In This Issue
More Library News:
Your library making news?
The Indiana State Library recently recovered an extremely rare and valuable letter written by President Ulysses S. Grant to his former Vice President Schuyler Colfax in 1873. The document was up for sale at a Pennsylvania auction house where it was discovered by the Northern Indiana Historical Society (South Bend) who contacted the State Library to determine the provenance of the letter.
Indiana State Library staff discovered, after examining content records for the Library’s collection of Schuyler Colfax manuscripts, that the letter was previously in its Manuscripts Collection and reported missing. They then contacted the owner of the auction house who connected them with the holder of the Grant-Colfax letter. Upon receiving documents verifying the State Library’s ownership of the document, the collector graciously donated the letter to the Library.
The letter was stolen along with other items from the Indiana State Library by Robert Bradford Murphy, who visited the Library sometime in 1962. Murphy was later apprehended in Detroit with $500,000 worth of documents he had taken from the State Library, the National Archives and other institutions. In 1963, Mrs. Hazel M. Hopper from the State Library testified at Murphy’s trial and was able to identify some of the items that were taken from the library. Many of the stolen items were returned, but the Grant-Colfax letter did not. Presumably, the letter was sold prior to Murphy’s apprehension by law enforcement officials.
The letter was written on Grant's inauguration of his second term, and it is believed to be the first correspondence between Grant and Colfax after Colfax was no longer in office after losing the Vice Presidential nomination in 1872. Colfax was elected Vice President in 1868 and served along side Grant his first term as President. In the letter, Grant invited Colfax to join him for dinner. Later correspondence indicates Colfax declined his offer.
You may view this letter online at the State Library's Website.
About Schuyler Colfax:
After losing his first election in 1851, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1854. The next election, he ran as a Republican. Colfax served in the House of Representatives until he resigned to become vice president in 1869, and he was elected Speaker of the House in 1863. Colfax as Vice President, along side General Ulysses S. Grant who was the presidential candidate, easily won the 1868 election. However, Colfax lost the Vice Presidential election in 1872 to Senator Henry Wilson of Massachusetts. Wilson went on to serve as Vice President during Grant’s second term in office.
Vice President Colfax did not escape the scandals that plagued the Grant administration. In 1872, he became caught up in the Credit Mobilier Scandal, which involved railroad companies overcharging millions of dollars for government contracts and the company's directors bribing various government officials with company shares. Although Colfax was never convicted of any wrongdoing, he was not cleared either, and his political career effectively ended. After stepping down as vice president in 1873, Colfax retired and returned to Indiana. Leaving public life, he had a successful career as a public speaker. He died on January 13, 1885.
The Eckhart Public Library (EPL) was recently featured in Library Journal (Library's Green Annex Brings Acclaim, Growth) for its groundbreaking "green" building efforts that earned EPL the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification. The project was the first of its kind in Auburn and one of the first eco-friendly, self-sustaining green building library projects in the state of Indiana.
LEED is an internationally recognized certification system that measures how well a building or community performs across all the metrics that matter most: energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts.
Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), LEED provides building owners and operators a concise framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions. LEED is flexible enough to apply to all building types – commercial as well as residential - and it works throughout the building lifecycle.