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Samuel Putnam Avery.

The Avery, Fairchild & Park families of Massachusetts, Connecticut & Rhode Island, with a short narration of facts concerning Mr. Richard Warren, Mayflower passenger, and his family connections with T online

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Online LibrarySamuel Putnam AveryThe Avery, Fairchild & Park families of Massachusetts, Connecticut & Rhode Island, with a short narration of facts concerning Mr. Richard Warren, Mayflower passenger, and his family connections with T → online text (page 6 of 12)
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tenderness of temperament which made him not only a great
critic and connoisseur, but a dear friend as well.

It is doubtful if there is a worthy charity or a well-managed
[54]



public institution in the city of New York which has not felt in
a material way the benefit of his good will. Of these, however,
the Library of Columbia University has been most kindly cared
for.

The Avery Architectural Library is a most characteristic pro-
duction of Mr. Avery's genius. The profession of architecture is
peculiarly dependent upon its literature. At the same time the
cost of the best architectural books places them beyond the
reach of many serious practitioners. This became apparent to
Mr. and Mrs. Avery during the short practice of their son,
Henry Ogden Avery, perhaps the most brilliant and promising of
the younger architects of his day — who had gathered for his
own use a remarkably valuable collection of books. At the death
of their son there came to his parents the thought of the endow-
ment of a monumental architectural library, as a suitable memo-
rial; a library which should be easily accessible to all interested
persons. Having made this decision, Mr. and Mrs. Avery, quite
as a matter of course, placed their great resources in commission
with a liberality which has known no limit except their own good
judgment and that of the purchasing committee created by the
foundation.

To this library and this work Mr. Avery has always given most
freely of that which after all has been most enriching and most
valuable — himself. His very last message concerned a gift,
under date of August ^^^ — and he then wrote with trembling
hand, "I am a much sicker man than you may imagine,"
though every other word was cheerful and hopeful. To the very
last his interest never flagged, and his generous heart beat
strong and true in spite of a keen consciousness of failing physical
powers.

On the afternoon of the 14**^, simple yet impressive services
were held at the family residence, at which in spite of the mid-
summer and vacation season the University was well represented.

More enduring than on bronze or marble is the inscription
which he has written by his life on the hearts of his fellow citizens.
Columbia University Quarterly, September, 1904.
[55]



Whereas, Samuel Putnam Avery, a member of this committee since
1895, and of the Association since 1882, died on August 1 1*'', 1904, and

Whereas, We recognize that he had not only been a loyal supporter
of the cause for the promotion of which this Association was formed, and
a liberal contributor of funds for the carrying on of its work, but that as
an artist he was well known and as a patron of the arts was distinguished;
further, that he had taken an intelligent and active interest in public
questions generally, seeking to bring his influence to bear in lifting the
consideration of such matters to a higher plane, that though he rarely
spoke in public, his influence was so exerted that it tended to promote
the public welfare; that he was optimistic, in that he believed matters of
"political housekeeping" were susceptible of improvement: that he was
sympathetic, especially with the aspirations and strivings of the young,
and when he gave to Columbia University the valuable Avery Library,
it was that both old and.young, but especially the young men and women,
and the alumni who had not long ceased to be resident there, might have
close at hand the means by which they could investigate more deeply the
arts and architecture of an earlier time: that he was a philanthropist in
a very genuine sense, who had taken to heart and applied the saying of
George Sand's Jacques, that there is but one virtue, the eternal sacrifice
of one's self; therefore.

Resolved, That this Executive Committee consider it a privilege to
place on its records and directs that it be so placed, this minute indicative
of its appreciation of the quiet and unassuming but generous and fruitful
life which Mr. Avery led, and the high purpose by which his career always
seemed to be actuated.

Adopted by the Executive Committee of the Civil Service Reform
Association of New York at a meeting held September 28*^^^, 1904.

Mr. Avery was for several years Secretary to the Art Com-
mittee of the Union League Club, New York. This led to the
organization of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, of which he be-
came one of the founders and a leading director. He held many
other positions of honor, having been a Trustee of the New York
Public Library, President of The Grolier Club, Vice-president of
the Sculpture Society, and honorary member of the Architec-
tural League and of the Typothetae Society. He was also one of
the original committee for the erection of the Bartholdi Statue of
Liberty in New York Harbor. The loss of his son, Henry Ogden
Avery, a talented young architect, caused him to found in the
Columbia University library, the Avery collection of architectural
and art books as a memorial. This contains more than fifteen
thousand volumes and is probably the best special library of
[56]



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Online LibrarySamuel Putnam AveryThe Avery, Fairchild & Park families of Massachusetts, Connecticut & Rhode Island, with a short narration of facts concerning Mr. Richard Warren, Mayflower passenger, and his family connections with T → online text (page 6 of 12)