Library Guild

Library Guild

The Library Guild of Dickinson College was formed on February 20, 1903 after a suggestion from Professor Bradford O. McIntire and was authorized by the Board of Trustees on March 5, 1903 to build an endowment for the purchase of books for the Library. The first constitution directed a board to be appointed and the first trustees named were Dean Mervin Filler, McIntire, John Rhey, class of 1883, and Frysinger Evans, class of 1892. The receipts for the first year were $263.

Classes were asked to participate as they graduated, beginning with the class of 1903, and by 1924 the Guild was receiving gifts from around 350 alumni. By that time the Guild had an endowment of $13,836.36, providing an income which could only be used to purchase library books. During 1923, for example, the Guild was able to purchase 356 new volumes.

On December 18, 1937, the Dickinson Board of Trustees reaffirmed its earlier action and a new Guild constitution was adopted that provided for a board of directors made up of two faculty members and three alumni. The purpose was unchanged, however, and it was reiterated that the proceeds from the endowment were to be devoted solely to the purchase of books for the Library. In the reorganization McIntire remained as a director, Prof. Carver was secretary treasurer, and and the alumni members were Rhey, Robert Conlyn, class of 1872, Chester Wagner, class of 1935. Conlyn became director emeritus in 1938 and Mrs. Frances Vuilleumier, class of 1924, became the first female alumni director.

By February 1950, the Guild endowment had reached more than $50,000. Since the advent of the Alumni Fund in 1936, however, the College officials began to see the requests for funds as subjecting alumni to a double appeal. Alumni were from then on allowed to state a preference for the Library Guild on their annual fund giving. This and the impact of the Second World War on the campus had the long-term effect of disbanding the directors and limiting alumni and faculty involvement in the growth and development of the Library. Still, in 1971, the Guild Endowment stood at a book value of $169,317.75.

Various unsuccessful attempts were made in the 1960s to revive the activities of the Guild, or develop an organization on the model of "friends of the library" so common at other college libraries during this time. It was not until October 1971, in anticipation of Dickinson's bicentennial celebration, that a group of faculty and alumni met to discuss the creation of such an organization. From this meeting came the institution of the "Friends of the Dickinson College Library" which from that time - along with its own innovations - has carried on many of the valuable contributions made from the early days of the Library Guild.

Author of Post: 
Dickinson College Archives
Date of Post: 
Organization Type: