THE need of a modern library edifice, in which to shelter and nourish that flourishing young institution, the Randolph Public Library, could not fail to impress the generous public spirit of so loyal a son as Colonel Kimball. The library had outgrown its quarters and they served merely as a depot for the semi-weekly exchange of books. To give his native town something worthy of its pressing need, and to testify once more to his affection for it were probably the motives which prompted the following communication, dated Oct. 1, 1901 :---
To The Town of Randolph:-
If you will furnish a site and architectural plans satisfactory to me without using therefor any of the library funds now on hand, I will give ten thousand dollars ($10,000) to be received, controlled and managed by the Board of Library Trustees, as directed in Chap. 48, Sec. 889, Vermont statutes, and to be laid out and expended by said Board in erecting to completion, but not in furnishing to any extent, a library building on such a site according to such plans, for the sole use and benefit of the town library and the promotion of education generally. The following named persons, Hon. John W. Rowell, Hon. Wm. H. DuBois, Dr. H. H. McIntyre and John F. Mead, have kindly consented to act as a committee for me, and are authorized to represent me in this matter in my absence.
ROBERT J. KIMBALL.
This generous offer, quite free from the conditions that often hamper such propositions, was at once taken up by the wideawake citizens of Randolph. There was never a doubt but that it would be accepted, the only question was as to site. It was agreed that such an edifice should be located in Randolph village and that therefore-and because the people of that village would enjoy more of its benefits than those of the town outside-it would be a fitting thing for the village to furnish the site. After due investigation by a committee, at a special meeting of Randolph village held Nov. 18, 1901, it was voted to purchase and tender to the town, as a site for the library, the Azro L. Adams lot on the east side of Main street opposite the Graded school grounds. The price agreed on with the owner was $3,200, which included the buildings on the lot, consisting of a two-tenement house and barn. This site was eminently satisfactory to Col. Kimball, having to him the advantage, from a sentimental view-point, of having been for a time his boyhood home. The lot has a frontage on Main street of 164 feet. At about 80 feet back from the street on the north line of the lot, a steep descent begins, the crest of which gradually converges toward the street as the south line of the lot is approached. The lot is thus divided into three parts-a triangular plateau on the level of the street, with its base on the north line; a steep embankment at the rear, facing the east and southeast; and a level area extending some distance to the east at the foot of the embankment. The purchase covered the entire lot.
The site having been acquired, it was now for the town to say whether it would accept Col. Kimball's gift and the village's tender. This was done by unanimous vote at a special town meeting held Nov. 30, 1901, and the library trustees were instructed to expend the sum offered by Col. Kimball in the construction of a library building, and suitably to inscribe the build-, ing with the name "Kimball Public Library." Judge John W. Rowell, the agent appointed to convey the site from the village to the town, did so, reserving to the village the lower plain in rear, except a driveway through to the street easterly. The village sold for its own benefit the buildings on the lot, the same to be removed at once, realizing about $200 therefor, so that the net cost of the site to Randolph village was about $3,000.
In the early spring of 1902 the buildings were removed and the lot cleared in readiness for library construction. Col. Kimball had modified his original offer so as to furnish the architect's plans himself, thus relieving the. town of an expense of over $600. After consulting with various architects and contractors, and after visiting several like buildings elsewhere and studying plans with great thoroughness, Col. Kimball and the members of his building committee named in his letter, decided in favor of plans submitted by H. M. Francis & Sons, architects, of Fitchburg, Mass.. who have had extensive experience in this line of work. The contract for construction was given to Wiley & Foss, of Fitchburg, Mass., and by them certain parts of the work were sublet to various contractors, but Mr. Francis retained general direction. Close supervision was also given in behalf of Col. Kimball by Hon. Wm. H. DuBois of the building committee, who has devoted a great deal of time, thought and labor to the enterprise.
No time was lost in pushing the work, bnt excellence, rather than quick completion, was the end sought. How well this has been attained let those answer who visit this edifice-a model of its kind, an adornment to any town. The exterior was practically finished last fall, but the inside work was but just completed in time for the dedication Tuesday. The book stacks, book cases, shelving, furnishings, tables and chairs, costing$2,000–all provided by the same generous hand-are not yet in place, it being thought best to defer this until after the dedication. The books will be moved in as soon as can be and the Randolph Public Library:of 5,000 volumes, in its beautiful home, will be ready to receive callers.
It is known that the cost of the building was a great deal more than the $10,000 originally stipulated, but Col. Kimball has authorized it and borne it all himself and the building complete comes as a gift unencumbered to the town.
THE Kimball Library Building is in the classical style of architecture, built of red pressed brick and Longmeadow brownstone trimmings above the basement story, which is faced with Isle La Motte 'blackmarble, quarry split ashlar. The ground in the rear falls away so abruptly that a well lighted basement and perfect drainage are secured. The building is a story-and-a-half high and stands north and south, with the longest side facing the street. The first story is at a level of six feet above the street, and is reached at the center by a broad flight of Isle La Motte marble steps, flanked by heavy marble buttresses which carry the Ionic candelabra.
The outside dimensions of the building are 60 feet long by 35 feet deep; first story 12 feet 6 inches high and basement 9 feet. The walls extend sufficiently high above the ceiling of first story to allow the finishing of three good rooms in the upper halfstory. The roof is covered with Northfield black slate and trimmed with copper. hip, ridge crestings and finials. The center is surmounted with a large copper dome, crowned at top with ornamental cresting, within the circle of which on top is rough plate glass about 8 feet in diameter which serves to light the ceiling of the rotunda. From the center of the dome rises a flag staff 25 feet high.
The brownstone trimmings, consisting of quoin blocks, window sills, belts, columns, etc., are all dressed with a crandalled or tooled surface, and many of the moldings are skillfully carved. On the brownstone frieze, directly over the entrance arch, is the inscription, KIMBALL PUBLIC LIBRARY, and on the frieze of attic window group the date of erection, 1902, both in solid cast bronze.
Ascending a flight of eight stone steps at the center, we pass under• a massive brownstone arch, 10 feet wide, to the porch 5 feet deep by 11 feet wide and enter the vestibule 6 feet by 8 feet, finished with marble tile floor, verde antique marble wainscotting and glazed red walls. Passing through double doors, we reach the rotunda or delivery hall at the center of building which is divided into two sections, the center one being 16 feet high and having a domed ceiling with stained glass center, and the fireplace section, which reaches to the rear wall, at the center of which is a large brick fire-place and mantel flanked on either side by windows The work about the fireplace is entirely of red pressed brick.
