Lane Library

Dr. Rixford's Personal Notes

26 December 1906

The following commentary by Dr. Rixford on the subsequent purchase of the New York Academy collection is from his personal notes: [9]

In the winter of 1905-1906 I began to correspond with Mr. Brownne, Librarian of the New York Academy of Medicine, looking to purchase of the great collection of duplicates of the Academy, the bulk of which was the former Library of the New York Hospital of about 25,000 volumes, rich in periodicals.

I had Dr. Joseph O. Hirschfelder, Professor of Clinical Medicine at Cooper Medical College, examine the collection and he reported that it was worth a great deal of money, could not be duplicated in his opinion in the open market for $ 100,000. He suggested that we make an offer - say $ 5,000 - to start negotiations.

Dr. Ellinwood came to me one day and said that if I would turn over to him the correspondence he would pay for the books. I agreed and the Library Committee concurred. He paid $6,000 for the collection, had it shipped to San Francisco and at the Directors' meeting on 17 July 1906 presented it as a "personal gift.' to Cooper Medical College as a part of the Levi Cooper Lane Library of Medicine and Surgery, on condition that the College pay the freight charges from New York to San Francisco (which later proved to be $ 864. 25). [10]

Dr. Barkan moved that the gift be accepted from Dr. C. N. Ellinwood, President of Cooper Medical College, which was carried. At a subsequent meeting on 29 August 1906, after some debate, the resolution was reconsidered and on Dr. Ellinwood's request as to the wording of the resolution, the words "President of Cooper Medical College" were omitted.

Dr. Ellinwood took this occasion to say that he desired definitely to disabuse the minds of the Directors that the money left him by Mrs. Lane was in any way a trust, that it was no concern of any of the Directors where he got the money (to pay for the New York Academy of Medicine collection).

I stated that it was inconceivable to me that anyone in the position of Dr. Ellinwood could make a gift to the Lane Library out of the money left by Dr. Lane without mentioning Dr. and Mrs. Lane. His failure to do so made it evident that the gift was as he had stated - a personal gift - and therefore out of other moneys than those left him by Mrs. Lane; and that therefore the Directors ought to accept the gift and thank Dr. Ellinwood therefor.

Everyone of the College staff to whom I expressed the above interpretation of Dr. Ellinwood's action scoffed at the idea.

***

Ellinwood Correspondence with the New York Academy of Medicine

Dr. Ellinwood's correspondence related to the purchase of the collection from the New York Academy of Medicine illuminates the strained circumstances under which this valuable asset was acquired by Cooper Medical College.

On 24 February 1906 Dr. Ellinwood took over Dr. Rixford's correspondence with John. S. Brownne, Academy Librarian, and made the following offer to purchase the collection: [11]

San Francisco
24 February 1906

Mr. John S. Brownne, Librarian

New York Academy of Medicine

My dear Sir:

Referring to your previous letter I beg to say that we are desirous of obtaining the New York Hospital Library mentioned in your letter, of which our secretary, Dr. Rixford, has had some correspondence with you, and Dr. Hirschfelder of our College has also conferred with you in relation to it.

We desire this library to become an important addition to our Lane Library which is being established as a factor in medical education and freely available also to the medical profession in general, to be maintained, we hope, in such way as to contribute most to the progress of Medicine.

Please be good enough to submit to your Academy trustees an offer of $ 5,000 as the purchase price of the library (emphasis added). Hoping to hear from you at an early day and hoping for your continued good offices in our behalf, I am,

Sincerely,

C. N. Ellinwood.

Responsibility for negotiations on behalf of the Academy was at this point assumed by Dr. Abraham Jacobi, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Academy, to whom Dr. Ellinwood made a second offer in a letter of 10 April 1906: [12]

San Francisco
10 April 1906

Dr. Abraham Jacobi, Chairman of Trustees

New York Academy of Medicine

Dear Doctor and Sir:

Replying to yours of the 1st inst, I beg to say that our proposal to pay $5,000 for the New York Hospital Library which the Academy of Medicine is seeking to dispose of, was made, not with a view of estimating its commercial value, but with the desire on our part of doing the best we could to secure it, with our limited means as an acquisition to our new library, which is being organized in the interest of progress in the science and art of medicine, in aid of medical education, the medical profession and a beneficence to humanity.

