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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

***EARLY LAFAYETTE PUBLIC LIBRARY/LITERACY

Do the People of Lafayette Read?In the course of a conversation with Mr. Davis, the news and book dealer, we were made acquainted with a few facts which show how groundless is the charge that Lafayette is "not a reading town." We have often heard it said that the people of Lafayette did not care for books, magazines and newspapers. Persons who seem fond of making this statement do not know what they are talking about. We are sure that the figures will bear out our claim that no town Lafayette's size in the State buys a larger number of books and periodicals of all kinds are sold here. Since Mr. Davis engaged in the news and book business in this town the local demand for reading matter has grown larger and larger every day, and judging from the increased sales after the opening of the Industrial Institute that institution has brought many recruits to the army of readers. To show how the business has grown it is only necessary to state that the sale of two McClure's a week has reached the 40 mark. And a commendable feature of the trade is that Mr. Davis has never encouraged the sale of trashy stuff of the Jessy James sort. He has created a demand for the current works of the best authors which are handled by him as soom as they are published. It is doing but simple justice to Mr. Davis to say that he keeps one of the best bookstores in the State outside of New Orleans. No up-to-date town can afford to be without a first-class bookstore and The Gazette is pleased to note Mr. Davis' success. Lafayette Gazette 1/18/1902.


A Public Library.

"A public library can be started in Lafayette with comparatively little expense by adopting the following plan," says a gentleman who has given some thought to the subject:

"Begin with a membership of 30. Charge a fee of $2.50 for the privilege of being admitted to membership. That gives $75 for the purchase of books. Buy only well-bound books, and the library will have some 60 or 65 volumes of choice literature at the start. Make the monthly dues 25 cents, which will amount to $7.50 monthly. Rent a room and hire some one say at a salary of $2 per month to be at the library room from 9 to 10 a. m. on every Saturday to give out the books and credit those returning them. Charge each one 5 cents a day who keeps a book out over 2 weeks, but give each one the privilege of having the book credited for another two weeks if desired.

"The room should not cost over $2 rent. That would leave $3.50 from the dues to purchase books. In the course of a few years, from (unreadable words) fines, donations (unreadable words) have several hundred choice volumes.

"Those joining would have for an inconsiderable expense, access to a large number of books on all topics."
Lafayette Gazette 2/3/1900.




New Books Added.
The following new books have just been added to the Moss Pharmacy Circulating Library.

 Cherry, by Booth Tarkington.
The Little Chevalier, by M. E. M. Davis.
His Daughter First, By Arthur Sherburne Hardy.
The Valley of Decision, by Edith Wharton.
The Heart of Hyacinth, by Onata Watarma. Laf. Adv. 2/3/1904.


A LITERARY CONTEST.

 To assist in swelling the High School fund the ADVERTISER has concluded to inaugurate in Louisiana the latest English and New York fashion -- the missing word contest. The terms are as follows: Each person who wishes to try to supply the missing word in the paragraph that is given below, must cut out the "Missing Word Coupon" on this page of the ADVERTISER, and with name and address and the missing word plainly written in the proper place, send the same, together with 25 cents, to this office. The total of the fees received will be divided into two parts -- the first to be given to the high school fund and the second to be divided equally among those who currently guess the missing word. This coupon will be printed for one month. The result will be announced in the issue of this paper following the close of the contest.

 "This is the paragraph :
  If we are to have a High School it behooves the people to stir themselves and --------------."

 The missing word in this paragraph is known only to the editor, and it has been written and sealed by him in an envelope which will not be opened till the contest closes, when it will be opened by three prominent citizens. Competitors can make as many guesses as they choose, but each attempt must be made on a coupon taken from this paper and accompanied by the entrance fee of twenty-five cents.

     MISSING WORD COUPON.
[Cut this coupon out, fill up the blanks, and with twenty-five cents send it to the editor.]

Name....................................................

Post office address................................

Missing Word.......................................
Lafayette Advertiser 2/4/1893.


Illiterate, Not Unpatriotic.
To the Lafayette Gazette:

 In commenting upon the large number of white voters (nearly one-half) of St. Martin parish, who became disfranchised through a failure to pay their poll tax in 1902, the St. Martin Review attributes such failure to a "lack of patriotism, lack of appreciation of the great importance of being a suffragan, and shameful lack of the sense of one's civic duty."

