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consin Library Association and this Society, is the directing force in all these movements, and allows none of them to suffer for lack of energetic, professional advice and assistance. It is confidently expected that at the session of the Wisconsin legislature, this winter, the commission will be granted an increased appropriation, with an expert official staff. The State will, in consequence, soon take a ieading stand, not only in the matter of free traveling libraries for rural communities, but in free public libraries for municipalities.
CONSTITUTIONAL REVISION. The Society is working under a constitution adopted in 1853. At that time, there were no models for such a document, other than those of the older State historical societies of the Atlantic slope, which are private, and more or less exclusive, corporations. Our Society, however, after the coming of Secre. tary Draper, the popularizing of the membership list, the granting of State aid, and the assumption of State trusteeship, gradually, at successive stages, took on a character quite distinct from its sister organizations in the East; its aims, its methods, have become in many respects different, — so different, in fact, that the old constitution, although frequently patched, is in many particulars unsuited to our work. During the greater part of these forty-three years of development, we have come to rear a code of usage which represents more to us, in our daily operations, than the letter of the constitution. On the eve of moving into a new and perinanent home, the first roof-tree which we can call our own, it would seem appropriate that our fundamental rules be so revised as authoritatively to recognize existing, well-tried methods, to eliminate such of the machinery of our organization as experience has found useless, and in general to improve its working. The appointment at this meeting of a committee on the revision of the constitution and by-laws, seems advisable.
PROGRESS UPON THE NEW BUILDING.
It is with great pleasure that we are able to announce satisfactory progress upon our new building.
At a special meeting of the Board of Commissioners for Erecting the State Historical Library, held January 7th and 8th, Messrs. Ferry & Clas, of Milwaukee, were chosen as the architects for the building; and they were requested to develop the two sets of plans which had been presented by them. The plans which they submitted in competition, and upon which they had won their case, provided for a cruciform building, of classical design, with the reading room and administrative offices in the center, and book-stacks as wings on either side. The architects had presented an alternative plan, being also a classical building of the Ionic order, -- but with a solid structure in front, containing reading room, seminary rooms, and offices, and two book-stacks projecting from the rear, – the museum to cover all, in the fourth story. At a meeting of the board, held March 27th, the alternative plan, last described, was adopted, and the architects instructed to prepare at once detailed plans and specifications.
Meanwhile, the Board of State University Regents, in accordance with the terms of chapter 298, laws of Wisconsin for 1895, formally transferred to the State, for the site of the building, a large plot of ground at the west end of the property between Park, Langdon, and State streets, known as the "lower campus." A loan of $60,000 was obtained from the Commissioners of Public Lands, with which to commence the work of construction.
The special committee on the selection of facing stone met May 6th, and, after thorough discussion of various samples of stone and of a special report by the architects, selected the buff-Bedford (Ind.) limestone, and the Berea and Amherst (0.) sandstones, as a basis for the bids of contractors. Their report was adopted by the executive committee, the same day. Later (May 28th), the detailed plans for the basement and first story of the building were adopted by the full Board. Sealed proposals were duly advertised for, in accordance with the terms of the creating act.
On the 23rd of May, the chairman of the Society's delegation upon the Board of Commissioners, Gen. Lucius Fairchild, had passed away. At a meeting of the executive committee of the Society, held June 25th, the Hon. William F. Vilas was chosen
to succeed him, and took his seat upon the Board at the meeting of the latter on the 29th of June. The Board at this meeting unanimously adopted the following resolution:
Resolved, that the Board has received with great sorrow, information of the death of Commissioner Fairchild. In him, his fellow commissioners recognized, by common consent, one to whom, perhaps more than to any other person, was due the passage of the act providing for the noble building in the construction of which this board is now engaged, and which will in some sense be his monument. At the several sittings of the Board, throughout the first year of its existence, his well-considered counsel has been of the greatest value in times of perplexity, and his charming manner a delight and an inspiration to all. In looking upon his vacant chair, the surviving commissioners feel that there has gone forth from their midst, one who was not only a valued co-laborer in a work upon which he had dearly set his heart, but also a most beloved friend.