. . .With us the library will be kept undivided and permanently housed in such way as to start a foundation on which we hope to build and so make and maintain a complete public medical library.

Will you kindly present this view of the matter to your Board of Trustees of the Academy and if you desire that we add another thousand dollars to our proposal, making it $6,000 in all, to include labor and expense of packing, ready for shipment, of the library, we will try to provide the additional sum (emphasis added).

C. N. Ellinwood, President

Cooper Medical College

Not having heard from Dr. Jacobi in response to his second offer, Dr. Ellinwood addressed to him the following third and final offer on 22 May 1906: [13]

San Francisco
22 May 1906

Dr. A. Jacobi

New York Academy of Medicine

My dear Doctor and Sir:

Notwithstanding the great catastrophe to our City from earthquake and fire (18 April 1906), Cooper Medical College survives and is going on undaunted in its work, and duty to medical education and the medical profession.

I have not heard from you as I expected, since you proposed to submit my last proposition with your approval to the Academy Trustees for the purchase of the New York Hospital Library, in which I offered to add one thousand dollars, if you so desired to my former offer of $5,000, this to cover the cost of packing and shipping the books (emphasis added).

Hoping to hear from you with the kindly interest of the Trustees of the Academy of Medicine expressed in our behalf, I am

Sincerely yours,

C. N. Ellinwood.

The difference between the second and third offers is critical in that the second offer included only "the expense of packing, ready for shipment; " whereas the third offer specified that the total payment of $6,000 is "to cover the cost of packing and shipping the books " (emphasis added).

As we shall see, according to the Treasurer of the New York Academy of Medicine, the Trustees of the Academy approved only the second offer and Dr. Jacobi approved the third offer on his own initiative - assuming that the Trustees would honor his commitment to include the shipping costs within the overall payment of $6,000. The implications of this assumption were not readily apparent and Librarian Brownne proceeded to pack and ship the New York Hospital collection to Cooper Medical College. On 6 July 1906 he advised Dr. Jacobi that the shipment consisted of 269 cases of books, weight 81225 lbs. (41 tons), and that the ship would leave Brooklyn on 20 July 1906, to arrive in San Francisco in sixty days. He quoted the cost of shipping and insurance as $864.25. [14]

Dr. Jacobi wrote on 23 July 1906 to inform Dr. Ellinwood of the shipment of the books: [15]

New York Academy of Medicine

23 July 1906

C. N. Ellinwood

San Francisco

Dear Professor Ellinwood:

Mr. Brownne has informed me that your books have been packed and sent off. The work has been done carefully and expensively, so that I feel certain the library will arrive in a good condition. May it contribute to enlarging and warming the West and the Phoenix of the Pacific. I beg to propose to you to deduct 864.25 dollars freight and insurance from the six thousand. Our expenses here, have amounted to $496. 20 which I shall advise our Trustees to settle out of the balance (emphasis added).

With my good wishes and congratulations, I remain,

Yours very sincerely,

A. Jacobi, Chairman of Trustees

N. Y. Med. Academy of Medicine

The books arrived in San Francisco in late September or early October. Thinking to close his account with the New York Academy of Medicine in accordance with the advice received in Dr. Jacobi's letter of 23 July 1906, Dr. Ellinwood wrote to him as follows on 9 October 1906: [16]

San Francisco

9 October 1906

Dr. A. Jacobi, Chairman

N. Y. Academy of Medicine

My dear Sir:

Herewith I enclose to you my check on the Bank of California, certified and made payable by Laidlaw & Co., New York, for the sum of $ 5135. 75 the amount named by you in your letter of July 23 in payment for the books which the Academy kindly sold to us (emphasis added)..

