Research Into Phi Beta Frees Hasty Pudding of Suspicion of Stealing Half of Kappa's Library
Gilmore Shows Phi Beta Library Busted Up of Own Accord--No Pudding Piracy
Doubts of the legality of the transaction whereby the Hasty Pudding Club obtained 179 books from the original Phi Beta Kappa Library were dispelled by Gerald F. Gilmore 1G in an article in the last issue of the Alumnt Bulletin.
Gilmore, who had been working on a restoration of the Pudding Library for the Tercentenary, traced the history of the Phi Beta Kappa Library when it was found that a considerable number of the books were numbered among the Club Library. The Phi Beta Kappa Library has now been restored as completely as possible and a short time ago was placed among the archives of Widener.
Research by Gilmore reveals that the original Library was founded in 1785, four years after the establishment of the chapter, and continued intact until 1855 when it was disbanded and scattered among various student clubs.
From 1795, when the Library get too big for the chest and had to be put in a book case, until 1816 the records of the Library have been lost, but by that year the books had been put in the Library Room, Holworthy 24, which was the fortnightly gathering place for the club.
In 1834 and 1835 were made the only catalogues of the books, and these show about 370 books on hand and about 125 lost. By 1855, however, the Library had shrunk to insignificant numbers and the College decided to take their Holworthy room away from the young scholars. According to the records of the Society "... during recent years but few books had been added and very many had been lost and injured, so that at present it was of little or no benefit to the members of the Society, and that for these reasons the Faculty of the College had seen fit to withdraw the use of the room granted for a Library Room after the present year. And that under these circumstances the undergraduate society had voted to distribute their books among such of the Societies libraries as would render them most accessible and useful to students in College."
Final record notes that "After the rejection of various schemes, the Society at length concluded to allow the Natural History Society and Institute of 1770 to select what books they wanted, and to give the rest to the College Library."