At the right of--delivery hall is-the reading room, 18 feet, 6 inches by 22 feet; 6 inches, in the rear of which is the reference room, 8 feet, 6 inches by 18 feet, 6 inches. At the left of delivery hall is the stack and book room 18 feet, 6 inches by 22 feet, 6 inches. with a reception room 8 feet, 6 inches by 18 feet, 6 inches. These are ali reached from the delivery hall through wide openings, flanked by fluted columns with bronzed Ionic capitals. At each side of the door from delivery hall to vestibule are doors, one leading to the second story, the other to the ladies' room.
The delivery hall is finished with Yermont marble wainscotting, which, at the openings to stack and reading rooms, is carried around into these rooms so as to form pedestals carrying at each side of the opening a fluted, figured birch column, with bronzed, erectheum capitals. The floor is terrazzo, with a figured mosaic border. The toilet room has a plain terrazzo floor and Vermont marble wainscotting and is fitted up complete with open plumbing.
All the other rooms of first story are finished with curly and figured red birch, the walls having paneled wainscotting, and the windows and doors fluted pilasters. The marble tiling of the vestibule and the terrazzo of the deli very hall are laid on brick and cement vaulted arches, supported on steel beams, making this portion of the building fire-proof. All other floors are laid with red birch. All the inside birch finish is very smoothly dressed, varnished and rubbed to a dead gloss.
A noticeable feature of the interior are the wall and ceiling decorations, Passing up the broad stone steps, one enters first the porch, the walls of which are of brick, with brownstone trimmings. The arched ceiling is treated in metallic effect on cement. Through beautiful oak doors is reached the vestibule, with its floor of Vermont marble, wainscotting of verde antique, with black base and die. The walls above this are of a rich deep red color, with Grecian border in black on warm olive ground. This is separated from the red by a broad gilt band. Below the cornice of red birch are also bands of olive and gilt. The ceiling above is of old ivory tint.
From this vestibule is reached the delivery room, whose domed ceiling is richly decorated in Empire style, with festoons and wreaths, between which are pendant tablets bearing on gilt ground in dark letters the names of "Longfellow," "Emerson," "Hawthorne,'' ''Bancroft," ''Webster'' and "Phillips Brooks." The color scheme of this dome is olive green, soft reds and blues on light gold ground, which, with the cornice below in buff tints and gilt, produces a dch and harmonious effect, heightened by the beautiful fluted columns and pilasters of birch with metallized capitals which support the upper portion. The wainscotting is of white marble, with grey base and die.
Directly in rear of this, separated only by the columns and pilasters, is seen the beautiful large brick fireplace the main feature of this room, the walls of which, as well as of the delivery room, are of Pompeiian red, with golden olive border of conventional leaf pattern and gilt line above wainscotting and bands of same coloring below, tinted and gilt upper portion of cornice. The ceiling is in harmony with the coloring of the dome of the delivery room.
The effect on entering these rooms from the vestibule is grand. The large rooms on each side are the reading room and stack room. These, as well as the reference room, which leads from the reading room, are treated in green, with conventional borders in gold effect on the ground and gilt line above the beautifully finished curly birch wainscotting and bands below; cornice of same material as wainscotting. Above cornice, the arched ceilings are treated in old ivory color. The blending of the green walls with the red ones separated only by the beautiful columns and pilasters is remarkably satisfactory. There is one more, the conversation room, that should not be forgotten. This room leads from the stack room, and looking from the green walls of that the eye falls upon a deep golden color on the walls of the first mentioned, which are enriched by soft green border and gilt band. as in the other rooms above the red birch wainscotting and below the cornice. Above this the arched ceiling is of old ivory. The windows have polished plate glass and leaded stained glass transoms. All hardware is of the best quality, old brass finished, cast bronze. All the partition walls of basement are brick, dividing the cellar so as to give a furnace room at the north end, a well lighted room 18 by 32 feet at the south end, a men's toilet room at the front and a work room for receiving and sorting shipments of books at the rear, warmed from heater. The entire cellar bottom is cemented, and the rooms are well lighted. Entrance to the basement is by stairs from the vestibule of first story, and by doors at rear and south encl. The building is heated by a Richmond hot air furnace, using either coal or wood. A small hand elevator connects the stack and book room with the working book room in basement, for the transportation of books up and down. The building is well lighted by electricity.
The furniture that is to find a place in the Library will include the following: In the stack room, three sections library bureau clutch double stack, 9 feet long; 60 feet library bureau clutch wa11 stack; one table, 3 feet by 5 feet; six imported bentwood chairs, large seats, rubber tips. In the delivery hall, one round table, 6 feet, 6 inches in diameter; four Windsor arm chairs; one settle; one delivery counter; one Victoria chair with swivel and spring; one card catalog case: one accession case.
In the reading room, two tables, 3 feet, 4 inches by 8 feet, fluted legs; 16 imported bentwood chairs, arms, large seats, rubber tips; one periodical 'rack and file; one combination case, patent anti-friction rollers; one newspaper rack.
In the reference room, one table 3 feet, 4 inches by 8 feet, fluted legs; six imported bentwood chairs, arms, large seats, rubber tips; 40 feet book she] ving, 5 feet 6 inches to 5 feet 10 inches in height and adjusted to height of windows.
In the reception room 18 feet book shelving; one desk; one chair to match; one table, 3 feet by 5 feet; four chairs, all wood to match chair at writing desk. There will also be a wardrobe. The architects were H. M. Francis & Sons, Fitchburg, Mass.; the general contractors were Wiley & Foss, Fitchburg. Mass.; sub-contractors as follows: foundation, N. W. Fisk, Isle La Motte; brownstone, Durantaye & Rankin, East Longmeadow, Mass.; slating, Wm. E. Edwards Slate Co., Fitchburg, Mass.; copper work, Jasper H. Lamson, Randolph: inside marble and terrazzo work, Vermont Marble Co., Proctor; birch finish, The E. F. Emerson Co., Randolph; stained glass, Hutchings, Murphy & Co , Boston; frescoing, Strauss Bros., Boston; varnishing, Henry P. Tracey, Fitchburg, Mass.; carving and bronze letters. J. C. Miln & Co., Allston, Mass.; heating and plumbing, Jasper H. Lamson, Randolph; candelabra. lamp standards, J. L. Mott Co.. New York; electric light fittings, C. H. McKenny & Co., Boston.
