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Mrs. SEYMOUR. I stated that they had one centenarian, not one “Real Daughter."
PRESIDENT GENERAL. It is moved that this report be accepted. All in favor will please say “aye;" opposed, “no." Carried.
Mrs. FOWLER. The Old South Chapter, of Boston, has six "Real Daughters" instead of one.
PRESIDENT GENERAL. The Chair congratulates the Old South Chapter, of Boston. We will listen to the report of the Assistant Historian General, Mrs. Hatcher.
Mrs. HATCHER: Madam President and Ladies of the Eighth Continental Congress: The office of Assistant Historian General was created in 1895, but as no permanent duties were specified, each successive incumbent has taken up such work as seemed best during her term of office.
The first Assistant Historian General elected assumed as her duty the compilation of the current history of the Society from its organization up to the Congress of 1896. The two succeeding officers followed other lines of work.
Upon being elected Assistant Historian General in 1898, it was my intention and desire to continue the record of the current history of the Society from 1896 to the present date, but this project seemed to duplicate the work of the Committee on Report to the Smithsonian Institution. (This report is obligatory under the provisions of the National Act of our incorporation, and, being the first report of the Society to the secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, necessarily included the history of our Society from its inception.) In lieu of this work, my time has been largely occupied by the duties devolving upon me as Chariman of the Printing Committee, Chairman of the Franco-American Memorial Committee, the work of assisting in the editing of the Directory, and as a member of the Committee on Report to the Smithsonian Institution. The last-named committee greatly hampered by the lack of data at the National Headquarters, concerning the work of Chapters, which, after all, forms the greater part of the history of this Society.
The Chapters send statements of their historical work, and social and patriotic entertainments, to the AMERICAN Monthly Magazine, and they should continue to do so, as this matter forms one of the most interesting features of our official publication. Notwithstanding the desire of the Editor to publish everything regarding Chapter work which is sent her, much of it is crowded out for the lack of space, as the size of the Magazine is restricted, and frequently valuable and interesting information thus fails to go on record.
In view of these facts, I most earnestly recommend that hereafter the work assigned to the Assistant Historian General be the compilation of the current history of this Society, and that Chapter Historians be requested to send to this officer the reports of Chapter work. By the adoption of this suggestion, accurate data for the preparation of the annual report to the Smithsonian Institution could be obtained from the records kept by the Assistant Historian General, and valuable work done by each and every Chapter would be properly preserved in the archives of the National Society.
GEORGIA STOCKTON HATCHER,
Asssistant Historian General. [Applause.]
Mrs. Nash. I move that the report of the Assistant Historian General be accepted, and that her recommendation be adopted.
PRESIDENT GENERAL. It is moved and seconded, that the report of the Assistant Historian General be adopted, with its recommendation.
Mrs. LOCKWOOD. I think before that is accepted, you want to thoroughly understand what it means. Certainly you would not take away all Chapter work and put it into the archives of our work; the Chapter work, going from Chapter to Chapter, is what keeps your Society alive. You don't want to lock it up in the archives of your office, if that is what it means.
Mrs. HATCHER. That is not my intention.
Mrs. LOCKWOOD. Will the mover come forward and let us know before we vote what she did mean?
Mrs. HATCHER. I said that the Chapter sent statements of their work to the Magazine, but for lack of space, because the size of the Magazine is restricted, many times these things are left out of the Magazine and are never published. For instance, in compiling this report for the Smithsonian Institution, the member of the committee who had this work to do found great difficulty in putting her hand on the pamphlet, or paper, or letter, or whatever it might be, which contained very valuable information about an entertainment which had been given by a Chapter in the south, or north, or east, or west, as the case might be, and consequently it did not go into the Smithsonian report. For instance, the State of Massachusetts found very little had been said about her Chapter work, and as we had a little more time before the report, Massachusetts was able to send in that work, and I think in many cases many things are crowded out of the Magazine, and in my report recommended that the Chapter Historian send every month, or every three months, or once a year, to this National Officer, a little history of what her Chapter had done that month or that quarter or that year, then when it comes to the compilation of this annual report, for it must be done every year, the member of the committee can turn to the record of the Assistant Historian General and find everything in file, instead of hunting through all the Magazines. It would be of great assistance to this committee, which, as you perhaps know, has not submitted a full report heretofore, this being the first one; in fact, it is the first one accepted by the secretary of the Smithonian Institution, and it has occurred to me, being a member of the committee and knowing the difficulties under which it labored that such a little report of facts would be of great value, not only to the committee, but it would keep on file there the records of that part of the work, just as the Registrar's books have on file other records of work, and the Historian of other certain records which are of interest to all of us, and so on and so on. I do not mean to conflict in any way whatsoever with the Magazine; and as I had not the pleasure of seeing you, Mrs. Lockwood, because of your illness, I submitted this to the Business Manager before I had it published, and she said it did not conflict in any way with the Magazine. (Applause.]
