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Mr. PUTNAM. Mr. Huntington put $25,000,000 into books for the Huntington library. They include some of the books that are in this collection.

The British Museum has for years been buying copies of these identical books. If it is not obliged to spend large sums for them now, it is because it has them already. That was the British Government doing that.

Mr. BARKLEY. Are these books written by numerous men who are recognized in the literary world as being authorities on those subjects?

Mr. PUTNAM. Yes; of the fifteenth century. Some of the great minds of the fifteenth century and earlier.

Mr. GILLETT. Then you are advocating that we adopt the policy of the British Museum and other great collectors of paying large sums for curios? That is what the Gutenberg Bible certainly is. Isn't that a new precedent for us to establish?

Mr. Putnam. It would be a policy for the Library which in my administration of ordinary appropriations I never, of course, followed. I never followed the policy of spending large sums for things that we could get along without because we had them in some other form.

Mr. McKELLAR. What did the other libraries pay for the other copies of this Gutenberg Bible?

Mr. PUTNAM. I don't know. They acquired them years and years ago.
Mr. MCKELLAR. What is the general conception that those objects are vorth?

Mr. Putnam. The highest price paid for a copy thus far was for a copy on paper, $126,000. That was bought by Mrs. Harkness and presented to Yale University.

Mr. Gillett. They are worth that just because they are rare?
Mr. PUTNAM. No, sir. Not merely because they are rare.
Mr. MCKELLAR. Was that just a copy on paper?
Mr. PUTNAM. Merely on paper.
Mr. McKELLAR. Just a copy from the original?

Mr. PUTNAM. That was a copy produced by Gutenberg, but it was only on paper. There are only three vellum copies existing. When you get to the question of form, there is a great deal of sentiment that surrounds such an item from the point of view of connoisseurship. Vellum counts and the finish counts and all the details count.

Now, if this were just some ordinary curio, if I were just inviting you to go in to a dealer and spend a large sum for something which is as Senator Gillett calls this, just a curio, even though it is in a sense a museum piece, I would not be here.

Mr. McKELLER. What did Mr. Vollbehr pay for it?
Mr. PUTNAM. Vollbehr contracted to pay for the Gutenberg Bible $305,000.
Mr. MCKELLER. Is there any doubt about its authenticitiy?

Mr. PUTNAM. Not at all. It has been absolutely in the possession of this monastery for several centuries.

He could get, no doubt, $600,000 for it to-day. The people at the hearing, like Mr. Rosenbach, the dealer, dealing in just such things, said that they thought that a million dollars would not be too much for the Gutenberg Bible. You could readily believe that.

Mr. McKELLAR. Are there other books in the collection that are supposed to be valuable?

Mr. PUTNAM. There is not a book there that is not valuable. Do you mean from a scientific or a commercial point of view?

Mr. MCKELLAR. From the scientific sense.

Mr. PUTNAM. Every one of them is valuable in its presentation of the manners and customs and art and interests and the thoughts and aspirations of those people at the time when Europe was in a ferment and preparing for the Renaissance and the Reformation.

Mr. Chairman, I revert to my repute, if I have one, for moderation. What had worried me when this bill was introduced was the fear that I should be called before the committee and asked this question: "Mr. Putnam, if we should say to you that we think that a million and a half could be available for some useful thing for the Library, is this the use that you would put it to?" and I didn't feel that I could say Yes.” But I can now say it, Mr. Chairman, absolutely. I think that at this stage, in this crisis, that this expenditure of a million and a half would be the finest investment you could make for the Library. I can not think of any application of it that would be so important to our enlarged future.

The CHAIRMAN. I frankly state to the committee that my attitude, which was natagonistic to this bill, was due almost entirely to not having the hearty recommendation of it by the Librarian, whose judgment on these matters would be the first thing I would seek. That is one consideration.


The other thought I had in mind was that I was afraid of opening the door to various dealers who might come in and put pressure upon the committee to purchase this and that and the other thing, which becomes a great embarrassment to the committee.

But after listening to the Librarian on the value of this selection of books dating prior to the sixteenth century, and realizing that our Library is not rich in anything of that sort, I am inclined to take his view of it, provided that we can feel that it is not going to disarrange our plans for other things that might be quite necessary.

We have been much obliged to you, Doctor Putnam.

Mr. Putnam. I hope I have made all clear. A great expectation has been aroused throughout the country. It ought not to be disappointed.

Mr. BINGHAM. Mr. Chairman, when I first introduced this bill at the suggestion of Mr. Collins, I was very much surprised to find the opposition that there was to it on the Senate side. I realized this morning more than ever before that due to our enthusiasm for the Librarian himself, we were putting him in a position where it was extremely difficult for him to advocate a matter of such moment as this, which was to be a monument to him in the Library. At the same time, without his hearty support the chairman and others did not feel that they could approve of such a very great expenditure.

