The Teachers College Library
by Elizabeth Baldwin - 1924
The educational activities of which Columbia University is the centre have been increased by the completion of Russell Hall, the new home of Teachers College Library. Russell Hall is an imposing structure, Gothic in architecture, of red brick trimmed with stone. It has a frontage of 200 feet on 120th Street; it is seventy-five feet in depth; and it is a magnificent addition to the Teachers College plant which now completely fills the block on Broadway between 120th and 121st Streets. It is six stories in height and is joined to the main Teachers College building by a great tower which dominates the entire group of buildings. A skeleton steel frame, floors and roof of reinforced concrete and partitions of hollow tile, make the building a fireproof structure of the most modern type.
The educational activities of which Columbia University is the centre have been increased by the completion of Russell Hall, the new home of Teachers College Library.
Russell Hall is an imposing structure, Gothic in architecture, of red brick trimmed with stone. It has a frontage of 200 feet on 120th Street; it is seventy‑five feet in depth; and it is a magnificent addition to the Teachers College plant which now completely fills the block on Broadway between 120th and 121st Streets. It is six stories in height and is joined to the main Teachers College building by a great tower which dominates the entire group of buildings. A skeleton steel frame, floors and roof of reinforced concrete and partitions of hollow tile, make the building a fireproof structure of the most modern type.
The building, which was in process of construction for nearly two years and cost approximately a million and a half dollars to build and equip, was made possible because of generous gifts from friends of Teachers College. The Alumni and Faculty of Teachers College subscribed approximately $90,000 toward the erection of the library building. Through the addition of $1,000,000 to the Endowment Fund of the College, a gift of the General Education Board of New York, the maintenance of the new library is cared for.
The two lower floors at present are used for the executive offices of the College. The library will occupy the remaining four floors until it outgrows these quarters and is forced to take possession of the entire building.
The reading rooms on the second, third and fourth floors are one hundred twenty‑five feet long and sixty‑two feet wide, lighted by windows on the north, south and east. The fifth floor reading room, one hundred fifty‑eight feet by fifty‑four feet, is the most beautiful of all, with its barrelled ceiling and soft rough plaster finish. The public stairway and elevators are at the west end of the building and a stairway at the east end serves as an enclosed fire escape.
The tower contains eleven floors of metal stacks connected by stairs and a small electric elevator for the use of the staff. It is lighted by long windows on the south and west and affords storage for 350,000 volumes. A wide aisle on the south side of each stack floor provides space for three small tables and chairs for students who have special stack privileges.
The four reading rooms, if shelved to their capacity, will hold 25,000 volumes, and a large room in the basement will store 10,000 more.
The second floor loan desk room (first floor of the library) is thirty‑six by sixty‑two feet, and contains the catalogue cases and stacks for shelving over seven thousand reference books. The third floor loan desk room is thirty‑six by forty‑eight feet. The staff work room on the fourth floor is thirty‑five by twenty‑two feet and has a southern exposure; on the same floor is the staff rest room and directly below this on the third floor is the librarian's office.
The second and third floor reading rooms are for undergraduates and the general reader. In these two rooms are shelved the general reference books (cyclopedias, dictionaries, yearbooks, etc.), history, biography, American and English literature and bound sets of the more popular magazines.
The two upper floors are reserved for the use of registered graduate students. At the back of each of these two reading rooms are two small conference rooms for the use of groups of students and professors to whom the rooms are assigned for certain periods on certain days.
About seventeen thousand books and pamphlets designated by the instructors as required reading are reserved back of the loan desks and it is here that congestion occurs daily and nightly. During the Summer Session from one only of the four different libraries maintained in the old buildings as many as one thousand magazines and thirty‑five hundred books have been taken from and returned to the loan desk in one day.
In addition to its past activities, the library has organized a system of traveling libraries whereby teachers in other cities who are taking Teachers College extramural courses are supplied with seventy‑five or more books relating to the subject of the course.
BRIEF HISTORY AND DESCRIPTION OF THE LIBRARY
In April, 1880, eleven young women served as the incorporators of the Kitchen Garden Association, of which the objects were, briefly stated: (1) "Promotion of the domestic industrial arts among the laboring classes by giving to their children and to such others as may be deemed desirable, gratuitous instruction in the household arts according to the principles of the kitchen garden system (teaching children domestic processes through songs and games originated by Miss Emily Huntington in 1877). (2) Promotion of a wide and correct diffusion of the principles upon which the system has been founded, in order to prevent its degenerating into careless and erratic methods of teaching which might expose the system to misconception of its objects and operation." The Association, realizing the need of teachers trained in the principles and practice of the kitchen garden plan, undertook to establish normal classes conducted by Miss Huntington, and in 1882 published the first systematic textbook on the subject with the title "Household Economy."
In 1884, the Association decided that it should undertake new and enlarged work. Experience proved that more advanced work was needed, especially in industrial training with older pupils, so the four‑year‑old Kitchen Garden Association was dissolved and the Industrial Education Association took its place. The object of this association was to promote special training of both sexes in industries which affect the house and home directly and indirectly and to enable those receiving it to become self‑supporting, to study and introduce methods and systems of domestic and industrial training into schools, to form special classes for technical training and to train teachers who shall be able and ready to assist in the work.
In 1886 the old Union Theological Seminary building at No. 9 University Place was leased by the Board of Managers and in 1887 the name of the association was changed again to College for the Training of Teachers with Dr. Nicholas Murray Butler, then associate professor of philosophy at Columbia College, as president.
In 1892 Dr. Walter L. Hervey succeeded Dr. Butler and it was during this year that the final change in name was made when a permanent charter was granted to Teachers College. It was at this time that the present site of the college on 120th Street was purchased, and forty‑eight hours after the trustees had made their decision, the announcement was made that Columbia University had bought the old Bloomingdale asylum property between 116th and 120th Streets.
So much for the history of Teachers College which serves as a background for an account of its library.
In 1884 the Industrial Education Association appointed a committee on books and printing. This committee decided to establish a library, but aside from certain educational leaflets and monographs on industrial and technical training including several reports, no books or money to purchase them was forthcoming until 1887 when Mrs. Peter M. Bryson, one of the new trustees, expressed a desire to start a library as a memorial to her husband. In a small room on the first floor of the old building at No. 9 University Place, the Bryson Library accumulated during the first year of its existence, by gift and purchase, one thousand books.
In 1894 when the library moved into the new Teachers College building on 120th Street, the collection had increased to 6500 volumes. The librarian's report for this year is a record of gifts. The new quarters were in striking contrast to the old and the very attractive room which shelved 8000 volumes and seated sixty students was made more attractive by gifts of photographs, paintings and busts. Among these friends of the library were Mr. William E. Dodge, Miss Grace H. Dodge, Mrs. William Bryce, Miss Edith Bryce, Mr. V. Everit Macy, who sent from abroad a large collection of photographs representing the architecture, sculpture, and paintings of the Old World. Mrs. C. P. Hemenway gave a collection of autograph letters written by Thomas Jefferson, John Hancock, Robert Morris, Lafayette, John Adams, Oliver Wendell Holmes and others; also a MS. sermon by Cotton Mather. Mrs. H. O. Mayo gave a letter signed by George Washington, also the original MS of Robert Burns' "Ye Banks and Braes of Bonnie Doon." Other friends gave sums of money to be used for the purchase of books.
The officers of instruction and administration of Teachers College at this time consisted of the president, ten professors, nine instructors, twelve assistants, five of whom were teachers in the Horace Mann School, and three lecturers.
In keeping pace with the College in its growth and development, the library soon felt the need of more room for books and readers. From time to time, adjoining classrooms were added to the original library until it extended along the south and east sides of the building. The room on the second floor, directly under the Bryson Library, was the last addition made to relieve the congestion. This was known as the Library Seminar room.
In 1899 President Low, Dean Russell and the two librarians of Columbia University and Teachers College met in the president's office for the purpose of discussing the common interests of the University and Teachers College libraries. The most important resolution adopted at this conference stated that "the educational section of the University Library and of the Bryson Library shall be operated, both as to policy in purchasing and in administration, in such a way as to bring out to the fullest extent, the combined efficiency of the two." In other words, the educational sections of both libraries were to be regarded as a unit and all duplication of work was to be avoided.
A proposal was made and approved at this time to issue a printed catalogue which should represent the educational material in both libraries. This catalogue was prepared and printed in 1901.