The books arrived in good order and they are now contributed to and constitute a valuable acquisition to the Levi Cooper Lane Library of Medicine and Surgery, available for the use of the medical profession, and devoted to the advancement of science and progress in the art of medicine.

I beg to thank you sir for your kindly interest in our behalf and also Mr. Brownne your Librarian.

Sincerely yours,

C. N. Ellinwood.

Dr. Ellinwood's facts and arithmetic were accurate. In a letter dated 23 July, Dr. Jacobi had specifically instructed him to "deduct 864. 25 dollars freight and insurance from the six thousand"(emphasis added). Dr. Ellinwood did so and obtained the correct remainder of $ 5135. 75 which he duly remitted to Dr. Jacobi on 9 October 1906 and considered the transaction complete.

Some two months later Dr. Ellinwood was surprised to receive the following letter from the New York Academy of Medicine: [17]

New York Academy of Medicine
1 December 1906

Charles N. Ellinwood, M. D. President

Cooper Medical College, San Francisco, Cal.

My dear Sir:

I am in receipt of your check for $5135.75 and note that you have deducted from the purchase price of $6000, the amount paid by (us) for freight and insurance, viz. $864.25.

I enclose copies of your letters in regard to the purchase of this library, in which you will note that the final offer which the Trustees of the Academy of Medicine accepted, was for $ 6000 in all to include labor and expense of packing ready for shipment (emphasis added). I also enclose a copy of a letter from our Superintendent Mr. Brownne to Dr. Jacobi, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, which gives in detail the expense of packing the library, and in which he has included the expense of carting from the Academy to the dock, viz. $168.00, which should be added to the cost of freightage and insurance, making a total of $1032.25 still due for expenses of shipping the books.

I feel sure that you did not have a copy of your letter at hand, and from recollection presumed that the cost of sending the books was to be deducted from the purchase price, but as you will see from reference to the enclosed copies of the correspondence, the latter simply stipulated that the Academy pay for the labor and expense of packing ready for shipment (emphasis added). .

As I would like to include this transaction in my annual report, I will be greatly obliged for the early remittance of this amount.

Reginald H. Sayre

(Note: Dr. Ellinwood later complained in his letter to Dr. Jacobi dated 8 April 1907 that the above letter did not identify Dr. Sayre as an officer of the Academy. Furthermore, Dr. Ellinwood objected to the unexplained intrusion of Dr. Sayre as a third party in negotiations that had been exclusively with Dr. Jacobi.)

The following is Dr. Ellinwood's tart response to Dr. Sayre's rather peremptory letter: [18]

San Francisco
8 December 1906

Dr. Reginald H. Sayre, Treasurer

New York Academy of Medicine.

My dear Sir:

Yours of the 1st inst. is received and I must express my surprise at its import.

In reply I beg to say that if you will kindly complete the correspondence of which you send me a copy in part and supply letter of your chairman bearing date of July 23rd to which I referred in my letter of remittance covering the amount named in full payment of the library, I trust that you will find the proper sum has been remitted to you and that all interested will be satisfied.

It just occurs to me that perhaps your chairman has forgotten to furnish you with a copy of his letter to me bearing date as above and which was the final word in the negotiation and my remittance to you completed the transaction which I hope is now happily closed.

Yours very respectfully,

C. N. Ellinwood.

The remainder of the troubled history of Dr. Ellinwood's role in the purchase of the New York Hospital Library from the New York Academy of Medicine is best told in the following six letters by principals with whom we are now familiar. [19]

San Francisco
25 December 1906

Dr. A. Jacobi, Chairman of Trustees

New York Academy of Medicine.

My dear Sir:

Yours of the 15th inst. is received and as you request I enclose to you a copy of your letter of 23 July 1906.

