The Library and Union in their new spaces
In the 1916 edition of the Trinity Ivy, a photograph of the new library reading room on the second floor of Memorial Hall, is accompanied by the following description:
"Trinity College has long been noted, among other things, for its library, and now, in addition, it is noted for its library building, which, through the munificence of the late J. Pierpont Morgan, trustee, benefactor, and friend of the College, was completed last fall and was duly dedicated as a memorial to the late Bishop Williams on November the first.
From the first Trinity has been conducted with the ideal of turning out men that should not only be fitted for the business world but who should be well educated in the best and broadest sense of that word. To attain this high end a fine library was necessary, and we find in the catalogue soon after 1826 the statement that a valuable library had been obtained, and under Dr. Wheaton, 1831-1837, many new and valuable books were added. From that time on the library continued to grow, and Bishop Williams, by his tireless energy and great insight brought the collection into the first rank of American college libraries. That place it has since held and at the present time it contains the best of the more recent works upon all the subjects in the college curriculum as well as all the important authoritative and indispensable older books, and includes many individual works of great rarity and value. During the past year over 1,800 volumes and 2,000 pamphlets were added to the collection apart from the generous and important gift by Mr. John H. S. Quick, '58, of his valuable library of between 8,000 and I 0,000 volumes.
In its new home in the Williams Memorial the library with all its departments is readily accessible to all the students, and with its convenience as a place of reference and its attractiveness as a place for study it embodies the highest ideals of the twentieth century college library, and is a worthy monument to the greatness of the donor as well as to that of the man whose name it bears."
A new Student union was dedicated shortly after the Library. Annual dues were set at $1.50 per year, and the facility was open until 11:00pm. The Union was intended to provide a social outlet for all students, regardless of fraternity affiliation.
The space was outfitted with pool tables, periodicals, leather divans, a piano, and more. The Tripod's account of the opening ceremonies portrays the campus-wide excitement of this new addition:
"COLLEGE UNION OPENED.
Major Wilcox, Dr. Luther and Judge Smith the Speakers. The college Union was opened last Tuesday night, November 24th, with appropriate exercises. The opening was a most enjoyable affair, and its large success indicated the enthusiasm with which the college body welcomed the Union.
Practically the entire college body was present at the opening exercises, many members of the faculty, all of whom had been invited, and many alumni. Before the exercises opened there was a social hour. The room presented an animated scene, being packed almost to capacity. Undergraduates, alumni and faculty members alike were busily engaged in admiring the appearance of the room and in improving to the utmost all the opportunities for diversion which it offers. On every side were heard comments that the Union was a place that not only in every way measured up to all expectations, but far surpassed them, and that it was an institution which would do the college an infinite amount of good if it is supported as it should be. Music, provided by a stringed instrument orchestra of freshmen, was exceptionally good, and was loudly applauded.
G. D. Howell, Jr., '1 5, President of the Senate, opened the exercises by introducing the presiding officer, Major F. L. Wilcox, '80, of Berlin. Major Wilcox spoke as follows:
Major Wilcox's Speech.
I appear before you, not as an orator. It indeed must be a peculiarly gifted man, that would fill such a role, in a presence like this, where only a few hours ago were shelved for ready reference the accumulated knowledge of the ages, the golden brain beats of the world's thinkers, and the silver words of the truly great that have moulded public opinion and moved multitudes. Rather I appear as a simple business man, a Banker if you please, without reputation or ambition as an advocate. But, I am charged with a certain commission, to assist in the opening and placing in daily use this "Union", as a new Department in the undergraduate life of Trinity College.
It is peculiarly human to want some little spot of the earth which we can call our own, a place where we have some proprietary rights. The law recognizes this characteristic when it calls "A Man's House his Castle". In college a fraternity man has such a "happy home", but the privileges of fraternity houses are restricted to their membership. The large neutral and non-resident bodies have no public place to meet and be met by others, where all have equal rights. It is to fill such a want in the body politic of the College that this old Library Room has been fitted up as a "Union" where all can meet on common ground. Here every undergraduate has an equal right. The very appropriate and tasteful furnishings have been purchased by funds from the Trustees as well as from the men of the College. This will serve the purpose of a Club Room. Here you will practice mental relaxation from intellectual scholastic pursuits. Here will develop the social life of the College as a whole, whence comes loyalty to one another, esprit de corps in the organizations, and a greater union between sons and Alma Mater. To plan for things at occasional college meetings is a good thing, but how much better will be · a perpetual meeting, when the welfare of the College will be under constant consideration. Its support will be spontaneous and never forced or spasmodic. A place like this', properly and generally used, will create a get-together spirit, and will make an all-around-acquaintance with every man in College. This in itself is a liberal education, for every man has his personal traditions and characteristics.