THE Randolph Public Library, for which the Kimball Library Building is to serve as a home, is the fruit of that wise provision of the Vermont statutes by which the state grants aid in the establishment of public libraries. Though the aid thus tendered was but slight, it served to set the ball in motion and it soon gained an impetus, accelerated by the assistance and encouragement bestowed by local organizations and individuals, that has made it quite worthy of the beneficence of the present donor.
The first step toward the institution of a public library in Randolph was taken at the annual March meeting in 1896, when, at the request of several prominent citizens, articles had been included in the warning to see (1) if the town would elect a board of library trustees and instruct such board to make application to the state board of library commissioners for the aid offered by the state in such cases provided, and (2) what sum, if _any, to appropriate for the maintenance of a public library. In accordance therewith the town voted unanimously to elect a board of five library trustees and instruct them to apply for the state aid, the trustees so elected being N. J. Whitehill, five years, W. H. DuBois, four years, J. W. Fargo, three years, John B. Goodrich, two years, an,d John F. Mead, one year. It was also voted to appropriate the sum of $100 for library maintenance and to establish a public library to be located at Randolph village, with branches at Randolph Center and East Randolph. The state aid of $100 was thus made available, making $200 in all.
The first meeting of the library trustees was held May 1, 1896. N. J. Whitehill was elected president, John F. Mead vice president, and Wm. H. DuBois secretary and treasurer. It was voted that the library should be called the Randolph Public Library, also voted to suggest a list of books to the state library commissioners, representing the state's donation, and to purchase another list with the town's appropriation, also to procure rooms for the library. Provisions were made for the formulation of rules and regulations to govern the library.
Rooms were secured in DuBois & Gay's block over the R. G. Morton drug store, which have been occupied by the library down to the present time. In September, 1896, 135 volumes of carefully selected books were received from the state which formed the nucleus for the Randolph Public Library. Miss Maud Blanchard was chosen as librarian-she has served continuously until now-and on November 14, 1896, the library was opened for the delivery of books. Between this date and the following March meeting the library had grown to 573 volumes, 166 volumes having been purchased with town funds, 79 presented by the King's Daughters, 38 by the Randolph Book club and 156 by various individuals, indicating a commendable and encouraging disposition to aid the infant project.
During the year 1897-98, 104 books were purchased and 110 donated, increasing the total number to 787. Neat cases, with shelving, had been placed in the library rooms at this time to hold the volumes.
For many years prior to the establishment of the Randolph Public Library, the demand for such an institution had been partially met by the Ladies' Library association, an organization with a long and interesting history. ' The members or stockholders had access to about 1,500 volumes owned by the association, which had been accumulated during the progress of years. In December, 1898, this association, by a unanimous vote, proposed to give this large number of books and some other property to the Public Library, to be merged therewith. This most generous offer was duly accepted by the trustees and proper acknowledgment returned. The work of combining the two libraries at once began, the 1,500 volumes being brought to the Public Library rooms and additional cases prepared for their reception. The entire library was re-numbered and re-catalogued. Some of the works were duplicated, but not many that should not be. With this large addition and others made during the year, the library had now grown to the respectable proportions of 2,544 volumes and a great increase in interest was manifested. During 1899-1900, 114 new books were added.
Mrs. Sarah J. Crocker, who died in Randolph, November 29, 1899, widow of George Crocker, a: former prosperous farmer of the town, by her will made the Randolph Public Library the residuary legatee of her estate. Preparations were made by the heirs to contest the will but on the eve of the trial a settlement was effected whereby the library received the larger proportion of the original bequest, the sum realized being about $3,500. This fund, by vote of the trustees, was to be known as the Sarah Jane Crocker fund. It was placed on deposit and both interest and principal are available for general public library purposes. In appreciation of Mrs. Crocker's beneficence, a portrait and a marble tablet, appropriately inscribed are to-be placed in the Kimball Public Library.
From the appropriations made and funds received from other sources the current expenses have been paid and the balance has been used in the purchase of. books, together with receipts from fines, etc.
Exactly 200 new books were added in 1900-01 and 214 in 1901-02 making a total on March 1, 1902, of 3,082 volumes. March 28, 1900, a branch was established at South Randolph. At a special meeting of the trustees held October 3, 1902, the need of a considerable addition of new books in anticipation of the library building's completion was considered and it was voted to use so much of the Sarah Jane Crocker fund and accrued interest to Jan. 1, 1903, as would leave the balance of the fund at $2,000 for the purchase of new books. The sum thus available, about $1,600, together with 200 available from last year's receipts, has been so used, with the result that about 1,900 volumes have been ordered and will be ready for the stack room as soon as they can be accommodated. With other volumes donated during the present year, the library will. number 5,000 volumes of well-selected works, covering the full range of desirable reading. The influence that these books will exert in this community cannot be fully estimated.
The growth of the library has been materially aided by the annual qonation from the Ladies' Book club, a social and literary organization of Randolph, of the books purchased and read by club members. A total of 183 volumes have thus been presented during the six years. As an indication of the growth of interest in the library the following table is given showing the number of different persons who have taken out books, also the total number of books taken out at the library and its branches during each year:
|1896-97 (3 mos.)||241 persons||1,769 books|
Eight hundred and eighty-seven people have taken 9,700 books directly from the library rooms during the past year; l, 700 books have been taken by patrons living at or near the Center; 44 persons have taken 445 books from the branch at East Randolph; 67 persons have taken 581 books from the branch at South Randolph; making a total circulation for the year of 10,726 volumes.
When Prof. Whitehill removed from town, his place was taken on the board of trustees by Rev. Homer White, and A. G. Osgood succeeded J. B. Goodrich, who also removed from town. These two gentlemen, with the three remaining original members, Messrs. DuBois, Fargo and Mead, constitute the present board and have rendered most faithful, painstaking and efficient service in behalf of the institution.
The library has been kept open two afternoons a week, Wednesday and Saturday, since its establishment.
The branch at the Center was discontinued after a time, the patrons there preferring to send by stage driver direct to the library for their books.