The following year the educational periodicals in the University Library were transferred to Teachers College, duplicate volumes thrown out and broken sets filled in as completely as possible. The next step was the removal to Bryson Library of the entire collection of educational reports belonging to the University, representing state and city departments of education. The storage and care involved in keeping this material up to date, filling in gaps, binding, etc., were assumed by Bryson Library.
In 1903 the most important addition to the resources of the library was effected by the transfer to Teachers College of all books and pamphlets on education belonging to the University Library. This transfer was the direct result of a decision made by the trustees, by which Bryson Library became a part, in reality as it had been in theory, of the University Library, and henceforth was to be considered the pedagogical departmental library of Columbia University. This unification having been accomplished, Bryson Library became the repository for all books, pamphlets and periodicals relating to education.
Three branch libraries have been organized and administered by the Bryson Library. The Horace Mann School Library was taken over when the new school building was completed in 1901. It has always been a school library and does not furnish reading for recreation. A judicious selection made every few years for discarding obsolete material has served to keep it as an up‑to‑date working collection for school use.
In 1900 the Teachers College Alumni Library was established in the Experimental School on West 129th Street. In 1903 this library was moved into the new building erected on Lawrence Street, known as the Speyer School. This library was not academic in any sense of the word. It was a settlement library for the use of pupils in the school and for the neighborhood people. It contained all kinds of books for all sorts and conditions of men and women, from a biography of George Washington in one syllable for the seven‑year‑old to When Knighthood Was in Flower for his mother or sister. Picture bulletins were created, reading and study clubs conducted, and entertainments and sales provided for the benefit of the library budget, thereby increasing the amount pledged each year by the Alumni Association for the purchase of books.
This library passed out of existence in 1915. In its day it served a good purpose and served it well. Now it is no longer needed, for a larger and better library, a branch of the New York Public in the same neighborhood, is taking care of both children and adults and doing it better than the Speyer School could ever hope to do with limited space and funds.
The Practical Arts Library was organized in 1910 on the first floor of Dodge Hall, then known as the Practical Arts building. It grew by leaps and bounds in keeping pace with the rapid development of the Practical Arts curricula and bade fair at one time to eclipse the Bryson Library in size and importance. One small departmental library existed for many years, viz., the Greek and Latin, as an adjunct to the classical department. The two latter collections no longer enjoy a separate existence. With the completion of the new library building they were brought back to the main library, now known as Teachers College Library.
The first special collection was given to the library by Mrs. Bryson in 1894 as a memorial to her sister Mrs. Hemenway. This is called the Hemenway collection and consists of six hundred volumes which serve as a reference library on art, archaeology and Americana.
In 1897 Mr. and Mrs. Samuel P. Avery gave eight hundred books as a memorial to their daughter, Ellen Walters Avery. The collection representing Miss Avery's private library was endowed a few years later by Mr. and Mrs. Avery in order that it might increase in scope and value. The books in this collection are attractive in subject matter and in physical make‑up. They appeal to the lover of fine bindings and illustrations, and many of them furnish unusual information on travel, nature study, literature, biography and the industrial arts.
In 1917, Dr. Samuel Sachs established a special fund in honor of Dr. Julius Sachs, then recently elected emeritus professor, the income of which should be used for the purchase of books for the library in order "that the name of Julius Sachs, an inspiring teacher and devoted scholar, may be kept alive."
In 1920, students, graduates and friends of the department of nursing education founded an Adelaide Nutting Historical Nursing Collection in honor of Professor Nutting and of the twentieth birthday of the department, the success of which has been due to her leadership. This collection contains books, pictures, slides, autographed letters and other historical, material on nursing and hospital management in America and other countries. Particular emphasis has been placed on the life and work of Florence Nightingale, including several letters signed by Miss Nightingale, also biographies, reminiscences, essays and any magazine articles that could throw light on the career of this remarkable woman. In 1924 the trustees established in the library a collection to be known as the Baldwin Collection in recognition of the long years of service given by Elizabeth Baldwin.
The growth of any reference library and especially one connected with an educational institution should proceed, if possible, in accordance with well‑defined policies, depending in turn, not only on present needs but also with some regard to what future generations of scholars may reasonably expect to find as an aid in historical research.