With the compliments of the season,

I am sincerely yours,

C. N. Ellinwood.

New York Academy of Medicine

20 February 1907

Dear Doctor Jacobi:

I enclose a draft of the letter (dated 20 February 1907) to be sent to Dr. Ellinwood regarding the sale of the Library. Please make any alterations or additions which seem wise to you, and return the draft to me and I will then communicate with Dr. Ellinwood.

Yours Sincerely, Reginald H. Sayre, Treasurer

Notation

Dear Doctor Sayre:

That letter is surely correct and in accordance with the resolutions of the Trustees.

Yours truly,

A. Jacobi

New York Academy of Medicine
20 February 1907

C. N. Ellinwood, M. D., L. L. D., President,

Cooper Medical College, San Francisco, Cal.

My dear Sir:

At the last meeting of the Board of Trustees, Dr. Jacobi made the suggestion of which he spoke to you in his letter of 23 July 1906, viz., that the Trustees should pay the expense of forwarding the Library to the Cooper Medical College, and of insuring it in transit.

The Trustees do not feel that they are empowered to accept the suggestion made by Dr. Jacobi as the proposal laid before the Academy last Spring, and accepted by them, was that the library would be sold to the Cooper Medical College for $6000, the expense of packing ready for shipment to be borne by the Academy. The Trustees feel that it is beyond their province to alter the conditions of agreement, and as the cost of

  • freight - $819. 25
  • Insurance 45. 00
  • carting - 168. 00

making a total of $1032.25, I would be much obliged if you would oblige me a draft for this amount.

Yours very truly,

Reginald H. Sayre,

Treasurer

San Francisco

3 March 1907

Dr. A. Jacobi, Chairman of Trustees

New York Academy of Medicine

My dear Doctor and Sir:

May I ask if you are cognizant of and approve the letter of your Treasurer to me of February 20th, expressing disapproval of your negotiations and sale of the books and refusal of the Trustees to confirm your action.

When you opened correspondence with me in this matter you informed me that you had been authorized by the Academy to act for it.

I remitted to you my check for the amount which you stated as the purchase price of the books and I so stated in my letter of transmittal with the check.

The Treasurer by his endorsement acknowledges the receipt of the money and for the purpose expressed. If now your authority has been abrogated and the Academy refuses to confirm the sale, then ethics and fair dealing would have demanded a return of the money and further negotiations.

But no, after months have elapsed without a word of dissatisfaction your Treasurer makes a new price for me to pay for which I had not agreed to.

You shipped the books to us 9 July 1906 and told me what to pay. I paid it and hold the Treasurer's receipt.

Hoping that you and your confreres may approve our course.

I am sincerely yours,

C. N. Ellinwood.

New York Academy of Medicine

29 March 1907

Dr. C. N. Ellinwood

Dear Sir:

I requested you to send me a copy of my letter in order to convince myself and my Colleagues that I had not exceeded my authority. You were good enough to transmit it. I never could determine the policy of the Trustees, and was not authorized to "act for them." You were sarcastic enough to ask me if I am cognizant of and approve of the action of the Treasurer, Dr. Sayre, who received his order from the Trustees, that is self-understood, as I am only one of the Trustees.

Let me ask a question, if the Treasurer would have returned your check, would you have returned the Library?

I apologize for sending this reply to yours of March 3rd, so late. The cause of my delay is my wish to read your letter to the meeting of the Trustees, which took place night before last.

Very truly yours,

A. Jacobi.

San Francisco
8 April 1907

Dr. A. Jacobi

New York Academy of Medicine

My dear Sir:

I am surprised and pained that you should regard my letter as "sarcastic" when I had no idea of making it so.

It was to me inexplicable that Dr. Sayre whom I had no knowledge of as an officer of the Academy, should address me such a letter after the negotiations had been concluded with you and full payment made and the transaction closed. Kindly disabuse your mind of any sarcasm in my question.

