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THE LIBRARIAN OF CONGRESS
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS
Washington, D.C., December 6, 1909 SIR: I have the honor to submit herewith my report as Librarian of Congress, for the year ending June 30, 1909. The report of the Superintendent of the Library Building and Grounds (and Disbursing Officer) follows, beginning at page 63.
The death of Doctor Spofford on August 11, 1908, which took from us the service and prestige of the Dean among American librarians, was recorded in my last report; as also the promotion to the Chief Assistant Librarianship of Mr. Appleton P. C. Griffin. The volume there referred to, incorporating the addresses at the memorial meeting of November 12, 1908, was subsequently privately printed, under the auspices and chiefly at the expense of the District of Columbia Library Association, in an edition which sufficed for its members and for a limited distribution to institutions and to relatives and intimate friends of Doctor Spofford.
The recent death of another official of the Library who, though a member of the Superintendent's staff, held an office which involved close relations of influence and of service with the Library proper, is mentioned in the report of the Superintendent. This was Dr. George N. French, chief 12721-09-2
clerk to the Superintendent and Disbursing Officer; a veteran in the service of the Government, and an admirable example of a modest, loyal, and devoted official, exact and thorough in his own work and considerate in his relations with that of others.
The most notable loss to our staff by resignation was Resignation of
that of Mr. Worthington C. Ford, who on January 1, 1909, left us to become editor for the Massachusetts Historical Society. Mr. Ford brought to the conduct of our Manuscripts Division not merely a precise knowledge of the sources of American history, which made him for certain periods a leading authority, but also a long experience in the scientific treatment of such material. Combining with these qualifications skill in “locating” new material and enterprise in the pursuit of it, his presence with us aided greatly in the enlargement of the manuscript collections, which during the six years of his incumbency more than doubled in extent and importance. Within this period, for instance, occurred the transfer to the Library of the great bodies of manuscripts such as the Washington and other presidential papers, and the papers of the Continental Congress—formerly in the State and other federal departments. Within it also have occurred such important private gifts to the Library as those of the Jackson, the Van Buren, and the Breckinridge papers; while in the consideration of material procurable only by purchase, his judgment as to scientific as well as commercial values could be accepted as safely decisive. On the other hand, his certainty and rapidity of decision combined with a prodigious industry effected notable results in the administration and utilization of the collections. His crowning service was indeed as editor, this including not merely the planning and supervision of conventional catalogues and calendars, and the supervision and direction through the press of the Records of the Virginia Company, but the personal editing