference, is the convenient accessibility of
these works to the reading public. Just in proportion to the
indispensability and frequency of use of any work should be the facility
to the reader of availing himself of its aid. The leading encyclopaedias,
bibliographies, dictionaries, annuals, and other books of reference
should never be locked up in cases, nor placed on high or remote shelves.
There should be in every library what may be termed a central bureau of
reference. Here should be assembled, whether on circular cases made to
revolve on a pivot, or on a rectangular case, with volumes covering both
sides, or in a central alcove forming a portion of the shelves of the
main library, all those books of reference, and volumes incessantly
needed by students in pursuit of their various inquiries. It is important
that the custodians of all libraries should remember that this ready and
convenient supply of the reference books most constantly wanted, serves
the double object of economizing the time of the librarian and assistants
for other labor, and of accommodating in the highest degree the readers,
whose time is also economized. The misplacement of volumes which will
thus occur is easily rectified, while the possibility of loss through
abstraction is so extremely small that it should not be permitted to
weigh for a moment in comparison with the great advantages resulting from
the rule of liberality in aiding the wants of readers.

Bibliography, in its most intimate sense, is the proper science of the
librarian. To many it is a study--to some, it is a passion. While the
best works in bibliography have not always been written by librarians,
but by scholars enamored of the science of books, and devotees of
learning, it is safe to say that the great catalogues which afford such
inestimable aid to research, have nearly all been prepared in libraries,
and not one of the books worthy of the name of bibliography, could have
been written without their aid.

In viewing the extensive field of bibliographies, regard for systematic
treatment requires that they be divided into classes. Beginning first
with general bibliographies, or those claiming to be universal, we should
afterwards consider the numerous bibliographies of countries, or those
devoted to national literature; following that by the still more numerous
special bibliographies, or those embracing works on specially designated
subjects. The two classes last named are by far the most numerous.

Although what may be termed a "universal catalogue" has been the dream of
scholars for many ages, it is as far as ever from being realized--and in
fact much farther than ever before, since each year that is added to the
long roll of the past increases enormously the number of books to be
dealt with, and consequently the difficulties of the problem. We may set
down the publication of a work which should contain the titles of all
books ever printed, as a practical impossibility. The world's literature
is too vast and complex to be completely catalogued, whether on the
coöperative plan, or any other. Meanwhile the many thousands of volumes,
each of which has been devoted to some portion of the vast and
ever-increasing stores of literature and science which human brains have
put in print, will serve to aid the researches of the student, when
rightly guided by an intelligent librarian.

Notwithstanding the hopeless nature of the quest, it is true that some
men of learning have essayed what have been termed universal
bibliographies. The earliest attempt in this direction was published at
Zürich in 1545, under the title of "Bibliotheca Universalis," by Conrad
Gesner, a Swiss scholar whose acquisition of knowledge was so extensive
that he was styled "a miracle of learning." This great work gave the
titles of all books of which its author could find trace, and was
illustrated by a mass of bibliographical notes and criticism. It long
held a high place in the world of letters, though it is now seldom
referred to in the plethora of more modern works of bibliography. In
1625, the bookseller B. Ostern put forth at Frankfort, his _Bibliothèque
Universelle_, a catalogue of all books from 1500 to 1624. In 1742, Th.
Georgi issued in eleven folio volumes, his _Allgemeines Europäisches_
_Bücher-lexikon_, claiming to represent the works of nearly all writers
from 1500 down to 1739. This formidable catalogue may perhaps be said to
embrace more forgotten books than any other in the literary history of
the world.

Almost equally formidable, however, is the bibliography of that erudite
scholar, Christian G. Jöcher, who put forth in 1750, at Leipzig, his
_Allgemeines Gelehrten-lexicon_, in which, says the title page, "the
learned men of all classes who have lived from the beginning of the world
up to the present time, are described." This book, with its supplement,
by Adelung and Rotermund, (completed only to letter R), makes ten
ponderous quarto volumes, and may fairly be styled a thesaurus of the
birth and death of ancient scholars and their works. It is still largely
used in great libraries, to identify the period and the full names of
many obscure writers of books, who are not commemorated in the catalogues
of universal bibliography, compiled on a more restrictive plan.

We come now to the notable catalogues of early-printed books, which aim
to cover all the issues of the press from the first invention of
printing, up to a certain period. One of the most carefully edited and
most readily useful of these is Hain, (L.) _Repertorium Bibliographicum_,
in four small and portable octavo volumes, published at Stuttgart in
1826-38. This gives, in an alphabet of authors, all the publications
found printed (with their variations and new editions), from A. D. 1450
to A. D. 1500.

More extensive is the great catalogue of G. W. Panzer, entitled _Annales
Typographici_, in eleven quarto volumes, published at Nuremberg from 1793
to 1803. This work, which covers the period from 1457 (the period of the
first book ever printed with a date) up to A. D. 1536, is not arranged
alphabetically (as in Hain's Repertorium) by the names of authors, but in
the order of the cities or places where the books catalogued were
printed. The bibliography thus brings together in one view, the
typographical product of each city or town for about eighty years after
the earliest dated issues of the press, arranged in chronological order
of the years when printed. This system has undeniable advantages, but
equally obvious defects, which are sought to be remedied by many copious
indexes of authors and printers.

Next in importance comes M. Maittaire's _Annales Typographici, ab artis
inventae origine ad annum 1664_, printed at The Hague (Hagae Comitum) and
completed at London, from 1722-89, in eleven volumes, quarto, often bound
in five volumes. There is besides, devoted to the early printed
literature of the world, the useful three volume bibliography by La Serna
de Santander, published at Brussels in 1805, entitled _Dictionnaire
bibliographique choisie du quinzième siècle_, Bruxelles, 1803, embracing
a selection of what its compiler deemed the more important books
published from the beginning of printing up to A. D. 1500. All the four
works last named contain the titles and descriptions of what are known as
_incunabula_, or cradle-books (from Latin _cunabula_, a cradle) a term
applied to all works produced in the infancy of printing, and most
commonly to those appearing before 1500. These books are also sometimes
called fifteeners, or 15th century books.

Of general bibliographies of later date, only a few of the most useful
and important can here be named. At the head of these stands, deservedly,
the great work of J. C. Brunet, entitled _Manuel du Libraire et de
l'amateur des livres_, the last or 5th edition of which appeared at Paris
in 1860-64, in five thick octavo volumes. The first edition of Brunet
appeared in 1810, and every issue since has exhibited not only an
extensive enlargement, but great improvement in careful, critical
editorship. It embraces most of the choicest books that have appeared in
the principal languages of Europe, and a supplement in two volumes, by P.
Deschamps and G. Brunet, appeared in 1878.

Next to Brunet in importance to the librarian, is J. G. T. Graesse's
_Trésor des Livres rares et précieux_, which is more full than Brunet in
works in the Teutonic languages, and was published at Dresden in six
quarto volumes, with a supplement, in 1861-69. Both of these
bibliographies aim at a universal range, though they make a selection of
the best authors and editions, ancient and modern, omitting however, the
most recent writers. The arrangement of both is strictly alphabetical, or
a dictionary of authors' names, while Brunet gives in a final volume a
classification by subjects. Both catalogues are rendered additionally
valuable by the citation of prices at which many of the works catalogued
have been sold at book auctions in the present century.

In 1857 was published at Paris a kind of universal bibliography, on the
plan of a _catalogue raisonné_, or dictionary of subjects, by Messrs. F.
Denis, Pinçon, and De Martonne, two of whom were librarians by
profession. This work of over 700 pages, though printed in almost
microscopic type, and now about forty years in arrears, has much value as
a ready key to the best books then known on nearly every subject in
science and literature. It is arranged in a complete index of topics, the
books under each being described in chronological order, instead of the
alphabetical. The preponderance is given to the French in the works cited
on most subjects, but the literature of other nations is by no means
neglected. It is entitled _Nouveau Manuel de Bibliographie universelle_,
and being a subjective index, while Brunet and Graesse are arranged by
authors' names, it may be used to advantage in connection with these
standard bibliographies.

While on this subject, let me name the books specially devoted to lists
of bibliographical works--general and special. These may be termed the
catalogues of catalogues,--and are highly useful aids, indeed
indispensable to the librarian, who seeks to know what lists of books
have appeared that are devoted to the titles of publications covering any
period, or country, or special subject in the whole circle of sciences or
literatures. The first notably important book of reference in this field,
was the work of that most industrious bibliographer, Gabriel Peignot, who
published at Paris, in 1812, his _Repertoire bibliographique
universelle_, in one volume. This work contains the titles of most
special bibliographies, of whatever subject or country, published up to
1812, and of many works bibliographical in character, devoted to literary

Dr. Julius Petzholdt, one of the most learned and laborious of
librarians, issued at Leipzig in 1866, a _Bibliotheca bibliographica_,
the fuller title of which was "a critical catalogue, exhibiting in
systematic order, the entire field of bibliography covering the
literature of Germany and other countries." The rather ambitious promise
of this title is well redeemed in the contents: for very few catalogues
of importance issued before 1866, are omitted in this elaborate book of
931 closely printed pages. Most titles of the bibliographies given are
followed by critical and explanatory notes, of much value to the
unskilled reader. These notes are in German, while all the titles cited
are in the language of the books themselves. After giving full titles of
all the books in general bibliography, he takes up the national
bibliographies by countries, citing both systematic catalogues and
periodicals devoted to the literature of each in any period. This is
followed by a distributive list of scientific bibliographies, so full as
to leave little to be desired, except for later issues of the press. One
of the curiosities of this work is its catalogue of all the issues of the
"Index Librorum Prohibitorum", or books forbidden to be read, including
185 separate catalogues, from A. D. 1510 to A. D. 1862.

The next bibliographical work claiming to cover this field was in the
French language, being the _Bibliographie des bibliographies_ of Léon
Vallée, published in 1883 at Paris. This book, though beautifully
printed, is so full of errors, and still fuller of omissions, that it is
regarded by competent scholars as a failure, though still having its uses
to the librarian. It is amazing that any writer should put forth a book
seventeen years after the great and successful work of Petzholdt,
purporting to be a catalogue of bibliographies, and yet fail to record
such a multitude of printed contributions to the science of sciences as
Vallée has overlooked.

