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Exercises at the dedication of its new building online

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the Tiber, or the, Thames? Wisconsin, full of the highest hopes for the future, is doing what
she can to usher it in.

A library is composed of the best thoughts of the best tliinkers of all time. One cannot
choose his companions from tlie great ones of earth; but within these walls he can hold inter-
course with the greatest intellects in the world's history — the master spirits of the race.

The problems of real life, in dealing with our fellow men, and the great social and politi-
cal ciuestions which are from every side crowding in upon us for solution, will have more light
cast upDii them from the study of history than from any other source. In history is re-
conled the ascent of the moral, religious, and intellectual life of the human family. Ilis-


]>h:i>i( '.I ri(),\ ( 'I':ii'i<:j\/()xii<:s

Idi'y lins lu'i'ii ("illcil "tlic Ictlcr of iiislvuctiun.s wliidi lli<' did t^cnoratioii.s wi'ili' ;iii(l transmit
to till' new."

The treasuiX's of historic lore wliicli arc stored u|iiiii llirsc slielves are open to all. It re-
qnires n') n'olik'n key to reaeli tliein. l^lie fountains of knowledge are as fri'e as they arc in-
exhausfihle. I think I ean hear our enthusiastic seerctaiy, like the Jiclirevv prophet of old,
caUing-, "Ho, every one that thirsteth, eonie ye to the waters, and he that hath no nujney
come ! "

I have sometimes thouglit it strange that Wisconsin has talcei^ such an interest in history,
seeing it has so brief a history of its own. No buried cities, no ruined arches, no crumbling
pakaces, no grim castles famed in song and story, no gloomy cathedrals, no historic battlefields
are to be found within the confines of our young Wisconsin. I cease not to give thanks that
such is the case. It is a grand thought that we begin our history untrammeled by traditions,
and unfettered by i)rivilege and prerogative. Instead of the grim spectres of the departed past,
we see fair I'itics rising on the shores of beautiful lakes, with schools, colleges, libraries,
churches, and all those benevolent and charitable institutions which are the glory of our mod-
ern civilization.

If men come not from afar to visit our relics of the past, they are coming in greater and
greater numbers to consult the records of the past wliieh we have garnered. 1 do not think
it a thing impossible that before many generations come and go, the students of Europe will
not consider that their education is complete until they have studied at the University of Wis-
consin! Our state is larger than all England, but has only 2,000,000 of people; can any one
predict the standing of our University whei^ it has the support of ten, perhaps even twenty,
millions of people ?

We are on the threshold of a new century, a fact which should give an impetus to the
study of history. Not one of us will reach another of these mile-stones of Time, and it be-
hooves us to look botli back ujion the past and forward to the future.

He must bi.' blind, indeed, who cannot see that at present the mightiest agencies are uni-
fying the nations of the earth. Every ocean is covered with ships, the mountains are being
tunneled, the rivers bridged, great canals are being made between the oceans, electric wires
are being laid in the dark depths of the sea, while wonderful expositions of the industries of
every nation are being held under one roof, and the prejudices of race and tongue are rapidly
melting away. The horrid thunders of war have not ceased to roll, liut they are merely prepar-
ing the way to usher in the grand diapason of universal peace.

Ladies and gentlemen, I feel that I must not occuj'y any more of your time, for we have
with us many distinguished men from both our own and other states, who have kindly come
to assist us in making the exercises of this hour worthy of the great occasion we have met to
celebrate, and to rejoice with us that one more mighty jiower has been established in Wiscon-
sin to dissi]iate the darkness of ignorance and " weaken the sceptre of Old Night," a power
which will make for righteousness, intelligence, and truth, through many generations to come.


Di'inicA rioy crjiKMosi i':s



'RUST, as presidsnt of the Board of Commissioners for crci-tiiio- tlio State Historical
Library Building, that a feAv figures, briefly stated, giviuti' tlic cost of lliis biiilihng
and comparing it with the cost of some otlier library ami oHico buildings ivccntly
constructed, may be of interest at this time.

For construction alone, Iliis building has cost 20 cents per cubic fooi; including all the fur-
nishing and equipment, as you see it to-day, it cost but 29 cents per cubic fool.