PRESIDENT GENERAL. A request has been made that the recommendation be read.
Dr. McGEE. I rise to a point of order. These recommendations have been referred to a committee, and I don't think we can act on them until that committee has reported.
Mrs. Nash. That being the case, with the permission of the house I withdraw the second part of the motion and merely move the adoption of the report. I amend by eliminating the words "adopt the recommendation."
Dr. McGEE. I second it.
the motion by eliminating the words "adopt the recommendation." All in favor will say "aye;" those opposed, "no;" it is so amended. The question recurs to the motion that the report of the Assistant Historian General be accepted. All in favor will say "aye;" those opposed, "no;" the motion is carried. The Recording Secretary General would like to make a correction in her report.
Mrs. AKERS. I wish merely to correct an error, which I found in my report. It makes me say I had issued 50 or 60 charters; I should have said “signed"—it is just a misprint.
PRESIDENT GENERAL. If there are no objections this correction will be made. I hear none. You will listen to the report of the Librarian General, Mrs. Darwin. [Applause.)
Mrs. DARWIN: Madam President and Ladies of the Eighth Continental Congress: When my report was made to your honorable body in 1898 the library contained 996 voiumes, including pamphlets and bound books. It has increased quite appreciably since that time and has outgrown its shelves. All the volumes are entered by author, subject and title in a cross-reference dictionary catalogue of about 8,000 cards. At the date of writing this report there were 1,241 volumes in the library, and the number will probably be increased to 1,250 during the Congress, as several books are known to be on their way here. The value of this collection is, however, not fully represented by a statement of its increase in numbers. The books have been selected with close attention to their usefulness for our work and not gathered at random. There are, I believe, but four books of fiction among them. As there is no fund at the disposal of the Librarian or the National Board for purchasing books, it has been necessary for the Librarian to beg for them where she could, and to secure some by exchange. It has been her pleasant experience to find that the American public is very responsive when a worthy object is presented to its notice, and the correspondence started with those whose faces she never saw has been most inspiring. But there inust soon be a limit to the additions which can be secured for the library in this way. The most valuable books for our purpose are town and county histories long out of print, and fast growing almost priceless by reason of their scarcity. To secure such books it is recommended that the small appropriation of fifty dollars yearly be at the disposal of the Librarian for their purchase when the rare opportunity occurs.
We do not want general literature, but we do want local American histories, biographies, and genealogies. Many of our members possess collections of just such books as we need, and no better disposition of them could be made than to bequeath them to this library when the owners no longer need them. We especially want books that deal with the history of Maine, Pennsylvania, and New York towns and counties. We need the published records of Middlesex and Bristol pari: hes in Virginia, and our information about Delaware is an absolute blank. Will not some of the larger State delegations take up this matter and help the smaller? Every such book added to the library of the Society adds just so much ability to the Registrar to verify the applications of desirable prospective members from States whose official records have been lost or destroyed. And by so much is the strength of the Society increased.
After a few months of work in your library, it becomes evident that both officers and clerks were daily compelled to lose time invaluable to the Society. by the necessity for prolonged searches for facts which ought to be made accessible. It was plain that something more exhaustive than an ordinary catalogue was needed if the library was to fulfill its purpose and promote the object of our Society. It is the business of a librarian to furnish information for other people's use. Efforts were therefore begun at once to remedy the difficulties under which the offices of the Registrar and Historian were laboring. To do this with intelligence and dispatch, it was necessary to adopt a system's indexing which would bring the information contained in all the books int.) one alphabetical arrangement, to which reference could be ma le, as readily as to a dictionary. This has involved the writing of thousands of index cards, as many as the Librarian's hand could execute, in addition to the other duties of her office. The index is, however, still far from complete. Such an index cannot be made in a day. It is therefore recommended, as a matter of real economy for the Society, that a permanent trained library clerk be engaged to assist the Librarian General. That officer can then give the time now spent in indexing to the writing of many more appeals, which will surely bring much-needed books to the library.
For the last four months the Librarian has been working as Chairman of the Committee on the Report of our Society to the Smithsonian Institution required by our charter. In order to do this work, it was necessary that a temporary trained clerk should partly take her place in the library. The benefit to the Society derived from the uninterrupted presence of a woman ready to help inquirers has been manifest to all. The Librarian General should not be without such faithful help hereafter.
In closing my report, my heartiest thanks are tendered to my fellow-members of the Board for their unfailing kindness, and to you whose support has made my work possible.
GERTRUDE BASCOM DARWIN. February 20, 1899.