Such a policy has been followed in the development of the Teachers College Library. It has endeavored to meet the demands of new departments as they have been created and to furnish the necessary literature for new subjects added to the curricula; also as opportunity offered, to secure all books, pamphlets and magazines that might contribute in any way toward the history of education, its theory and practice, keeping in mind that the fads and fancies of today merge into history to‑morrow.
The importance of the text‑book as part of the teacher's equipment was recognized in 1901, when a special collection of elementary textbooks was started. This collection consists of two sections, one representing old school books published not later than 1910 and the other representing the modern text‑book just off the press. In the older historical collection are a few of the 16th and 17th century, a number of American and English school books of the 18th century and one in MS. dated 1475. The cleaning out of numerous attics in different localities in New England and the Middle States during the last twenty‑five years has presented an opportunity of securing by gift or purchase a large number of early 19th century school books, both English and American.
If the contents of some of these books were as attractive as their titles would indicate, even the pedagogically pampered child of today might be interested to peruse them. Who would not like to study the science of the earth from the "Parnassian Geography; or, The Little Wanderer," 1824, or from Picket's "Geographical Grammar combining the interrogation mode of instruction with complete definitions," 1816; or Van Waters' "Poetical Geography," 1851. Does not the "Lu Lu Alphabet," the "Lu Lu Multiplier" and "Reading without tears" sound like the royal road to learning? How many mothers have used the "Child's grammar, designed to enable ladies who may not have attended to the subject themselves to instruct their children?" Another interesting textbook is "Peter Parley's Universal History on the Basis of Geography," 1845. The name of Nathaniel Hawthorne does not appear on the title page or elsewhere and yet he wrote it long before he became famous as an author.
All the well‑known writers of school books are represented in one or more editions: William Cobbett, Lindley Murray, Joseph Priestley, Dilworth, Felter, Pike, Colburn, Greenleaf, McGuffey, Tower, Sanders, Morse and Worcester—surely a noble galaxy of names.
Owing to lack of room the modern text‑book collection has not been developed extensively. The several thousand volumes contributed by the publishers represent a nucleus only, but steps have been taken to form an adequate and comprehensive collection which will be housed in the original Bryson Library, which is the only part of the old library quarters retained for library purposes. A representative lot of books used in French schools is in this collection and a number used in other countries of Europe, such as England, Germany, Switzerland, Finland, etc.
Closely allied to the text‑book is the type of literature known as juvenile and of this there is an unusual collection. About seven hundred volumes are modern and represent the best reading for children under ten years of age; the remainder illustrate the history and development of children's literature. Peter Parley is represented by one hundred titles, and among other known writers of children's books are Dr. Aiken, Dr. Watts, Mrs. Sherwood, Mrs. Barbauld and Miss Mitford. This collection also contains several hundred juvenile chap books, containing many quaint and curious illustrations.
Only a generation of little pharisees could have been nurtured on such mental and moral pabulum as "The triumph of good‑nature ex‑ hibited in the history of Master Harry Fairborn and Master Charles Trueworth," "Mischief, its own punishment; or, History of William and Harry"; "The little graves" (picture of three graves on outside cover); "The Nosegay of honeysuckles with an account of two Sunday school boys."
The organization of a department of physical education in 1903 necessitated the purchase of literature on the theory and method of teaching this subject. The historical side was emphasized by a collection of five hundred books and pamphlets obtained in Leipsic. Many of the editions are old and rare, treating of military gymnastics, fencing, athletic sports and the play of children. Among the more important German writers in this collection are Lion, Gutsmuths, Rothstein, Spiess, Euler and Grassberger. Later, the collection was enriched by the addition of one hundred rare books on dancing, dated from 1760 to 1828.
Distantly related to the subject of physical education is the scout movement, and the establishment of courses in the principles and practice of scouting and scoutcraft called for a new type of literature in the library. Scout reports, manuals, periodicals were secured, also books on camp life, cooking, woodcraft, recreational activities, everything in print that might be of interest to the scout leader.