Some ten years later, or in 1897, there came from the French press, a far
better bibliographical work, covering the modern issues of books of
bibliography more especially, with greater fullness and superior plan.
This is the _Manuel de Bibliographie générale_, by Henri Stein. This work
contains, in 915 well-printed pages, 1st. a list of universal
bibliographies: 2d. a catalogue of national bibliographies, in
alphabetical order of countries: 3d. a list of classified bibliographies
of subjects, divided into seventeen classes, namely, religious sciences,
philosophical sciences, juridical, economic, social, and educational
sciences, pure and applied sciences, medical sciences, philology and
belles lettres, geographical and historical sciences, sciences auxiliary
to history, archaeology and fine arts, music, and biography. Besides
these extremely useful categories of bibliographical aids, in which the
freshest publications of catalogues and lists of books in each field are
set forth, M. Stein gives us a complete geographical bibliography of
printing, on a new plan. This he entitles "_Géographie bibliographique_,"
or systematic lists of localities in every part of the world which
possessed a printing press prior to the 19th century. It gives, after the
modern or current name of each place, the Latin, or ancient name, the
country in which located, the year in which the first printed publication
appeared in each place, and finally, the authority for the statement.
This handy-list of information alone, is worth the cost of the work,
since it will save much time of the inquirer, in hunting over many
volumes of Panzer, Maittaire, Hain, Dibdin, Thomas, or other authors on
printing, to find the origin of the art, or early name of the place where
it was introduced. The work contains, in addition, a general table of the
periodicals of all countries, (of course not exhaustive) divided into
classes, and filling seventy-five pages. It closes with a "repertory of
the principal libraries of the entire world," and with an index to the
whole work, in which the early names in Latin, of all places where books
were printed, are interspersed in the alphabet, distinguished by italic
type, and with the modern name of each town or city affixed. This
admirable feature will render unnecessary any reference to the _Orbis
Latinus_ of Graesse, or to any other vocabulary of geography, to identify
the place in which early-printed books appeared. Stein is by no means
free from errors, and some surprising omissions. One cardinal defect is
the absence of any full index of authors whose books are cited.

There are also quite brief catalogues of works on bibliography in J.
Power's Handy Book about Books, London, 1870, and in J. Sabin's
Bibliography: a handy book about books which relate to books, N. Y.,
1877. The latter work is an expansion of the first-named.

We come now to the second class of our bibliographies, _viz._: those of
various countries. Here the reader must be on his guard not to be misled
into too general an interpretation of geographical terms. Thus, he will
find many books and pamphlets ambitiously styled "_Catalogue
Américaine_", which are so far from being general bibliographies of books
relating to America, that they are merely lists of a few books for sale
by some book-dealer, which have something American in their subject. To
know what catalogues are comprehensive, and what period they cover, as
well as the limitations of nearly all of them, is a necessary part of the
training of a bibliographer, and is essential to the librarian who would
economize his time and enlarge his usefulness.

Let us begin with our own country. Here we are met at the outset by the
great paucity of general catalogues of American literature, and the utter
impossibility of finding any really comprehensive lists of the books
published in the United States, during certain periods. We can get along
tolerably well for the publications within the last thirty years, which
nearly represent the time since systematic weekly bibliographical
journals have been published, containing lists of the current issues of
books. But for the period just before the Civil War, back to the year
1775, or for very nearly a century, we are without any systematic
bibliography of the product of the American press. The fragmentary
attempts which have been made toward supplying an account of what books
have been published in the United States from the beginning, will
hereafter be briefly noted. At the outset, you are to observe the wide
distinction that exists between books treating of America, or any part of
it, and books printed in America. The former may have been printed
anywhere, at any time since 1492, and in any language: and to such books,
the broad significant term "_Americana_" may properly be applied, as
implying books relating to America. But this class of works is wholly
different from that of books written or produced by Americans, or printed
in America. It is these latter that we mean when we lament the want of a
comprehensive American catalogue. There have been published in the United
States alone (to go no farther into America at present) thousands of
books, whose titles are not found anywhere, except widely scattered in
the catalogues of libraries, public and private, in which they exist.
Nay, there are multitudes of publications which have been issued in this
country during the last two hundred years, whose titles cannot be found
anywhere in print. This is not, generally, because the books have
perished utterly,--though this is unquestionably true of some, but
because multitudes of books that have appeared, and do appear, wholly
escape the eye of the literary, or critical, or bibliographical
chronicler. It is, beyond doubt true even now, that what are commonly
accepted as complete catalogues of the issues of the press of any year,
are wofully incomplete, and that too, through no fault of their
compilers. Many works are printed in obscure towns, or in newspaper
offices, which never reach the great eastern cities, where our principal
bibliographies, both periodical and permanent, are prepared. Many books,
too, are "privately printed," to gratify the pride or the taste of their
authors, and a few copies distributed to friends, or sometimes to
selected libraries, or public men. In these cases, not only are the
public chroniclers of new issues of the press in ignorance of the
printing of many books, but they are purposely kept in ignorance. Charles
Lamb, of humorous and perhaps immortal memory, used to complain of the
multitudes of books which are no books; and we of to-day may complain, if
we choose, of the vast number of publications that are not published.

Take a single example of the failure of even large and imposing volumes
to be included in the "American Catalogue," for whose aid, librarians are
so immeasurably indebted to the enterprise of its publishers. A single
publishing house west of New York, printed and circulated in about four
years time, no less than thirty-two elaborate and costly histories, of
western counties and towns, not one of which was ever recorded by title
in our only comprehensive American bibliography. Why was this? Simply
because the works referred to were published only as subscription books,
circulated by agents, carefully kept out of booksellers' hands, and never
sent to the Eastern press for notice or review. When circumstances like
these exist as to even very recent American publications (and they are
continually happening) is it any wonder that our bibliographies are

Perhaps some will suggest that there must be one record of American
publications which is complete, namely, the office of Copyright at
Washington. It is true that the titles of all copyright publications are
required by law to be there registered, and copies deposited as soon as
printed. It is also true that a weekly catalogue of all books and other
copyright publications is printed, and distributed by the Treasury, to
all our custom-houses, to intercept piratical re-prints which might be
imported. But the books just referred to were not entered for copyright
at all, the publishers apparently preferring the risk of any rival's
reprinting them, rather than to incur the cost of the small copyright
fee, and the deposit of copies. In such cases, there is no law requiring
publishers to furnish copies of their books. The government guarantees no
monopoly of publication, and so cannot exact a _quid pro quo._, however
much it might inure to the interest of publisher and author to have the
work seen and noticed, and preserved beyond risk of perishing (unless
printed on wood-pulp paper) in the Library of the United States.

If such extensive omissions of the titles of books sometimes important,
can now continually occur in our accepted standards of national
bibliography, what shall we say of times when we had no critical
journals, no publishers' trade organs, and no weekly, nor annual, nor
quinquennial catalogues of American books issued? Must we not allow, in
the absence of any catalogues worthy of the name, to represent such
periods, that all our reference books are from the very necessity of the
case deplorably incomplete? Only by the most devoted, indefatigable and
unrewarded industry have we got such aids to research as to the existence
of American publications, as Haven's Catalogue of American publications
prior to 1776, Sabin's Bibliotheca Americana, and the American Catalogues
of Leypoldt, Bowker, and their coadjutors.

These illustrations are cited to guard against the too common error of
supposing that we have in the numerous American catalogues that exist,
even putting them all together, any full bibliography of the titles of
American books. While it cannot be said that the _lacunae_ or omissions
approach the actual entries in number, it must be allowed that books are
turning up every day, both new and old, whose titles are not found in any
catalogue. The most important books--those which deserve a name as
literature, are found recorded somewhere--although even as to many of
these, one has to search many alphabets, in a large number of volumes,
before tracing them, or some editions of them.

One principal source of the great number of titles of books found
wanting in American catalogues, is that many books were printed at places
remote from the great cities, and were never announced in the columns of
the press at all. This is especially true as to books printed toward the
close of the 18th century, and during the first quarter of the 19th. Not
only have we no bibliography whatever of American issues of the press,
specially devoted to covering the long period between 1775 and 1820, but
multitudes of books printed during that neglected half-century, have
failed to get into the printed catalogues of our libraries. As
illustrations we might give a long catalogue of places where
book-publication was long carried on, and many books of more or less
importance printed or reprinted, but in which towns not a book has been
produced for more than three-quarters of a century past. One of these
towns was Winchester, and another Williamsburg, in Virginia; another was
Exeter, New Hampshire, and a fourth was Carlisle, Pa. In the last-named
place, one Archibald Loudon printed many books, between A. D. 1798, and
1813, which have nearly all escaped the chroniclers of American
book-titles. Notable among the productions of his press, was his own
book, A History of Indian Wars, or as he styled it in the title page, "A
selection of some of the most interesting narratives of outrages
committed by the Indians in their wars with the white people." This
history appeared in two volumes from the press of A. Loudon, Carlisle,
Pa., in 1808 and 1811. It is so rare that I have failed to find its title
anywhere except in Sabin's Bibliotheca Americana, Field's Indian
Bibliography, and the Catalogue of the Library of Congress. Not even the
British Museum Library, so rich in Americana, has a copy. Sabin states
that only six copies are known, and Field styles it, "this rarest of
books on America," adding that he could learn of only three perfect
copies in the world. A Harrisburg reprint of 1888 (100 copies to
subscribers) is also quite rare.

