President Quincy in 1837 spoke of Gore Hall as the principal ornament of the College square, and expected that but a small portion of what we now call Gore Hall would be of "sufficient capacity to contain the probable accumulation of books during the present century." As we watch the derricks pulling down the walls of this intellectual Bastile we wonder in a somewhat patronizing air at President Quincy's quaint taste and short-sighted expectations. Let us forget his taste, and think about his short-sightedness. He made his mistake in judgment because he could not see our modern attitude towards books in education. Certainly many of us have not stopped to see our own attitude. We are simply conscious that things have changed, and we assume that they have changed for the better.
It is so obvious that it is better to have many books than a few books that there is need of commenting on the dangers of our privilege. There was a time when no man could be great unless he had read nothing more than Pilgrims Progress, the Bible, and Shakespeare's Plays. That time has gone, and the student now a days instead of trying to get a sympathy with a few well-known authors, boasts that he is a pioneer and seeks to achieve an education by reading books by unknown authors. The desire to discover more in formation, to do "original work," has its reward, but it can reap no more than it sows. The old attitude which President Quincy assumed to be permanent did provoke much solid and healthy reading of literature that is intrinsically good, which many of us escape in these days of reference. It is worth while to look at Gore Hall and think about President Quincy, for it may remind us that tomorrow our own educational ideas will be weighed and found wanting.