The Practical Arts collection represents an important and, to those who have a strictly utilitarian viewpoint, the most interesting section of the entire library which started with manual and industrial training as its chief incentive toward future development. Domestic economy was the term most frequently used in the plan of organization, and the Circular of Information for 1887 states that "Male students are not required to attend any of the courses in domestic economy, although the lectures in that department are open to them should they choose to attend them." The term practical arts as used in Teachers College embraces apparently all branches of human knowledge. It is certainly not restricted to practice in the workshop and laboratory, and the library offers to students in the School of Practical Arts, publications that include books, pamphlets, leaflets, and periodicals relating to industrial, household and fine arts, also institutional management, nursing education, sanitation, social problems, applied science and child welfare. All of these topics have an interesting historical background, and early publications have been collected when possible as well as editions just from the press. The first report on manual training in this country is here, prepared by Theodore D. Weld, who visited colleges and seminaries in 1833, advocating the introduction of manual training in educational institutions.
Care of children is a topic supposed to be quite modern in its scope and development, yet in the 18th century parents had ideas on the subject that would not be out of place in a 1924 book. Lady Pennington, who died in 1783, wrote to her daughter on the management and education of children, urging simplicity of dress, a regular and plain diet so "they will not be tempted to eat too much." "If they are treated from their birth as rational beings, they will be always as quiet, good humoured, obedient and intelligent at four months as they usually are at four years.
On dress and costume opinions were expressed centuries ago. Berthold von Regensburg, who died in 1272, wrote, "Women are as well created for the kingdom of heaven as men and they need it as much as men and many more of them would come into the kingdom of heaven but for this one snare (dress). Many of you pay as much to the sempstress as the cost of the cloth itself; it must have shields on the shoulders; it must be flounced and tucked all round the hem. . . . Believe me whatsoever thou doest with thy dress; yet in all the world, it is nought but a little dust and a bit of cloth."
The Library owns a very complete and unusual collection of cook books, including English, French, German, Italian, African, Chinese, Australian, Mexican, East Indian and others dating from 1517 to 1924. Mrs. Hannah Glasse probably wrote the first English cook book, of which the Library owns several editions, the earliest being the 2nd, 1747. Among the older American books are Richard Briggs' "New art of cookery," Philadelphia, 1798, and Mrs. Lydia Maria Child's "Frugal housewife," 1829, in which the author states that "economical people will seldom use preserves except for sickness. They are unhealthy, expensive and useless for those who are well."
In connection with the history of household arts, we think of woman and the many controversies, both ancient and modern, concerning her education. All available material that has been written in any country on this prolific subject has been collected, including the mental, moral and physical aspects of the question and especially that of the "higher education of woman." All the best known writers are here represented, Fenelon, Mme. de Maintenon, Hannah More, Mrs. Beecher, Mrs. Willard, Phelps, Sidgwick and others. The books published during the first half of the 19th century bear titles that have a family resemblance: "Female education," "New female instructor," "Young ladies conduct; or, Rules for education"; "The polite lady," "A father's legacy to his daughter," "Women's profession as mother and educator." The latest unique acquisition is a treatise translated from the Latin and printed in 1699. The title page reads "The learned maid; or, Whether a maid may be a scholar: a logical exercise upon this question."
The section of educational administration, with its many ramifications, is one of the most important in the library. For America there are the official documents relating to education published by the government, also by state and city departments of education: These include reports, bulletins, courses of study, manuals, laws and miscellaneous publications on budgets, surveys, school buildings, libraries, tests, etc.
All educational institutions, colleges, universities, normal, technical, professional and other special schools, public and private, are represented by reports, bulletins and catalogues. Of the older institutions, fairly complete files exist. Proceedings of educational associations, societies, national and local, reports, monographs and bulletins of special research bureaus are included in this collection.
English and French educational systems of the past twenty years are represented by official government reports, codes, syllabi, publications of local boards, associations, reports of universities, colleges and special schools, also by educational periodicals more or less official in character. Similar collections, but not so complete, represent German, Dutch, Swedish, Danish, Spanish, Swiss and Italian systems. During the past year reports and documents were received from twenty‑five countries in Europe, Africa, South and Central America and the British colonies. An interesting and valuable collection of books relating to Cuban education was secured several years ago, consisting of school legislation, reports on private schools and treatises on education. The collection as a whole represents fairly well the history and progress of education in Cuba over a period of years, part of which time it was under Spanish domination.
Through the efforts of Chinese students, a collection of six hundred Chinese books, pamphlets and magazines relating to education in China was presented to the Library. Accessions to this material are made from time to time, and it has been classified and made available by one of the Chinese students.