Continuing the subject of American bibliography, and still lamenting the
want of any comprehensive or finished work in that field which is worthy
of the name, let us see what catalogues do exist, even approximating
completeness for any period. The earlier years of the production of
American books have been partially covered by the "Catalogue of
publications in what is now the United States, prior to 1776." This list
was compiled by an indefatigable librarian, the late Samuel F. Haven, who
was at the head of the Library of the American Antiquarian Society, at
Worcester, Mass. It gives all titles by sequence of years of publication,
instead of alphabetical order, from 1639 (the epoch of the earliest
printing in the United States) to the end of 1775. The titles of books
and pamphlets are described with provoking brevity, being generally
limited to a single line for each, and usually without publishers' names,
(though the places of publication and sometimes the number of pages are
given) so that it leaves much to be desired. Notwithstanding this, Mr.
Haven's catalogue is an invaluable aid to the searcher after titles of
the early printed literature of our country. It appeared at Albany, N.
Y., in 1874, as an appendix [in Vol 2] to a new (or second) edition of
Isaiah Thomas's History of Printing in America, which was first published
in 1810. In using it, the librarian will find no difficulty, if he knows
the year when the publication he looks for appeared, as all books of each
year are arranged in alphabetical order. But if he knows only the
author's name, he may have a long search to trace the title, there being
no general alphabet or index of authors. This chronological arrangement
has certain advantages to the literary inquirer or historian, while for
ready reference, its disadvantages are obvious.

While there were several earlier undertakings of an American bibliography
than Haven's catalogue of publications before the American revolution,
yet the long period which that list covers, and its importance, entitled
it to first mention here. There had, however, appeared, as early as the
year 1804, in Boston, "A Catalogue of all books, printed in the United
States, with the prices, and places where published, annexed." This large
promise is hardly redeemed by the contents of this thin pamphlet of 91
pages, all told. Yet the editor goes on to assure us--

     "This Catalogue is intended to include all books of general sale
     printed in the United States, whether original, or reprinted;
     that the public may see the rapid progress of book-printing in a
     country, where, twenty years since, scarcely a book was
     published. Local and occasional tracts are generally omitted.
     Some of the books in the Catalogue are now out of print, and
     others are scarce. It is contemplated to publish a new edition of
     this Catalogue, every two years, and to make the necessary
     additions and corrections; and it is hoped the time is not far
     distant, when useful Libraries may be formed of American editions
     of Books, well printed, and handsomely bound.

     Printed at Boston, for the Book sellers, Jan., 1804."

The really remarkable thing about this catalogue is that it was the very
first bibliographical attempt at a general catalogue, in separate form,
in America. It is quite interesting as an early booksellers' list of
American publications, as well as for its classification, which is as
follows: "Law, Physic, Divinity, Bibles, Miscellanies, School Books,
Singing Books, Omissions."

The fact that no subsequent issues of the catalogue appeared, evinces the
very small interest taken in bibliographic knowledge in those early days.

This curiosity of early American bibliography gives the titles of 1338
books, all of American publication, with prices in 1804. Here are
samples: Bingham's Columbian Orator, 75 cts.: Burney's Cecilia, 3 vols.
$3: Memoirs of Pious Women, $1.12: Belknap's New Hampshire, 3 vols. $5:
Mrs. Coghlan's Memoirs, 62½ cts.: Brockden Brown's Wieland, $1:
Federalist, 2 vols. $4.50: Dilworth's Spelling Book, 12½ cts.: Pike's
Arithmetic, $2.25.

The number of out-of-the-way places in which books were published in
those days is remarkable. Thus, in Connecticut, we have as issuing books,
Litchfield, New London and Fairhaven: in Massachusetts, Leominster,
Dedham, Greenfield, Brookfield, and Wrentham: in New Hampshire, Dover,
Walpole, Portsmouth, and Exeter: in Pennsylvania, Washington, Carlisle,
and Chambersburg: in New Jersey, Morristown, Elizabethtown, and
Burlington. At Alexandria, Va., eight books are recorded as published.

This historical nugget of the Boston bookmongers of a century ago is so
rare, that only two copies are known in public libraries, namely, in the
Library of Congress, and in that of the Massachusetts Historical Society.
It was reprinted in 1898, for the Dibdin Club of New York, by Mr. A.
Growoll, of the Publishers' Weekly, to whose curious and valuable notes
on "Booktrade Bibliography in the United States in the 19th century," it
forms a supplement.

The next catalogue of note claiming to be an American catalogue, or of
books published in America, was put forth in 1847, at Claremont, N. H.,
by Alexander V. Blake. This was entitled, "The American Bookseller's
complete reference trade-list, and alphabetical catalogue of books,
published in this country, with the publishers' and authors' names, and
prices." This quarto volume, making 351 pages (with its supplement issued
in 1848) was the precursor of the now current "Trade List Annual,"
containing the lists of books published by all publishers whose lists
could be secured. The titles are very brief, and are arranged in the
catalogue under the names of the respective publishers, with an
alphabetical index of authors and of anonymous titles at the end. It
served well its purpose of a book-trade catalogue fifty years ago, being
the pioneer in that important field. It is now, like the catalogue of
1804, just noticed, chiefly interesting as a bibliographical curiosity,
although both lists do contain the titles of some books not elsewhere

Mr. Orville A. Roorbach, a New York bookseller, was the next compiler of
an American bibliography. His first issue of 1849 was enlarged and
published in 1852, under this title: "Bibliotheca Americana: a catalogue
of American publications, including reprints and original works, from
1820 to 1852, inclusive." This octavo volume of 663 pages, in large,
clear type, closely abbreviates nearly all titles, though giving in one
comprehensive alphabet, the authors' names, and the titles of the books
under the first word, with year and place of publication, publisher's
name, and price at which issued. No collation of the books is given, but
the catalogue supplies sufficient portions of each title to identify the
book. It is followed in an appendix by a catalogue of law books, in a
separate alphabet, and a list of periodicals published in the United
States in 1852.

Roorbach continued his catalogue to the year 1861, by the issue of three
successive supplements: (1) covering the American publications of 1853 to
1855: (2) from 1855 to 1858: (3) from 1858 to 1861. These four
catalogues, aiming to cover, in four different alphabets, the issues of
the American press for forty years, or from 1820 to 1861, are extremely
useful lists to the librarian, as finding lists, although the rigorously
abbreviated titles leave very much to be desired by the bibliographer,
and the omissions are exceedingly numerous of books published within the
years named, but whose titles escaped the compiler.

Following close upon Roorbach's Bibliotheca Americana in chronological
order, we have next two bibliographies covering American book issues
from 1861 to 1871. These were compiled by a New York book dealer named
James Kelly, and were entitled The American Catalogue of Books, (original
and reprint) published in the United States from Jan., 1861, to Jan.,
1866, [and from Jan., 1866, to Jan., 1871] with date of publication,
size, price, and publisher's name. The first volume contained a
supplement, with list of pamphlets on the civil war, and also a list of
the publications of learned societies. These very useful and important
catalogues cover ten years of American publishing activity, adding also
to their own period many titles omitted by Roorbach in earlier years.
Kelly's catalogues number 307 and 444 pages respectively, and, like
Roorbach's, they give both author and title in a single alphabet. Names
of publishers are given, with place and year of publication, and retail
price, but without number of pages, and with no alphabet of subjects.

Next after Kelly's catalogue came the first issue of the "American
Catalogue," which, with its successive volumes (all published in quarto
form) ably represents the bibliography of our country during the past
twenty-five years. The title of the first volume, issued in 1880, reads
"American Catalogue of books in print and for sale (including reprints
and importations) July 1, 1876. Compiled under direction of F. Leypoldt,
by L. E. Jones." This copious repository of book-titles was in two parts:
(1) Authors, and (2) Subject-index. Both are of course in alphabetical
order, and the titles of books are given with considerable abbreviation.
The fact that its plan includes many titles of books imported from Great
Britain, (as supplying information to book-dealers and book-buyers)
prevents it from being considered as a bibliography of strictly American
publications. Still, it is the only approximately full American
bibliography of the publications current twenty-five years ago. As such,
its volumes are indispensable in every library, and should be in its
earliest purchase of works of reference. The limitation of the catalogue
to books still in print--_i. e._, to be had of the publishers at the time
of its issue, of course precludes it from being ranked as a universal
American bibliography.

The first issue in 1880 was followed, in 1885, by the "American
Catalogue, 1876-1884: books recorded (including reprints and
importations), under editorial direction of R. R. Bowker, by Miss A. I.
Appleton." This appeared in one volume, but with two alphabets; one being
authors and titles, and the other an alphabet of subjects. As this volume
included eight years issues of the American press, the next bibliography
published covered the next ensuing six years, and included the books
recorded from July, 1884 to July, 1890. This appeared in 1891, edited
with care by Miss Appleton and others.

In 1896 appeared its successor, the "American Catalogue, 1890-95.
Compiled under the editorial direction of R. R. Bowker." This catalogue
records in its first volume, or alphabet of authors: (1) author; (2) size
of book; (3) year of issue; (4) price; (5) publisher's name. The names of
places where published are not given with the title, being rendered
unnecessary by the full alphabetical list of publishers which precedes,
and fixes the city or town where each published his books. This same
usage is followed in succeeding issues of the American Catalogue.

This indispensable bibliography of recent American books, in addition to
its regular alphabets of authors and titles (the latter under first words
and in the same alphabet with the authors) and the succeeding alphabet of
subjects, prints a full list of the publications of the United States
government, arranged by departments and bureaus; also a list of the
publications of State governments, of Societies, and of books published
in series.

This last issue has 939 pages. Its only defects (aside from its
inevitable omissions of many unrecorded books) are the double alphabet,
and the want of collation, or an indication of the number of pages in
each work, which should follow every title. Its cost in bound form is
$15, at which the two preceding American catalogues 1876-84, and 1884 to
1890 can also be had, while the catalogue of books in print in 1876,
published in 1880, is quite out of print, though a copy turns up
occasionally from some book-dealer's stock.

The American Catalogue has now become a quinquennial issue, gathering the
publications of five years into one alphabet; and it is supplemented at
the end of every year by the "Annual American Catalogue," started in
1886, which gives, in about 400 pages, in its first alphabet, collations
of the books of the year (a most important feature, unfortunately absent
from the quinquennial American Catalogue.) Its second alphabet gives
authors, titles, and sometimes subject-matters, but without the
distribution into subject-divisions found in the quinquennial catalogue;
and the titles are greatly abridged from the full record of its first
alphabet. Its price is $3.50 each year.