Bids for constructing the basement and first story being opened, in the presence of competitors, the contract was awarded to the lowest bidder, Thomas R. Bentley, of Milwaukee, for $42,553 — buff-Bedford stone, from the Dark Hollow (Ind.) quarry, to be the facing material. The executive committee of the Board, in whose hands the supervision of the construction was placed, afterwards made a contract with the Consolidated Stone Co., of Chicago, owners of the quarry selected, by which the latter agreed to furnish stone to bidders for the remainder of the building, at the same price paid by Bentley for use in the basement and first story. T. C. McCarthy, of Madison, was appointed inspector of the works. Later, the Pittsburg Testing Laboratory, of Pittsburg and Chicago, was contracted with for mill and shop inspection of the steel work used in the construction.
At the quarterly meeting held September 28th, a report of the summer's work, and of receipts and expenses to date, was made by the executive committee, in the course of which this comment was made: "The work has been delayed, at times, by unavoidable difficulties: such as a strike in the Dark Hollow quarry; non-arrival of stone and steel, in the size immediately required; and, throughout September, by stormy weather. As a whole, however, the progress has been quite equal to the expectation of the committee, and the contractor now hopes to have the present contract completed before December 1st next. The quality of the work appears to be excellent, at every point; and the Committee feel confident that the building, when completed, will be a credit to the Commission, the Historical Society, and the State."
Continued stormy weather and aggravating non-arrival of stone have still further delayed operations, but it is expected that the Bentley contract will be completed by the first of January next.
At the September meeting of the Board, the architects were directed to complete at once the plans and specifications for the remainder of the part of the building now to be erected. Messrs. Ferry and Clas are now engaged upon this work, and it is hoped that proposals may be advertised for in February next, to the end that work can be resumed early in the spring
Provided no unforeseen event occurs to interrupt the operations of the Board, there is every reason to suppose that the Society may be enabled to move into its new quarters two years hence, or certainly not later than the spring of 1899. If the removal could take place sooner than this, it would be the better for all concerned. Our present rooms in the Capitol are already overcrowded with books, and two years more of accumulation, at our ever-increasing ratio, will find us seriously hampered for space for administrative and reading-room purposes; the State government urgently needs, in its growth, the three floors we now occupy; and already considerable uneasiness is felt by our neighbors in the south wing, at the enormous weight of our possessions. Doubtless this alarm is thus far without sufficient warrant; but it exists, and we must reckon with it. Were the legislature to enable us to spend more than the stipulated $60,000 within 1897, the work of construction could be materially hastened, and thus the interest of all parties concerned be advanced. It is worth while considering, also, whether the completion of the permanent home of the State Historical Society would not be a highly desirable achievement for the semi-centennial year (1898).
In any event, the Society and the great educational interests which it represents, have in the present outlook much to be thankful for. The near future is bright with the promise of still better days. On behalf of the Executive Committee,
REUBEN G. THWAITES,
E. – REPORT OF EXECUTOR OF DRAPER ESTATE.
Madison, Wis., November 16, 1896. Mr. R. G. Thwaites, Secretary State Historical Society
DEAR Sir: Final judgment in the matter of the estate of Lyman C. Draper was entered on the 6th day of November, 1896. By this judgment, the homestead of the late Lyman C. Draper, namely, lot 4, block 51, in the city of Madison, was confirmed in the State Historical Society, and also the title to the library and manuscripts.
The hope and expectation of Mr. Draper was, that the Society would receive a very considerable sum from his personal estate, particularly from his iron-mining property; but after the payment of the expenses of his last illness, the funeral expenses, the debts, and the costs of administration, there was no estate left for distribution to the residuary or general legatees.
Owing to the fact that some claims which were made against the estate, amounting to a considerable sum, were either successfully contested or were withdrawn, the library and manuscripts were saved to the Society. The claims so presented, and the disposition of them, were as follows: (1) A claim on the part of Mrs. Draper, widow of the deceased, for her support and maintenance; and (2) a claim on the part of George W. Hoyt, for $1,160.50, were both disallowed after contest. The claim (3) of M. H. Chynoweth and others, for $1,200 and interest, was withdrawn.
Questions having arisen in the mind of the executor as to the proper construction of the will, he petitioned the court for a construction thereof. At the hearing of such petition for construction, Mr. H. M. Lewis appeared in behalf of the State Historical Society, Mr. Burr W. Jones, guardian ad litem, appeared in behalf of the infant, and Messrs. Bashford, O'Connor, & Aylward in behalf of the adult and general legatees named in said will.
The particulars in which the executor sought information, were whether the legacy of the library and manuscripts to the State Historical Society was a specific or general legacy; whether certain of the property belonging to said deceased, which came to the hands of the executor, was liable in the first instance to the payment of debts, costs of administration, or to the payment of legacies mentioned in said will; and whether the said