The Library is well supplied with works on the teaching of mathematics, and with standard text‑books upon elementary and secondary mathematics in the various European languages. All new works upon the teaching of the subject are purchased as soon as they are issued, and additions are continually being made which represent the best works for the classroom and the most recent lines of applications of the science. These works are sufficient for all of the ordinary investigations of the students in education. For more detailed work the graduate students have free access to the large library of Professor David Eugene Smith. This library consists of books and pamphlets, chiefly upon the history and teaching of mathematics. It is particularly rich in early printed works on mathematics and in Oriental manuscripts and books, and it contains practically everything of value that has been published on the teaching of the subject. It also contains upwards of two thousand portraits of mathematicians and a large number of rare autographs. It is supplemented by an extensive collection of medals of mathematicians and of early mathematical instruments.
Students interested in methods of teaching the classics find in the library the chief editions of the usual secondary school authors, both for secondary school use and for more advanced work. Constant effort is made to make the collection of beginner's books, manuals of prose composition, sight reading, works on grammar and syntax, representative of the best methods of instruction in England, France and Germany, as well as in America. To these are being added carefully selected books on art, archaeology, literary interpretation, the social and political life of the ancients, etc. Advanced students also have the privilege of using Professor Gonzalez Lodge's private library, which is unusually rich, in books on syntax and in works on Plautus.
As it is becoming increasingly difficult to obtain material relating to the history of education, it is fortunate that the importance of this class of educational literature was recognized at an early date in the development of the library.
In the collection of historical material are most of the text‑books from the earliest copy of the eighteenth century to the latest publication from the American press, including the general histories of Von Raumer, Schmidt, Compayre, and the minor works in German, French and English. Numerous histories of universities, colleges, and schools, together with many German and French reports and monographs dealing with local and provincial school conditions, afford unusual opportunities for research work in this field. Of source material, the library contains the large German collections of pedagogical writings, such as "Bibliothek pädagogischer Klassiker" forty‑three volumes; "Bibliothek der katholischen Pädagogik," sixteen volumes; "Klassiker der Pädagogik," twenty‑three volumes; "Sammlung der bedeutendsten pädagogischen Schriften aus neuer Zeit," thirty volumes; "Mitteilungen der Gesellschaft für deutsche Erziehungs‑ und Schul‑Geschichte" and others. With this collection are complete editions of educational leaders like Sturm, Basedow, Ramus, Vives, Ratichius, Wimpheling, Comenius, Erasmus, Pestalozzi and Herbart. Original editions of early text‑books on the theory of education are here. Among them are Luther's "Letters to the councillors," "Sermon on the duty of sending children to school"; Melanchton's "Visitation articles"; ordinances of Dutch, Swiss and Scandinavian churches.
For the history of English education, there are numerous publications on English universities, colleges and schools, special reports of the many commissions of inquiry appointed by parliament, reports of the charity commissions, books and pamphlets written during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. Some of these are general or theoretical in character, others deal with definite topics. For American educational history, the most valuable material is contained in files of journals such as the American Journal of Education; Barnard's Journal of Education; Horace Mann's Common School Journal; Pennsylvania School Journal; also the Reports of the Commissioner of Education; the Proceedings of the American Institute of Instruction; and the Proceedings of the National Education Association. The Library contains early reports of state and city superintendents, and several hundred old New England township reports containing local school committee reports; belonging to this section are fifty itemized bills, receipts, contracts, salary vouchers in MS. from the selectmen of towns in Massachusetts, dated from 1781‑1799. One of these certifies that "Levi Bliss hath kept school in the fourth dis‑trict nine weeks at two dollars per week," March, 1799.
Of general works of reference there are the encyclopedias of Rein, Schmidt, Buisson and Monroe, dealing with education, and the more important general dictionaries of biography.
These special collections in the Library furnish fairly adequate material for the student engaged in historical research and also for the student whose trend is toward the practical and experimental solution of present‑day educational problems.
The Industrial Education Association in 1887 adopted as its seal an emblem bearing three M's entwined, to represent the words, "Moral, Mental, Manual." The library has furnished literature that may be classified into each of these three divisions. As the College has grown, the Library has kept the pace set for it. The College has been the leader, the Library the follower. To quote from the late Professor Porter of Yale—"The more highly a man is educated, the larger is the library which he needs that his education may accomplish its highest results."