And this annual, in turn, is made up from the catalogues of titles of all
publications, which appear in the _Publishers' Weekly_, the carefully
edited organ of the book publishing interests in the United States. This
periodical, which will be found a prime necessity in every library,
originated in New York, in 1855, as the "American Publishers' Circular,"
and has developed into the recognized authority in American publications,
under the able management of R. R. Bowker and A. Growoll. For three
dollars a year, it supplies weekly and monthly alphabetical lists of
whatever comes from the press, in book form, as completely as the titles
can be gathered from every source. It gives valuable notes after most
titles, defining the scope and idea of the work, with collations,
features which are copied into the Annual American Catalogue.

I must not omit to mention among American bibliographies, although
published in London, and edited by a foreigner, Mr. N. Trübner's
"Bibliographical Guide to American literature: a classed list of books
published in the United States during the last forty years." This book
appeared in 1859, and is a carefully edited bibliography, arranged
systematically in thirty-two divisions of subjects, filling 714 pages
octavo. It gives under each topic, an alphabet of authors, followed by
titles of the works, given with approximate fullness, followed by place
and year of publication, but without publishers' names. The number of
pages is also given where ascertained, and the price of the work quoted
in sterling English money. This work, by a competent German-English
book-publisher of London, is preceded by a brief history of American
literature, and closes with a full index of authors whose works are
catalogued in it.

We come now to by far the most comprehensive and ambitious attempt to
cover not only the wide field of American publications, but the still
more extensive field of books relating to America, which has ever yet
been made. I refer to the "Bibliotheca Americana; a dictionary of books
relating to America," by Joseph Sabin, begun more than thirty years ago,
in 1868, and still unfinished, its indefatigable compiler having died in
1881, at the age of sixty. This vast bibliographical undertaking was
originated by a variously-gifted and most energetic man, not a scholar,
but a bookseller and auctioneer, born in England. Mr. Sabin is said to
have compiled more catalogues of private libraries that have been
brought to the auctioneer's hammer, than any man who ever lived in
America. He bought and sold, during nearly twenty years, old and rare
books, in a shop in Nassau street, New York, which was the resort of book
collectors and bibliophiles without number. He made a specialty of
Americana, and of early printed books in English literature, crossing the
Atlantic twenty-five times to gather fresh stores with which to feed his
hungry American customers. During all these years, he worked steadily at
his _magnum opus_, the bibliography of America, carrying with him in his
many journeys and voyages, in cars or on ocean steamships, copy and
proofs of some part of the work. There have been completed about ninety
parts, or eighteen thick volumes of nearly 600 pages each; and since his
death the catalogue has been brought down to the letter S, mainly by Mr.
Wilberforce Eames, librarian of the Lenox Library, New York. Though its
ultimate completion must be regarded as uncertain, the great value to all
librarians, and students of American bibliography or history, of the work
so far as issued, can hardly be over-estimated. Mr. Sabin had the benefit
in revising the proofs of most of the work, of the critical knowledge and
large experience of Mr. Charles A. Cutter, the librarian of the Boston
Athenaeum Library, whose catalogue of the books in that institution, in
five goodly volumes, is a monument of bibliographical learning and
industry. Sabin's Dictionary is well printed, in large, clear type, the
titles being frequently annotated, and prices at auction sales of the
rarer and earlier books noted. Every known edition of each work is given,
and the initials of public libraries in the United States, to the number
of thirteen, in which the more important works are found, are appended.
In not a few cases, where no copy was known to the compiler in a public
collection, but was found in a private library, the initials of its owner
were given instead.

This extensive bibliography was published solely by subscription, only
635 copies being printed at $2.50 a part, so that its cost to those
subscribing was about $225 unbound, up to the time of its suspension. The
first part appeared January 1, 1867, although Vol. I. bears date New
York, 1868. It records most important titles in full, with (usually)
marks denoting omissions where such are made. In the case of many rare
books relating to America (and especially those published prior to the
18th century) the collations are printed so as to show what each line of
the original title embraces, _i. e._ with vertical marks or dashes
between the matter of the respective lines. This careful description is
invaluable to the bibliographical student, frequently enabling him to
identify editions, or to solve doubts as to the genuineness of a
book-title in hand. The collation by number of pages is given in all
cases where the book has been seen, or reported fully to the editor. The
order of description as to each title is as follows: (1) Place of
publication (2) publisher (3) year (4) collation and size of book. Notes
in a smaller type frequently convey information of other editions, of
prices in various sales, of minor works by the same writer, etc.

The fullness which has been aimed at in Sabin's American bibliography is
seen in the great number of sermons and other specimens of pamphlet
literature which it chronicles. It gives also the titles of most early
American magazines, reviews, and other periodicals, except newspapers,
which are generally omitted, as are maps also. As an example of the often
minute cataloguing of the work, I may mention that no less than eight
pages are occupied with a list of the various publications and editions
of books by Dr. Jedediah Morse, an author of whom few of the present
generation of Americans have ever heard. He was the earliest American
geographer who published any comprehensive books upon the subject, and
his numerous Gazetteers and Geographies, published from 1784 to 1826,
were constantly reprinted, until supplanted by more full, if not more
accurate works.

Upon the whole, Sabin's great work, although so far from being finished,
is invaluable as containing immeasurably more and fuller titles than any
other American bibliography. It is also the only extensive work on the
subject which covers all periods, although the books of the last thirty
years must chiefly be excepted as not represented. As a work of
reference, while its cost and scarcity may prevent the smaller public
libraries from possessing it, it is always accessible in the libraries of
the larger cities, where it is among the foremost works to be consulted
in any research involving American publications, or books of any period
or country relating to America, or its numerous sub-divisions.

I may now mention, much more cursorily, some other bibliographies
pertaining to our country. The late Henry Stevens, who died in 1886,
compiled a "Catalogue of the American Books in the Library of the British
Museum." This was printed by the Museum authorities in 1856, and fills
754 octavo pages. Its editor was a highly accomplished bibliographer and
book-merchant, born in Vermont, but during the last forty years of his
life resided in London, where he devoted himself to his profession with
great learning and assiduity. He published many catalogues of various
stocks of books collected by him, under such titles as "Bibliotheca
historica," "Bibliotheca Americana," etc., in which the books were
carefully described, often with notes illustrating their history or their
value. He became an authority upon rare books and early editions, and
made a valuable catalogue of the Bibles in the Caxton exhibition at
London, in 1877, with bibliographical commentary. He was for years chief
purveyor of the British Museum Library for its American book purchases,
and aided the late James Lenox in building up that rich collection of
Americana and editions of the Scriptures which is now a part of the New
York Public Library. His catalogue of the American books in the British
Museum, though now over forty years old, and supplanted by the full
alphabetical catalogue of that entire library since published, is a
valuable contribution to American bibliography.

Mr. Stevens was one of the most acute and learned bibliographers I have
known. He was a man of marked individuality and independent views; with a
spice of eccentricity and humor, which crept into all his catalogues, and
made his notes highly entertaining reading. Besides his services to the
British Museum Library, in building up its noble collection of Americana,
and in whose rooms he labored for many years, with the aid of Panizzi and
his successors, whom he aided in return, Stevens collected multitudes of
the books which now form the choice treasures of the Lenox library, the
Carter Brown library, at Providence, the Library of Congress, and many
more American collections. To go with him through any lot of Americana,
in one of his enterprising visits to New York, where he sometimes came to
market his overflowing stores picked up in London and on the continent,
was a rare treat. Every book, almost, brought out some verbal criticism,
anecdote or reminiscence of his book-hunting experiences, which began in
America, and extended all over Europe.

He was not only an indefatigable collector, but a most industrious and
accurate bibliographer, doing more work in that field, probably, than any
other American. He wrote a singularly careful, though rapid hand, as
plain and condensed as print, and in days before modern devices for
manifolding writing were known, he copied out his invoices in duplicate
or triplicate in his own hand, with titles in full, and frequent
descriptive notes attached. His many catalogues are notable for the
varied learning embodied. He was a most intelligent and vigilant book
collector for more than forty years, his early labors embracing towns in
New York and New England, as purveyor for material for Peter Force, of
Washington, whose American Archives were then in course of preparation.
Among the library collectors who absorbed large portions of his gathered
treasures, were James Lenox, Jared Sparks, George Livermore, John Carter
Brown, Henry C. Murphy, George Brinley, the American Geographical
Society, and many historical societies. He was an authority on all the
early voyages, and wrote much upon them. No one knew more about early
Bibles than Henry Stevens.

His enterprise and ambition for success led him to bold and sometimes
extensive purchases. He bought about 1865, the library of Baron von
Humboldt, and this and other large ventures embarrassed him much in later
years. He became the owner of the Franklin manuscripts, left in London by
the great man's grandson, and collected during many years a library of
Frankliniana, which came to the Library of Congress when the Franklin
manuscripts were purchased for the State Department in 1881.

He was proud of his country and his State, always signing himself "Henry
Stevens, of Vermont." His book-plate had engraved beneath his name, the
titles, "G. M. B.: F. S. A." The last, of course, designated him as
Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London, but the first puzzled
even his friends, until it was interpreted as signifying "Green Mountain
Boy." His brother used jocosely to assure me that it really meant
"Grubber of Musty Books."

As to his prices for books, while some collectors complained of them as
"very stiff," they appear, when compared with recent sales of Americana,
at auction and in sale catalogues, to be quite moderate. The late
historian Motley told me that Mr. Stevens charged more than any one for
Dutch books relating to America; but Mr. Motley's measure of values was
gauged by the low prices of Dutch booksellers which prevailed during his
residence in the Netherlands, for years before the keen demand from
America had rendered the numerous Dutch tracts of the West India Company,
etc., more scarce and of greater commercial value than they bore at the
middle of this century.

