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Histories," the State Library contains two hundred and fifty-eight. As an important pendant to American history, the Library is liberally supplied with works on the History of Great Britain and Ireland, and the History of Europe generally.
The State appropriated, for a considerable number of years, from $400 to $600 a year for the purpose of carrying out M. Vattemare's system of an international exchange with foreign States of the volumes of laws, journals, documents, historical and scientific publications printed by the State of New York. The appropriation ceased to be made soon after the death of M. Vattemare, in 1864. Many thousands of volumes of State Papers and miscellaneous works were added to the Library by this method, chiefly in foreign languages. It did not tend, in any great degree, to build up the Library in the direction intended to be given to it by the Trustees. Besides the in crease of the Library by exchanges with the States of the Union and Canada, amounting to about four hundred volumes a year, nearly an equal number are received by exchange and donation from other sources, societies and individuals in this country and in Europe. The two largest collections of books given to the Library since its foundation are the publications of the Commissioner of British Patents, amounting at the present time to more than three thousand volumes; and the Library of the Hon. Harmanus Bleecker, of Albany, of about two thousand volumes. The Library now contains over one hundred and twenty-four thousand volumes, including those in the Law Department, which number about thirty-six thousand.
The annual increase of the Library for the last twenty years has been nearly three thousand volumes a year, on an average. Probably with the removal of the books before long to a new home, the sight of the empty shelves will impress a feeling of the need of larger appropriation.
The character of the Library may be indicated, in a manner to interest many minds, by the mention of some of the more remarkable treasures collected in it. There may be enumerated in its department of Manuscripts:
1. Twenty-eight folio volumes of the papers of Sir William Johnson, from 1733 to 1774, with a Calendar and a subject-index of seventy thousand references.
2. The Papers of Governor George Clinton, from 1763 to 1800, in thirty-four volumes folio, which the IIon. George W. Clinton is now engaged in indexing and annotating.
3. A volume containing autograph letters or documents from all of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence.
4. The Papers from the traitor Arnold, found upon Major John André at the time he was captured, in 1780.
5. Memorials to the number of sixteen, of George Washington, among them being a Survey of Land made by him as County Sur veyor, when but seventeen years old, in 1749; his Surveying Instruments, Watch-seals and Chain, his Inauguration Sword and the first draught of the Farewell Address May, 1796.
6. The grant on parchment from Charles II, in 1664, to his brother James, Duke of York and Albany, of the territory embracing New York.
7. The Emancipation Proclamation of September, 1862, in the handwriting of Abraham Lincoln.
8. Eight boxes, containing from thirty to forty thousand papers. called the "Stevens Vermont Manuscripts," as yet unassorted and unbound, referring to the early history of New England and New York. After the transfer of the Library to the New Capitol, those manuscript volumes in the offices of the Secretary of State that have no longer more than a historical value are by a late law to be deposited on the shelves of the State Library They number several hundred volumes. The State Library possesses also the returns of the Marshals of the Census of the State for 1865 and 1875, containing the names and ages of all the inhabitants of the State, and bound in about one hundred and ten folio volumes for each series.
Among the printed books, those of interest, which may be mentioned, are: 1. As many as thirty-five volumes printed before the year A. D. 1500, such as the works of Thomas Aquinas, printed at Rome in 1470, in two volumes folio.
2. The publications of all the American Historical Societies.
3. Publications of Learned and Scientific Societies in America and Great Britain, such as the American Academy, American Philosophical Society, Antiquarian Society of London, Palæontographical Society, Royal Society, Zoological Society.
4. Publications of private printing clubs and societies, such as the Bradford, Camden, English Historical, Maitland, Ballad, Shakespeare, Percy, Spottiswoode, Hanserd Knollys and Woodrow.
5. Collections of eulogies on deceased Presidents: on Washing ton, 150; on Harrison, 60; on Lincoln, 205; on Garfield, 373.
'This transfer has recently been made but the arrangement has not been per fected. F B. H
6. A collection of works on Bibliography and Typography, consisting of more than two thousand volumes, one thousand of which were bought from Mr. Joel Munsell by a special appropriation.
