The American Cyclopædia (1879)/Library

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The American Cyclopædia
Library
Edition of 1879. Written by John D. Champlin, Jr.See also Library on Wikipedia, and the disclaimer.

LIBRARY (Lat. librarium, a bookcase), a collection of books designed for use and preservation; also the repository of such a collection. Although the English word comes directly from the Latin, the Romans usually designated a library by the Greek word bibliotheca, which has been adopted into almost every cultivated language excepting the English. Libraries are probably nearly coeval with the art of writing. The oldest of which we have any record is that of the Ramesseum, a temple founded in Thebes by Rameses II., in honor of his father Seti I., the Osymandias of Diodorus. According to Hecatæus, one of its rooms was the depository of the histories and records of the priests, a statement which seems to have been substantiated by the researches of Egyptologists. Another great library existed at an early date in Memphis, but the most famous of all ancient libraries was that founded early in the 3d century B. C. by the Ptolemies in Alexandria. (See Alexandrian Library.) Layard discovered in the ruins of the palace of Koyunjik the library of the Ninevite kings, consisting of a large number of tablets of clay, impressed before burning with inscriptions in cuneiform characters; they had originally been paged and preserved in cases. Several thousands of these tablets are now in the British museum. The Hebrews preserved their sacred writings in the temple. The kings of Persia also had collections of books and of archives. — According to Aulus Gellius and Athenæus, the first library established in Greece was founded at Athens by Pisistratus; but Strabo says that Aristotle's collection was the first. The former library is said to have been carried to Persia by Xerxes, and finally restored to Athens by the emperor Hadrian; the latter was purchased by Ptolemy Philadelphus and added to that of Alexandria. Polycrates also formed a library at Samos at an early date. Next to the Alexandrian library, that founded by Eumenes II., king of Pergamus, was the most celebrated of antiquity. Plutarch says it contained 200,000 volumes, and it probably continued to increase in numbers and value until the time of Mark Antony, who transported it as a present to Cleopatra to Alexandria, where it became a part of its more famous rival and finally shared its fate. About 167 B. C. Paulus Æmilius carried to Rome a library, the spoil of his campaign in Macedonia; but to Asinius Pollio belongs the honor of founding the first Roman public library, in the atrium libertatis on Mount Aventine. Sulla carried from Athens to Rome the library of Apellicon the Teian; Lucullus made a large collection, and his galleries and porticoes became a favorite resort for conversation; Varro, Atticus, and Cicero were enthusiastic collectors of books. One of the unfulfilled projects of Cæsar was the formation of a public library which should contain all the works in Greek and Latin literature. Augustus established the Octavian and Palatine public libraries, the latter of which continued until the time of Pope Gregory I. More important was the Ulpian library, founded by Trajan. At a later period 28 public libraries are mentioned as existing in Rome, besides many valuable private collections. All of these perished in the barbarian invasions. The library of Constantinople, founded by Constantine, and enlarged by Julian and the younger Theodosius to the number of 120,000 volumes, was partially burned by the iconoclasts in the 8th century under Leo the Isaurian. This disaster was repaired by Constantine Porphyrogenitus, who restored and enlarged the collection. After the fall of the Byzantine empire it was preserved by the command of Mohammed II. in the seraglio, and was either destroyed by Amurath IV. or perished by neglect. Libraries were founded from the 9th to the 11th century, especially by the imperial family of the Comneni, in the cloisters on the islands of the archipelago and on Mt. Athos. — When Christian Europe was plunged in ignorance, the Moslems cultivated letters with assiduity, and made large collections of books. They had an important library in Alexandria and another in Cairo. The latter, which is said to have been the largest in the Mohammedan dominions, is said by some of the Arab writers to have numbered 1,600,000 volumes. Other great Arabian libraries were at Bagdad, Tripoli in Syria, and Fez. Under Moslem domination Spain possessed 70 public libraries; that at Cordova contained 400,000 volumes. — In the West, after the fall of the Roman empire, learning was confined to the monasteries, and almost all libraries, up to the 14th century, belonged to ecclesiastical institutions. They were generally small, comprising only the wreck of the collections dispersed by the barbarians. Among the cultivators of learning in the dark ages the Benedictines stood foremost, and to their careful reproduction of manuscripts the world is indebted chiefly for the preservation of the classics. At Monte Casino, Bobbio, and Pomposia in Italy; Cluny, St. Riquier, and Fleury in France; Marburg, Sponheim, Reichenau, and Korvei in Germany; St. Gall in Switzerland; Canterbury, Croyland, Yarrow, Bury St. Edmunds, Whitby, York, Durham, and Wearmouth in England, and other monasteries, were collected valuable libraries which became the nuclei of the great collections of later times. With the revival of learning began a new era in the history of libraries. The fall of Constantinople sent numbers of learned men into the West, who brought with them many valuable manuscripts. A zeal for the collection and preservation of books arose. Scholars traversed Europe and parts of Asia and of Africa in search of literary treasures, and in a few years most of the classic authors now known were to be found in the libraries of the great cities of Italy, Germany, and France. Several of the largest of the European libraries date from this period, among them those of Prague, Paris, Vienna, the Vatican, and the Laurentian of Florence, founded by Lorenzo de' Medici. The splendid collection made at Buda by Matthias Corvinus, king of Hungary, which is said to have numbered 50,000 manuscripts, and that of Frederick, duke of Urbino, belong to this time. The former, which was scattered at the capture of Buda by the Turks in 1526, has been almost entirely lost, only about 125 of its treasures being known to exist. Nearly one half of these are preserved in the imperial library at Vienna. The Urbino library is partly in the Vatican and partly in other collections. The invention of printing, by increasing the number and reducing the cost of books, made possible the formation of many public libraries, which soon sprang up in all the considerable towns of Germany, Italy, and France; and in these and the several university libraries were gradually merged most of the small collections of the monasteries which were suppressed after the reformation. — The following table shows the condition in 1874 of all the larger libraries of Europe:

EUROPEAN PUBLIC LIBRARIES CONTAINING

100,000 VOLUMES OR MORE.

PLACE. Name. When
founded.
Printed
vols.
MSS.

Cambridge
Dublin
Edinburgh
Edinburgh
Glasgow
Liverpool
London
Manchester
Oxford
Aix
Bordeaux
Lyons
Paris
Paris
Paris
Paris
Paris
Paris
Paris
Rouen
Troyes
Augsburg
Berlin
Bonn
Breslau
Carlsruhe
Cassel
Darmstadt
Dresden
Erlangen
Frankfort
Freiburg
Giessen
Gotha
Göttingen
Greifswald
Halle
Hamburg
Hanover
Heidelberg
Jena
Kiel
Königsberg
Leipsic
Leipsic
Marburg
Mentz
Munich
Munich
Rostock
Strasburg
Stuttgart
Treves
Tübingen
Weimar
Wolfenbüttel
Würzburg
Cracow
Pesth
Pesth
Prague
Vienna
Vienna
Zürich
Bologna
Florence
Milan
Milan
Modena
Naples
Padua
Parma
Rome
Rome
Rome
Turin
Venice
Madrid
Lisbon
Hague
Brussels
Copenhagen
Copenhagen
Christiania
Lund
Stockholm
Upsal
Helsingfors
Kiev
Moscow
Moscow
St. Petersburg
St. Petersburg
Athens

