Harvard College Library Funds

Harvard College Library Funds

Charles William Eliot Book Fund

Year Established 1986

About The Fund

Established by the Harvard Alumni Association in honor and commemoration of the ninetieth birthday of President Charles William Eliot. This fund is to be known as the Charles William Eliot Book Fund, the income to be used for the purchase and maintenance of books for the Harvard College Library, the selection of which shall be in conformity with the provisions of a letter from President Eliot to the President and Fellows of Harvard College.

On September 20, 1924, President Eliot wrote as follows: "The general subjects which I should be glad to have represented in the selection of books to be bought with the income of this fund, are as follows: (a) The History of Education {i1} (b) The Progress of American Science since 1790 (c) Democratic Government in the World since the Battle of Magenta (d) The Endowment Method for Institutions of Education and Charity in the United States (e) Toleration in Religion and Religious Unity in the United States (f) Individual Pioneering in regard to Social and Political Problems. Knowing the difficulty of observing with precision, over a long period of time, restrictions of a definite or detailed character, especially as regards the purchase of books, I should expect that some latitude would be used in interpreting the scope of each of the subjects specified, and I should also prefer to regard these subjects as suggestive rather than mandatory, for it would seem to me to serve best the general purpose of the Library if the setting forth of these subjects should be taken as a guide to the appropriate authorities in meeting the needs of the Library rather than as a strict limitation on the uses of the income of the fund."

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