The new bill, which is the bill that passed the House and which is identical with the bill that I introduced a few days before that on this side, eliminated that feature to my regret. I realize now that in so doing, I have unsealed the lips of him whom we have for many years here regarded as our oracle on such matters, whose wonderful service for the Library has raised it from the position of one of the lesser esteemed libraries of the world to that of one of the great libraries of the world. Everybody recognizes that fact.

It has given me the greatest satisfaction this morning to be able to listen to Doctor Putnam's description of the collection and his enthusiasm for it; and I am delighted to see that he has converted the chairman of this committee, who conscientiously was opposing consideration of the bill, because I believe entirely with the Librarian that from the point of view of a collector the prestige of the Library of Congress will be immeasurably raised by the purchase of this collection.

The feeling of the rich collector that while Congress was glad to give him a place to deposit his books, they were not really willing to spend any money matching those books with similar books—that feeling of the collectors will be greatly changed toward the Library.

I agree with his opinion that our failure to take advantage of this opportunity, which, as the librarian has said, will never occur again, would be a disgrace to the American Congress.

I think it is marvelous that the House passed this bill without any more opposition than it received, and I hope that we can put it through rapidly.

Mr. McKELLAR. I would like to ask Doctor Putnam a question or two. Doctor Putnam, in the first place, how does our Library compare with others; for instance, with that in London and that in Paris?

The LIBRARIAN. They are about equal numerically; but we have always coupled that statement with the mortifying remark that as to the material of distinction we are painfully lacking.

Mr. McKELLAR. Doctor Putnam, it has been my idea for a long time that America ought to have the greatest library in the world. In your judgment, the purchase of this collection adds materially—I do not mean in the number of books but I mean in the right kind of books-would the purchase of this collection add materially to the bigness of the Library; I mean the value of the Library?

The LIBRARIAN. Mr. Chairman, in my judgment no expenditure for any other purpose of even $5,000,000 would do as much as this purchase at this time to Îift the Library onto a different plane-a plane upon which are those two libraries of England and France. Not to match them. We can not match them; but we can begin to approximate their nature as regards printed books.

Europe has known of this bill. I have heard from Europe expressions about it and curiosity as to what Congress will do with it.

Mr. BARKLEY. You might not want to answer this question. But would not the purchase also create the impression that Congress after all is composed of men who look upon matters a little differently than from the materialistic and narrow standpoint; that they have a little æsthetic sense?

The LIBRARIAN. Exactly.

The CHAIRMAN. That was the comment that Doctor Putnam made to me the other day—that this would be the finest display of public appreciation of the Library.

The LIBRARIAN. Of the cultural side of it. And in the thrill apparent among our people—that our Congress is going to do this thing for our Library.

The CHAIRMAN. I had a comment made to me the other day that was very significant, speaking of these rare libraries that are valuable because of the old books--the rare books that we never can get again because they do not existbut they are there now. This man stated that the Vatican was very much impressed by the manner of our cataloguing here in this Library, and said that they were expecting that when all those books that had been stored away for centuries were catalogued, there will be some most remarkable discoveries that they do not know they have; that there will be a great veneration of the era. This same party said to me that this particular collection doubtless is worth $5,000,000.

Mr. McKELLAR. Doctor Putnam has no doubt already explained before I came in just what period this collection covers. Can you tell us again?

The LIBRARIAN. The Gutenberg Bible is the first great printed book of Europe. It was printed in 1450. The collection runs from 1450 to 1500—that half century, 50 years.

Mr. MCKELLAR. It covers that entire period? The LIBRARIAN. Those 50 years; yes. They are 50 most important years, which are the basis of our modern civilization.

Mr. BARKLEY. I am going to move that we report this bill favorably.
Mr. McKELLAR. I second the motion.
Mr. Thomas. Does the Library receive many books of this kind by gift?

The LIBRARIAN. We have received, Mr. Chairman, in gifts of material numerous books, but with one exception not of any very great significance bibliographically. The exception was of a bequest from Mrs. Thatcher of a collection of fifteenth-century books, a collection formed by her husband.

Mr. Thomas. Would the passage of this bill increase those gifts or deter them, in your judgment?

Mr. MCKELLAR. He said that he thought that it would increase them.

The LIBRARIAN. I do not think that any other investment of a million and a half dollars would serve to enrich the Library by gifts of material as would this purchase.

The CHAIRMAN. The motion is made to report the bill favorably. All those in favor say “aye,” contrary minded “no." It is a unanimous vote.

(Whereupon, at 10.50 o'clock a. m., the hearing was concluded.)

Mr. Chairman, a little over a century ago the Government paid Thomas Jefferson $24,000 for his library. In proportion to the resources of the country that sum then was not much short of the million and a half involved in this bill. And the debate was protracted, even acrimonious. I have before me the record of it. An objection was the number of “atheistical, irreligious, and immoral books in the collection, and the number of others not “necessary or useful.” The record continues:

“Those who opposed the bill did so on account of the scarcity of money and the necessity of appropriating it to purposes more indispensable than the purchase of a library; the probable insecurity of such a library placed here; the high price to be given for this collection; its miscellaneous and almost exclusively literary (instead of legal and historical) character, etc.