Sincerely yours,

C. N. Ellinwood.

This letter of 8 April 1907 concluded the correspondence between an uncompromising Ellinwood and the New York Academy. The state of affairs at this point was about as follows. Ellinwood was now legally in possession of the collection. His intransigence he attributed in part to the offensive tone of the letter of Treasurer Sayre who without prior introduction preempted the business relationship between Drs. Jacobi and Ellinwood.

As far as the embittered Dr. Jacobi was concerned his generous effort to respond to the needs of a promising western medical school, and his trustful informality in the contractual relationship with Ellinwood, left him technically in debt to the New York Academy of Medicine for a sum of $1032.25.

Unaccountably, Ellinwood did not see fit, when the issue of shipping costs was raised, at once to inform Drs. Jacobi and Sayre that, as a condition of the gift of the collection to Cooper Medical College, he had obligated the College to pay the shipping charges (of $864.25). Prompt arrangement by Ellinwood for the College to pay this amount to the Academy would have left a relatively minor and negotiable residual expense of only $168 for carting the shipment from the New York Academy to the dock in South Brooklyn. However, Dr. Ellinwood was not interested in conciliation and in protecting the good name of Cooper Medical College for after February 1907 he was, as we shall later see, no longer a member of the College.

After the removal of Ellinwood from the Faculty of Cooper Medical College, the unresolved status of the New York Academy of Medicine collection of duplicates did not come to the attention of the Board of Directors of the College until about the first of July 1907 when Dr. Barkan returned from abroad via New York. While in New York, Dr. Barkan saw Dr. Jacobi who gave him the Ellinwood correspondence. At a special meeting of the Board of Directors on 16 July 1907 the correspondence was read to the Board who took action forthwith: [20]

Whereas, Dr. Charles N. Ellinwood while President had purchased the Collection of Duplicates from the New York Academy of Medicine in the name of Cooper Medical College, as is evident from the aforesaid correspondence, and presented the Collection to the College as his personal gift on condition that the College pay the freight charges which amounted to $864.25. The College having accepted the gift on these conditions, paid the freight charges, and

Whereas, at this time Dr. Ellinwood understood that the said freight charges were to be paid by the New York Academy of Medicine and in his payment had deducted the amount of said freight charges from the sum agreed upon by the Trustees of the Academy, and

Whereas, Dr. Ellinwood also refused to pay the charges for cartage in New York amounting to $168.00.

Therefore be it resolved that the College pay the total amount of the purchase price agreed upon by the Trustees of the New York Academy of Medicine to wit: $ 6000 and in addition thereto $ 168, the amount of cartage charges, and request the Trustees to return to Dr. Ellinwood the money paid by him for said books, and be it further

Resolved that the Treasurer be and he hereby is authorized to draw from the Lane Medical Library Fund the sum of $6168 for the purpose of this resolution.

The resolution was adopted unanimously and a check for $6168 forwarded to Dr. Sayre, Treasurer of the New York Academy of Medicine, on 22 July 1907 in the following letter: [21]

San Francisco
22 July 1907

Dr. Reginald. H. Sayre, Treasurer

New York Academy of Medicine

Dear. Doctor Sayre:

I have the honor to inform you that at a meeting held 16 July 1907, the Directors of Cooper Medical College unanimously resolved to tender to the Trustees of the New York Academy of Medicine the sum of six thousand one hundred and sixty-eight dollars ($6,168) being the amount, which according to the correspondence copy of which was kindly furnished by Dr. Jacobi, the Trustees agreed to accept for the Collection of duplicates sent last year to Cooper College together with the amount paid for the insurance and cartage, and I enclose Treasurer's draft for that amount.

The Directors of Cooper Medical College reluctantly accepted these books as the personal gift of Dr. Ellinwood on condition prescribed by him that the College pay the freight, but because of a number of acts of Dr. Ellinwood in this matter for which the College cannot stand its sponsor notably the attitude taken by him in this aforesaid correspondence together with his having retained the amount of the freight bill after he had understood from Dr. Jacobi's letter of 23 July 1906, that the Academy would remit the amount of the freight - and the fact that the Directors were compelled to depose him from the Presidency of the College in February last, desire to have returned to Dr. Ellinwood the money paid by him for these books and the sale made to Cooper College in fact as it was understood by the Academy to be.