7. A nearly complete collection of all the Genealogies of American families that have been published to 1883.
8 There has been placed on the shelves lately a series of Gaine's New York Register and Almanac, covering forty-four years, from 1756 to 1804, a remarkable set
9. The Journals and Resolutions of the Netherlands from 1524 to 1797; the Secret Resolutions, from 1651 to 1795, in all two hundred and sixty volumes folio, some of which are copies in manuscript, on account of the scarcity of complete copies. These were received from the Government of the Netherlands, and are in the Law Department.
Without enumerating any more of the valuable collection of books in the library, or pointing out exceptionally rare books, we would advert to the portfolios of maps of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, which are exceedingly valuable for the period of the Revolutionary War. The Library possesses also several cases filled with Coins and Medals, Paper Money of the Colonies and the States, Paintings of Portraits of several of the Governors of the State, and of other eminent citizens.
The Library, from its foundation in 1818, was kept in a room occupying a portion of two stories of the old Capitol, on the north side. In 1854 it was removed to an edifice especially constructed for the purpose, west of the old Capitol, but connected with it by a corridor of two stories. It was two stories high, one hundred and fourteen feet long by forty-eight feet wide. Its principal façade was on State street, constructed of red sandstone, like the old. Capitol as was that on the north end. The Law Department was on the ground floor, and the general department on the second floor. The upper hall was sufficiently high to admit of galleries on both sides, with alcoves in them, as upon the main floor. At the time when this edifice was constructed the Legislature prescribed very definite limitations regarding its size, lest it should be made unnecessarily large; yet not ten years elapsed before its shelves were full. Ample space is designed for the Library in the new Capitol into apart ments in which it has already been temporarily removed.
Under the Laws of the State, sustained by the rules adopted by the Trustees, the Library is treated primarily as a Reference-Library. The greater part of the books are such as do not leave the Capitol ;
the exceptions for the remainder are, that the Heads of Departments, the Members of the Legislature, the Judges of the Court of Appeals and of the Supreme Court, and the Trustees of the Library may draw two books at a time for a limited period. The Trustees agreeably to the provisions of the statutes, have declared that the books which are always to be retained in the Library are, all the books in the Law Library, all Dictionaries, Encyclopædias, Maps, Engravings, and books valuable for their rarity or antiquity. Books taken for use in the Courts must be returned on the same day that they are taken out.
The Library is open through the year from nine o'clock in the morning until five in the evening, except on holidays, and from the fifth to the twentieth day of August, when it is closed for cleaning. When the Legislature is in session the Library is open until six in the evening. All persons visiting the General Department can obtain books to read in the Library; but the Librarians are required to use discrimination regarding the delivery of such books as they may judge liable to be injured. Persons not under fifteen are allowed to make researches, but in view of the aims of the Library for reference by the Legislature, the officers of Government, and by advanced and professional students, and on account of the small staff of officers employed, the Trustees require the Librarians not to deliver to visitors, for general and continuous reading, works of fiction, light literature and publications of like character. The Law Library has particularly been declared by the Legislature to have been established for the use of the Government, the Courts and the Bar, and is to be used not for text-books of study, but for reference only.
[The Joint Rules of the Legislature require a Joint Committee, consisting of three Senators and five members of Assembly, to be appointed annually, to be called "The Joint Committee on the State Library and Cabinet of Natural History."]
The Library is in charge of a Standing Committee of the Trustees. The organization of the Library at the present date is as follows: Standing Committee on the State Library: Rev. Dr. Upson,
In the autumn of 1883, the Library was removed into the new Capitol, and temporarily arranged-the General Library in a court-room, and the Law Library in a corridor. Permanent rooms will be assigned upon the west side of the building when completed. The Library building of 1854 was demolished in 1883.
Chairman, the Chancellor, the Vice-Chancellor, the Governor, Regents Brevoort, Curtis, Fitch, Reid and McKelway. Secretary of the Trustees: David Murray. Library Staff: Henry A. Homes, Librarian of the General Library; Stephen B. Griswold, Librarian of the Law Library. Assistants: George R. Howell, D. V. R. Johnston, Harry E. Griswold.
Table showing the annual accessions to the New York State Library and the annual appropriations from 1844 to 1883, inclusive.
1818 to 1843.
Object of special appropriation.
5,000 Brinley library.
[Of the above number of volumes in the State Library 86,644 are in the General Depart ment, and 37,536 in the Law Library.]