Richard Hoe Lawrence – ANS Librarian from 1880-1886

Librarian's Report: March 16, 1880 New York: ANS Archives.

The removal from Mott Memorial Hall to our present quarters has enabled us to surround the library with conveniences which it did not formerly possess. We now occupy a room which we may call our own, well lighted and conveniently furnished, and, through the kindness of Mr. Feuardent who has the keys of the room, members may consult the books at all times.

Mr. Wood has carried out the intention mentioned in his last annual report and resigned his position as librarian. It is to be regretted that he finds it necessary to withdraw from active interest in the society. He leaves us greatly indebted to him for the time and money he has bestowed upon it.

Our books are not catalogued, and a library without a cataloguer is, as Carlyle says, a Polyphemus without an eye in his head. It is hoped that our infant Cyclops will soon have this important member placed in his forehead.

Librarians_Report_1880_We need something more than a mere list of books, however. Each title should be accurately copied, the paging, number of plates and size carefully noted, and every work of importance should be followed by a list of contents and a critical estimate of its value. A thorough index to the subjects should be arranged in the same alphabet with the authors. A good example of a catalogue of this kind is to be seen in that lately issued by the Mercantile Library of Brooklyn. In the Library Journal for March, 1878 is a set of useful rules for catalogers, intended to ensure uniformity in description.

The library during the past year has received a number of valuable donations. Mr. Parish gave a set of Cohen's works on the Roman Family and Imperial Coinages, a work of standard value to every collector of Roman coins, but which, owing to its rarity, few possess. Mr. Parish has kindly offered to have the books bound at his own expense.

Through the liberality of [various donors], we have been enabled to purchase Loubat's valuable work on the medallic history of the United States. The plates of this beautiful book were etched by Jule Jacquemart and printed in Paris. The letter press is by Francis Start and Co. of this city. This book ranks far above other medallic histories in accuracy and thoroughness of research and in beauty of workmanship. It is true, however, that we may accuse Jacquemart of lending to some of the medals a beauty and grace which they do not really possess.