As treating of books by American authors, though not so much a complete
bibliography of their works, as a critical history, with specimens
selected from each writer, Duyckinck's "Cyclopaedia of American
Literature" deserves special mention. The last edition appeared at
Philadelphia, in 1875, in two large quarto volumes. Equally worthy of
note is the compilation by E. C. Stedman and Ellen M. Hutchinson, in
eleven volumes, entitled "Library of American Literature," New York,
1887-90. A most convenient hand-book of bibliographical reference is
Oscar F. Adams's "Dictionary of American Authors," Boston, 1897, which
gives in a compact duodecimo volume, the name and period of nearly every
American writer, with a brief list of his principal works, and their date
of publication, in one alphabet.

Of notable catalogues of books relating to America, rather than of
American publications, should be named White Kennet's "Bibliotheca
Americana primordia," the earliest known catalogue devoted to American
bibliography, London, 1713; O. Rich, Catalogue of Books relating to
America, 1500-1700, London, 1832; Rich, "Bibliotheca Americana nova,"
books printed between 1700 and 1844, two volumes, London, 1835-46; H.
Harrisse, "Bibliotheca Americana vetustissima," New York, 1866, and its
supplement, Paris, 1872, both embracing rare early Americana, published
from 1492 to 1551. This is a critically edited bibliography of the rarest
books concerning America that appeared in the first half century after
its discovery.

The important field of American local history has given birth to many
bibliographies. The earliest to be noted is H. E. Ludewig's "Literature
of American Local History," New York, 1846. Thirty years later came F. B.
Perkins's "Check List for American Local History," Boston, 1876; followed
by A. P. C. Griffin's "Index of articles upon American Local History in
historical collections," Boston, 1889, and by his "Index of the
literature of American local history in collections published in
1890-95," Boston, 1896. Closely allied to the catalogues of city, town,
and county histories, come the bibliographies of genealogies and family
histories, of which the last or 4th edition of D. S. Durrie's
"Bibliographia genealogica Americana; an alphabetical index to American
genealogies in county and town histories, printed genealogies, and
kindred works," Albany, 1895, is the most comprehensive and
indispensable. This work gives us an alphabet of family names, under each
of which are grouped the titles of books in which that special name is
treated, with citation of the page. It also gives the name and date of
publication of the special family genealogies which are separately
printed, whether book or pamphlet, with number of pages in each. The
work is by a librarian, to whose laborious diligence Americans are deeply

Among other bibliographies of genealogy are Munsell's "American
Genealogist: a catalogue of family histories," Albany, 1897. This work
aims to give the titles of all separately printed American genealogies,
in an alphabet of family names, giving titles in full, with place and
year of publication, name of publisher, and collation, or number of

For the multitudinous public documents of the United States, consult B.
P. Poore's "Descriptive catalogue of the government publications of the
United States, 1775-1881," Washington, 1885, and F. A. Crandall, Check
list of public documents, debates and proceedings from 1st to 53d
Congress (1789-1895), Washington, 1895; also,

Comprehensive index to the publications of the United States government,
1889-1893. The same--United States Catalogue of Public Documents, 1893 to
1895, Washington, 1896. Several biennial or annual lists of United States
Documents have followed.

As supplementing these extensive catalogues, we have in the Appendix to
the "American Catalogue" of 1885 a List of United States Government
publications from 1880 to 1884; in that of 1891 a List from 1884 to 1890;
and in that of 1896 a List covering the years 1891 to 1895.

A most important recent bibliography is found in H. C. Bolton's
"Catalogue of Scientific and Technical Periodicals, 1665-1895,"
Washington, 1897.

There are also many sale catalogues of American books, with prices, some
of which may be noted, _e. g._ J. R. Smith, Bibliotheca Americana,
London, 1865; F. Müller, Catalogue of books and pamphlets relating to
America, Amsterdam, 1877, and later years. Ternaux-Compans, "Bibliothèque
Américaine;" books printed before 1700, Paris, 1837: P. Trömel,
"Bibliothèque Américaine," Leipzig, 1861: D. B. Warden, "Bibliothèque
Américaine," Paris, 1840: R. Clarke & Co., "Bibliotheca Americana,"
Cincinnati, 1874, 1878, 1887, 1891, and 1893.

There are, besides, important catalogues of some private libraries,
devoted wholly or chiefly to books relating to America. Among these, the
most extensive and costly is John R. Bartlett's catalogue of the library
of J. Carter Brown, of Providence, in four sumptuous volumes, with
fac-similes of early title-pages, of which bibliography only fifty copies
were printed. It is entitled, "Bibliotheca Americana: a catalogue of
books relating to North and South America," 1482-1800, 4 vols. large
8vo., Providence, 1870-82. The Carter Brown Library is now the richest
collection of Americana in any private library in the world.

Among catalogues of libraries sold by auction, and composed largely of
American books, are those of John A. Rice, New York, 1870: W. Menzies,
New York, 1875: George Brinley, in five volumes, sold 1878 to 1886: Henry
C. Murphy, New York, 1884: S. L. M. Barlow, New York, 1889: and Brayton
Ives, New York, 1891.

The wide field of bibliography of English literature has given birth to
many books. Only the more comprehensive can here be noted.

R. Watt's Bibliotheca Britannica, in four quarto volumes, Edinburgh,
1824, although now old, is still an indispensable work of reference,
giving multitudes of titles of English books and pamphlets not found in
any other bibliography. It of course abounds in errors, most of which
have been copied in Allibone's Dictionary of English literature. This
extensive work is a monument of labor, to which the industrious compiler
devoted many years, dying of too intense study, at Glasgow, at the early
age of forty-five, in the year 1819. The issue of the work in 1824, being
thus posthumous, its errors and omissions are largely accounted for by
the author's inability to correct the press. The plan of the work is
unique. Vols. 1 and 2 contain the alphabet of authors and titles, with
dates and publishers' prices when known. Vols. 3 and 4 contain an
alphabet of subjects, in which the titles re-appear, with a key alphabet
in italic letters attached to each title, by which reference is made to
the author-catalogue, at a fixed place, where all the works of the author
are recorded.

The work is printed in small type, with two crowded columns on a page,
thus containing an enormous amount of matter. The key is quickly learned,
and by its aid, and the alphabet of subjects, the librarian can find out
the authors of many anonymous books. Watt is the only general
bibliography of English literature which gives most of the obscure
writers and their works.

Lowndes' Bibliographer's Manual of English Literature, in its second
edition, enlarged by H. G. Bohn, is a most indispensable bibliography.
This work is arranged alphabetically by authors' names, and aims to
record all important books published in Great Britain, from the earliest
times to about A. D. 1834. It is in eleven parts, or 6 vols. 16 mo. of
very portable size, Lond., 1857-65. While it gives collations of the more
important works, with publishers and dates, it fails to record many
editions of the same work. Its quoted prices represent the original
publisher's price, with very frequent additions of the sale prices
obtained at book auctions. The chief defect of Lowndes' Manual is its
total lack of any index of subjects.

S. Austin Allibone's "Critical Dictionary of English literature,"
Philadelphia, 1858-71, 3 volumes, with supplement by John F. Kirk, in 2
vols., Philadelphia, 1891, is a copious reference book, which, in spite
of its many errors and crudities, should be in all libraries. It contains
in abbreviated form most of the titles in Watt and Lowndes, with the
addition of American authors, and of British books published since the
period covered by Lowndes. The three volumes of Allibone accompany the
titles of works by noted authors with many critical remarks, copied
mostly from reviews and literary journals. This feature of the book,
which makes it rather a work of literary history and criticism than a
bibliography pure and simple, has been dropped in Mr. Kirk's supplement,
which thus becomes properly a bibliography. The publications of England
and America, from about 1850 to 1890, are more fully chronicled in this
work of Kirk than in any other bibliography.

The important "English Catalogue of Books," from A. D. 1835 to 1897, in 5
vols., with its valuable Index of Subjects, in 4 vols., from 1857 up to
1889, is so constantly useful as to be almost indispensable in a public
library. It records, in provokingly brief one-line titles, with
publisher's name, year of issue, and price, all books published in Great
Britain whose titles could be secured. It thus subserves the same purpose
for English publications, which the American Catalogue fulfills for those
of the United States. Both are in effect greatly condensed
bibliographies, enabling the librarian to locate most of the published
literature in the English language for many years back. The English
catalogue, from 1897 to date, is supplemented by its annual issues,
entitled "the English Catalogue of Books for 1898," etc.

I have said that accuracy should be one of the cardinal aims of the
librarian: and this because in that profession it is peculiarly
important. Bibliography is a study which approaches very nearly to the
rank of an exact science; and the practice of it, in application to the
daily work of the librarian, is at once a school of accuracy, and a test
of ability. A habit of analytical methods should be assiduously
cultivated, without which much time will be lost in fruitless searches in
the wrong books to find what one wants. As a single illustration of this
need of method, suppose that you want to find the title of a certain book
with its full description, a want likely to occur every hour in the day,
and sometimes many times an hour. The book is perhaps Sir Walter Scott's
Life of Napoleon,--9 vols., London, 1827, and your object is to trace its
title, published price, etc., among the numerous bibliographies of
literature. You begin by a simple act of analysis--thus. This is a
London, not an American book--hence it is useless to look in any American
catalogue. It is written in English, so you are dispensed from looking
for it in any French or other foreign bibliography. Its date is 1827,
London. Therefore among the three leading English reference books in
bibliography, which are Watt's Bibliotheca Britannica, Lowndes'
Bibliographer's Manual, and the English Catalogue, you at once eliminate
the former as not containing the book. Why do you do this? Because Watt's
great work, in four huge quartos, though invaluable for the early English
literature, stops with books published before the date of its issue,
1824. Your book is published in 1827, and of course could not appear in a
catalogue of 1824. Shall you refer then to the English Catalogue for its
title? No, because the five volumes of that useful work (though some
imperfect book lists were published earlier), begin with the year 1835,
and the book you seek bears date of 1827. You are then reduced, by this
simple process of analyzing in your mind the various sources of
information, and rejecting all except one, namely Lowndes'
Bibliographer's Manual, to a search in a single catalogue for your title.
This simplifies matters greatly, and saves all the time which might
otherwise have been lost in hunting fruitlessly through several works of
reference. Lowndes' invaluable Manual was published in 1834, and though a
second edition, edited by Bohn, appeared thirty years later, it does not
contain books published after that date, unless they are later editions
of works issued earlier. You find in it your Scott's Napoleon, date 1827,
with its published price, £4. 14. 6, and an account of other later
editions of the book. Of course you will observe that it is necessary to
know what period of years is covered by the various bibliographies, and
to carry those dates perpetually in your memory, in order thus to
simplify searches, and save time. Once learned, you will have the comfort
of knowing where to turn for light upon any book, and the faculty of
accurate memory will reward the pains taken to acquire it.

