FOL: A History of the Friends of the Library

Terry Abraham, June 1983

The Beginnings:

The Friends of the Library of Washington State University, the first such organization in the Far West, was founded as a result of the fortuitous conjunction of two men devoted to the aggrandizement of the Library. The first on the scene was William Wirt Foote (1876-1953) appointed Librarian of the State College of Washington in 1915. He was to serve in this capacity until 1946.

His partner in the establishment of the Friends (or FOL) was Ernest Otto Holland (1874-1950) who was appointed fourth President of the College. His predecessor, E. A. Bryan, had served as President from 1893 to December 1915, twenty-one years. Holland was to surpass Bryan's longevity with a tenure of twenty-eight years.

While the legislative support of the State College had never been good, the Great Depression of the Thirties effectively crippled any hope of improvement. (For a detailed examination of this period, see W. M. Landeen, E. 0. Holland and the State College of Washington. Pullman: 1958.) The library suffered as much as or more than the rest of the institution. However, by this time Librarian Foote had developed tactics for increasing the library's holdings even in the face of declining financial support. President Holland once described him as "the most notorious bibliographical mendicant of the Pacific Northwest." (1) He solicited gifts from every conceivable source, sending out hundreds and thousands of letters offering to pay postage, provide exchange, or asking for an outright gift.

In part this was an expression of his intention to build the largest and most complete research library in the West. To do this he made two assumptions which are common even today: one, that a research library should have everything published, no matter how insignificant; and two, that if you count accession numbers to indicate size, a pamphlet or handbill is the same as an encyclopedia.

Because of these practices the State College of Washington Library had an unparalleled collection of very difficult to acquire research material and a very large collection of junk. And, because of staff shortages and the sheer volume of material, there was often no way to tell the one from the other.

It was in this milieu that Foote noticed the formation of several Friends groups on the East Coast. Here was another channel of solicitation and acquisition. In October of 1937 he pointed out the advantages of such a group to President Holland. (2)

Holland, a bachelor, ate, breathed and slept the State College of Washington. His generosity to the College with his own funds, and those of his staff, was well known. His niggardliness with state funds, which were appropriated by an even more niggardly state legislature, was also well known. But Holland was not receptive to Foote's suggestion until he had visited the East and seen that the Friends was more than just a channel of solicitation for books, it was a means of soliciting for money. And this money could be used to purchase library materials that would increase the fame of the State College of Washington Library by adding "treasures" to the Treasure Room. (Holland was a graduate of Indiana University and probably had the rich resources of their library in mind as a model of what could be done at the State College.) If the Friends were successful in soliciting monetary donations, the Library could then acquire those research works which were not available through state funds or gifts of books.

Upon his return to Pullman, Holland wrote to Foote about his conversation with the assistant director of the Folger Library:

I told Dr. McManaway that with the help of other members of the faculty you and I hope to organize friends of the library here at the State College of Washington. He told me he thought it would be well for you to write to Dr. John C. French, Librarian, Johns Hopkins University, since this type of organization is to be found at that institution and has been productive of much good. Of course you know that a similar organization is to be found in Chicago, in Cincinnati, and many other prominent institutions. (3)

Foote then wrote to Dr. French and a "score" of other libraries with similar organizations.

On Wednesday, September 21, 1938, Holland approached the Faculty Advisory Committee "to suggest that it sponsor the active but voluntary support of the library on the part of the faculty." He stressed that "this would be part of a general campaign to secure funds to supplement the state appropriations." And he mentioned the support provided by friends groups at many other colleges. After discussion of "possible difficulties and advantages" the FAC responded in the traditional manner: they approved the plan "in principle" and appointed a sub-committee (Dr. Deutsch, Miss Smith, and Dean Todd) to work out the details. (4) Deutsch stated in his recollection of these events that Holland did not need to ask the faculty for "permission" to establish the friends group, but did so in this indirect fashion. (5)

Deutsch and Todd met with Holland in his office, as Deutsch remembers it, and discussed the proposal. (6) Holland passed on to Deutsch the responses received by Foote from the other colleges and some other material including a "tentative outline of a proposed bulletin to be used here at the State College, prepared by Professor Joe Ashlock." (7) Later Foote added additional material to this resource file.

