Things Academic 257
obtain, even if money had been available to purchase them, and help
was even harder to hold. During 1943-44 the position of circulation
librarian was filled successively by three different people, and the
fourteen student assistants she had available in 1942-43 were reduced
to only three in the spring semester of 1944.
During her thirty-one years, Mrs. Crittenden never had a budget of
much more than thirteen thousand dollars annually, and between 1937
and 1946 about four thousand of that (a paltry sum by most college
library accounts) went for the purchase of books. In acquisitions she
was assisted in some degree by the Friends of the Wake Forest
Library, formed in 1938 under the leadership of Dr. Joseph Q. Adams,
Class of 1901, who was director of the Folger Shakespearean Library
in Washington. By 1944 the association had secured ten thousand
volumes for the library, either by cash or gift. One treasure they had
sought, a first edition of Paradise Lost, was a war casualty. The ship
bringing it to America was sunk by a German submarine in July 1940.
A replacement volume, published in 1669, finally reached the library
in February 1949.
One of Mrs. Crittenden's problems was that the purchase of books
was a function which could be delayed. In a master's thesis, James M.
Nicholson found that "each time the college faced a financial crisis
the library book fund was one of the first budget items that the
trustees thought about when they needed to make adjustments."
Nevertheless she persevered, and her special interest in assembling
materials relating to the Baptist denomination was to make Wake
Forest a central repository for items in that field. Her repeated appeals
for a new building were not taken seriously until the fall of 1945
when, as part of the overall Enlargement Program then projected, the
alumni of Wake County undertook to raise $500,000 for library
construction. That purpose, of course, was abandoned in the aftermath
of the Reynolds offer of the next year.
When Mrs. Crittenden retired as librarian in 1946, the library had
68,913 volumes, with an annual circulation of more than 31,000. It
subscribed to 208 periodicals and received 211 more by gift. The staff
had five regular members and eight student assistants. In a foreword
to a report she later submitted, Gerald W. Johnson wrote: "The
mightiest praise ever bestowed on the effort of a woman was the
simple statement, ‘She hath done what she could.' If the rest of