 One can well understand the feelings of The Review at being obliged to make such a humiliating confession, and the keenness of the humiliation is not lessened on account of the same conditions prevailing in neighboring parishes. But, it is not erroneous and unjust to charge the neglect of such voters to qualify as suffragists to a want of patriotism? An investigation of the apathy and indifference complained of, on the part of the people, will make it only too evident that ignorance and illiteracy is the active underlying cause of the evil. The great majority of the adult population in what is known as the Attakapas parishes, are uneducated and unenlightened and, consequently, are no more capable of understanding the principles of government and the significance of suffrage than a man is able to discern the form, size and color of objects in the darkness without the aid of light.

 The capacity of the beknighted, uncultivated mind for apprehending facts, and its power of reasoning, are limited in the same way that a horse can not draw a heavier load than he has the strength to move. Ignorance and illiteracy are incompatible with patriotism and a sense of civic duty. One represents darkness, the other is a symbol of light. When the army of Galerius sacked the camp of the routed Persians a bag of shining leather, filled with pearls, fell in the hands of a private soldier; he carefully preserved the bag, but he threw away the contents, judging that whatever was of no use could not possibly be of any value. How could be expected to place a higher estimate on the pearls than on the bag, when he was unacquainted with the properties to which a pearl owes its value as a gem. He knew the use of the leather bag, however, and made sure of that; and, so it is with the voter in his estimate of the electorate. he is informed as to the value of a dollar and keeps it, but his intellect never having reached that stage of development which would enable him to comprehend, enjoy and exercise the supreme privilege secured to him by the ballot box, like the soldier in the army of Galerius, he throws away through ignorance, the thing of greatest value to him.

 The picture just drawn depicts a most deplorable condition, and it is a false pride that would cause us to deny or disguise its truthfulness, and no good could result from such a course. It is better and more manly to recognize the evil in all its hideousness and proceed to eradicate the disease, branch and root, by destroying the cause. An education, solid education, broadminded education, is the remedy and great panacea for all our social and economic ills. The kind of education that turns knowledge into power and elevates men and women far above the plane of sordidness and rank commercialism. The manner of education which causes men and women to realize that they are intended to be more than mere automatons, something of greater usefulness than mechanical appliances for the exploitation of fashion and the display of millinery. That quality of education and training of the mind and heart which incites men and women to deeds of heroism and nobleness, and enables them to drink deeply of the joys and beauties of this life, because conscious of its higher duties and graver responsibilities eternal in their workings.

 There are earnest men and women among our own people laboring for the improvement and extension of our educational facilities. Let these join hands in the grand work of obliterating the ignorance and illiteracy that is a blotch on one fair Southland. Let them wage an unceasing crusade against incompetency in school officers and school teachers. Only the best talent and the highest ability must be allowed to govern the school system and direct the moral and mental training of our children. And in all worthy and practical efforts to foster the blessings of education among the unlettered masses, we should feel a great satisfaction and encouragement in knowing that we can at all times depend upon the active sympathy and support of our chief magistrate, Gov. Heard, whose utterances and actions afford convincing proof of the great importance he attaches to the subject of public education in Louisiana.

 And the Press! who can estimate the usefulness and influence in forwarding the new century campaign for a universal education of the people? And it is earnestly to be hoped that The St. Martinville Review and all other newspapers engaged in the up-building of a country now deeply feeling the burden and disadvantages of ignorance and illiteracy, will fully realize the grave responsibility resting on them as publicists and moulders of thought, and lend their powerful influence to the cause by agitating and advocating unremittingly all reasonable and necessary measures for the rapid and effective dissemination of knowledge through education, to the end that our people may attain to the proud and influential position to which they are rightfully entitled by birth and tradition. And as our school work is being so seriously hampered by a lack of school funds, and as money invested in education brings the very largest returns, a liberal local school tax is the foremost one of the public measures to be carried into effect in the higher interest of the people; and such a tax will afford the most reliable and the most effective means for extending the benefits of education to all the people of this and future generations, and assure them the fullest measure of prosperity and happiness.
                                       N. P. MOSS.
 Lafayette, La., Jan. 29, 1903.
             



Illiterate, Not Unpatriotic.
To the Lafayette Gazette:

 In commenting upon the large number of white voters (nearly one-half) of St. Martin parish, who became disfranchised through a failure to pay their poll tax in 1902, the St. Martin Review attributes such failure to a "lack of patriotism, lack of appreciation of the great importance of being a suffragan, and shameful lack of the sense of one's civic duty."

