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LIBRARY OF CONGRESS.
from the library. The expenditure of funds for books was placed under the direction of a joint committee consisting of three members from each House.
In 1814, when the Capitol was burned, the library, consisting then of three thousand volumes, was entirely consumed with it.
The first movement toward the starting of a new library was made by Thomas Jefferson, then in retirement at Monticello. While President he had taken deep interest in the establishment of the old library, and a few months after it was destroyed he made the generous offer of his own private library to Congress, at cost. Congress, after considering the matter, appropriated $23,950 for the purchase of this valuable collection numbering in all six thousand and seven hundred volumes.
The annual appropriation during these early years was one thousand dollars, but in 1818 the appropriation was raised to two thousand dollars ? per annum, and again raised to five thousand dollars 3 in 1824, at which amount it remained for twenty or thirty years.
The Library was removed in 1824 4 from the temporary brick building occupied by Congress to a room in the central Capitol building, still occupied as the central Library hall.
METHODS OF INCREASE.
There are five ways by which the Library of Congress increases regularly, viz, by deposits from the Smithsonian Institution, purchase, copyright, donation, and exchange.
APPROPRIATIONS BY CONGRESS.
The Library continued to grow until, in 1855, it numbered fifty-five thousand volumes. In December of that year thirty-five thousand volumes were destroyed by fire. In the following year Congress appropriated $72,500 for the reconstruction of the Library rooms, and $75,000 for the immediate purchase of books. The regular appropriation of seven thousand dollars per annum, which had obtained for a number of years, was increased in 1861 to ten thousand dollars.
In 1866 the Library received a valuable accession in the shape of forty thousand volumes (principally scientific works) from the Smithsonian Institution. Since then deposits have been made from that source regularly each year.
An appropriation of one hundred thousand dollars was made by Congress in 1867 for the purchase of the Force Library, a collection of sixty thousand articles in books, pamphlets, etc. Smaller collections and special books are purchased each year with the funds regularly appi priated.
i American State Papers, Miscellaneous, I, 377.
3 Ibid., IV, 60.
By the copyright law of March 3, 1865, one copy (later two) of each publication for which the Government grants a copyright is required to be deposited in the Library of Congress. By an act of Congress approved July 8, 1870, the entire registry of copyrights within the United States, which was previously scattered all over the country in the offices of the clerks of the United States district courts, was transferred to the Library of Congress. The advantage gained by this change was important. It secured the advantage of one central office, where all works published throughout the country could be found ; and besides, from this time on the copyright fees were paid into the treasury instead of being absorbed, as they formerly were, by the clerical expenses of the offices of the district courts. Thus by this latter means a considerable sum is saved each year to the Library for the purchase of books and other regular expenses. Some idea of the addition of books to the Library by means of the copyright system, as well as the income through copyright fees, may be received from the following table :
The Law Library of Congress, though located in a different room, is under the charge of the Librarian of Congress and subject substantially to the same regulations as the general Library. This Library numbered thirty-five thousand volumes in 1876.
GROWTH OF LIBRARY.
During the period 1860–84 the Library of Congress has increased more than eightfold. In 1860 it contained 63,000 volumes ; in 1866, 100,000; in 1872, 246,000; in 1878, 374,022; and in 1884, 513,441.2
THE NATIONAL MUSEUM AND SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION.
There is perhaps no more striking example of the encouragement of learning by a state than that presented by the history of the Nationa.
1 Librarian's Reports in Senate documents, 1870–79.
THE NATIONAL MUSEUM.
Museum at Washington. In giving assistance to this generaliy known though not well known institution, the Government has aided the cause of education and the spreading of universal knowledge in a most catholic manner.
THE IMPORTANCE OF MUSEUMS IN EDUCATION.
As the late Prof. Joseph Henry well remarked, "there is scarcely any subject connected with science and education to which more attention is given at the present day than that of collections of objects of nature and art known under the general denomination of museums. This arises from their growing importance as aids to scientific investigation and instruction.”
It is generally conceded that the primary object of a museum is to furnish scholars with materials with which to work; but the Museum at Washington has been a means of instruction to the people at large and a great national educator. It has not only furnished the means for the “increase and diffusion of knowledge among men” as individuals, but it has been the strong support and ally of learned societies, the example and pattern to museums throughout the several States and foreign countries, and, through the Smithsonian agency, a promoter, of knowledge throughout the world. One can not come from a visit to the average college or university museum where objects are buried, or where the museum has been a receptacle for all sorts of unclassified material which found little place elsewhere, and enter the National Museum without being impressed with a new idea of the true use of a museum. It is more than a storehouse; it is learning illustrated and classified; or, to use Professor Goode's definition, “a museum is a carefully selected series of labels, each illustrated by a specimen.” Under the influence of such ideas as this and the liberal views of men like Professors Henry, Baird, and Langley, the museums throughout the country are beginning to have a new appearance and effect a new work.
