Library Ideals

WSCONSIN, a true cradle of freedom and successful government, has fostered several librarians who were true humanists. Dr. Peckham was one. Dr. Thwaites was another. Henry E. Legler was unlike either of these, but greater than either in his continued and unabated activity for the good of the people. Once, on being complimented for his splendid work in natural history and his persistence in the pursuit of scientific facts, Dr. Peckham remarked: "Oh, yes, but the facts have no value in themselves. They merely build up the groundwork of the ideas, and help you climb to the point of view where the deeper aspects of the subject spread out before you like a landscape beneath a mountain-top."... alles anzeigen expand_more
WSCONSIN, a true cradle of freedom and successful government, has fostered several librarians who were true humanists. Dr. Peckham was one. Dr. Thwaites was another. Henry E. Legler was unlike either of these, but greater than either in his continued and unabated activity for the good of the people.

Once, on being complimented for his splendid work in natural history and his persistence in the pursuit of scientific facts, Dr. Peckham remarked: "Oh, yes, but the facts have no value in themselves. They merely build up the groundwork of the ideas, and help you climb to the point of view where the deeper aspects of the subject spread out before you like a landscape beneath a mountain-top."

Mr. Legler's activity in behalf of libraries will support the same explanation. He seemed always immersed in detail, always planning some movement and carrying it into effect by his peculiar, dynamic persistence. But he who observed the man kindly and closely cannot have failed to have noticed that there was a distinct Beyond illumining and overshadowing it all. There was a dream to come true, a vision to be unfolded. The dream and vision were in the man's speech and eye. He lived under a prophecy.

It is not for us to estimate whether this prophecy became fulfilled in his life as one of us. But it is our privilege to confess that it brought to us the[Pg viii] things which Europeans have designated as "culture" and which really is enlightenment. Thus it is that many of Mr. Legler's associates and friends will recollect with gratitude that some gave them knowledge, and others gave them opportunities, but it was for Mr. Legler to illumine their knowledge and opportunity with the live spark of inspiration.

The dream was in his eye, inspiration was in his speech and manner. weniger anzeigen expand_less
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