In the southwest stack wing, there is stor-
age capacity for 250,000 volumes; there is space
for 5,000 volumes upon the walls of the reading
room; the newspaper stack holds 20,000 bound
volumes of files; (lien, the several offices and
departmental and seminary libraries will hold
about 138,000 volumes, making a present tot:d
storage capacity of 413,000 volumes. When the
northwest stack wing is constructed, this total
will be increased to 625,000 volumes.

The cost of the Milwaukee Puldic Liln-ary
building was al>out 21 cents per cubic loot, for
construction alone. I understand that its ca-
pacity is 240,000 volumes, and tliat it now has
a':)0ut 140,000 volumes in its stack rooms.

The cost of tlie Chicago Publie Library,
which is liighly decorated, was 43 cents per
cubic foot. The Boston Public Library cost 70
cents; but, as most of you know, this building is
very handsomely finisheil and decorated. The
cost of the new Columbia University Library,
in New York city, was 40 cents per cubic foot;
of the State Library at Richmond, A"a., a brick structure, 23 cents; of the Auditorium Llotel,
in Chicago, 38 cents; of the New York Life Insurance Company l)uilding at Kansas City, 38
cents; and of the same company's building at Omaha, 39 cents.

These figures are instructive as well as interesting; they exhibit the fact that this lieautiful
library building for the State Historical Society of Wisconsin has been constructed, furnished,


President of the Board of Building Conmii


and equipped at a niinimiini cost to tlie state — that the people have in every respect received
their money's worth. The Building Commissioners have attempted to erect this building with
the same care as to expense and quality that they would exercise upon buildings for them-
selves; it is confidently believed that tlie trust committed to them has lieen administered upon
a prudent and business-like basis. It is a sufficient reward to thcni to know tliat the people
of the state, so far as heard from, apjiear to be satisfied with tliis )iuilding, which is tu-day
dedicated to the cause oi liiglier education in the state of Wisconsin.

Carvers cutting lions' heads, over east entrance.





1)EE^^ it an lioiior t<i take part in tlie ceremonies of (Icilieatiiie; lliis inagnifieent
l)uil(.ling; al)uiiiling wliicli seems to me to l)e tyi)ieal of the sjiirit of the people of tlie
Badger state — tlie people who liave chosen for their motto tlie word "Forward."
That single inspiring word comprehends all, and we have proof here that the people are
1 iving up to it in its fullest significance. It speaks volumes for the state that there should be within
its borders a collection of books and documents deserv-
ing such a home, and that the people should be willing
to erect a building worthy of such a collection. The
stranger who visits this library and examines its con-
tents need ask jio questions as to the intelligence and
enterprise of our citizens; this noble monument and its
treasures tell the tale. They are more elociuent than
words; they leave notliing to l)e asked.

The topic upon which I have been asked to speak
for a few moments, iiresents with these associations
thoughts too numerous and too exjiansive to lie cov-
ered, even in a general way, in tlie time I am allotted;
I shall therefore confine myself to a few remarks upon
the attitude of the state toward educational movements.

But before doing this I wish to express publicly my
pleasure and jiride in this beautiful structure, and to
compliment tlie ISuilding Commission which liad it in
charge upon the success wliiih it has acliicved. I had
no concei)tion of the beauty of the building until I re-
cently visited it; and I feel that the state owes a del>t
of gratitude to the men who, without recompense, gave
their time and attention to it in oi'der that we might
have here in the capital of Ibe state and at the seat of

the State University, a lilu-aiy building worthy of the weallh and intelligence of the citizens of

Wisconsin has been generous in i)roviding facilities for education. There is scarcely a nook
or corner in the whole state where the schoolhouse is not within easy reacli of every child who
desires an education; and in every city of the state, the public schools are among the largest


Governor of Wisconsin.


anil best of its l)uil(lings. Not only has the state Iteen Hheral witli money for sehool-liuil(hngs
and equipinents, hut its laws have heen framed with a view to encourage learning. Every-
where, from the little sehoolhouse in the woods to the great University on the hill, which
crowns our e(hicational system, is the s]Mrit of the people towards learning manifest. And the
liberality has not stopjied with provi(hng means of educating children and those who desire to
pursue tlie higher courses of learning; hut it has l)een extended to tlie care of the (k'fective and
criminal classes. Every citizen of the state may feel i)ride in the intelligent and generous
manner in which these classes are cared for, as well as in the way in which tlie state lias ajv
propriated money for public education. It is a gratifying fact that the money thus a])propri-
ated has been "intsUigently expended and wisely distributed. I do not mean that there nnght
not be improvement in the method of spending public moneys in AVisconsin, as elsewhere; but,
for the most part, money has l.ieen appropriated by the state only when it was needed, and
this implies intelligent expenditure. The great T/niversity, near the grounds of which this
library building is erected, is an illustration of what the state is attempting to do in the way
of giving an opportunity to her children for a higher education. A^ist sums have l)een ex-
jiended upon it, and greater sums will be exjiended in the future to keep it in the foremost
rank uf universities. The same liberality has been and will be shown toward the common
schools. I feel that there nnght be even more money than there is, expended for the pulilic
schools. 1 am confident that before many years elapse, the appropriations for the public
schools of the state will be very largely increased. Our state presents the example of a gener-
ous giver, profited by giving. The principle is as true in government as it is in the development
of jirivate character, that the one wdio gives will l)e the one who gets.

The foolish, unthinking person might contend that the generosity shown by the iieoi>le to-
war<l educatinn and iihilaiithropic work had nut made the state more wealthy and ])rospcrous;
but (he contrary is regarded as so obviously true by all who do think, that it is not wortli
while discussing. I venture the assertion that every dollar expended in the University has
])een repaid tenfold to the state, in the develoiiment of its resources. If it could be determined,
it would be exceedingly interesting to know how nuich the College of Agriculture, for instance,
has increased the agricultural interests of the state; and I have no doulit it would be found
that the knowledge imimrted by the college had i)aid the state ten times what tlie college has

AVisconsin is steadily growing more wealthy, not merely in material things, but in the
things that cannot be measured by commercial rules. The general level ol' prosperity, which
includes all, from the man who laln)rs with the shovel or the hoe to the cai)italist, has been
raised and is steadily rising. A\'lien we shall reacli the heiglit of material prosperity, no one
can predict; but I feel confident, knowing something of the temperament of the people and the
development of philanthroiiic impulses, that even after the stale has reached the climax of
material ])rosiiL'rity, she will go on increasing her liberality along higher lines. It is in the
very nature of advancing civilization, such as we are i)roud to Ijelieve our state exemplifies,
that this sliould be so.

It is ]ileasing to think that with all these large sums which the state appropriates each
year, no tax-payer has been really burdened. AVe know, of course, witliout discussing that
l)oint, that there are a great many ineciualities in our system of taxation; but no man sufi'ers
hunger or is deprived of any of the necessities or even luxuries of life through the amount of
taxes he has to pay; so that our giving — and this must be a pleasure to us — for these nol:)le
purposes, such as the erection of this building, is done without any feeling of iiressure.



In t-losino-, let me say again tliat I fcol we owe a (lel)t of gratitude to the commission in
whose chai-o-e this huihhng has heen, I'oi' its conscientious and intelligent work. The stately
appearance ol' the exterior ot this structure, as well as the artistic beauty of its interioi', not to
speak of the mass of knowledge represented by its contents, will be an insiHi'aliun and guide
to better taste and higher impulses for many generations to come. I feel to-dny jhaf my i)rede-
cessor, Governor I'liham, undei' whose administration and upon whose recounnendation Ihe
first appropriation loi' this beautiful structure was iua<le, is lo be coinphiuented upon the
moinniient he budded for hiuiseir. It is a nionumeiil lo learning which will stand long after
those who conceived it have passed away, and of which tins and future generations may well
be jiroud.

I r






AUNR'EESITY is chiefly an inspiration and an opportunity. Tlie highest work of
tiie great teaclier is to Icindle a desire and tlien to point out tlie way. Learning some-
times seems to shrinlc up the soul. If at any one spot there are twelve apostles, at
least one of them has to look after the luirse, and so loses his way. It is only the
inspired soul that ran throw wide njien the doors that lead into the Elysian fields, and say to
the student, " This is the way ; walk ye in it."

