Letter (WCP5134.5644)


Dear Sir,

There are certain institutions of which the value and importance are universally acknowledged; but their very success tends to disguise the fact that, to attain the maximum of public utility, they require a measure of public support.

Of this class of institution the London Library is an example. Founded by private enterprise in 1841, it has developed into a literary centre of European celebrity.

As far as the resources of the Library have permitted improvements have been carried out from time to time, but a collection which increases at the rate of from six to seven thousand volumes yearly demands more than housing. Various portions of the building require rearrangement, and additions more costly than the actual bricks and mortar are necessary for the fit accommodation of the books, the students, [2] and the staff.

Such improvements have been long desired by the Committee but could not be taken in hand on account of the difficulties caused by ancient lights and other easements over the Library’s property.

The recent purchase (for which a loan was raised) of the large adjoining house in Duke Street has removed these difficulties besides providing room for expansion in the future.

The Committee have therefore now resolved to carry out their well considered plans.

For this purpose a sum of not less than £10,000 is needed, and we appeal to all those who realize[sic] the magnitude of the services which the Library even now renders to the student and the man of letters to support a scheme which will so greatly add to its usefulness.

Alfred R. Wallace [signature]

Please cite as “WCP5134,” in Beccaloni, G. W. (ed.), Ɛpsilon: The Alfred Russel Wallace Collection accessed on 27 July 2021, https://epsilon.ac.uk/view/wallace/letters/WCP5134