I must not omit to include, in noting the more useful and important
English bibliographies, the very copious list of works appended to each
biography of British writers, in the new "Dictionary of National
Biography," Lond., 1885-1900. This extensive work is nearly finished in
about 65 volumes, and constitutes a rich thesaurus of information about
all British authors, except living ones.

Living characters, considered notable, and brief note of their books, are
recorded in "Men and Women of the Time," 15th ed. London, 1899--but this
book, although highly useful, is far from being a bibliography.

I should not omit to mention among useful librarians' aids, the "Book
Prices Current; record of prices at which books have been sold at
auction." This London publication began with the year 1887. No sales are
reported of books bringing less than one pound sterling. The book-sales
of 1898 were reported in 1899 of this issue, and the book is published in
each case the next year. The similar catalogue entitled "American Book
Prices Current" was begun with 1895, being compiled from the sale
catalogues of American auctioneers, for that year, and the prices brought
at auction in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, and Chicago, are recorded
for all notable books, but limited to works bringing as much as $3 or
upward. Five years' reports, in as many volumes, have now been issued,
and the publication is to be continued. Its utility of course consists in
informing librarians or collectors of the most recent auction values of
books. At the same time, a word of caution is required, since it is not
safe to judge of average commercial values, from any isolated bid at an
auction sale.

A very useful classed catalogue, published by the British Museum library,
and edited by G. K. Fortescue, an assistant librarian, is the so-called
"Subject-index to modern works," of which three volumes have appeared,
beginning with the accessions of 1880-85, each covering five years
additions of new works, in all European languages, to that library. The
third volume embraces the years 1890 to 1895, and appeared in 1896. As
this is not confined to works in English, it should be classed with
universal bibliography. As containing most of the latest books of any
note, all three volumes are important aids to research. They are printed
in large type, in which it is a refreshment to the eye to read titles,
after the small and obscure print of Watt's Bibliotheca Britannica, and
the but little better type of Lowndes' Manual, and of the English
Catalogue. A collation of pages is also added in most cases, and the
importance of this can hardly be overrated. These catalogues of the
British Museum Library abound in pamphlets, English, French, German,
Italian, etc., evincing how large a share of attention is given to the
minor literature coming from the press in the more recent years.

W. H. D. Adams's "Dictionary of English Literature," London, 1880, and
later, in a compact volume, gives authors and titles of the more
important English and American books. Also, in the same alphabet, an
index to the titles, as well as authors, by the first word, and to many
sayings or quotations, with their original sources. It is a highly useful
book, although its small bulk leaves it far from being a comprehensive

Chambers' Cyclopaedia of English Literature, in 2 vols., London, 1876,
has an account of the most notable British writers, with specimens of
their works, and forms what may be termed an essential part of the
equipment of every public library.

The Library Association of the United Kingdom, since 1888, the date of
its organization, has published Transactions and Proceedings; also, since
1889, "The Library," a periodical with bibliographical information.

It may be noted, without undue expression of pride, that America first
set the example of an organized national association of Librarians
(founded in 1876) followed the same year by a journal devoted to Library
interests. That extremely useful periodical, the _Library Journal_, is
now in its twenty-fourth volume. Its successive issues have contained
lists of nearly all new bibliographical works and catalogues published,
in whatever language.

The London Publisher's Circular, first established in 1838, is a weekly
organ of the book-publishing trade, aiming to record the titles of all
British publications as they appear from the press. It gives, in an
alphabet by authors' names, the titles in much abbreviated form, with
publisher, size in inches, collation, price, and date, with a fairly good
index of titles or subjects, in the same alphabet. Covering much the same
ground, as a publishers' periodical, is "The Bookseller," issued monthly
since 1858, with lists of the new issues of the British press, and
critical notices. In addition to the English catalogue, there is the
extensive Whitaker's "Reference catalogue of current literature,"
published every year, which now makes two large volumes, and embraces the
trade catalogues of English publishers, bound up in alphabetical order,
with a copious index, by authors and titles, in one alphabet, prefixed.

While on English bibliographies, I must note the important work on local
history, by J. P. Anderson, "Book of British Topography," London, 1881.
This gives, in an alphabet of counties, titles of all county histories or
descriptive works of England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales, followed in
each county by a list of town histories or topographical works. The
arrangement under each town is chronological. Its only want is a
collation of the books. British genealogy, or the history of families, is
treated bibliographically in G. W. Marshall's "The Genealogist's Guide,"
London, 1893, which gives an alphabet of family names, with references in
great detail to county and town histories, pedigrees, heralds'
visitations, genealogies, etc., all over Great Britain, in which any
family is treated.

The wide field of foreign bibliography, by countries, cannot here be
entered upon, nor can I now treat of the still more extensive range of
works devoted to the bibliography of various subjects.


    Access to shelves, 215-225
    Accuracy, rarity of, 254-257
    Adams (O. F.) Dictionary of American authors, 490
    Adams (W. H. D.) Dictionary of English literature, 499
    Administration, faculty of, 249
    Advertising, library, 353-356
    Aids to readers, 190-214
    Alexandrian library, 107, 289
    Allibone (S. A.) Critical dictionary of English literature, 494-495
    Alphabeting titles, 380, 388-389
    American book prices, current, 1895-99, 498
    American catalogue, 1876-1899, 481-484
    American Library Association
        catalogue of 5,000 books, 25, 371
        foundation of, 499
        list of novelists, 22
        on open shelves, 223
        on size-notation, 390
        bibliographies of, 472-493
        rare, 454-456
        what are, 473
    Anderson (J. P.) book of British topography, 500
    Arabic figures, 81
    Art of reading, 171-189
    Art, lesson from, 24
    Assistants in libraries
        appointment of, 337-339
        qualifications of, 242-274
        regulations for, 341-345
    Astor library, N. Y., 35, 306
        mutilation in, 137, 140
    Auction sales, 38-40, 45-47, 457
    Authorship, 271-2

    Bad books, 20-24, 281-2
    Bartlett (J. R.) catalogue of J. Carter Brown library, 493
    Bay Psalm book, 455
    Beckford library sale, 74, 457-8
    Beecher (H. W.) on books, 15
    Bibliography, 459-500
        accessibility of, 463-464
        bibliographies of, 469-471
        classification of, 464-5
        definition of, 459
        earliest American, 478
        early works in, 465
        no full American, 475
        of American publications, 472-493
        selection of works in, 462
    Binding of books, 50-87, 93-94
        colors in, 57
        desiderata in, 52
        how a bibliomaniac binds, 432
        importance of, 87
        lettering titles, 72, 78-83
        machine methods, 62-3
        marbling and gilding, 68-69, 73
        materials for, 53
        rebinding methods, 64
    Biography, 4-7, 17
        discrepancies in, 210-212
        living characters, 197
    Blake (A. V.) American booksellers' trade-list catalogue, 479
    Boccaccio of 1471, sale of, 46
    Bolton (H. C.) catalogue of scientific and technical periodicals, 492
    Book binding, 50-87, 93-94
    Book buying, 33-49
    Book covering, 97
    Book-marks, 115
    Book plates, 90-93, 97-100
    Book prices
        current, 1887-99, 497-498
        American, 1895-99, 498
    Book shops, second hand, 42-45, 458
    Book supports, 96, 110
    Book worms, 108
    Books, cheap and poor editions of, 30
    Books, choice of, 3-32
    Books for public libraries, selection of, 15-32, 361
    Books of reference, 16, 462-463
    Books, three classes of, 182
    Books which have helped me, 183
    Books,--_see_ Reading
    Bores, how to treat, 259
    Boston Athenaeum library, 305, 485
        early pamphlets in, 149
    Boston public library, 315
        appointments in, 338
        languages demanded, 247
    Bowker (R. R.)
        American catalogue, 482-483
        Publishers' weekly, 483
    British Museum library
        appointments in, 338
        catalogue of, 396-399, 498
            its defects, 398
        classification, 367
        mutilation in, 137-138
        trustees of, 340
    Brown (J. Carter) library of Americana, 493
    Brunet (J. C.) Manuel du libraire, 467
    Bry (De) Voyages, 449, 451
    Buildings, library, 321-333
        cost of, 331
        light in, 325
        location of, 323-324
        many mistakes in, 321
        materials for, 324
        periodical room, 328
        shelving, 325
    Bulwer-Lytton (E. L.) writings of, 23, 174
    Burnham (T. O. H. P.), 44
    Bury, Richard de, 292
    Buying of books, 33-49
        methods of, 36-37