University
Trinity College
Advocates'
University
University
Public
British Museum
Public
Bodleian
Mejanes
City
City
National
Arsenal
Ste. Geneviève
Mazarin
Sorbonne
Institute
City
City
City
City
Royal
University
University
City
Electoral (now royal)
Grand ducal
Royal
University
City
University
University
Ducal
University
University
University
City
Royal
University
University
University
University and city
University
City
University
City
Royal
University
University
City
Royal
City
University
Grand ducal
Ducal
University
University
National
University
University
Imperial
University
City
University
National
Ambrosian
Public (Brera)
Este
National (Bourbon)
University
Public
Casanatense
Angelica
Vatican
University
St. Mark's
National
National
Royal
Royal
Royal
University
University
University
Royal
University
University
University
University
Museum
Imperial
Academy of Sciences
University

1475
1601
1680
1580
1473
1850
1753
1852
1598
1418
1738
. . . .
1350
1781
1624
1660
. . . .
1759
1759
1809
. . . .
1537
1650
1818
1811
. . . .
1580
1760
1555
1743
. . . .
1454
1607
1640
1734
1604
1696
1529
1690
1703
1548
1665
1544
1543
1677
1527
. . . .
1660
1575
1419
1531
1765
1773
1477
. . . .
1604
1403
1364
1804
. . . .
1350
1440
1777
1832
1690
1864
1609
1763
. . . .
1780
1629
. . . .
1700
1605
1378
1436
1468
1712
1796
1795
1400
1550
1731
1811
1671
1540
1621
1630
1833
1755
. . . .
1714
1726
1837

400,000
145,000
300,000
130,000
105,000
100,000
1,100,000
120,000
310,000
100,000
140,000
165,000
2,000,000
225,000
200,000
160,000
140,000
100,000
100,000
120,000
100,000
150,000
700,000
200,000
350,000
105,000
100,000
300,000
500,000
120,000
100,000
170,000
100,000
150,000
400,000
100,000
100,000
200,000
120,000
220,000
200,000
140,000
220,000
200,000
170,000
130,000
120,000
900,000
230,000
120,000
300,000
450,000
100,000
200,000
150,000
200,000
100,000
140,000
200,000
105,000
142,000
600,000
160,000
100,000
200,000
200,000
100,000
185,000
100,000
200,000
100,000
140,000
100,000
100,000
105,000
125,000
120,000
200,000
150,000
100,000
250,000
550,000
200,000
200,000
100,000
125,000
150,000
140,000
110,000
160,000
165,000
1,100,000
120,000
125,000

3,000
1,600
. . . .
3,000
. . . .
. . . .
. . . .
. . . .
30,000
1,200
200
2,400
150,000
6,000
3,500
4,000
1,000
. . . .
. . . .
1,000
5,000
. . . .
15,000
1,000
2,500
1,300
400
4,000
3,000
1,000
. . . .
. . . .
1,500
5,000
5,000
. . . .
. . . .
5,000
2,000
2,000
. . . .
. . . .
. . . .
2,500
2,000
. . . .
1,500
22,000
2,000
. . . .
. . . .
3,500
. . . .
2,000
2,000
5,000
1,500
5,400
. . . .
1,600
4,000
20,000
. . . .
. . . .
6,000
14,000
15,000
. . . .
3,000
5,000
1,500
. . . .
2,000
3,000
25,500
. . . .
10,000
8,500
10,000
. . . .
20,000
25,000
5,000
. . . .
1,000
5,000
8,000
. . . .
. . . .
. . . .
5,000
35,000
. . . .
600


