Thursday, October 30, 2008

Raise the Rutherford!

Part IV – Hayes in Cincinnati

The Cincinnati Mercantile Library

A continuing, slightly humorous series to raise awareness of Rutherford B. Hayes and erect a statue of him in Cincinnati.

I am not sure if Rutherford B. Hayes was an actual dues paying member of the Cincinnati Mercantile Library but I suspect he was. The folks at the Library may have record and/or proof of this. But he was a member of the Literary Club and an avid scholar and he mentions the Mercantile Library a few times in his diary, portions of which are online at the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center.
Take for instance these two passages from his diary:
February 19, [1850] – Tuesday evening. –
Just returned from the lecture room of the Young Men's Mercantile Library Association, where I heard a most eloquent and glorious lecture from [the] Rev. Thomas Stockton. "Materialism the Foundation of Irreligion and Spiritualism the Corner-stone of Piety." Mr. Stockton certainly resembles Henry Clay in personal appearance as well as in genius.-- Attended last evening a pleasant little soir'ee at Mr. John D. Jones'.

October 10. [1873] —
I today formed the purpose to study the Spanish language enough to read Don Quixote. Yesterday I bought of Mr. Curtis one hundred and sixty volumes for Birchard Library. He threw in a few Spanish books of small value. It occurs to me I can easily learn to translate. For a catalogue of Birchard Library books, I purpose to mark with letter "B" the books we have in the Cincinnati Mercantile Library catalogue.

QCS Note: In July 1873, Rutherford B. Hayes announced to Fremont City Council, "Sardis Birchard has conveyed real estate and other property to the value of $50,000 in trust to establish in Fremont a Library for the free use and benefit to the people of Sandusky County." Sardis Birchard was Haye’s Uncle. From the Birchard Library website, Hayes "also supervised the founding of the library and served as chairman of the Board of Trustees until his death." For more history of the Birchard Library, click here.

Founded in 1835, the Mercantile Library has been located at 414 Walnut Street since 1840. Prior to the completion of current building in 1908, the Mercantile Library resided in the Cincinnati College building located on the same site. After a fire in 1845, the Library helped rebuild and in exchanged received a 10,000 year lease. The lease was honored when the current Mercantile Library Building was built and the library took up residence on the 11th Floor.First Building

Image from Cincinnati Historical Society Library via University of Cincinnati Digital Press

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