Deutsch and Holland had differing views of the role of the friends group although their agreement on the major goal, the improvement of the college library, permitted them to work together. As Deutsch remembered the situation:

I was interested in a large number of small subscribers, people in all walks of life, because the leads to local history would be through them. I wanted to identify these people and one of my comments at the faculty meeting was that there was an opportunity to identify people who were interested in the promotion of culture generally, and didn't have any particularly overweening interest that could be identified with. They could identify themselves with WSU for a dollar a year. If one kept it on that basis, one could never tell what may come of it, what would accrue to WSU. Because these people would feel that they were contributing, by disseminating the information, by creating further interest, then people would have confidence in WSU and send them the materials.
Holland, of course, immediately began to think of big-wigs to put on the board of directors, sugar-daddies; and something that Holland never appreciated was that if there were sugar-daddies, there was also the kept woman. (8)

On Friday, October 7 the sub-committee report to the Faculty Advisory Committee was accepted and Dr. Deutsch was asked to present the substance of the report to the entire faculty at its regular Monday meeting, October 10. At this meeting the faculty would be asked to allow the FAC to appoint a committee to draw up an organizational structure for the friends group.

In this presentation the FAC sided with Holland's view of the organization. Its purpose was not to increase the number of books in the library (and it is difficult not to read into this a direct slap at Foote) but to supplement the library appropriations and individual departmental funds (which was where almost all the book money was located) "for the purchase of significant literature." (9)

Dr. Deutsch presented his committee's report to the meeting of the faculty and they unanimously adopted the acceptance, in principle, of the FOL; the membership scale presented by the committee (which included Dr. Deutsch's basic dues of one dollar per year); and the motion that the FAC appoint a committee to start the organization. This committee, as appointed, was composed of S. E. Hazlet, chairman, E. L. Avery (whose wife was many years later Archivist and editor of FOL publications), J. G. McGivern, H. H. Rhodes, and A. W. Thompson. (10)

Although the minutes do not indicate it, there must have been considerable discussion of the merits of the proposal for the following day President Holland wrote to Deutsch as follows:

This is simply to thank you for the masterly way in which you handled a difficult situation yesterday afternoon at the faculty meeting. You rendered an important service not only to the college library, but to the institution as a whole. The establishment of the-Friends of the Library will do much, I think, to enlist the support of alumni, former students, and other friends. Your espousal of this program yesterday was most helpful. (11)

The Committee to initiate the FOL quickly became a group writing a proposed constitution. On October 17, they presented a draft to the Advisory Committee, which--after a few corrections--was passed. At this point in the meeting, President Holland and Dean Kimbrough entered and "led the discussion on various possibilities in initiating the organization." Then Dr. Deutsch's sub-committee on the FOL was instructed by vote of the committee to present the new constitution at a faculty meeting. (12)

On October 26 copies of the constitution were sent to each member of the faculty and the following day an announcement of next Monday's faculty meeting was distributed. (13)

At the meeting on October 31, Dr. Deutsch presented the proposed constitution and it was adopted. Also at this meeting the faculty elected their members of the board of directors. (However, there is no record of this meeting in the minutes of the faculty. See Faculty Minutes, v. 6, February 27, 1934-September 24, 1945, WSU Office of the Registrar, French Administration Building.)

Three days later the Board of Directors met for the first time. The minutes recorded the event:

The first meeting of the Board of the Friends of the Library was held November 3, at 4:30 p.m., room 110 Administration Building. Those present were the members of the Board, duly elected by the Faculty at their regular meeting Monday afternoon, October 31 as follows:
Mr. Fred Forrest, [a banker] Director from Pullman, and J. E. Ferris [another banker] of Spokane, one of the represented Directors from that city, were not present. Two members of the Board are yet to be appointed from the state at large. W. W. Foote, Secretary of the Friends of the Library, serves also as secretary at all meetings of the Directors. There was no official voting at this meeting. (14)

The Purpose:

We have seen that there were three different expressions of purpose for the Friends of the Library in its formative stages. Librarian Foote saw it as a means of acquiring library materials, hopefully in quantity. President Holland saw it as a source of supplemental income which could be used to purchase research materials which were presently unavailable because of limitations in the college's appropriations and in Foote's gift centered acquisitions program. Dr. Deutsch expressed a more altruistic purpose for the organization: that it be a means of public relations for the college and, incidentally, a means of approach to the many citizens of the state of Washington whose families had generated and retained local records. As the college's historian of the Pacific Northwest, Dr. Deutsch, was, of course, extremely interested in these local records.

These different motives overlapped on the one significant point that allowed all three viewpoints to work together towards one goal: the improvement of the library's holdings. And it was this goal that was adopted by the faculty at both of their meetings.

