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Welcome to 125 Years in the Stacks – a look at Puget Sound through the lens of its library collection.   We have collected 125 books, one for each year the University has been in existence, starting in 1888 when the founding fathers lead by Methodist  Bishop Charles H. Fowler established the university in Tacoma.  The 125 books represent the diversity of our collections and together reflect the changing social and cultural norms of our nation.  Don’t expect the most important 125 books published in the last century.  Our selections are as unique as our history!

Thanks are extended to all the library staff and Puget Sound colleagues that contributed content. Each entry was selected and annotated by someone at the University. We couldn’t have done the project alone!

This project was inspired by the work of librarians at MIT. Thanks are extended to the librarians at MIT for graciously allowing us to use the template and format developed for their 150th anniversary celebration.

Year 1

1888: General Conference Journal

Author/Editor: Reverend David S. Monroe, D.D.

Find it in Collins Library!

The university incorporated in Tacoma in 1888.  The first Board of Trustees was selected by the Methodist Episcopal Church and so it seemed fitting that our first book should reflect our historic origins.  It is quite possible that our founding fathers would of referred to this book and others like it. Thumb through the pages and you will get an idea on what was on the mind of the Church at the time.  For example, on page 456, there is an account of the report of the Committee on Temperance and the Prohibition of the Liquor Traffic.  The Address of the Bishops provides advice and moral guidance.  The list of delegates spans the globe from across the United States to Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Bengal, and South India.  David G. Le Sourd is listed as the Puget Sound area minister.  Read about Le Sourd in Chuck Luce’s book:  An Itinerant’s Career. The memoir provides a glimpse into the life of the man who helped plan what would become the University of Puget Sound and can be found in our library stacks: call number:  BX8495.L67 2010.

Bishop Charles H. Fowler revealed his dream of a Methodist university in the Puget Sound region at the Annual Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church.  Learn more about our history by reading: The University Time Line.

Year 2

1889: Three Men in a Boat

Author: Jerome K. Jerome

Find it in Collins Library!

This long-lived comedic account of travel along the Thames was considered in somewhat poor taste when first published. Popular when initially published, this book continues to live on, mainly as a meme of TV, stage, and the written word. Several TV and movie adaptations of the title have been made, and Connie Willis published a sci-fi novel in 1997 that gave nod to the book, titling her work ‘To Say Nothing of the Dog’.

Year 3

1890: Poetry of Emily Dickinson

Author/Editor: Emily Dickinson

Find it in Collins Library!

The  Poems of Emily Dickinson were first published in 1890 and are still in print today.  Many library resources, like the Concise Dictionary of American Literature,  provide insight into the life and work of Dickinson.

Photo courtesy of http://public.wsu.edu/~campbelld/amlit/dickinson.htm

The Editor’s Commentary states, “This selection from her poems is published to meet the desire of her personal friends, and especially of her surviving sister.  It is believed that the thoughtful reader will find in these pages a quality more suggestive of the poetry of William Blake than of anything to be elsewhere found – flashes of wholly original and profound insight into nature and life; words and phrases exhibiting an extraordinary vividness of descriptive and imaginative power, yet often set in a seemingly whimsical or even rugged frame.” ( p.3)

Prelude is the first poem in the book:

This is my letter to the world,

That never wrote to me, –

The simple news that Nature told,

With tender majesty.

Her message is committed

To hands I cannot see;

For love of her, sweet countrymen,

Judge tenderly of me?

Year 4

1891: Strolls by Starlight and Sunshine

Author/Editor: William Hamilton Gibson

Find it in Collins Library!

Written by William Hamilton Gibson, an American naturalist from Connecticut, this book is a lovely tribute to nature with illustrations by the author. But equally impressive is the book binding.

The book is bound in  green cloth over boards with gold decoration by Alice Cordelia Morse. Morse was born in Ohio and studied at Cooper Union in New York and at Alfred University. She worked with both John La Farge and Louis Comfort Tiffany – well known designers of the period .  Learn more about Morse and her life by visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s timeline.