In consequence of the rapid increase of many of the European libraries, and discrepancies in authorities, some of the figures in this table vary from those previously given in articles on the several cities and towns. It is probable that other libraries are large enough to be included in the list, but it is difficult to obtain statistics regarding them. There are several other collections in London which number nearly if not quite 100,000 volumes; the library of the university of Aberdeen has over 90,000, and that of St. Andrews nearly as many. There are several private libraries in England which number over 50,000 volumes each. The five principal libraries of Great Britain, the British museum, Bodleian, Cambridge university, Advocates' of Edinburgh, and Trinity college of Dublin, are each entitled by statute to a copy of every book published in the empire. In France, the town libraries of Marseilles, Besançon, Versailles, and Grenoble contain from 75,000 to 90,000 volumes each; and those of Avignon, Caen, Chartres, Le Mans, Nîmes, and Douai, from 50,000 to 75,000. The library of the Louvre in Paris, which numbered 90,000 volumes, remarkable for splendid bindings, was partly destroyed by the communists in 1871. The two libraries of St. Cloud and Meudon, which were removed into Paris shortly before the siege, have since been added to it, and probably it now contains more volumes than before. In Germany, the city libraries of Münster and Bamberg contain more than 75,000 volumes each, the commercial library of Hamburg has more than 60,000, the university of Erfurt about the same, and there are many others of 50,000 and upward. The largest private library in Germany is that of the prince von Oettingen at Wallerstein in Bavaria, containing 100,000 volumes; that of Prince Thurn and Taxis at Ratisbon has nearly as many; and there are several other private collections numbering nearly 50,000 volumes. The library of Strasburg, which contained about 220,000 volumes of printed books and many valuable manuscripts, was partly burned during the siege of the city by the Germans in 1870; it has since been restored by contributions from the German publishers, and now has at least 80,000 volumes more than when injured. Austria possesses a number of valuable libraries besides those mentioned in the table. In Vienna the library founded by Francis I. has 75,000 volumes, and the private collections of the archduke Albrecht and of the princes Liechtenstein, Esterházy, Schwarzenberg, and Metternich have over 50,000 each. The private library of Prince Lobkowitz at Prague contains 70,000 volumes, and he has another of 40,000 in his castle of Raudnitz on the Elbe. In Prague are also the private libraries of the princes Kinsky and Fürstenberg, containing respectively 40,000 and 30,000 volumes. The university of Gratz has 70,000 volumes, those of Innspruck and Olmütz 60,000 each, and that of Lemberg 55,000. In 1870 Cisleithan Austria had in all her public and private libraries 5,756,066 volumes. In Holland, the university of Leyden has 90,000, and that of Utrecht 75,000 volumes. In Belgium, the libraries of Ghent, Liége, and Louvain have about 90,000 volumes each. In the city and province of Rome there were in the various convents previous to their suppression libraries containing in the aggregate 770,000 printed volumes and 12,000 manuscripts. These were all taken possession of by the government, and will be in part distributed, it is reported, among the other great libraries, and the remainder formed into a new public library. The Alessandrina library in Rome has 70,000 volumes. The national library of Florence was formed in 1864 by the union of the Magliabecchian (founded in 1714) and the Palatine or library of the Pitti palace. The Marucellian of Florence contains about 60,000 volumes, and the Riccardian about 30,000. The Brancaccian of Naples has more than 75,000, and the library of the university of Palermo more than 80,000 volumes. According to the report of the minister of public instruction for 1871-'2, the total number of public libraries in Italy, including university, lyceum, gymnasium, and former convent libraries, was 687. In Russia, the universities of Kazan and Kharkov possess each about 70,000 volumes, and that of Dorpat has 80,000. The great imperial library of St. Petersburg owes many of its treasures to the spoils of Poland, particularly of the Zaluski library of Warsaw, which, when transported to Russia by Suvaroff in 1795, contained 300,000 volumes of printed books and many valuable manuscripts. The national library in Lisbon is wholly the growth of the present century. When the reigning family of Portugal emigrated to Brazil in 1807, the royal library was carried to Rio de Janeiro; it now forms the imperial library of Brazil, and numbers upward of 100,000 volumes. The private library of the late royal family of Spain contained nearly 100,000 volumes; that of the Escurial, although rich in manuscripts, has only about 40,000 printed books. Switzerland possesses 25 public and cantonal libraries, which contain in the aggregate 925,000 volumes. Those at Neufchâtel, Lausanne, Bern, Aargau, Geneva, Lucerne, and Basel contain from 50,000 to 95,000 volumes each. There are also in Switzerland 1,629 other libraries, containing about 700,000 volumes. Constantinople has several libraries, but they are all very small, and do not contain in the aggregate more than 40,000 or 50,000 books. The khedive of Egypt is making efforts to build up a large library in Cairo, and he has already acquired a very valuable collection of manuscripts of the Koran, among which is said to be the oldest copy known. Hopes were entertained by scholars that the opening of Khiva by the Russians in 1873 would furnish traces of the famous library of Samarcand, founded by Tamerlane and enlarged by his successors, but the result did not justify the expectations. Of the libraries of China and Japan but little is known, but there is said to be one containing 300,000 volumes in Peking, and one of 150,000 volumes in Tokio (Yedo), the latter being particularly rich in Chinese literature. — The libraries of the United States, public and private, numbered in 1860, according to the census of that year, 27,730, and contained in the aggregate 13,316,379 volumes. The census of 1870 shows a remarkable increase, the number of libraries having reached 164,815, and the total number of volumes 45,528,938. Of these libraries, 108,800 were private, containing in the aggregate 26,072,420 volumes, and 56,015 public, with 19,456,518 volumes. The public libraries are classed as follows: United States congressional, 190,000 volumes; United States departmental, 115,185; state and territorial, 653,915; town, city, &c., 1,237,430; court and law, 426,782; university, college, and school, 3,598,537; Sunday school, 8,346,153; church, 1,634,915; historical, literary, and scientific societies, 590,002; charitable and penal institutions, 13,890; benevolent and secret associations, 114,581; circulating, 2,536,128. According to the report of the United States commissioner of education for the year 1872, there were 1,080 public libraries in the United States, each containing 1,000 volumes and upward. Of these, 150 had from 10,000 to 25,000 volumes each, 37 from 25,000 to 50,000 each, and 15 more than 50,000. The following table shows the condition of the most important libraries of the United States in 1874:

PUBLIC LIBRARIES IN THE UNITED STATES

CONTAINING 25,000 VOLUMES OR MORE.

PLACE. Name. When
founded.
No. of
volumes.
Rate of
annual
increase.

Augusta, Me.
Brunswick, Me.
Hanover, N. H.
Amherst, Mass.
Andover, Mass.
Boston, Mass.
Boston, Mass.
Boston, Mass.
Cambridge, Mass.
New Bedford, Mass.
Salem, Mass.
Springfield, Mass.
Springfield, Mass.
Worcester, Mass.
Worcester, Mass.
Providence, R. I.
Providence, R. I.
Hartford, Conn.
Hartford, Conn.
Middletown, Conn.
New Haven, Conn.
Albany, N. Y.
Albany, N. Y.
Brooklyn, N. Y.
Brooklyn, N. Y.
Buffalo, N. Y.
Ithaca, N. Y.
New York, N. Y.
New York, N. Y.
New York, N. Y.
New York, N. Y.
New York, N. Y.
New York, N. Y.
New York, N. Y.
New York, N. Y.
West Point, N. Y.
Princeton, N. J.
Princeton, N. J.
Carlisle, Pa.
Harrisburg, Pa.
Philadelphia, Pa.
Philadelphia, Pa.
Philadelphia, Pa.
Philadelphia, Pa.
Philadelphia, Pa.
Annapolis, Md.
Baltimore, Md.
Baltimore, Md.
Georgetown, D. C.
Washington, D. C.
Washington, D. C.
Washington, D. C.
Richmond, Va.
Charlottesville, Va.
Columbia, S. C.
New Orleans La.
Cincinnati, Ohio
Cincinnati, Ohio
Columbus, Ohio
Marietta, Ohio
Louisville, Ky.
Ann Arbor, Mich.
Detroit, Mich.
Lansing, Mich.
Madison, Wis.
Chicago, Ill.
Evanston, Ill.
St. Louis, Mo.
St. Louis, Mo.
St. Louis, Mo.
Sacramento, Cal.
San Francisco, Cal.
San Francisco, Cal.