"To those arguments, enforced with zeal and vehemence, the friends of the bill replied with fact, wit, and argument, to show that the purchase, to be made on terms of long credit, could not affect the present resources of the United States; that the price was moderate, the library more valuable from the scarcity of many of its books, and altogether a most admirable substratum for a national library."

What was true of that purchase is certainly true of the one before you. It would form "a most admirable substratum for a (greater) national library,” such as yours is not yet but should develop into.





2d Session


REPORT No. 1002



JUNE 18, 1930.--Ordered to be printed

Mr. Walsh of Montana, from the Committee on Irrigation and

Reclamation, submitted the following


[To accompany S. 3826]

The Committee on Irrigation and Reclamation, to whom was referred the bill (S. 3826) for the rehabilitation of the Bitter Root irrigation project, Montana, having considered the same, report thereon with a recommendation that it do pass with the following amendments:

Page 1, line 3, strike out “transferred” and insert "appropriated" and in lines 7 and 8 strike out the words "Ravalli County."

Page 2, line 1, strike out the words “funding or” and in line 3, after the word "equitable,” strike out the semicolon and insert a comma and the following: “not exceeding 75 per centum of the principal and accrued interest, no portion of such outstanding indebtedness to be liquidated except a total outstanding indebtedness of such project is so liquidated.” In line 7 change the semicolon to a comma and after the word "and" insert "as provided for in the contract hereinafter required:” Strike out all of lines 8, 9, 10, and 11 and insert in lieu thereof the following: “(3) For loaning to such irrigation district, hereinafter provided for, such funds as in the opinion of the Secretary are necessary for any construction, betterment, or repair work to place the irrigation system of such project in good operating condition.” In line 22 strike out the word "may

“” and insert “shall” and after the word “the” in line 22 insert “land and on the". In line 23, after the word “project”, strike the remainder of the line and all of line 24 down to and including the word “Secretary.” In line 24 strike out the word “operating” and insert the word "operation".

Page 3, line 20, strike out the words “used or advanced” and insert the word "appropriated", and in line 23, after the word “a,” insert “report of his”, and in line 24, after the word “writing," insert “to Congress”.

Page 4, after the word "standpoint” in line 1, strike out the remainder of the line and all of line 2 down to and including the word “probability” inserting in lieu thereof the word “so.” In line 3, strike out all after the word “States” down to and including the word "fund" in line 17. In line 18 change the figure "7" to "6".

The case is one of peculiar merit and of urgency. The circumstances making it such are set forth in the report of the House of Representatives on a companion bill which had the approval of that body on June 16, 1930, from which the following is taken:

This proposal is approved by the Secretary of the Interior and the Commissioner of Reclamation and by the Director of the Budget.

It appears to the committee that it is a sound policy, in addition to insuring the success of existing Federal reclamation projects, to secure the success of other existing similar projects, not built by the Government but where the vital questions of economics have already been satisfactorily answered, and which through promotional or inadequate financing schemes and such circumstances as have developed on Federal irrigation projects everywhere during the period of trial, are now confronted with such difficulties as only a refinancing plan under strict but reasonable terms can overcome.

Such instances are not numerous, but they exist in several of the States subject to the expenditures of the reclamation fund.

The first thought of the author of this bill was a general measure, but determination was finally reached by consultation to select a characteristic project which has been thoroughly studied, which fully presents the usual problems, and which contains all the essential elements of success, and to use that project as an experimental laboratory to test out the practicability of the theory in a thorough manner.

The Bitter Root project in Montana was selected. It not only presents an imperative need, but it offers a fair example of similar problems. It is well settled with excellent people. It produces good crops of a diversified character, has its schools, highways, and rail transportation. But in the experimental days of all reclamation it was promotionally financed. It has passed through the period of determining how to succeed, and it now needs only the sort of refinancing which has proved necessary on every Government project.

The selection of the Bitter Root project is made n an impersonal manner. It is outside of the district of the one introducing the bill. The Member who does represent the district including the project gives his approval and support, but the committee action is to select a place for this study which is not within the district of any member of the committee.

By the bill the feasiblity of and the methods necessary to the refinancing of such a project, at its true value and under terms fair at once to the settlers and to the Government, and under a contract to secure 4 per cent interest on the reclamation fund and thus build up that fund and maintain it, will be determined.

The favorable reports of the Secretary and the Commissioner of Reclamation follow:


Washington, March 27, 1930. Hon. Addison T. SMITA, Chairman Committee on Irrigation and Reclamation,

House of Representatives. MY DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: With further reference to your request of February 19, for a report on H. R. 9990, which would provide for the rehabilitation of the Bitter Root irrigation project, Montana, I am transmitting herewith a memorandum from the Commissioner of Reclamation. After a review of the proposed measure,

I agree with issioner Mead.
Very truly yours,

Ray LYMAN Wilbur, Secretary.



Washington, March 8, 1930. Subject: Report upon H. R. 9990, introduced by Hon. Scott Leavitt, entitled

"A bill for the rehabilitation of the Bitter Root irrigation project, Mont.'

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