COL. ROBERT J. KIMBALL, donor of the Kimball Library Building, comes from a distinguished line of ancestry which bore its full part in redeeming New England from the forest and savage, and later in throwing off the British yoke. Two brothers, Richard and Henry Kimball, who sailed from Ipswich, England, in 1634, were the progenitors of the New England branch One of the descendants, Richard Kim ball, who, with his father, Capt. John Kimball, had taken part in the Revolutionary war, came from Connecticut with his wife, Susannah (Holden) in 1796 and settled in Randolph, being one of the pioneers of this town. He purchased what was later known as the Luther Granger farm, one mile north of Randolph Center village, and resided there until his death in 1828.
To this couple fourteen children were born, of whom only five reached maturity. One son, Hiram Kimball, was the father of Robert Jackson Kimball, his mother being Jerusha Bradish of Woodbury. Vt. Robert was the second child and son and. was born in Randolph, February 16, 1836. The other children were Richard Holden (died in 1883), Alonzo Griswold (died in 1839), Lloyd Alonzo (died in 1843), Laura Chase, wife of the late Col. John -B. Mead (died in 1897), Hiram (died in 1899), Chandler Bradish (died in 1848), Wiliiam Eugene (died in 1874), Lloyd Alonzo, who lives in New York city.
Robert J. was born on the old homestead. He was educated in the common schools and at the West Randolph Academy. College training was beyond his reach, a fact that he has ever deplored, and which has led him to establish two free scholarships, one at the University of Vermont, and one at Amherst College, for worthy and needy young men. At the early age of thirteen, he was a newsboy on the then recently completed Vermont Central railroad. Soon afterward he learned telegraphy and became one of the first operators on the old Vermont & Boston Telegraph line, which was within six years after the first telegraph message was sent. He also gained a knowledge of the express business during the period he was located at Randolph. In 1862 he engaged in the banking business at Toronto, Canada, and there married in 1863 Martha L. Morse. In 1864 he was appointed United States consul at Toronto and served in that capacity at a time when that city was headquarters of Confederates and their sympathizers plotting against the government. He was instrumental in causing the arrest of one Capt. Robert Cobb Kennedy, chief of a gang who had tried to destroy New York city by fire in aid of the South. Kennedy was convicted as a spy and hanged. in 1865.
In 1865 was established the banking house of R. J. Kimball & Co., in New York city, which has continued up to the present. During the panic of 1872, Mr. Kimball was obliged to settle with his creditors at 25 cents on the dollar Nine years later, having re-established his fortunes, he invited his creditors to a banquet and on turning his plate each person found under it a check for the remaining 75 per cent., with six per cent. interest for the full period, 54 per cent. in all, amounting to many thousands of dollars. This unusual sense of honor has characterized Col. Kimball in all his business transactions and has made his firm a mark of uprightness. He has been a member of the New York Stock Exchange since 1867, and holds seats in the New York Produce Exchange, the Philadelphia and Chicago Stock Exchanges, has membership in the New York Chamber of Commerce and other high financial bodies of the country. His business is confined strictly to legitimate banking and brokerage.
Col. Kimball has maintained a home in Randolph ever since his father's death in 1865 and his heart's interest is in his native town. In 1887 he built the residence known as Montague Place; occupying a sightly eminence at the end of Randolph avenue-a most charming country seat. Here, with members of his family, he spends all of the summer months that he can snatch from his busy life and is a frequent visitor at other seasons. He also has a nice home on Clinton avenue in Brooklyn.
Col. Kimball was aide-de-camp on Governor Dilliniham's staff in1888-89. He represented Randolph in the Vermont House of Representatives in 1890-91, serving on the committee of ways and means, committee on banks and special joint committee on the World's Columbian Exposition. By appointment of Gov. Fuller. he represented Vermont at the Bankers' Congress at Chicago in 1893.
In his New York home Col. Kimball has not lost his identity as a Vermonter. He was instrumental in forming that flourishing society known as the Brooklyn Society of Vermonters and has been its secretary and president. He has also been president of the Vermont Society of the Sons of the Revolution and is a member of the Society of Colonial Wars. During the Spanish-American War, Col. Kimball contributed generously toward relieving the privations of the Vermont soldiers at Fort Ethan Allen and Chickamauga. He made a formal offer to Gov. Grout to equip a company at Randolph for service at his own expense, but the State's quota was filled and the offer had to be declined.
Col. Kimball is in politics a Republican, in religion a member of the Baptist denomination. In Brooklyn he has been a trustee of the Emmanuel Baptist church, trustee of the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences, director of the Brooklyn Art association, director of the Hamilton club, trustee of the People's Trust company and is a member of other leading clubs and societies of Greater New York. He has also been president of the Iowa Central railway. He is a trustee of the University of Vermont.
Two daughters, Misses Clara and Annie, and one son, William Eugene, who is associated with his father in business, form the happy family circle about Col. and Mrs. Kimball.
The Kimball Library Building is but the crowning of a long series of public and private benefactions that have been bestowed by Col. Kimball on Randolph and its people. He seems to delight in doing good. No one excels him in public spirit or generosity. Many of his acts are known. but by far the greater number are performed quietly, with a modest request that nothing be said. He is ever thoughtful of Randolph and ready to promote the happiness and welfare of her citizens. It is remarkable how, even with the disposition to give, he can find opportunity to do so much to lighten the load of others.
MISS ABBIE CLARK.
2.-Greeting by Presiding Officer
REV. GEORGE E. LADD.
REV. G. W. PATTERSON
4. -Song, "To thee, O Country," Quartette.
MISS M. BLANCHE SPARHAWK,
MRS. E. D. SEGAR,
DR. W. M. KELTY,
A. H. BEEDLE.
5.-Report on the New Building,
HON. WM. 1-1. DUBOIS.
COL. ROBERT J. KIMBALL.
REV. HOMER WHITE, D. D.,
Chairman Board o.f Trustees.
REV. HOMER WHITE,
10.-Song, ''Forget :Me Not. ''
PRESIDENT M. H. BUCKHAM,
University of Vermont, Burlington.
12.-Song, "Old Hundred," two verses.
QUARTETTE AND AUDIENCE
REV. F. G. RAINEY.
MISS ABBIE CLARK.
The exercises took place in the Congregational Church, in the presence of a large assemblage, and were followed by a reception at the Kimball Library Building.