The first constitution of the Friends of the Library states that the purpose of the Friends of the Library "shall be to maintain an organized group of persons interested in books and to assist in securing for the College important library materials beyond the command of the ordinary budget, to the end that the Library, the very heart of an institution of higher learning, may contain rich records of the arts and the sciences and works which will contribute to the development of civilization."

It is apparent that this statement of purpose emphasizes President Holland's approach. The phrase "beyond the command of the ordinary budget" bears a close resemblance to Dr. Holland's presentation to the Faculty Advisory Committee on September 21, 1938, regarding "a general campaign to secure funds to supplement the state appropriations."

The most recent revision of the constitution of the Friends of the Library (1967) states the purpose in a slightly different fashion. It attempts to generalize the purpose of the Friends beyond the expectations of any of the three initiators.

The purpose of the Friends of the Library shall be to maintain an organized group of persons interested in books, to assist in securing for the university important library resources in the arts, sciences, and technologies which will contribute to the institution's programs of teaching, research and state services.

The only significant change of phrase here -- comes from an entirely different context. "Teaching, research and service" have since the mid-50's been identified as the main goals of Washington State University. In fact, to many on campus this phrase is considered a cliche.

The Organization:

The main features of the constitution adopted by the faculty in 1938 were that the name should be the Friends of the Library of the State College of Washington; its purpose was to assist in securing important library materials "beyond the command of the ordinary budget" for the college; its membership included anyone interested who paid the dues. Officers consisted of a seven member board who would also select one of their number as chairman of the board and president of the organization. Ex-officio officers included the Librarian of the College or his appointee as editor and the Bursar of the College or his appointee as treasurer. While the board of directors would transact the business of the organization between annual meetings and authorize disbursements, there would be a council to serve in an advisory capacity to the board on the policies of the organization. The members of the council were to be determined by the board of directors. The council was to consist of a president, also the ex-officio president of the Friends; a secretary-editor, also ex-officio secretary of the council; and the council would select a first vice-president, second vice-president, and third vice-president.

There were two kinds of meetings: an annual meeting of the members and meetings of the directors. The regular directors meeting was to be held a month in advance of the members' meeting while a joint meeting of the board and the council was to be held within two months following the annual meeting. The by-laws, following the first recommendation of the faculty, set up classes of membership with the basic annual membership at $1 per year. Also the bylaws indicated that the annual meeting of the board of directors would be a dinner meeting with an appropriate program. The board of directors were encouraged "to secure speakers of distinction on a subject related to the purpose of this organization" for which they may call special meetings. The board of directors could also select committees to assist in the work of the organization.

On December 3, 1946 at the board of directors meeting, E. 0. Holland moved (seconded by C. R. Armstrong) that the constitution be amended to increase the number on the board of directors from 7 to 9. This amendment carried.

At the February 22, 1951 meeting of the board of directors, Dr. G. Donald Smith, Mr. Foote's successor, moved that an amendment to the constitution be drawn up eliminating the advisory council. This was seconded by Mr. Landeen and carried. This followed Dr. Deutsch's motion that "the president appoint a standing committee, to be known as the Acquisitions Committee, of three members resident in Pullman [the intention here was to place the decisions concerning expenditures of FOL funds in closer proximity to the library], empowered to authorize book purchases within funds allocated for this purpose, and in consultation with the library administration and the College Faculty to prepare a broad plan of acquisition policy for the Friends of the Library. This plan should be reported to the next meeting of the board of directors. Seconded by Mr. Landeen. Carried." These amendments were made within a short while after Dr. Holland's death during a resulting period of general inactivity of the FOL.

In January 1962 a committee was appointed to revise the constitution and by-laws to bring into line the dates of elections of officers and the beginning of the organization's fiscal year. Also it was suggested that the functions of the acquisitions and projects committees be analyzed. A new constitution and a statement on the functions of the Acquisitions and Projects Committee were adopted by the FOL members at the annual meeting on March 23, 1962.

One copy of the earlier constitution contained a note that there were only two sequences of amendments, those of November 17, 1950 and the by-laws and dues structure change of January 9, 1956. The revision of 1962 included the change from the Friends of the Library of the State College of Washington to the Friends of the Library of Washington State University. The university's name change took place in 1959.