 One can well understand the feelings of The Review at being obliged to make such a humiliating confession, and the keenness of the humiliation is not lessened on account of the same conditions prevailing in neighboring parishes. But, it is not erroneous and unjust to charge the neglect of such voters to qualify as suffragists to a want of patriotism? An investigation of the apathy and indifference complained of, on the part of the people, will make it only too evident that ignorance and illiteracy is the active underlying cause of the evil. The great majority of the adult population in what is known as the Attakapas parishes, are uneducated and unenlightened and, consequently, are no more capable of understanding the principles of government and the significance of suffrage than a man is able to discern the form, size and color of objects in the darkness without the aid of light.

 The capacity of the beknighted, uncultivated mind for apprehending facts, and its power of reasoning, are limited in the same way that a horse can not draw a heavier load than he has the strength to move. Ignorance and illiteracy are incompatible with patriotism and a sense of civic duty. One represents darkness, the other is a symbol of light. When the army of Galerius sacked the camp of the routed Persians a bag of shining leather, filled with pearls, fell in the hands of a private soldier; he carefully preserved the bag, but he threw away the contents, judging that whatever was of no use could not possibly be of any value. How could be expected to place a higher estimate on the pearls than on the bag, when he was unacquainted with the properties to which a pearl owes its value as a gem. He knew the use of the leather bag, however, and made sure of that; and, so it is with the voter in his estimate of the electorate. he is informed as to the value of a dollar and keeps it, but his intellect never having reached that stage of development which would enable him to comprehend, enjoy and exercise the supreme privilege secured to him by the ballot box, like the soldier in the army of Galerius, he throws away through ignorance, the thing of greatest value to him.

 The picture just drawn depicts a most deplorable condition, and it is a false pride that would cause us to deny or disguise its truthfulness, and no good could result from such a course. It is better and more manly to recognize the evil in all its hideousness and proceed to eradicate the disease, branch and root, by destroying the cause. An education, solid education, broadminded education, is the remedy and great panacea for all our social and economic ills. The kind of education that turns knowledge into power and elevates men and women far above the plane of sordidness and rank commercialism. The manner of education which causes men and women to realize that they are intended to be more than mere automatons, something of greater usefulness than mechanical appliances for the exploitation of fashion and the display of millinery. That quality of education and training of the mind and heart which incites men and women to deeds of heroism and nobleness, and enables them to drink deeply of the joys and beauties of this life, because conscious of its higher duties and graver responsibilities eternal in their workings.

 There are earnest men and women among our own people laboring for the improvement and extension of our educational facilities. Let these join hands in the grand work of obliterating the ignorance and illiteracy that is a blotch on one fair Southland. Let them wage an unceasing crusade against incompetency in school officers and school teachers. Only the best talent and the highest ability must be allowed to govern the school system and direct the moral and mental training of our children. And in all worthy and practical efforts to foster the blessings of education among the unlettered masses, we should feel a great satisfaction and encouragement in knowing that we can at all times depend upon the active sympathy and support of our chief magistrate, Gov. Heard, whose utterances and actions afford convincing proof of the great importance he attaches to the subject of public education in Louisiana.

 And the Press! who can estimate the usefulness and influence in forwarding the new century campaign for a universal education of the people? And it is earnestly to be hoped that The St. Martinville Review and all other newspapers engaged in the up-building of a country now deeply feeling the burden and disadvantages of ignorance and illiteracy, will fully realize the grave responsibility resting on them as publicists and moulders of thought, and lend their powerful influence to the cause by agitating and advocating unremittingly all reasonable and necessary measures for the rapid and effective dissemination of knowledge through education, to the end that our people may attain to the proud and influential position to which they are rightfully entitled by birth and tradition. And as our school work is being so seriously hampered by a lack of school funds, and as money invested in education brings the very largest returns, a liberal local school tax is the foremost one of the public measures to be carried into effect in the higher interest of the people; and such a tax will afford the most reliable and the most effective means for extending the benefits of education to all the people of this and future generations, and assure them the fullest measure of prosperity and happiness.
                                       N. P. MOSS.
 Lafayette, La., Jan. 29, 1903.
             



















Public Library. - The Public Library at the Moss Pharmacy is increasing each week by the addition of new books. The latest in the Library are: My Friend Prospero by Henry Harland, (author of the Cardinal's Snuff Box.) Rebecca of Sunny Brook Farm by Kate Douglas Williams, also, Free Joe by Joel Chandler Harris, I Need the Money by the author of John Henry. Those who have not taken advantage of this Library are missing lots of delightful reading at a nominal cost.
Lafayette Advertiser 4/20/1904.

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