As pastor of the church in whose house of worship we assemble to-day, it becomes my privilege to extend to you all a word of greeting. I am very glad that these exercises are held in this place. Although not an attendant upon its services, the donor of our library has long been regarded a warm friend of this church. And a few years ago, with characteristic generosity and with loyal devotion to the memory of the mother and sister who were for many years members of this church, he placed here the beautiful memorial window which is a constant joy and source of inspiration to pastor and people alike. Accordingly it is with an added joy that I welcome him and all in whose hearts there is a deep sense of gratitude to him to this house of worship to day.
The church, the library, and the school must ever stand side by side as institutions aiming to promote the higher life of the community. Their aims are not identical, their methods of work differ, and yet each in its own way seeks to elevate, broaden, and enrich the lives of individuals, and through them the life of the community as a whole. Each has a practical aim : not enjoyment merely; not the cultivation of the intellectual, aesthetic, or spiritual sensibilities only, but even more, the building of character and the training of men and women for the active work of life, with its burdens and its temptations.
And here on our Main Street, so close together that they seem to clasp hands, stand these three institutions the churches, the library and the school-each seeking in its own way '' not to be ministered unto but to minister."
A little farther on is the business center of our village and town; here seems to be the religious and educational center.
Because of the far-reaching importance. of the event which we consummate to-day, I do not hesitate to pronounce this a redletter day in the history of this town. A force is set in operation to-day whose effect will be felt throughout this town, to its remotest corner, a force whose influence none can measure, and to whose working none can set any limit either of space or of time.
A beautiful building, tasteful furnishings, well-filled book shelves-this library will help continually to educate the aesthetic, the intellectual, the moral, and the spiritual faculties of all who enter it, and, to a certain extent, of all who pass its door.
This is the institution which we are to dedicate to-day with address, prayer and song.
In these exercises let all participate heartily and gratefully.
ALMIGHTY and most gracious God, whose primal decree, Let there be light! is ever thy latest word, open thou our eyes, that we may worship thee as the eternal source of the good, the beautiful, the true; as, alike, the inspiration of the intellectual and the moral life, whose liberal Spirit, leading into all truth,' worketh in the bosoms of men in manifold ways and for the fulfillment of wondrous issues not alone when character is supremely built, but when the noble picture is painted and the worthy book written, when principles of science are enunciated and policies of state established.
From before the foundation of the worlds, ere the morning stars sang together, thy work began. But thou weariest not, dividing the night from the day, commanding the continual sun to arise, and guiding into a diviner light the souls of men, whom the stars cannot satisfy, nor the moon, nor the sun!
O thou Father of lights, in finding whom we find ourselves, from whom cometh the passion for truth and the power of quest, illuminate at this time our thought and endue us with a wider sense of thy presence, that we may dedicate religiously our new temple of knowledge, builded fitly beside shrines of prayer, recognizing in the library, as in school and in church, a visible sign and instrumentality of thy kingdom in the world, into which men must consent to enter if they would fulfill their entire nature, and so be made whole! And in honoring him from whom we are to receive for our children, and for our children's children, the beautiful building that through the years shall house our priceless treasures, we honor thee, for in thy Spirit has he wrought in obeying the spirit of human service, and as thy steward in receiving his wealth as a trust from thee
For the wise use and administration of this noble gift, endow our community with an adequate sense of its responsibility and privilege. And by all who shall avail themselves of the opportunities freely given, and to none may they be given in vain, let it not be forgotten that knowledge is of little worth except as a stepping stone to character, power of service, and the altruistic life. And be it always remembered that the open door of the library, like that of the school or of the church, is a door opened into the presence of God. With Augustine, may we learn to say: '' Where I found truth, there found I my God, who is the truth itself!"
We thank thee for the larger significance of this hour, that truth has been brought down from the lonely mountain-peak into the crowded plain, and from the cloister into the marketplace. We thank thee, thou great Father of us all, that in thy providence the gospel of research, like the gospel of regeneration, is coming to be preached to every creature!
And, O God,
" Let knowledge grow from more to more,
But more of reverence in us dwell;
That mind and soul, according well,
May make one music as before,
But vaster * * * * ."
And may all learning, in meekness received, bring us to the feet of him, after all scholarship still our greatest teacher, who came that we might know thee, and not merely about thee, whom to know aright is eternal life! Amen.
IN behalf of the board of trustees of the Library, and as treasurer of the board, in whose charge the erection of the library building was placed, I will make a brief statement showing in a measure what Robert J. Kimball has done in this matter for his native town. Col. Kimball protests against this statement being made, but we think it is due to him that our townspeople should know something of the value of the gift they receive to-day from his hands. On the first day of October, 1901, Col. Kimball signified to the town, in a letter to the selectmen, that it was his purpose to give to the town ten thousand dollars for a library building, exclusive of site and furnishings. A site was purchased by the village of Randolph at an expense of three thousand, two hundred dollars, and deeded to the town. Plans for the building were agreed upon and the original contract was made for a structure to cost twelve thousand dollars.
By additions and improvements of the original plan, suggested by Col. Kim ball, consisting of changes in and finer finish of the inside work, terrazzo marbled floor and marble wainscotting, a large copper dome, the heating apparatus and electric lighting and the entire furnishings of the building, so that he might present it today, complete in every respect, without expense to the town, the cost to Col. Kimball amounts to seventeen thousand dollars.
In addition to this we have received from the family of the late Hiram Kimball a reference library costing $500 which books, added to the new books bought with money appropriated therefor from the Sarah Jane Crocker fund, and other pur chases and gifts of books, will, together with those now in the library rooms, give the town a library of just about 5,000 volumes.
We have also received from Mr. Horace J. Morse, brother-in-law of Col. Kimball, a gift of a valuable globe for the library costing $250, and a handsome library clock has been presented by Mr. George A. White, for many years the cashier of the banking house of R. J. Kimball & Co., in New York. This library thus built, adorned and furnished by many generous gifts, is for the use and benefit of the people of the town of Randolph and will be free to them and their children forever.
A year ago to-day I was in Egypt with a party of friends, up the River Nile at least 500 miles from its mouth. If you were about to make preparations for a trip abroad, especially in those flat Eastern countries, where fevers are so prevalent, you would probably first ask your doctor as to what you should do, or what you should avoid doing, in order to preserve your health while there. His first answer would be, to avoid drinking the natural waters of the country. And so on our trip up the Nile we obeyed.the instructions. But one of our party persisted in drinking the ' pure water of the Nile," as he called it, because it is a tradition there, that those who drink of it will have an inexpressible longing to return. I have sometimes wondered if the waters of our mountain brooks did not contain the same microbes as those of the muddy Nile, and infect the boys as they go out from their Vermont homes so that they ever after have an intense longing to return. Whether it is the same cause or not, evidently the effect is the same, and those who, after many years of business, especially if under Providence they have established their callings so near the home of their youth that they can return frequently, soon develop another stage of the disease, and desire to do something for good that may indicate their attachment, perhaps for many years, even after they themselves have passed away.
