522 History of Wake Forest College
After the deposit of the College books with the Societies nothing
more is heard of the Reading Room; soon each Society began to
subscribe for its own periodicals.7
In the original Constitution of each Society was a provision for the
election of a librarian, who should "preserve the books of the Society,
keep a regular catalogue of the same, and lend them to the members
as he may be directed by the by-laws of the Society." It is probable
that this provision was suggested by the fact that the two Societies of
the University of North Carolina had in point of usefulness at least the
principal libraries of that institution, numbering about 3,000 volumes
In accord with the provisions a librarian was among the officers
regularly elected at stated intervals by the Societies, the first of the
Philomathesian Society being William Jones, and the first of the
Euzelian Society being J. Thomas Rayner. The Philomathesians were
the first to take actual measures for collecting books. So far as the
records show the first books received by this Society were a donation
of September 5, 1835, from Mr. John Shaw, an honorary member, and
consisted of The Universal Gazetter, History of South America and
Mexico, Religious Rites
7 Phi. Records, February 11, 1843; Eu. Records, April 25, 1846.
8 At this time the University library was of very little service to the students. In
1836 it contained about 1,900 books, according to the report of Tutor W. H. Owen,
later Professor of Ancient Languages in Wake Forest College, and said by Battle to
have been the best of the tutor librarians of the University. From 1824, however,
until the suspension of the University in 1868 the reports show no volumes added to
the University library by purchase, the chief addition being public documents. It
was of no use to the students except that occasionally one of them would borrow
one of its ponderous tomes to make a dead-fall for mice. It was not until 1887 that
the University library and those of the Societies were consolidated. Battle, History
of the University of North Carolina, I, 404 ff.
In Davidson College during this period conditions were much the same; the
general library was poorly and sporadically supported but it was kept together and
in 1859 numbered about 2,000 volumes. Cornelia Rebecca Shaw, Davidson
College, 216 ff.
In Virginia, the University library was thought to be one of the best in the
country, being designed and fostered by Jefferson and receiving his fine collection
of 7,000 books as a bequest, and many other donations, and also adequate support.
Because of restriction in lending books, however, it was of little service to the
students. Bruce, History of the University of Virginia, II, 193, 201-04.
Previous Page Next Page