If the teachers are the inspiration, the lahoratories and the libraries are the opportunities of
knowledge. But all learning tends to take on tlie liistoric form. Even the mathematics can-
not thrive without Pogendorf's Annalcii. And so, when the university is reduced to lowest
terms, we find that it consists simply of two elements — teachers and books. All tilings else,
liowever necessary and desiralde, are as mere clothes to the real man. Hence it is easy to see
why a great library has always been held to be a necessary part of a great university. The
great library at Alexandria preceded the other part of the university ; and the Germans, after
the war of 1870, would hardly think of founding the new University of Strassburg till the other
universities of the world had given them 300,000 volumes.

It would lie hard to name any place where these two necessary elements of learning have
been more fortunately brought together than they have Iiere. Other universities, it is true, in
the course of long years and centuries have brought together larger faculties and more numerous
bodies of students. Other liltraries count greater numl)ers of volumes. But who can name a spot
where in less than fifty years from the time when the frontiersmen were lieginning to gather
up the unwoven fringe of civilization, the people have brought such a gift as this and placed
it, we may almost say, in the lap of the State University ?

This was as it should have been ; for where else could the streams of knowledge have been
s) potent for good as when flowing back into the state, through the minds and hearts of the
children of the people? Are not the children the dearest possession of the fathers and the
mothers, and so the dearest possession of the state? Do not the fathers and mothers willingly
and cheerfully do for their children more than they would do for themselves ? Is there any thing
more striking in society than the universal desire of parents that their offspring should have
a better chance than was given to the fathers and mothers? If it be true that all that a man
hatli will he give for his life, it is none the less true that all that a man hath will he give for his
children. This, for obvious reasons, is even more strikingly true on the frontiers than it is in
the mature parts of our country. The school houses that dot the valleys and hillsides are a
striking and a glorious proof of the determination that whatever else comes, the children are to

be provided for.



1( was ill (liis siiiril llial llir ivpivsciilal ivcs ol' lliis cd )iiwealtli gave (lir iiKinoyfor

this luililf slnicliiiv. Il was Inr llioir cliildrcii raflicr lliau for llicinselves ; and it may wi'U be
(loiiliti'd wlii'duT till' Icyislaliii'c t'ould possilily Inivo Ihvd piTsnadcd to erect sucli a structure
clscwlicrc than at tiic edge of the University, where so many of their sons and dauglitcrs come
to ih'ink of the sweet waters of learning. Here, it is true, is an liistorical collcclion of such
importance that, wlicrever its liomc, it would draw scholars and investigators to it fnjiii aU


President of the University of Wisconsin.

parts of the country. But it is safe to say that the pr(>donn'nant and deciding motive in ])roviding
for so large and commodious a structnre was to make a place wliere the children of the state
woul<l, for years and perhaps centuries to come, feed their intellects and their souls with the
best tliat the world of letters has to give.

Nor let us forget the elevating and ennobling inliuences of sucli surroundings, ("an any
student even look down the coi'ridor as he enters the building, without feeling sonjelhing of
that subduing insijiration wbicli is always felt in the presence of the great in art? As for niy-


^rlscoNSIK state iiistoeical libbaey building

self, when, after an absence of six months, I first entered the completed structure, I could
scaix'ely refrain from exclaiming, as I gazed about me, " Hei-e is something which even the
Greeks themselves would have praised ! " And as I wandered from room to room, and finally
walked around the exterior, I could not help thinking that the building as a whole would not
have been out of place on that sacred hill of Minerva at Atliens, which was thronged with
temples and statues and colonnades, any one of whicli, it has been said, would liave been the
artistic glory of anj' city in the world. And I fancied that in the years to come many a student
may here have something of that artistic tlirill, at once subduing and all-permeating and up-
lifting, which so many have felt on first entering King's College chapel at Cambridge, liut only
Wunlsworth's genius could fully express.