I confess that I have been more or less stricken with this disease. And to-day I am happy to say that we may realize what has been for a long time. in our hearts. I do not speak in the singular person, becc1-use in our family we llave an "executive committee," to whom all such matters go, and unless it should be: unanimous, nothing would be done. , So I speak for my wife and my children, that we in our happiness are enabled to see tl?-e completion of our desires What form such a testimonial should take, is not always easy to decide. But to-day we are ready to present to you a lzome for our friends ; and who are so true, so constant, so faithful friends. as books? Hear what Henry Ward Beecher says:
"Books are at once our friends, our masters and our servants. They have a silent independence, an unchanging voice, a calm declaration of truth as they will. But they are unobtrusive. They wait for our moods and our leisure. They are never jealous if we neglect them, nor quarrelsome when we are familiar. They wait upon us in youth, in manhood, and in old age, with a vivacity that time never chills, and an instructiveness that repetition never wearies.
"Books gradually lose their inert and dead form and become to us like persons who have pulse and articulate voice. We feel more intimately acquainted with authors two hundred years dead, than we do with our daily companions. A book is better for weariness than sleep; better for cheerfulness than wine; and it will hold out with the longest night that watcher ever saw. It often is a better physician than the doctor, a better preacher than the minister, a better sanctuary than the drowsy church."
In making this presentation to you we do not attach to it any conditions. Our only desire is that you shall be liberal in your appreciation of the value it may be, by giving it such cordial and large appropriations for maintenance as will make it most useful to yourselves, your children and to generations to come.
The usefulness of libraries as elements of education has within the last few years advanced with giant strides. No longer is a librarian considered efficient who only politely receives your books, and takes from the shelves just those which are asked for, and gives them to you in return. But he must know much of the books themselves, much of the teachings and classification of, books, so that he may help the reader to get the best advantage from them; as one says, "To introduce the right book to the right person is almost as much of a pleasure as to bring together two congenial people." Librarians are now educated as to a profession. Many of our universities and other great institutions of learning, such as the Pratt Institute, have normal departments for the education of librarians, and the demand for them for important places in the rapid growth of libraries is such that it is hard to keep the classes full to graduation. Andrew Carnegie has just given $100,000 to an institution for this purpose
The trustees have wisely made a large addition of books as a foundation for the new library; and I hope_ from the beginning, that such a proficient librarian will be put in charge as to enable us to start out with every possible benefit which we may hope for. If this shall be accomplished our sincerest desire will be complete.
May I indulge in a little explanation, or shall I say apology? Our original intention was to contribute something of the means to the trustees to make such a building as they thought best. This plan was afterward changed, or changed itself, I don't know which; but, at any rate, without any premeditation or malice aforethought, I seemed to have my own way, and as there was no opposition to it, there was perfect harmony between us. While the building is still my own, I have taken the liberty to hang from its walls certain pictures and portraits.
Mrs. Sarah Jane Crocker, the first benefactress of this library, who bequeathed $3,500 for its general use; a large proportion of which was used in the purchase of books, as a foundation for the new library. It is appropriate that her portrait should hang on the walls.
Hiram Kimball, Jr.,-of Cleveland,Ohio. His children have presented a library of reference books as a memorial to their father. I have placed his portrait in the department with the books.
Chief Judge John W. Rowell-to him I owe much as my counsel and advisor in this enterprise, even before the decision was made to enter upon it. I wish to make this public acknowledgment to you, and for you to him, for the services that be has rendered. And not only this, but as one holding the most exalted judicial position in the gift of the people of the State, obtained through his indefatigable energy, useful and busy life, the honorable and steady growth of character and ability, and because of our appreciation and pride in having one so distinguished a citizen and neighbor-one of us .--his portrait should, as it does, adorn the walls of our public building.
The Reverend Homer White the worthy president of the Board of Trustees of the library. He has given to ns the best years of his profession, the highest calling to which a man can devote his life, the preaching of the Gospel of Christ our Saviour. We are better, the world is better, because of his living with us. We are honored with his portrait.
Honorable William H. DuBois-not only because we were boys together, and he has been one of my most intimate and valued friends, but because he is a prominent citizen, devoting many years of much service to the town and to the state, and because during the last year in the construction of our building he has devoted much time and work every day in watching and advising in its progress, having more care and anxiety than anyone else; and to him we are much indebted for the satisfactory completion as it is. It is appropriate that his portrait also should adorn the walls. I have taken this liberty almost under the protest of the parties interested, but I am sure you will heartily endorse my action.
Now, Mr. President of the Board of Trustees, representing the town of Randolph, I place in your hand, as a gift from myself and family, the deed of the building, which the people, in meeting assembled, have given a name. May it be a fountain of usefulness and pleasure to the people in my Vermont home.
COL. KIMBALL.-Honored Sir: It devolves upon me to respond to your speech of presentation and in behalf of the trustees and of the grateful people of your native town, to accept with hearty thanks the noble gift of the Kim ball Public Library.
It was built we know with noble intentions; it will be devoted to noble uses. You have made it, by your generosity, a gem of beauty and, standing as it does nearly in the center of our lovely village, it adorns our principal street and is an object lesson to all beholders. It teaches the value of books and learning, and the still greater value of patriotic, home-loving and generous men who are willing to give of their substance for the benefit of the public the benefit of the poor especially-and ask for no return. You have realized that it is better to place the right book in a boy's hands than to fill his hands with gold. You are conscious (and this building which we accept to-day is proof of it) that in the intelligence of the people lies the surest hope of the permanence of our free institutions and of the greatness and glory of our country. It is a pleasant thought to us, and must be so to you also, that this building stands upon the very spot of ground where once stood the home of your childhood. May it long remain for many generations-to be a worthy monument to your memory. Again we thank you, while regretting that Judge Rowell, who had been selected by the trustees to perform this office and make this response, is prevented by sickness from being here to day. He would have more eloquently expressed the sentiments of your fellow-townsmen, but he could not have felt a warmer appreciation of your gift or a more sincere respect for Randolph's benefactor.