    Calf binding, 55
    Campbell (John), 45
    Capitals, how to be used in catalogues, 378, 387
    Card catalogue system, 393
        its defects, 393-394
        how obviated, 394-396
    Cards, for catalogues, 393
    Carlyle (Thomas)
        life of Cromwell, 148
        on librarians, 249
        on reading, 171
    Carnegie (Andrew) gifts to libraries, 315
    Catalogue of all books printed in the U. S. 1804, 478-479
    Catalogues, 373-399
        abridging titles, 382-383
        accession, 386
        auction, 38-39
        card system for, 393
        chronology of authors, 381, 389, 398
        classed, 374-5, 383
        collations in, 379
        cross references, 377
        Cutter's rules for, 375
        deficiencies of American, 473-476
        dictionary, 373-5, 383-384
        English, 383, 495
        errors in, 384-385, 388
        imprints, how given, 379
        kinds of, 373
        of British Museum library, 396-399, 498
        printing, advantages of, 395-396
        rules for, 375-381
        sale, value of, 33-34, 37
        shelf, 386
        size-notation in, 389-391
        use of capitals in, 378, 387
    Caxton's press, books, 451
    Census of wealth, futility of, 194-196
    Chambers' Cyclopaedia of English literature, 499
    Children's books, 276, 278
        reading-rooms, 329-330
    Choice of books, 3-32, 277, 335
    Chronology of authors, 381, 398
    Classic authors, 30
    Classification of books, 362-372
        application of, 366
        Bibliothèque nationale, system of, 368
        British museum, system of, 368
        Brunet's system of, 367
        close classification, 364-365
        conflict of systems, 362-363
        Crunden's verses on, 430
        Cutter, system of, 369
        Dewey, system of, 370
        Fletcher, system of, 372
        fixed shelf location, 371
        Library of Congress, system of, 368
    Cleaning books, 103-104, 127-130
    Clergymen, some book-abusing, 138, 140
    Cleveland public library
        fiction experience, 27
        methods of selections, 31
    Cogswell (J. G.), 35
    Collation, 61, 379
    Collier, J. Payne, as a cataloguer, 385
    Congressional library--_see_ Library of Congress
    Copy tax,
        origin of, 400
        rationale of, 406, 409
        and libraries, 400-416
        aggregate copyrights entered, 410
        and Library of Congress, 404-411
        books not entered, 474
        duration of, 413
        foundation of, 402, 412
        history of, 403
        in the Constitution, 401
        international, why, 412-413
        origin of, 401
        perpetual, 402, 413
        provisions of, 414
    Counting a library, 350, 386
    Courtesy, in libraries, 250, 261
    Croton bug, 109
    Crowding of books on shelves, 116-117
    Crunden (F. M.) verses on classification, 430
    Cutter (C. A.) Boston Athenaeum catalogue, 485
        classification, 430
        rules for catalogue, 375
        Sabin's Bibliotheca Americana, 485
    Cutting edges, 60-61, 67

    Damage to books, _see_ Injuries
    Damp, an enemy of books, 104
    Dates, errors in, 210-212
    Dates of books, ancient expression of, 391-393
    Decimal system, 370, 390
    Denis (F.) Nouveau manuel de bibliographie, 468-469
    Dewey (Melvil)
        classification, 370
        remark by, 433
    Dictionary catalogues, 373-375, 383-384
    Dictionary of national biography, 197, 497
    Dime novels, 21, 281
    Documents (U. S. public) catalogues, 492
    Dogs-earing books, 114
    "Dont's," list of proper warnings, 134
    Duplicates in libraries, 31, 167-168
    Durrie (D. S.) Bibliographia genealogica Americana, 491
        in libraries, 101-103
        to remove from books, 103
    Duyckink's Cyclopaedia of American literature, 490

    Eames (W.) continuation of Sabin's Bibliotheca Americana, 485
        to be always noted, 387
        first, 46, 388, 452
    Education, 245, 282-283
    Egypt, libraries of, 287-289
    Elzevirs, 424, 457
    Emerson (R. W.) cited, 172, 185
    Encyclopaedia Britannica, scope and limitations of, 14, 197-199, 245
    Enemies of books, 101-118
    English catalogue,
        1835-1899, 383, 495
        uses dictionary form, 383
        in books, 210-212, 255
        in librarians, 256-257
    Essays, 9, 17

    Facsimile reproduction, 132-134
    Fiction, 12, 18-28, 179
        in libraries, 106-108, 131, 297
        destruction of books by, 448-449
    First editions, 46, 388, 452
    Fletcher (W. I.),
        classification, 372
        index to periodicals, 169
    Force (Peter) historical library of, 304
        rich in pamphlets, 150
    Formation of libraries, 357-362
    Franklin (B.)
        collections of Frankliniana, 456
        his manuscripts, 489
        on Philadelphia library, 299
    French language, need of, 246-248, 257
    Furnishings of libraries, 326

    Gas, an enemy of books, 105
    Genealogy, bibliographies of, 491-492, 500
    George IV, library of, 212
    Georgi (T.) Allgemeines Europäisches bücher-lexikon, 465
    Gesner (C.) Bibliotheca universalis, 465
    Gould (Jay) History of Delaware county, N. Y., 453
    Gowans (William), 43
    Graesse, Trésor des livres rares et précieux, 468
    Grangerising, 450
    Greece, libraries of, 288-289
    Griffin (A. P. C.) indexes of American local history, 491
    Grolier bindings, 73, 75
    Grolier club, N. Y., 85, 447
    Growoll (A.)
        Book trade bibliography in the U. S., 479
        Publishers' weekly, 483

    Hain (L.) Repertorium bibliographicum, 466
    Halliwell-Phillipps (J. O.), privately printed books, 446
    Harris (W. T.) experience with memory, 239
    Harrisse (H.) Bibliotheca Americana, 491
    Harvard university library, 296
    Haven (S. F.) Catalogue of American publications, 1639-1775, 477
    Heat, an enemy of books, 104
    Heber library, 34
    Helps to readers, 191-214
    History, 7-8, 17
        of libraries, 287-320
        (local) bibliography, 491, 500
    Homer, 173, 184, 458
    Horace, perfection of his odes, 184
    Humboldt (Baron von), 449
    Humors of the library, 430-443
    Hurst (J. F.) on choice books, 15

    Illustrated books, 279, 450, 451, 453-454
    Immoral books, 20, 22, 453
    Index expurgatorius, 448, 470
        use of, 205-206
        how to make, 388-389
        substitutes for, 207
    Injuries to books, _See_ Crowding, Cutting, Dogs-earing, Enemies,
            Ink, Margins, Mutilations, Soiling, Tracing, Torn leaves
        use of, 113
        how removed, 128-129
    Inquiries, innumerable, 191-201
    International copyright, 412-416
    Iron construction, 106

    Jöcher (C. G.) Allgemeines gelehrten-lexikon, 466
    Juvenile books, 276, 278, 279

    Kelly (J.) American catalogue, 1861-1871, 481
    Khayyam (Omar), 457
    Kirk (J. F.) Supplement to Allibone, 1850-1890, 495

    La Bedoyère, French revolution collection, 149
    Labelling books, 90-93
    Ladies' reading-rooms, 329
    Languages, foreign, 246-248
    La Serna de Santander, Dictionnaire bibliographique, 467
    Law books, binding, 76
    Letters, 8-9
    Leypoldt (F.) Books of all time, 481
        a constant aid, 200
        ancient idea of, 273
        as an author, 271-272
        as preserver and restorer of books, 120-121
        benefits to, of inquiries, 202
        high standard for, 272
        indispensable, how to become, 200, 203
        intercourse with readers, 199
        librarian's dream, 417
        qualifications of, 242-274
            accuracy, 254
            business habits, 249, 258
            courtesy, 250, 261
            energy and industry, 262
            foreign languages, 246-248
            good temper, 250
            habits of order, 257-260
            health, 251
            impartial liberality, 264-265
            knowledge of books, 248
            love of his work, 253
            patience inexhaustible, 261
            sound common sense, 252
            tact unfailing, 262
        reserve in recommending books, 213
        "who reads is lost," 242, 274
        woes of a, 441-443
        attractions of, 193, 268-271
        drawbacks attending, 266-268
        opens avenues to growth, 269
        school of human nature, 270

        ancient, of clay, 287-288
        and copyright, 400-416
        and schools, 275, 282
        and universities, 282, 293
        annual reports of, 349-356
        catalogues of, 373-399
        classification of, 362-372
        exaggeration of volumes in, 212-213
        formation of, 357-362
        founded by individual gift, 311-313
        history of, 287-320
        historical, 319
        list of, over 100,000 vols., 309-310
        mercantile, 319
        monastic, 290-292
        picture of ancient, 273
        poetry of, 417-430
        professional, 319
        prompt service in, 341-342
        readers in, 186, 285-286
        special report on, 1876, 309
        state libraries, 316-317
        statistics of American, 308
        subscription libraries, 360
        ten largest, 293
        travelling libraries, 319-320
        uses of, 275-286
    Library, how to count a, 350, 386
    Library, humors of the, 430
    Library, poetry of the, 417
    Library advertising, 353-356
    Library association of United Kingdom, 499
    Library buildings and furnishings, 321-333
        _See_ Buildings
    Library bulletins, 353
    Library commissioners, 345
    Library committees, 333-340, 360
    Library donations, 361
    Library Journal, N. Y., 1876-99, 499
    Library laws (State), 357, 359
    Library of Congress
        and copyright books, 404-411, 416
        appointments in, 338
        joint committee on, 340
        our national conservatory of books, 181-182
        restriction of MSS. and rare books, 225
        sketch of its history, 303-305
    Library regulations, 341-349, 433-434
    Library reports, 349
    Library science schools, 338
    Library trustees or boards of managers, 333-340
    Literature, history of, 12-14
    Loudon (A.) History of Indian wars, 476
    Lowndes (W. T.) Bibliographer's Manual, 494

    Macaulay (T. B.) memory, 229
    Maittaire (M.) Annales typographici, 467
    Marbling, 68
    Margins, writing or marking on, 114, 124-125, 136
    Mazarin Bible, 46, 445
        the faculty of, 226-241
        attention and association, its corner-stones, 236-237
        cardinal qualification of a librarian, 226-227
        discursive reading impairs it, 240-241
        improvement of, 236-240
        intuitive memory, 230
        local memory, 229
        verbal memory, 228
    Migne (J. P. _abbé_) Patrologie, 447
    Milton, 11, 147, 184, 187, 458
    Mnemonic systems, 234-236
    Morocco binding, 56
    Morris (William) Kelmscott press, 447
    Mutilation of books, 111, 124-126
        penal laws for, 135-136
        posting offenders, 138

    New Hampshire library law, 314
    Newspapers, _see_ Periodicals
    New York Mercantile Library, selections for, 32
    New York Public library, 307
        of book sizes, 390
        of book dates, 381, 391
    Novels, _see_ Fiction
    Nuremberg chronicle, 452