'■ Tax not the royal Saint with vain expense,

With ill-matched aims the Architect who planned,

Albeit laboiu-ing for a scanty band

Of white robed Scholars only, this immense

And glorious work of fine intelligence !

Give all thou canst ; high Heaven rejects the lore

Of nicely-calculated less or more :

So deemed the Man who fashioned for the sense

These lofty pillars, spread that branching roof

Self-poised, and scooped into ten thou.sand cells,

Where light and shade repose, where music dwells

Lingering, and wandering on as loth to die ;

Like thoughts whose very sweetness yieldeth proof

That they were born for immortality. "

As I tarned to take another survey of the whole, even the lii:>ns which guard the front
jiurtals seemed to say to every goer and comer • " Leave behind you every turbulent passion,
for growl and roar as you may, you will be keitt in jjlace by this weiglit of wisdom and this
sense of beauty, ami will finally be enchained and led with garlands of flowers."

In the name of the University, I give thanks for this nol.)le offering on the altar of learning.

In behalf of the regents and all the faculties, I give thanks.

In liclialf of tlic thousands of students, whether now here or yet to come, who are most
specially to enjoy the fruits of these labors, I give thanks.

The higliest institution of learning in the state, in all its branches, brings its congratulations
and its thanks — to tlie Building Commission, who have so faithfully guarded all the interests
of the state ; to the arcliitects, who have designed a building so noble in conception, so pure in
style, and so beautiful in i)roi)ortion and detail; to General Fairchild, to Governor Upham,
and to y])eaker Burrows, who ])ut forth their powerful efforts in the hour of emergency ; to the
wise legislators, who saw the significance of such a structure in its beneficent influence on the
far future ; and most of all to the generous people of this great commonwealth, who have shown
tliat tliey have been alike determined that liberty in the land shall not perish, and that in
accordance witli the great Ordinance of 1787 learning in Wisconsin shall forever be fostered and





Oil'" THE hundred men wlio, fifty-one years ago last January, placed their names upon
1 (he membership roll of the Wisconsin Historical Society, I believe that not over three
ir four are now living; and probably none of these are here present. Tlie first gen-
ration of the organizers of our guild have practically passed away. We who to-day are
dedicating to public use this temple of history in Wisconsin, are of the second generation ;
that which we are garnering is the fruitage of the inspiration which has come down to us from
the pioneers of 1849.

The first four years were practically l)arren.
The Society, reorganized in 1853, then placed its
work in tlie hands of one who tliencefortli gave
]iis life to tliis I'nlerprisc. We ai'c but building
on the fdundations i:)lanted deeii and wide by
Lyman I'. Drai)er. It is therefore meet tlml in
tliis our hour (if rejoicing, we have some tliought
of the man to wliose memorj^ is due so large a
share of our thanksgisang.

Those were days of small Ix'giiinings. After
the enlliusiasui (if ui-gniiizatidii had passed
away, but a small band I'cniained df thdse who
understood the mission of a Shite Historical
Society, or appreciated what it might become.
It was early seen that the institution could not
flourish without state aid. Draper was obliged
to prove by his works, froui year to year, that
the Society was worth aiding, as an agency of
the higher education, and official recognition
came tardily following tlie steady advancement
of the undertaking.

He was by nature diffident, he preferred the cloistered quiet of the scholar; yet the great
needs of this Society led him, for a third of a century, to exploit it in the jiress, to haunt the
halls of legislation, to plead foi' the bounty of the philanthropic A generation of men in jiublic
life knew him for a patient, kindly soul, jiossessed of one high purjiose, to the accomplislnnent
of which he Ijrought unconquerable persistence. It was given to few to understand him in-


First secretary of the Society, 18S4-1,S,S6.


tiniately, for in social life his was the reticence of a hermit ; but to know Dr. Draper was to
recognize beneath his ai'mor of reserve, a savant graced with the gentleness of a woman — one
who loved flowers, liirds, and cliildren, and who in his dailj' walks would stoop to remove ol)-
structions upon which the aged or the blind might stumble.

In those early days of storm and stress, when state assistance was paltry, wlien often the

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Online LibraryState Historical Society of WisconsinExercises at the dedication of its new building → online text (page 2 of 16)