The most recent revision of the FOL constitution took place June 1, 1967. In this document the purpose of the Friends of the Library is generalized to assistance "in securing for the university important library resources." In other clauses The Record is designated the official journal of the organization which "shall be prepared by the secretary and distributed to the members of the organization, and to other persons as directed by the board of directors." The officers were changed only slightly. There was still a 12-member board of directors elected by mail ballot for a staggered three-year term. The Director of the Washington State University Libraries was made an ex-officio member, as was the Controller of the University who served as treasurer. Other ex-officio directors included the Director of the Washington State University office of Information and the Chairman of the Washington State University Library Advisory Committee (both of these last two have in recent years changed titles). The secretary was to be appointed by the Director of the Washington State University Libraries, and would be an ex-officio member of the board, and keep all records and perform all editorial work of the organization. An annual meeting was designated to be held during March or April. The by-laws set up the time period for those holding office and for mailing election ballots. There were three standing committees established: a membership and finance committee, a publications committee, and an acquisitions and projects committee. The Chairman of the Washington State University Library Advisory Committee was appointed an ex-officio member of the Acquisitions and Projects Committee. And finally, a fiscal year and membership dues were established.

The present constitution of the Friends of the Library provides an organizational framework for the operations of the group. However, in spite of the elaborate superstructure detailed in the constitution, over the last several years almost the entire operational functioning of the organization has fallen to the secretary. The secretary, according to the constitution, is appointed by the Director of the Libraries. For the past fifteen years the secretary has been the head of Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections (MASC). Earlier, before there was constitutional sanction, the Archivist serving as head of the unit, functioned as secretary of FOL.

The logical placement of the Friends of the Library responsibilities in the Manuscripts, Archives and Special Collections pulls together many very similar activities. MASC is very much involved in soliciting gifts of library material, in responding to potential donors, and in providing a broad public face for the Library. The disadvantage has been perhaps a too close identification of the FOL with the unit. It is thought, particularly in some areas of the library, that the expenditure of Friends' funds is devoted only to the needs of archives and special collections. Although this has an element of truth, in that these funds are used to purchase materials of a special nature, which often need special handling and protection, there have been many cases where FOL monies purchased expensive sets of research material for the general stacks.

The Record:

The first number of The Record of the Friends of the Library was issued in February 1939. This was presented not as the first issue of a serial but as a prospectus for the organization to encourage donations of books or funds for the purchase of library materials, and memberships. Although there is no extant record of the reason for the adoption of the name The Record for this publication, it is possible that it was applied by Mr. Foote or Dr. Holland to the draft prospectus drawn up by Professor Ashlock of the Journalism Department. (15) The first Record contains a brief article by Herman Deutsch entitled "A Conception" on the usefulness to the State College of Washington of a Friends of the Library organization. Then a brief page of notes by Joel E. Ferris, prominent Spokane banker and bibliophile, on the appeal which a friends group has for him. He stresses the acquisitions of historical records for the library and the promotion of a "steady stream of funds for use in addition to the regular appropriation for support of the library." A list of the officers, tributes to the richness of the library, and a statement by Stewart E. Hazlet on the opportunity for increasing the resources of the library is followed by a page on the need for a new library building for the State College of Washington. (This was not the first of Foote's many pleas for additional space to hold his rapidly mounting acquisitions. Nevertheless, it was not until 1948 that a new library was begun.)

In June of 1939, a short five months later, a new issue of The Record was produced confining an account of the dinner meeting of the Friends of the Library on April 28. Excerpts are given from the address by Mr. Arnold Graves, prominent Spokane attorney, on the topic of libraries. A list of recent gifts to the library and an appeal for assistance in acquiring research materials in Pacific Northwest history is followed by an annotated book list of sorts which is titled "Have You Read These Books?" Among those listed is Hitler's Mein Kampf. There is a note that these books had recently been purchased for the library and in the case of Mein Kampf "four different editions have been obtained, including the two most recent unabridged editions." The previous December a student's complaint that funds were inappropriately being spent on "treasures" while current research needs were being unmet appeared in the Evergreen. The article specifically cited Mein Kampf as a deficiency in the library's holdings. (16)

In January of the following year, another Record was issued which gives a summary of the first year of the organization. It lists the three dinner meetings of the organization; a slightly different list from that presented in the previous issue. In January 1939 Dr. William Landeen of the WSU Faculty spoke to the group in Pullman. In April Mr. Arnold Graves spoke in Spokane as indicated previously. And in October, also in Spokane, Dr. J. Horace Nunemaker, another member of the Faculty, spoke at a meeting jointly sponsored with the English Speaking Union. This review of the first year's activities also included new acquisitions. Apparently all acquisitions of the library from whatever source were credited to the Friends of the Library. "Some 63,000 pieces were received during the last fiscal year." As an example of some of these gifts, we can note A History of French Etching by Leipnik; Dawson's Pioneer Tales of the Oregon Trail and of Jefferson County, John Fiske's Historical Works in twelve volumes; A History of the Vice-Presidency of the United States Skinner and Allied Families, a genealogical study with biographical footnotes; and two companion volumes of poems of Samuel Rogers. On page nine is the familiar plea for the acquisition of Pacific Northwest material, including books, newspapers, and pamphlets. It cites the recent acquisition of the W. D. Vincent collection of Northwest material.