The world is made up of elements that are diametically [sic] opposite, and yet they are attracted to each other and blend in a harmony-passing belief. Winter and Summer are opposite, yet they blend into the ideal year. Ice, snow, brown earth, and leafless trees soon blossom into the glories of a day in June in the good old summer time. The darkness of night changes in the twinkling of an eye into the white light of noon of the perfect day. Water and earth make the Painter's masterpiece. Asleep and awake-work and play, make a full life. Boyhood and manhood lead to a ripe old age. The soldier and the citizen make a nation. The seven differing basic colors blend into the noble "bow of promise" in the sky. The male and female, how different-how drawn together, each seeking the other. How perfect the union of dissimilar forces. Oh, Nature is a wonderful alchemist! In College life, there has been gathered, in human forms, the powerful forces of different climates, environments, heredity, race, religion, etc. In college days you can study these diverging forces at close range, and choose your friends from among them. Sometimes it takes years to win a friend-again we pick them up one by one in the daily walks of life. Do you remember those of babyhood, of childhood, and of school days?
The best friends are made in College, when a man must stand on his own feet. Then the family tree, pedigrees and pull have the minimum of influence. The strong and the weak points stand out, and soon "birds of a feather flock together." Contests in the class room, in society, in fraternity houses, in college organizations, and on famous athletic fields create a love, tried and true, that lasts a lifetime.
Major Wilcox then introduced President Luther, who was greeted with tremendous cheering. Dr. Luther spoke in his customary earnest and entertaining manner. He said that the Union was something that for many years he had wished Trinity might have, for he realized the great need of it. He said that he was deeply gratified that the College now had one, and he wished for it a thoroughly successful and useful future.
Judge Buffington's Letter.
The following letter from Judge Joseph Buffington, '75, to G. D. Howell, Jr,'15,was read by Majo rWilcox: "It seems to me that every one of us, no matter whether he is a fraternity man or a non-fraternity man, should, because he is a Trinity man, resolve to do all in his power to make this Union a vital success. It can only be made so by every man, every coterie of students, and every society making up its mind to do everything in its power, both in letter and in spirit, to make this Union a success. We can't expect it to be a success all at once, after these years of Trinity division into groups and coteries, but with an earnest effort on the part of every man to make it a success I am sure it will be.
In that connection I want to say to every man in college who hopes to make a success of his life that one of the most valuable factors of success is the capacity of mingling with ones fellowmen. The man who graduates from college without having developed in himself a capacity to mingle freely with his fellows and to become what is commonly known as a "mixer", has lost one of the most valuable factors of success, and one of the things he can only learn in his college life. He can depend on it that if he has isolated his life in college and failed to learn the lesson of mixing with his fellows during his college life, he will never gain that thing in after life. This Union ought to help each fellow to become a Trinity Mixer.
I wish, my dear Dawson, that I were with you tomorrow night, but inasmuch as I cannot be, I send my greetings, my congratulations to Dr. Price for his splendid work to the team, for their loyalty, and above all, for our having such an all-rounded President as we have, who has given us from his heart the best of all college slogans-"Now then, Trinity!
Very cordially yours, as always, for Trinity,
Judge Smith Speaks.
Judge Edward L. Smith was the next speaker. He said that especial stress must be laid on the idea of union. A Union cannot be successful unless it is a· normal union, and to be so, it must be built upon the theory that familiarity breeds love and not contempt.
Between the addresses excellent music was rendered by the college quartette, and by the freshman orchestra, and when the speakers had finished, refreshments were served, Stickney catering. The Union is located in Seabury Hall, in the old library. Last year it became unmistakably apparent that Trinity's need of a Union must be filled without delay. The matter was taken up by the College Senate, and steps were at once made to provide a Union. The trustees gave the matter their consent and support, and this, with the support given by the college body, gave assurance that the Union would be a reality. The old library was completely remodeled, the same concern that did the general contracting on the Williams Memorial Building doing the work. The result is a room that is more than satisfactory as a Union. It is furnished with billiard and pool tables, a piano, numerous reading tables and chairs, and writing desks. Newspapers and the current magazines and periodicals are provided. Comfortable leather divans extend along two sides of the room, and these, with the excellent rugs on the floor, add much to its appearance. The walls are decorated with pictures of various college teams, and of campus scenes, and with banners.
Thanks are due to George R. Stickney for a picture of the college body taken in 1913, and to the firm of G. N. Abdian of Cambridge, Mass., for a large Trinity banner."