In books presented, the wisdom of the world
Leads man's advancement with more rapid pace
Than could unlettered genius e'er attain
Though struggling hard to reach a higher place.
In books the anr.ients wrote we trace their way
And find embalmed the wisdom of the past;
In books the arts and learning live for aye
And those grand tomes forevermore will last.
The Book of books gives wisdom all divine
And beams of sacred light from it are thrown;
Wherever man in error's path is lost,
To him the path of righteousness is shown.
Herodotus with fine historic pen
Tells what he knew of races now unknown,
And Plato, Livy, and a brilliant host
Left us their books and to the shades have flown.
Grand Homer, Virgil, Dante, Shakespeare sing
Their songs of rhythmic beauty free and bold
Songs which will live till earth grows gray with age.
And till the heav'ns together shall be rolled.
On such foundations we may build and frame
Bright palaces of truth in this our age,
The age of science, and may leave to shine
A name immortal on time's glowing page.
Among these verdant hills of fair Vermont
Let Learning's lofty towers all stately rise
And far, like beacon-fires, light up the way
To guide the watcher where no danger lies.
While partial nature has so dowered our state
With scenes of beauty to attract the eye,
J,et grandE:r men to grander vision grow
And learn to live that they may learn to die.
In books we find a solace and a charm,
Tue inspiration of great n'J.inds and strong,
And, following the path by giants blazed,
Through rough defiles, up steeps in windings long,
Vve reach at length the summit of the mount.
There, clear and unobstructed, lies the view
Of all around and, far beneath our feet
In sunlight bathed, the way which men pursue
Who seek the highest good and wisely tread
Above the low ambiti_ops of the crowd,
And grandly stand on Alpine heights of mind
Where only stand those by the gods endowed.
Let princely men then act the princely part
And to their fellows give a right of way ;
Guide and direct the youth who seeks the height
Where cloudless sunbeams on the climber play.
May every vale where now the darkness falls
Some Kimball find who will disperse the shade;
Who, making others wiser, can but learn
His own best good by his own goodness made.
It is interesting to note how the home feeling is growing in the breasts of Vermonters. We have now our "Old Home Week " as an established annual feature. More and more, Vermonters are coming back and rebuilding the family hearth. Many who have spent their lives in other parts of the country show their affections for the state of their birth by gifts and memorials in aid of church and school and college and library. We are glad that others, not of our own family, are beginning to appreciate the attractions of our state, the picturesque beauty of its scenery, the heathfulness of its climate, the intelligence, thrift, sobriety and virtue of its population, and that men of wealth and leisure and taste are establishing their homes among us. But it is still more gratifying to see those who, as young men, went out from us, to our great loss, carrying their energy and enterprise into the cities and the West. enriching themselves and the communities in which they have lived, coming back as mature men and laying the fruits of their exertions in tributes of affection and gratitude and prid<c: at the feet of the old mother who blessed them when they went and thrice blesses them when they return.
In this most welcome and growing affection for our and their state on the part of her-not prodigal, but returning-sons, several modes of manifesting the one common feeling vie with each other, favoring now the church, now the college, the schools. the park, or common, or cemetery, the soldiers' monument, the hospital. It seems to me highly characteristic of the public spirit of Vermonters that so many at the present time show a preference for the public library. In this form of beneficence, the giver shows his high estimate of the two factors which, more than any others, have made Vermont what it has been and is-general intelligence and the democratic spirit. The public library, in a sense which is not quite as true of any other public institution, offers its advantages to all the individuals in a community, to all classes alike, to rich and poor, young and old, sick and well. I can well understand how a public-spirited citizen, valuing as he would a high grade of intelligence in a community at large, remembering how meager were the advantages for gaining such intelligence in his youth, how books were few and available only to the rich, how much talent lay undeveloped and went to waste because knowledge did not unroll her ample page, rich with the roster of time in homes where genius and chill penury dwelt together, I can well understand why our public-spirited citizen should say to himself, and tn the members of his family thoroughly in sympathy with him, "Let us build and equip a library in which all our neighbor,and fellow-townsmen, the poorest and the hardest worked, the day laborer, the shopman and clerk, the hired boy on the farm, the hired maid in the kitchen. as well as the judge, the lawyer, the merchant, the doctor, may all, and all alike, have access to the best literature of the world and of the time." And while we all admire and are grateful for the splendid liberality with which Mr. Carnegie has built libraries by hunclreds all over -our country, I can understand how our public-spirited citizen should say, as he has said in more than one instance, to Mr. Carnegie, "This town is to me like the one live lamb of scripture; it lies very neat: my heart; I was born here ; my ancestors are buried here ; I grew up here with the boys and girls who are now men and women living here ; no other place is so dear to me ; I want to do something to show my undying interest in the old place. Put your libraries everywhere else, and God bless you for them, but leave this place to me, and do not rob me of the pleasure I have long been cherishing of giving my home and the 'ome of my family, too, an institution which for a long time to come will, I hope, be a blessing to this community."
But when one public-spirited citizen has done his part in a great public benefit like this, it is incumbent on those who receive the benefit to study how they can best carry out the intentions of the giver of their library. I am not addressing a community of persons who are strangers to books, and who therefore need rudimentary instruction in the use of them. I can assure myself, then, in the suggestions I may make in regard to the best use of the collection of books to which you will have access, I am speaking to those who are, or desire to be, not only eager and diligent readers, but also intelligent thinkers upon what they read, and how to read with the greatest pleasure and profit.
