Harvard students and Harvard instructors need a Library reading room from which they shall not be driven at sundown every day of the college year. The need is nothing new. Two years ago a petition signed by nearly every student of the University was presented to the Corporation asking to have Gore Hall lighted by electricity. The Corporation deemed this unsafe, since the present building is not fire-proof: and impossible, since they had not the funds necessary to make it fire-proof. President Eliot in his last Annual Report refers to the Librarian's report which treats of this matter as follows:
"The eyes of the students and their bodily health in general are impaired by the inadequate light and foul air of the reading room. The deprivation of such reading-room facilities as we have during the long evenings from October to March-being the larger part of the college year-is generally thought to occasion a great abridgement of opportunities for the students. The present building has no means of lighting it artificially. There seem to be good reasons to dread the introduction into it of gas, or of electrical currents from the public streets."
The President then adds: "The need is a serious one; it exists at the very centre of University, considered as a place of study and research, and the very fact that it is so keenly felt signifies that the Library is fulfilling, though under difficulties, its all important function; but as was stated in the President's Report for 1887-8, it is a need which the President and Fellows are quite unable to satisfy with any resources now at their command."
Elsewhere in the report the President appeals to individual munificence, but no one as yet has responded to this appeal. The students, therefore, have taken the matter into their hands and have decided upon active steps. In June last representatives of the various departments in the University voted to canvass the college this fall, in order to raise as large a subscription as possible among the students themselves, and then, by a circular-letter, to appeal to the Alumni for the rest. In answer to their inquiry, President Eliot replied that "a plain stone building of sufficient size, made fire-proof and lighted by electricity could hardly be built and furnished for less than $100.000."
They wrote to representative Alumni asking for their co-operation in the scheme and have received their approval. Mr. Moses Williams, of Brookline, has kindly consented to act as Treasurer, and the venerable George Bancroft, the oldest living graduate of Harvard, heads the list of noted men who will act as Alumni Committee.
It now remains for the students to come forward with their part. A ready response from them will be the best proof of how keenly such a reading room is needed.
It is particularly desirable that every man shall contribute his part inside of a fortnight in order that the appeal to the Alumni can be made at once.
The committee is made up as follows: Chairman, Horace A. Davis, '91; secretary, Henry P. Ross, Sp. ; from '90, P. S. Abbot, G. Blagden, Jr., R. D. Brown, E. A. Darling, S. Dexter, D. C. Torrey; from '91, J. F. Bass, G. T. Goldthwaite, R. B. Hale, I. N. P. Stokes, M. Williams, Jr.; from '92, A. R. Benner, W. N. Duane, T. W. Lamont, H. M. Landon, N. Rantoul; from '93, S. E. Farwell, G. R. Fearing, L. A. Frothingham, B. W. Trafford; Sp., J. A. Garland; L. S. S, P. V. K. Johnson; Gr., E. B. Delabarre, J. B. Chittenden, F. E. Zinkeisen; D. S., C. T. Sempers; L. S., G. P. Furber, R. E. Forbes, C. M. Thayer.