State
Bowdoin college
Dartmouth college
Amherst college
Theological semin'y
Athenæum
Public
State
Harvard university
Public
Essex Institute
City
Museum of natural history
Antiquarian society
Public
Brown university
Athenæum
Watkinson and Connecticut hist. soc.
Young men's institute
Wesleyan university
Yale university
State, general
State, law
Long Island historical society
Mercantile
Young men's association
Cornell university
Apprentices'
Astor
Columbia college
Eclectic
Historical society
Mercantile
Society
Union theological seminary
U. S. military acad'y
Coll'e of New Jersey
Theological semin'y
Dickinson college
State
Academy of natural sciences
Brotherhead
Library company
Mercantile
University of Pa.
State
Mercantile
Peabody institute
Georgetown college
Congress
Surgeon general's office
Patent office
State
Univ'y of Virginia
University of South Carolina
State
Public
Mercantile
State
Marietta college
Public
Univ'y of Michigan
Public
State
State historical society
Public
Northwestern university
Public school
Mercantile
St. Louis university
State
Mercantile
Odd Fellows'

1827
1802
1770
1827
1807
1807
1852
1826
1638
1852
1848
1861
. . . .
1812
1859
1768
1836
1858
1838
1831
1700
1818
. . . .
1863
1857
1835
1868
1820
1848
1754
1869
1804
1820
1700
1836
1815
1748
1812
1783
1816
1812
1860
1731
1821
1749
1827
1839
1857
1789
1802
1865
1840
1822
1825
1805
. . . .
1867
1835
1817
1835
1871
1841
1865
. . . .
1849
1874
1857
1865
1846
1829
1853
1853
1854

28,000
35,000
50,000
29,000
32,800
103,000
260,500
35,000
200,000
30,000
30,000
36,000
28,000
55,000
83,500
42,000
34,500
44,500
26,000
25,500
100,000
67,500
25,500
26,500
48,000
27,500
40,000
50,000
148,000
25,000
30,000
40,000
148,000
64,000
32,500
25,000
28,500
25,000
31,000
30,000
25,600
26,000
101,000
105,000
25,000
40,000
27,300
56,000
81,000
261,000
38,000
25,000
30,000
36,000
30,000
26,000
62,000
35,500
39,000
26,000
30,000
30,000
25,000
40,000
28,000
40,000
26,000
36,000
42,000
25,000
34,000
38,000
26,000

. . . .
150
1,000
800
600
. . . .
15,000
1,200
. . . .
1,500
. . . .
2,000
. . . .
1,500
3,100
. . . .
800
. . . .
1,200
1,700
. . . .
. . . .
. . . .
2,350
3,500
2,000
2,000
2,500
3,500
1,000
. . . .
. . . .
4,500
. . . .
500
700
. . . .
. . . .
. . . .
. . . .
400
2,500
. . . .
12,000
. . . .
. . . .
. . . .
3,500
300
12,000
2,500
. . . .
1,500
400
300
. . . .
8,000
1,200
1,200
. . . .
. . . .
. . . .
1,900
. . . .
. . . .
15,000
400
5,000
1,300
300
1,600
3,000
2,500


These figures, which include bound volumes only, do not fairly represent the value of the libraries of the United States, as most of them contain in addition many thousands of unbound pamphlets. The public library of Boston, for example, has more than 100,000 pamphlets and unbound serials, the antiquarian society of Worcester 70,000, the library of congress 50,000, &c. If these were counted as they would be under the English law, which defines the term book to include “every volume, part or division of a volume, pamphlet, sheet of letterpress, sheet of music, map, chart, or plan separately published,” many of our libraries could be stated to contain several thousand volumes more. The same or a similar rule is followed also in many of the European continental libraries, which will account partly for their rapid increase in the last decade. The number of volumes in college libraries in the above table represents all the collections, legal, theological, medical, &c., under the government of the several institutions.