Great as has been the work of the National Museum already, its opportunities at the present and for the future in forwarding the interests of education are being multiplied each day. While scientific research continues, while public lectures are given, while the system of exchanges goes on, and questions are answered citizens throughout the United States, from three hundred to three hundred and fifty thou
1 Smithsonian Report, 1870, Ibid., 1885, 5.
2 “ Not only are collections sent to other institutions for study, but there are always from ten to twenty specialists at work in the building availing themselves of the hospitalities of the establishment. At present the entire natural history collections of the National Museum of Mexico are here under the charge of two principal naturalists of that country.” Dr. G. Brown Goode in The Chautauquan, 1885. A suggestive article by Dr. Goode, on “ Museum History and Museums of History," appears in the Papers of the American Historical Association, vol. iii, 497-519.
sand persons visit the museum each year. The great majority of these come to see the curiosities. Some go away impressed with the vastness of what they saw, having a confused panorama of the whole collection, with a certain half-knowledge about a great many things which renders them no service as a means of education. Others come for a special purpose, remaining one or more days or weeks to study particular things in special departments.
While the highest interests of scientific research must be subserved, the diffusion of knowledge from the stand-point of general education might be greatly increased. Some subjects bearing upon ancient and modern society, archæology, anthropology, ethnology, history, economics, industries, and arts could possibly be so handled as to make a more direct impression upon the intelligent public, and, while thus giving actual instruction to thousands, furnish a lesson and an example to all State, college, and university museums in the country. But before proceeding further with the discussion let us ascertain what has already been done.
HISTORY OF THE SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION.
The existence of the Musuem is so closely connected with that of the Smithsonian that a review of the more important historical events of the latter is necessary to a full understanding of the former.
TIIE BEQUEST OF JAMES SMITHSON.
As is perhaps well known, the original source of the foundation of the Smithsonian was the bequest of James Smithson, an English scientist, who, in his will of October 23, 1826, left all of his property “ to the United States of America
to found at Washington, under the name of the Smithsonian Institution, an establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge among men."
James Smithson was a gentleman of good family, who devoted his life chiefly to study and scientific writing, particularly in the lines of geol.. ogy, mineralogy, and chemistry; and coupled with a love of science was a desire to perpetuate his name through his works. He says : “ The best blood of England flows in my veins; on my father's side I am a Northumberland; on my mother's I am related to kings; but this avails me not. My name shall live in the memory of man when the titles of the Northumberlands and the Percys are extinct and forgot
Such was the sentiment of a man who chose to bestow upon a young and growing nation his private fortune, to be used for the beneñt of mankind.
Prof. W. R. Johnson, in speaking of Smithson, has characterized the
1 Fac-simile copy of the will of James Smithson, found in Rhees's Smithson and his Bequest, 24 ; an exception was made of an annuity of one hundred pounds to J. Fitall.
» Rhees, 2,
THE SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION.
spirit of the foremost men in connection with the Institution since its foundation. He says: "The man of science is willing to rest on the basis of his own labors alone for his credit with mankind and his fame with future generations. In the view of such a man, the accidents of birth, of fortune, of local habitation, and conventional rank in the artificial organization of society, all sink into insignificance by the side of a single truth of nature, If he have contributed his mite to the increase of knowledge; if he have diffused that knowledge for the benefit of man, and, above all, if he have applied it to the useful or even to the ornamental purposes of life, he has laid, not his family, not his country, but the world of mankind under a lasting obligation.” 1
The United States Government accepted the gift, and appropriated ten thousand dollars to carry the case through the courts of chancery.?
After all expenses were deducted, the net proceeds of the bequest were paid over to the treasury in Philadelphia, to the amount of $508,318.46. This sum was increased by interest, until a statement, made August 10, 1846, exhibits the sum of $773,753.07 in the fund and its accumulations. Out of this fund the building was erected, and other expenses reduced it to $515,109.
In 1867 the Secretary of the Treasury was authorized to receive a residuary legacy of Smithson amounting to $26,210.63, on the same conditions as the original bequest. The fund was also increased by savings and by two private bequests, one by James Hamilton, in 1874, of one thousand dollars, and the other by Simon Habel, in 1880, of five hundred dollars. The total permanent fund in the Treasury of the United States bearing six per cent. interest at present amounts to $703,000.
THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT BECOMES GUARDIAN TO THE BEQUEST.
The Federal Government thus became the guardian of this bequest, being limited in carrying out the plans of the giver by these words, " the increase and the diffusion of knowledge among men." Although under the direction of the Government, it has ever exercised a whole. some neutrality, never becoming involved in the toils of practical politics.
Professor Langley says in a recent report as secretary of the Smithsonian, “The position of the Smithsonian is that of a ward of the Government, having property of its own, for which that Government acts the part of trustee, while leaving its administration wholly with the regents; it follows that the Institution enjoys a measure of inde
1 Rhees, 2. 2 July 1, 1836. 3 Report of Professor Langley, secretary, 1887–88, 6. 4 Professor Henry, in Smithsonian Reports, XVII, 758. 5 Secretary's Report, 1887–88, 7.