Subsequent issues continued this pattern. Some highlights of these include an account of an expedition by C. R. Armstrong, Assistant Librarian, who toured a large portion of Eastern Washington interviewing pioneers and acquiring records and documentation for the library (summer 1942). A brief history of the Friends of the Library and the FOL movement in the country is followed by a description of the Pacific Northwest collection, the Lincoln Library, and the Hispanic-American collection (October 1945.) During the war years the dinner meetings with speakers were discontinued although an attempt was made to publish an occasional Record. On the occasion of the inauguration of Dr. Wilson Compton as president of the State College of Washington, Dr. Howard Lowry, president of Wooster College, the alma mater of the three Compton brothers, presented an address to the FOL entitled, "The Oldest Post-War Plan" which was printed in The Record (May 1946.) Contrary to previous practice no library matters intruded, the entire issue being devoted to Lowry's address. It may be worth noting that except for this special issue (fourteen pages) The Record seldom exceeded twelve pages in length with some as brief as four pages. The January 1948 issue celebrated the pending construction of the new library building on the campus. In September 1948 The Record was issued as a folded three-page leaflet reprinting an article from the University of Wisconsin on the purpose and usefulness of friends groups.

Between 1948 and 1955 there was no Record published. The first issue after the lapse stated that "after Dr. Holland's death in 1950, the society ceased to function as an organized group. In January, 1954, however, largely through the efforts of Mr. Ferris, a meeting of the previous board of directors was held, and a new board was nominated."

A large part of this post-war lapse in activity was the result of a power struggle with Emeritus President Holland and FOL President Joel E. Ferris on one side and President Compton and Librarian G. Donald Smith on the other side. Smith and Compton were ultimately successful in wresting control away from "the old guard" and subordinating the goals and achievements of the Friends to the needs of a modern library. (17) The 1956 issue was devoted to gifts and acquisitions and a list of needs and opportunities for adding to the resources of the library.

Although The Record assumed annual publication in 1956 (after Mary Avery joined the staff of the Archives Division) and continued in this fashion until 1978, it went through four different incarnations in terms of format and content. From 1956 to 1960 The Record was 8 1/2 by 5 1/2 inches, of approximately forty pages, and consisted primarily of lists of acquisitions to the library. There was an attempt, however, to include very brief semi-scholarly articles on bibliographic or library-related subjects. These were often based on material recently purchased or merely recently appreciated by the library.

From 1961 to 1963 The Record was enlarged to nearly 10 by 7 inches and became a much more substantial publication of 70 to 95 pages. During this period it was primarily a journal of articles with a few notes about acquisitions and general meetings. The contents page indicated that it is a "means of reporting upon matters of importance to those interested in the library and its activities. It is a medium for articles of general interest by Washington State University faculty members and others, and contributions from all academic areas of the University may be submitted for publication in The Record." As an example of the kinds of articles: Louis E. Silby's "Progress in School Desegregation: Problems and Prospects," Claudius 0. Johnson's "What Would Socrates Think?" Nelson A. Ault's "Magazines in Early America," and Lenna A. Deutsch's "Problems and Rewards in Manuscript Research."

Up to 1964 The Record was jointly sponsored by the Washington State University Library and the Friends of the Library. In 1964 The Record changed format again; it became a spiral-bound multilithed listing of new acquisitions and accounts of meetings in a much thinner shape than its previous issues. Included was a statement that "because of curtailed library funds, the 1964 issue of The Record is only an annual report of the work of the Friends of the Library, lacking the articles of general interest included in recent issues. It is hoped that FOL contributions of money, in addition to manuscripts and books, will be sufficient to publish The Record again as a journal as it constituted a much needed medium for the presentation of articles of high caliber and appeal to the public, but not sufficiently scholarly in approach for Research Studies [a general scholarly journal published by the University]." Subsequent issues followed the same format, although the description of the acquisitions expanded considerably, and by the 1965 issue a several page description of the program of the Friends of the Library was also included. Much of this is descriptive of the turn towards acquiring manuscripts for the library in addition to books. In 1967, still in the spiralbound format, The Record enlarged again to the 8 1/2 by 11 size. This was the first issue prepared by Dr. Earle Connette in his new position as Chief of what was then the Manuscripts-Archives Division. He instituted in this issue the practice of printing the complete text of the talk given to the membership at the annual meeting. In this case, since it had already been published, it was photographically reprinted while the rest is all typewritten photocomposition.