The Directors therefore request the Trustees of the Academy to return to Dr. Ellinwood the amount paid by him and would suggest that this action be put upon the ground (which is indeed the proper one) that the Academy and Dr. Ellinwood having failed to come to an agreement as to the total amount owing to the Academy for the books and Cooper College now having remitted the whole amount of the purchasing price including cost of insurance and cartage no recourse is left the Academy except that of returning to Dr. Ellinwood the amount paid by him as requested by him in his letter to Dr. Jacoby of 3 March 1907.

The Directors of Cooper College have instructed me to express to the Trustees of the Academy their grateful appreciation of the fact that the Trustees have made great concession in price for this collection of books to the College and to the medical profession of San Francisco.

I have also written Dr. Jacobi of this action of the Directors of Cooper College.

Very truly yours,

Emmet Rixford, M. D., Secretary

Cooper Medical College

The letter to Dr. Jacobi follows: [22]

San Francisco
22 July 1907

Dr. A. Jacobi

New York Academy of Medicine

Dear Doctor Jacobi:

I have the honor and I may add the great pleasure to inform you that the Board of Directors of Cooper Medical College met 16 July 1907, and after hearing the correspondence in the matter of the collection of duplicates of the New York Academy Library which you were good enough to send by Dr. Barkan, unanimously resolved to tender to the Academy the sum of six thousand one hundred and sixty eight dollars ($6,168) being the amount which the Trustees agreed to accept for the books plus the amount paid for insurance and cartage with the understanding that the Trustees will on receipt of draft return to Dr. Ellinwood the money paid by him as requested by him in his letter of 3 March 1907.

I have written as above to Dr. Sayre, Treasurer of the Academy, enclosing Treasurer's draft for the stated amount.

In grateful appreciation of your interest and favors in behalf of our Medical Library,

I am,

Sincerely yours,

Emmet Rixford, M. D. Secretary

Cooper Medical College.

The following letter from Dr. Sayre, Treasurer of the New York Academy of Medicine, brought an historic transaction for Lane Medical Library to a favorable conclusion in spite of C. N. Ellinwood's prior involvement. [23]

New York Academy of Medicine
30 September 1907

Dr. Emmet Rixford, Secretary

Cooper Medical College

Dear Dr. Rixford

From Dr. Stillman who called upon me the other day I learn that my letter of August the 15th has not reached you. I received yours of July 22nd enclosing a check for $6168.00 in payment for the Library sent last year, including the cartage. I have returned Dr. Ellinwood the money advanced by him, $5135.75, with a letter informing him that as he had not completed the contract the Trustees desire to return his money, and complete the arrangement originally entered into with the Cooper Medical College.

I need hardly tell you that the Trustees of the Academy feel the directors of Cooper Medical College have been most honorable in this entire transaction and are not in the least to blame for any misunderstanding which may have arisen on account of Dr. Ellinwood's conduct. Regretting that my previous letter informing you of the action of the Trustees has failed to reach you, I am

Very truly yours,

Reginald H. Sayre

Treasurer.

The discredited name of Dr. Ellinwood as a donor of the most extensive single collection ever acquired by Lane Medical Library was thus erased.

At the dedication of the Lane Medical Library building in 1912, Dr. Rixford referred briefly to this episode: [24]

In 1906, through the goodness of Dr. Abraham Jacobi of New York, we were enabled to purchase at a most advantageous price the great collection of duplicates of the New York Academy of Medicine - the bulk of which was the former Library of the New York Hospital - which added some 28,000 volumes to our stacks, exclusive of duplicates, and made the Lane Medical Library the largest west of Chicago and the seventh in size in the United States.

Lane Library