Bookbinding  techniques were perfected to a fine art toward the end of the 19th century. During the zenith of the American Decorative Arts Movement, something of an aesthetic crusade, women rose to the fore of book cover design. Alice Cordelia Morse (1863–1961) was a front-runner among the first generation of artists to design commercially produced books. The Grolier Club, an organization devoted to the art of the book hosted an exhibition on the life and work of Morse. Mindell Dubansky, preservation librarian in the Metropolitan Museum’s Thomas J. Watson Library was responsible for the research. She discovered Morse’s designs 10 years ago in a storage room of the Met’s Department of Prints and Drawings.

Other images of her beautiful bindings courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Year 5

1892: Gossip in a Library

Author/Editor: Edmund Gosse

Find it in Collins Library!

Gossip in a Library!  Another title that we just could not resist, but don’t pick up this book expecting to find out some long forgotten secrets of scandalous library behavior. Edmund Gosse, the author,  was a prolific man of letters. He worked as a librarian, English translator, literary historian, author and critic.  His book is a collection of essays about the special books in his private collection.  Gosse started his career out as a librarian at the British Museum and later became a lecturer at Cambridge University. His final position was as librarian for the House of Commons.  He married an artist who was associated with the Pre-Raphaelites.  In an article that appeared in the New York Times on May 9th, 1892, the reviewer describes the publication as a happy volume that excites curiosity!*

Gosse’s intriguing essays on books are a must for any bibliophile!

A free audiobook is available, too, if you want to listen!

*New publications. (1892, May 09). New York Times (1857-1922), pp. 3-3. Retrieved fromhttp://ezproxy.ups.edu/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/95037856?accountid=1627

Year 6

1893: Rituale Romanum

Author/Editor: Catholic Church

Find it in Collins Library!

This small book ( only 18 cm) bound in red leather with a gold cross embossed on the cover is a compilation of liturgical text and music of the Catholic church.  Our copy was originally held by the Newton College of the Sacred Heart and was the gift of Reverend Thomas Magennis.  Newton College was a small women’s liberal arts college in Newton Massachusetts that eventually merged with Boston College.  Thomas Magennis is known to have supported the Sisters of St Joseph  and provided housing to the sisters in Jamaica Plain, New York in 1873.  We wonder how this little red book travelled from Thomas’ hands, to Newton College and then to Puget Sound?

Year 7

1894: Das Kapital

Author/Editor: Karl Marx

Find it in Collins Library!

As an economics major in the early 80’s, I read (at least parts of) many of the founding works of economic and political economic theory, including Das Kapital. It’s difficult now to remember what my impressions of Marx might have been. At this point, my understanding of Marx comes from pop culture, rather than from original reading. But given the ongoing contemporary debates on the merits of various economic and political systems, I’m sure economics students for generations to come will continue to read Das Kapital.

Year 8

1895: Hero Tales from American History

Author/Editor: Henry Cabot Lodge & Theodore Roosevelt

Find it in Collins Library!

This book is written by one of our most well-known Presidents and a Congressmen: Theodore Roosevelt and Henry Cabot Lodge. Lodge and Roosevelt were lifelong friends having begun their national service at about the same time.

While originally intended for the elementary age audience, this book tells stories of some of America’s greatest heroes including George Washington, Daniel Boone, George Rogers Clark, The Battle of Trenton, The Storming of Stony Point, John Quincy Adams, the Alamo to name a few.

From the preface:

It is a good thing for all Americans, and it is an especially good thing for young Americans, to remember the men who have given their lives in war and peace to the service of their fellow-countrymen, and to keep in mind the feats of daring and personal prowess done in time past by some of the many champions of the nation in the various crises of her history.

This book is available online as well as in audio format.

Year 9

1896: The Island of Doctor Moreau

Author: H. G. Wells

Find it in Collins Library!

While not Wells’ best writing and not my favorite of his works (that would be ‘The Invisible Man’), this sci-fi novel does exemplify his uncanny knack for subject matter that seems to predict future (though with a much longer lead time than Michael Crichton). The British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection was created in 1898, two years after the publication of this novel, in which experimentation on animals is highly featured.