Beginning with the 1968 issue The Record included illustrations, scholarly articles based on lectures given to the Friends at the annual meeting, edited excerpts from manuscripts in the collections, transcriptions of memoirs and accounts of acquisitions, principally those of the Manuscripts-Archives Division. Although retaining typescript for the text it was produced by photo-offset giving quality reproduction for both text and pictures. Although previous issues were not numbered, the 1969 Record was designated volume 30 more in the nature of celebrating and pointing out the thirtieth anniversary of the FOL than with an eye to numerical or bibliographical accuracy.

In December 1978 The Record again changed format to an illustrated typeset newsletter of three leaves folded twice. A brief essay by John Guido, head, Manuscripts, Archives and Special Collections and successor to Earle Connette, explained the change as a result of rising prices, increased staff workload, and a redefinition of the role of The Record as an informational tool. Planned as a twice-a-year venture, the schedule faltered at times, but in May of 1983, with increased support from the library administration, began a three times a year schedule with much wider distribution on and off campus.

In addition to The Record there have been two other FOL publications. Although both are considered finding aids for individual manuscript collections in MASC, their cost was borne by the FOL and were therefore only available by purchase. These are Nelson A. Ault's Papers of Lucullus Virgil McWhorter (Pullman, 1959) and Jacquelyn M. Gaines' Three Centuries of Mexican Documents: A Partial Calendar of the Regla Papers (Pullman, 1963). These guides were originally published, unusual as it may seem, as articles in several issues of Research Studies, the university's "scholarly" journal, now a more general academic journal not limited to WSU authors. Originally priced at $3.00 each, requests are still received for these two items fifteen years after publication. The Ault guide to the McWhorter Papers is now out of print.

Another FOL activity, a radio program, was instituted in 1961. This was very different from the brief "commercials" on the campus radio station in the late thirties that announced recent gifts to the Library. The later program was originally a request for gifts of research materials with a brief excerpt from a recent acquisition to illustrate the kind of material. By 1965 this program was being distributed to twenty-two radio stations and was an effective promotional device. Its character, however, had changed to a more popular format:

Mary Avery, WSU Archivist, reads from the manuscripts and rare books received by the Library through the efforts of FOL. She tries to choose narrative material of sufficient human interest to have an appeal on the basis of its story and also to be informative about some phase of the development of the Pacific Northwest or, occasionally, of some other part of the world. (18)

The program, "Washington Archives," was continued by Mary Avery after her retirement in 1966 even though she later moved from Pullman. Of necessity, she began in the later years to draw from recently published (or reprinted) sources rather than manuscripts in the WSU Library. At the time of her unfortunate and accidental death in 1975 she was still preparing and reading her programs which were distributed on tape throughout the state.

The Membership:

The original membership dues structure started at one dollar to encourage a broad level of participation in the activities of the Friends of the Library. At the end of the first year there were 291 dues paying members of which approximately half were members of the Faculty of the State College of Washington. There has been a story circulating around the campus for many years that President Holland would simultaneously notify a member of the faculty of a small raise in their pay and demand a contribution for the Friends of the Library or some other charitable activity.

The president promoted [the FOL] with all his zest and enthusiasm. Thousands of letters went out from his office to alumni and patrons of the College asking for funds. His administrative officers were "assessed" in the traditional style, and many organizations in the state were approached for funds. Before his death, cash donations to the Friends of the Library had reached the neighborhood of $50,000 and many gifts of books had been made. Dr. Holland's last donation to the College while living was a handsome and valuable edition of the works of Erasmus. (19)

On the other hand, Holland did, on occasion, observe the proprieties and even pleaded for relief from these solicitations for some of his staff:

Someone sent to me a list of the 1939 faculty members who have not yet sent in their membership dues for 1940 in Friends of the Library. It may be that Doctor Deutsch sent this list to me.
At any rate, I have looked over the list carefully, and I imagine that Dr. Deutsch and his special group of solicitors can prevail upon the great majority to renew their memberships. Of course, you know it would not be possible for me, a member of the administrative staff, to take any action in this matter.
May I call your attention to one matter? You have the name of Earl V. Foster, who gave $5.00 last year, on this list. Since then he has given $50.00 for the purchase of books in Spain in the summer of 1939. It seems to me it would be entirely unfair to ask him to pay anything more at this time unless he voluntarily does so. There may be two or three other cases similar to that of Mr. Foster.
I am taking the liberty of sending a carbon copy of this letter to Dr. Deutsch. (20)

Membership records, over the years, are very inconclusive in indicating the level of support. Although there are figures for monetary contributions over the years, including gifts and perhaps values of books donated, it is very difficult to tell what the level of membership has been. In 1976 the mailing list included 255 members in all categories, including honorary. This seems to indicate that the level of membership has decreased over the years although it has stayed in the same general area.