    Omar (Caliph) sentence imputed to, 107, 171, 289
    Omniscience, no human, 172
    Open shelves, 215-225
        American library association on, 223
        an open question, 222
        benefits of, 215-222, 224
        evils of, 216-224
        international library conference on, 220-221
    Opinions on books, 27
    Ostend manifesto, 196-197

        literature of, 145-156
        binding of, 153-155
        British museum, wealth in, 149, 499
        classification of, 152, 155
        definitions of, 145
        dignity and power of, 148
        embarrassments of, 146
        great works printed as, 147
        how to acquire, 151
        La Bedoyère collection of, 149
        Peter Force, collection of, 150
        swift disappearance of, 151
        Thomason collection of, 148
    Panzer (G. W.) Annales typographici, 466
    Parchment, 54
    Peignot (G.)
        Repertoire bibliographique universelle, 469
        Dictionnaire des livres condamnés, 448
        literature of, 157-170
        binding of, 84-85
        cardinal importance of, 153-154, 157, 161, 285
        check list for, 168
        compared with books, 164
        completeness of, 158-159
        continuous reading of impairs the memory, 241
        indexes to, 169-170
        lettering by Poole index, 84
        limited library circulation, 167-168
            abuses of, 180
            destruction of, 62
            filing for readers' use, 166
            library notices in, 353-356
            mutilation of, 112
            number of, 157, 160
            over-reading of, 180, 241
            percentage of, to books, 157
            syndicate publication, 165
            value of, 301-302
    Perkins (F. B.) check-list for American local history, 491
    Petzholdt (J.) Bibliotheca bibliographica, 469
    Philadelphia library company's library, 299-302
    Philadelphia Mercantile Library fire, 131-132
    Phillipps (Sir T.) privately printed books, 447
    Plato, reading of, 172, 178
    Plutarch's lives, 3, 184
    Poetical quotations, 193, 204-205
    Poetry, 9-11, 18
    Poetry of the library, 417-429
    Politics in libraries, 265
    Poole (W. F.)
        plan of library building, 327
        on ladies' reading-rooms, 329
    Poole's indexes to periodical literature, 169
    Poor Richard's almanac, 456
    Pratt Institute library, thefts in, 144
    Preparation for the shelves, 88-97
    Press, the, and the library, 353-356
    Prices of books, 36, 46-48, 444-451, 455-456, 497-498
    Privately printed books, 446-447, 473
    Problems, insoluble, 194-196
    Pseudonyms, 376-377
    Publishers' Circular (London), 499
    Publishers' Weekly, N. Y., 483

    Qualifications of librarians, 242-274
    Questions asked, innumerable, 191, 204, 206-209
    Quotations, search for, 193, 204

    Rare books, 113, 114, 224, 444-459
        causes of rarity, 445-457
        mere age not a cause, 446
        aids to, 190-214
        classification of, 186-187, 190-191, 206, 285-286
        favoritism among, 217
        limitations of aid, 204, 208
        art of, 171-189
        best, not the latest, 178-179
        choice of, 3-32, 181-2, 277-278
        formative power of, 183-185
        passion for, 458-459
        inspiration of, 183-185
        librarian's, 121, 243-244, 248
        methods of, 175-178, 186-187
            the literal, 175
            the intuitive, 176
        novel reading, 179
        over-much reading of newspapers, 180, 241
        perils of too great absorption in, 185-186
        pleasures of, 182-189
        reading aloud, 177-178, 280
        taste in, 181
        time to read, 173
    Reading rooms, 326
    Reclamation of books, 119-144
    Recommending books, 32
        to be done sparingly, 213, 244
    Reference, books of, 16, 461-463
    Religion, questions about, 201, 265
    Reports, librarians', 349-356
        comprehensive, 349
        printing of, 352
    Reserved books, 224-245
    Restoration and reclamation of books, 119-144
    Rich (O.) Bibliotheca Americana, 491
    Roman libraries, 290
    Roman numerals, 81, 391-392
    Roorbach (O. A.) Bibliotheca Americana, 1820-1861, 480
    Rubber bands, untrustworthy, 155
    Rules, library, 341-349
        call slips or tickets, 346
        circulation, limit, 346-347
        done into verse, 433-434
        hours, 344
        prompt service, 341-342
        registration, 347
        vacations, 345
    Rush (James) bequest to Philadelphia Library Co., 301-302
    Ruskin on collecting books, 14
    Russia binding, 56

    Sabin (J.) Bibliotheca Americana, 484-487
    School district libraries a failure, 317-319
    Schools and libraries, 275-282
    Science, books of, 11, 18
    Scott's Napoleon, bibliographical object-lesson, 496-497
    Second-hand book shops, 42-45
    Selection of books, 3-32, 277
        _See_ Choice of books
    Shakespeare, 10, 46, 184, 188, 458
    Sheep binding, 55
    Shelves, library, 325
        access to, 215
        preparation of books for, 88
    Shelves, open, 215-225
    Signatures, 65
    Size-notation of books, 389-391
    Sizing paper, 128
    Smith's Historie of Virginia, 455
    Smithsonian Institution
        collection in Library of Congress, 304
        copyright privilege of, 404
    Soiling of books, 116
        how removed, 127
    Spelling, facility in, 232
    Stack system, 216, 325
    Stamps in books, 88-90, 114
    State libraries, 316-317
        appointments in, 339
    Stealing of books, 111
        _See_ thefts
    Stedman (E. C.) Library of American literature, 490
    Stein (H.) Manuel de bibliographie, 470-471
    Stevens (Henry) characteristics of, 487, 489
    Story (A) about stories, 436-437
        importance of, 175-176, 226
        sample of prose run mad, 26
    Sunday-school books, 276
    Syndicate publishing, 165-166

    Teaching, 269
    Tennyson (Alfred) early editions of poems, 452
    Thackeray (W. M.) curious question of, 205
        book, 111, 136-144
        leniency in case of, 142-144
        methods of reclamation, 141-144
    Time, use of, 173-174, 258-259
        abridgment of, 382-383
        alphabeting of, 388-389
        entry of, in catalogues, 375-377
        headings of, 377
        lettering of, 72-73, 78-83
        use of capitals in, 378, 381, 387
    Titles of novels, done into verse, 436-437
    Torn leaves, how repaired, 122
    Tracing of maps or plates, 113
    Travels, 11, 18
    Tree calf binding, 74
    Trübner (N.) Bibliographical guide to American literature, 484
    Trustees, boards of library, 268, 333-340
    Turner's illustrations, 454, 458

    Ulster Co. Gazette, 1800, 456
    Universal catalogue, 465
    Universities, use of the library to, 282-285
    University libraries, 294
    Uses of libraries, 275-286

    Vallée (L.) Bibliographie des bibliographies, 470
    Vellum binding, 54
    Voyages, 11, 18

    Walpole (Horace) Strawberry hill press, 446
    Washing soiled books, 127, 129
    Watt (R.) Bibliotheca Britannica, 493-494
    Wealth, all estimates of, futile, 194-196
    Winsor (Justin)
        a prolific author, 272
        on librarians' instructions, 284
    Woes of a librarian, 441-443
    Worcester, Massachusetts, public library
        methods of selection, 31
        theft in, 143
        use of by schools, 281

    Yale university library, 298

Books for Authors


[Sidenote: Authors and Publishers]


Comprising a description of publishing methods and arrangements,
directions for the preparation of MSS. for the press, explanations of the
details of book-manufacturing, instructions for proof-reading, specimens
of typography, the text of the United States Copyright Law, and
information concerning International Copyrights, together with general
hints for authors. By G. H. P. and J. B. P.

_Seventh Edition, re-written with additional material._
_8°, gilt top_              _net, $1.75_


  PART I.--Publishing arrangements--Books published at the risk and
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  PART II.--The Making of

  "Full of valuable information for authors and writers. . . . A
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  "This handy and useful book is written with perfect fairness and
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  lucidly which it behoves beginners in literature to know, and we
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       *       *       *       *       *


A Sketch of Literary Conditions and of the Relations with the
Public of Literary Producers, from the Earliest Times to the Fall
of the Roman Empire.

Second edition, revised, 12°, gilt top, $1.50.

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A Study of the Conditions of the Production and Distribution of
Literature from the Fall of the Roman Empire to the Close of the
Seventeenth Century.

In two volumes, 8°, cloth extra (sold separately), each $2.50
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Comprising the text of the Copyright Law of the United States,
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Copyright, and certain papers on the development of the
conception of literary property and on the results of the
American law of 1891.

Second edition, revised, with additions, and with the record of
legislation brought down to March, 1896. 8°, gilt top, $1.75.

A perfect arsenal of facts and arguments, carefully elaborated and very
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New Edition, revised, in two volumes.
Volume I.--1607-1676. Volume II.--1676-1765. Each $2.50.
Agawam edition, 2 vols. in one. 8°, half leather, $3.00.

"In the execution of his work thus far, Professor Tyler has evinced a
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Chapters in Literary Biography and Criticism devoted to
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Transcriber's Notes:

1. Punctuation for abbreviations such as per cent., viz. has been

2. There are spelling inconsistencies in proper and place names as well
as within accented characters and hyphenated words. These have been left
as printed.

3. Obvious punctuation errors have been corrected.

4. The remaining corrections are:

Page 36, "Edinburg" changed to "Edinburgh"
Page 153, "faciliate" changed to "facilitate"
Page 202, "conspiciously" changed to "conspicuously"
Page 258, "responsibile" changed to "responsible"
Page 269, "reasearches" changed to "researches"
Page 342, "adminstration" changed to "administration"
Page 392, "substracting" changed to "subtracting"
Page 393, "univeral" changed to "universal"
Page 404, "ieft" changed to "left"
Page 441, "pyschology" changed to "psychology"
Page 452, "polittics" changed to "politics"
Page 457, "at" changed to "as"
Page 470, "Thus" changed to "This"
Page 471, "vocabularly" changed to "vocabulary"
Page 478, "Columbiau" changed to "Columbian"
Page 481, "approxmiately" changed to "approximately"
Page 490, "guaged" changed to "gauged"
Page 490, "Duyckincks" changed to "Duyckinck's"
Page 493, "Meuzies" changed to "Menzies"
Page 494, "I" changed to "1"
Page 497, "pubished" changed to "published"
Page 504, "Allgemeinas" changed to "Allgemeines"

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