Thursday, March 8, 2007


I just discovered this account by Ralph Waldo Emerson about Henry David Thoreau (a hero of mine since the day I accidentally did my homework in High School). All I can say is "Hooray" for the, then, president of Harvard! I laughed until I cried.

"On one occasion he went to the [Harvard] University Library to procure some books. The librarian refused to lend them. Mr. Thoreau repaired to the President, who stated to him the rules and usages, which permitted the loan of books to resident graduates, to clergymen who were alumni, and to some other residents within a circle of ten miles radius from the College. Mr. Thoreau explained to the President that the railroad had destroyed the old scale of distances, — that the library was useless, yes, and President and College useless, on the terms of his rules,— that the one benefit he owed to the College was its library, — that, at this moment, not only his want of books was imperative, but he wanted a large number of books, and assured him that he, Thoreau, and not the librarian, was the proper custodian of these. In short, the President found the petitioner so formidable, and the rules getting to look so ridiculous, that he ended by giving him a privilege which in his hands proved unlimited thereafter." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

I also just discovered this website:
I recommend a paragraph a day for sanity's sake.

1 comment:

Leo said...

Hi Bob. I've always enjoyed that story about Thoreau. I thought you might enjoy some photographs I've taken over the years at Walden Pond.