The basic membership dues increased from one dollar in 1938 to three dollars in the fifties, five dollars in the sixties, and to $7.50 in the late seventies. In 1975 there were five classes of memberships: Annual, $5.007 Sustaining, $10.00; Patron, $25.00; Life, $100.00; and Honorary. The classes of membership in 1980 were Individual membership, including students, $7.50 or more; Joint annual membership, including spouse, $10.00 or more; sustaining membership, $25.00 or more; benefactor or corporate membership, $100.00 or more; and Life membership, $500.00 or more. "All members enjoy identical privileges, -- the differences in dues represents a more generous contribution for use by the organization." (21) This was also true of the very first dues schedule adopted by the faculty in 1938.

Nevertheless, since a large membership has seldom been an active goal of the FOL, its size has always been of little consequence.

In addition to The Record as a benefit of membership we must also mention the annual meeting. The earliest meetings, often several times a year, were quickly instituted when the FOL members, as described in the 1956 Record, "found it worthwhile to hold regular meetings where the stimulation of a talk on some aspect of scholarship could be added to the pleasure of conversing with fellow bibliophiles."

Over the years the speakers have included notable scholars and other outside speakers such as Will Durant, Lewis A. Warren, Howard Lowry, James T. Babb. Mackenzie Furniss, Bruce LeRoy, Charles E. Odegaard, Stewart Holbrook, Clifford M. Drury, C. B. van Neil, James C. Jarrett, John E. Burchard, Solomon Fabricant, Robert F. Lopez, Merle Wells, Mitchell Wilder, Kenneth A. Bernard, William L. Davis, Leonard J. Arrington, Bern Dibner, Robert G. Athearn, and Robert A. Weinstein; members of the WSU Faculty such as William Landeen, Horace J. Nunemaker, Nelson Ault, Richard Daugherty, Herbert Wood, Richard Thornton, A. W. Thompson, Raymond-Muse, and Roderick Sprague; and regional bibliophiles and local authors such as Arnold Graves, Walter Beals, Bishop Edward M. Cross, Robert Thurston, J. D. Lewis, William S. Butts, Charles A. Webbert, and Virginia Paul.

The Acquisitions Program:

The acquisitions program of the Friends of the Library has over the years concentrated on two aspects. First, materials for the library, including books, manuscripts, ephemera, maps, paintings and other works of art, and newspapers. The second would be money. As to the first, it is very difficult to distinguish between gifts that were acquired through the activities of the Friends of the Library and gifts that came outside of those channels. This is because there is no mechanism to route gifts through the Friends of the Library. Since the day-to-day operations of the Friends is the responsibility of members of the library staff who are, in the normal course of events, already involved with gifts, this distinction is even harder to support.

But with monetary donations, there is an explicit channel for gifts to be routed through the Friends of the Library. Because of budgetary constraints, money donated to the Friends of the Library is dispersible on library material to the direct benefit of the library. Ordinarily, a gift of money to a state institution is deposited in the general fund and distributed through legislative appropriations to all state institutions. Therefore no program is directly self-supporting unless specific provisions are made. Since the Friends of the Library are a separate entity, a private group so to speak, money donated to the Friends can be used by the Library to purchase materials which will be donated to the Library and, at that point, become state property.

Because of these considerations, there are very lengthy lists in the records of the Friends of the Library of large and small sums of money donated to the Friends to support library acquisitions. It would not be productive to list all of those gifts here, but many of them have been quite substantial and some have been large enough to accumulate interest when placed on deposit.

By 1975 the funds of the Friends of the Library were separated into a general membership fund used for operations, primarily the publication of The Record and the expenses of meetings, and the endowment and memorial funds from which the interest is used to purchase items in specific categories as dictated by the establishment of the funds. In 1963 the many small memorial funds were reorganized into a general endowment fund for ease of handling and a greater capacity for interest generation.