A miscellaneous public library in our time naturally divides into two parts, first, fiction; second, all other books. The standard statistical report gives under one head, 'Fiction and Juveniles," and another head, "Other Books." It is a significant fact. The prominence of fiction in the reading of the time is thus thoroughly brought out. It challenges our attention and calls for serious thought. There was a time, and that within the memory of some of us, when there was a prohibitory law against fiction, and it was fairly well enforced. The pulpit fulminated against it, godly parents tabooed it, the best public opinion kept it strictly on the defensive. What a change to our time! We have not even a high license law restricting it. We have free fiction everywhere. Ministers, so far from preaching against it, quote freely from it in their sermons. I lately heard a sermon in which the preacher illustrated his points by three references to popular fiction and one to the Bible. One feels himself hardly qualified to engage in general conversation unless he is well up in all the latest novels. Now all this shows our tendency to run into extremes-now to one extreme, now to another. The old malediction against novel reading was unreasonable, because it was based on a principle which would shut out much of the world's best literature, including parts of the Bible, and many of the most instructive and wholesome books for all classes, especially the young and unreflecting. How unwise it would be, in order to insure our youth against a certain number of corrupting stories, to set up a standard which would rule out Pilgrim's Progress and Robinson Crusoe and Swiss Family Robinson and Alice in Wonderland and the Waverley Novels and the Green Mountain Boys! But on the other hand, who would not regard it as a great pity and a great mistake that our young people should acquire such a depraved appetite for sensational fiction that they had no power of relishing the great writers, the poets and historians and philosophers, the biographers and essayists, that even the more reflective and serious of the works of fiction should be tiresome to them ? Nothing in this connection has startled me more than the avowal recently of a young girl, well educated and a great reader for her years, that she found Ivanhoe so tedious that she could not read through it! What highly-spiced food had she been eating that such good beef and bread was unpalatable to her? A long experience in one public library and an inquisitive acquaintance with many support me in the prediction that unless the reading public of Randolph is different from that of most towns, the librarian and the library committee of this library will be entreated and urged by a clamorous appeal to furnish all the new novels as they appear, and they will be sustained in their appeal by lists industriously furnished of '' the best-selling books" in the principal cities of the English-reading world.
How ought this state of things to be met?
First, the public library should recognize the legitimate use of fiction, and furnish, with due regard to its total means for supply, a certain proportion of the best fiction, old and new, of clean, wholesome, exhilarating, elevating novels and romances. By all means let the boy have his story of thrilling adventure, the girl her romance of fairyland, the man or woman shut off from the great world their stories of life in other lands and climes, the poor man his, glimpses into the higher life he hopes his children may enjoy, the sick woman the tale which temporarily transports her into scenes of beauty and pleasure, of which she becomes. for the time a part. Let all have their ungrudged share in the enlargement and idealization of life which it is the province of fiction to create.
But, secondly, within this broad and liberal provision there should be always going on a process of exclusion and limitation, to keep out some books because they are worthless or bad, and others because they would be in excess. Novel writing has come to be a regular trade. Circulating libraries have been so multiplied that it pays to write and publish any book which all of them will take. The duty of a library committee-which is largely a duty of exclusion-of sifting from the many books thrust upon them the few that are worthy to be retained-is a serious one and should not be entrusted to any but those who will give time and thought conscientiously to its discharge. But quite as important as exclusion to prevent the entrance of bad fiction is exclusion to prevent the excess of even unobjectionable fiction. No one will dispute the position that in an intelligent reading, thinking Vermont community the main duty of a library is to furnish solid reading, and by that I mean the best books in poetry, history, travel, biography, essay, art, science, politics, religion. I make a bold statement, to which I challenge opposition. Let Randolph maintain the library I have described, consisting of, we will say, one-fourth good fiction and three-fourths solid reading, and some other town in Vermont reverse the proportions, in fifty years there would be a marked difference in the intellectual character of the two populations, especially in the number of superior men and women the two towns would produce. First-class ability has been produced in our New England communities out of corn meal and codfish, but never out of sensational novels. I know no finer illustration of what a small library of good books can accomplish than that afforded by your neighboring town of Brookfield, where such a library has been maintained for over one hundred years and has borne fruit in the number of able men natives of the town and in the high order of intelligence characteristic of its citizens.
But it will be said by some, "A public library is for the benefit of the people and the people will not read solid books; they want light reading." I have a better opinion of the people, and especially the Vermont people-and most of all of the people in a Vermont country town. I believe that the proportion of readers of the best books will, under wise management, be much larger in Randolph than in St. Albans, or Rutland or Burlington -and in Burlington there is a good demand among the people for serious reading. A great deal will depend on the attitude and action of three classes of people-the teachers in the schools, the members of literary and other clubs and women of culture. The school and the library are natural allies. The school can increase the use of the library by the children fourfold through wise suggestion, and can greatly enrich its own teaching in almost every subject, especially in geography, history and nature study, by encouraging reading at home on the subjects of lessons at school. We, at Burlington, regard this as one of the most valuable uses of our library. Books used this way are used up rather rapidly, but there is no better way of spending money for books than in replacing books that by good usage are used up. If clubs for discussion of interesting subjects in literature, art, sociology, do not already exist in a community, such a library as this is sure to give rise to them, and however large the collection of books may be its resources for supplying information on such topics will be taxed to its utmost. No library in Vermont has been able to supply the books which within a few months have been called for on Cuba, the Philippines, Venezuela, on volcanoes, coal mining, arbitration, trusts, not to speak of the old topics which clubs take up in literature, art, travel, science, social and political economy. Perhaps it is a compensation to women for not being voters that, whereas men get the larger part of their ideas on questions of general interest from conversation or talks, women get theirs from books. which, if not so practically efficient a source, is at least a higher one. At any rate, our women are the best readers of books among us. They set the standard of reading in a community and by their patronage, their criticisms, their commendations, determine what shall be read, and even quite largely what shall be written.
I have often said that if I were blindfolded and taken before an audience in an unknown town, I could tell from the behavior of the hearers whether or not they had the advantage of good schools and J libraries. That play of attack and response which is always going on between speaker •and hearer reveals the working of the hearers mind, as well as that of the speaker's. This is one way of bringing out the truth that there is a general grade of intelligence characteristic of a community and differing in different communities. One community wants flashy, sensational preaching, takes poor newspapers, patronizes cheap theatricals, will turn out en masse to a circus within twenty miles and will let a good lecturer in their own village course talk to empty seats. Another community, perhaps in the next town, wants the best, and knows what is the best in all these respects-knows argument from claptrap, sense from sensation, good stocks and bonds from shares in a cloud bank-a community which sharpers and peddlers of nostrums and book agents for poor books at dear prices know enough to avoid. And there is no more efficient agency for making such a community in every Vermont town than a good public library-a library which, with the help of the men and women of the best education and influence, the teachers, the clergymen, the lawyers and doctors, the women of culture, succeeds in circulating among the homes of the community, good books, books which enlarge knowledge, stimulate thought, awaken ambition, guide judgment of men and events, nourish patriotism, favor morality and religion, and make of the entire community a people among whom it is a privilege to be born and to live, and after all wanderings in other regions and climes, to come back to with untraveled hearts.