The Libraries support the Friends of the Library by assigning certain members of the staff the responsibility for its everyday operation, and through the provisions of the FOL constitution, the editorship of The Record. Secretarial and material support, such as office supplies, is also provided. These duties are in addition to the regular library duties of these individuals. Since the constitutional change of 1967, the role of the secretary of the Friends of the Library has been filled by the head of the Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections.

The Future:

The role of the Friends of the Library as an auxiliary support for the acquisitions program of the library is very important and much needed. The need for a funding channel, specifically devoted to acquisition of library materials is a vital necessity to ensure that monetary gifts to the library will be used for library purposes.

The Friends of the Library also has a very strong public relations role for the library and the university. Through the speaker program and publications the Friends of the Library has presented a very advantageous picture of the library.

However, it is apparent from a perusal of the early minutes of the board of directors and the accounts of the meetings of the various committees of the Friends of the Library that at one time there was much more involvement among the individual members than there is at present -- at least among those individuals who were members of the board of directors. As MASC and the library became staffed with professionals who could themselves make the kinds of acquisition decisions for the library's good that had previously been delegated to scholars (and laymen) in the field, this individual involvement declined. And, as has happened, when several members of the faculty spent a great deal of time discussing whether to spend $40 on a book or a manuscript, this should be considered a plus. However, the result for the Friends of the Library has been a decline in popular support, at least among its rather limited audience. This may explain to some extent the decline in membership over the years.

The Friends of the Library, therefore, has three main functions. The first is to serve as a channel for financial support of the library's acquisitions program. The second is to serve as a standing mechanism to encourage donation of materials to the library. And the third function, a public relations function, is to present a picture of the university and the library which will support the first two. It is in this last area that there has been a falling off of effort. Several years ago The Record was sent to every potential donor to encourage the deposit of their financial or research resources. This practice can now, with the change in format, be resumed. Additionally a tastefully executed small brochure describing the Friends of the Library could serve that purpose now. This would serve as an aid in encouraging the support of those interested in the university and the Library who would "assist in securing for the university important library resources in the arts, sciences, and technologies which will contribute to the institution's programs of teaching, research, and state services."


1. E. 0. Holland, letter, September 21, 1938, to J. L. Ashlock, English Department file 1938, E. 0. Holland Papers. All citations to primary sources, unless otherwise indicated, are located in Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections (MASC), Washington State University Libraries.

2. C. C. Gorchels, "A Land-Grant University Library: The History of the Library of Washington State University, 1982-1946.11 Ph. D. dissertation, School of Library Science, Columbia University, 1971, p. 264, quoting Foote's Annual Library Report of 1945-1946, p. 115. It would be unlike Foote to do this verbally but there does not seem to be correspondence in the files on this subject at this date.

3. E. 0. Holland, letter, September 10, 1938, to W. W. Foote; library file-1938, E. 0. Holland Papers.

4. Minutes, September 21, 1938, WSU Faculty Advisory Committee, Faculty Executive Committee Records.

5. H. J. Deutsch, typescript of an interview by Terry Abraham, November 13, 1974.

6. H. J. Deutsch, typescript of an interview by Terry Abraham, November 13, 1974.

7. W. W. Foote, letter, September 26, 1938, to H. J. Deutsch; library file-1938, E. 0. Holland Papers.

8. H. J. Deutsch, typescript interview by Terry Abraham, November 13, 1974.

9. Minutes, October 7, 1938, WSU Faculty Advisory Committee, WSU Faculty Executive Committee Records.

10. "Report of Advisory Committee to the Faculty," October 10, 1938, Faculty Advisory Committee, WSU Faculty Executive Committee Records.

11. E. 0. Holland, letter, October 11, 1938, to H. J. Deutsch; History Department File-1938, E. 0. Holland Papers.

12. Minutes, October 17, 1938, Faculty Advisory Committee, WSU Faculty Executive Committee Records.

13. Gorchels, p. 264.

14. Minutes, November 3, 1938, Board of Directors, WSU Friends of the Library Records.

15. E. 0. Holland, letter, September 21, 1938, to J. L. Ashlock; English Department-file 1938, E. 0. Holland Papers.

16. Gorchels, p. 271.

17. See L. J. Golicz, "A History of Washington State University Libraries from 1946 to 1949.11 M. A. Thesis (History) Washington State University, 1968. pp. 80-87.

18. The Record, 1965, p. 47.

19. William M. Landeen, E. 0. Holland and the State College of Washington. Pullman, 1958, p. 412. For an additional account of these assessments, see pp. 329-331.

20. E. 0. Holland, letter, March 19, 1940, to W. W. Foote, H. J. Deutsch Papers.

21. The Record, 1974, p. 2.

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