[PW] Quote: The very existence of libraries affords the best evidence that we may yet have hope for the future of man. (Attributed to T.S. Eliot)

Barbara Schmidt schmidtbrb at gmail.com
Sun Jun 23 05:17:37 PDT 2019


Good work from you and Katherine on tracking this down.  The thought also
occurred to me that this attribution to Eliot might have been to the wrong
Eliot and perhaps originated with Charles William Eliot, a former president
of Harvard and editor of the “Five Foot Shelf”. I believe Charles Eliot had
a son named Thomas.  And he was also related to T. S. Eliot. But I was
unable to verify such a quote originated from this branch of the family.


On Saturday, June 22, 2019, ADSGarson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com>

> Many thanks to Katherine Harper who sent me a valuable 1992 citation.
> A close match for the target quotation appeared in a book by Jayne Ann
> Krentz who started her career as a librarian before she become a
> top-selling romance author. I think she is now the leading candidate
> for coiner of the saying. The QI article will be updated soon.
> [ref] 1992, Perfect Partners by Jayne Ann Krentz, Chapter 7, Quote
> Page 123, Pocket Books: A Division of Simon & Schuster, New York.
> (Verified with scans) [/ref]
> [Begin excerpt]
> There was something very civilized about a library, she thought, even
> a tiny small-town library such as this. Since the days of ancient
> Alexandria libraries had stood for all the best that mankind could
> achieve.
> The very existence of libraries held out hope for the future of the
> human race, as far as Letty was concerned. If people had enough sense
> to collect and store information and make it available to everyone,
> perhaps they would someday have enough sense to use that wisdom to
> stop wars and find a cure for cancer.
> [End excerpt]
> Garson
> On Sat, Jun 22, 2019 at 1:20 AM ADSGarson O'Toole
> <adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com> wrote:
> >
> > A T. S. Eliot scholar contacted me and requested that I explore the
> > quotation in the subject line which is popular with some library
> > supporters. I created a Quote Investigator article to report my meager
> > discoveries. Eliot died in 1965, and the earliest citation I located
> > appeared in 1999. Any help would be appreciated.
> >
> > https://quoteinvestigator.com/2019/06/22/libraries/
> >
> > Year: 1999
> > Book Title: Shelf Life: How Books Have Changed the Destinies and
> > Desires of Men and Nations
> > Authors: George Grant and Karen Grant
> > Chapter: Literary Collections
> > Quote Page 91
> > Publisher: Cumberland House, Nashville, Tennessee.
> > (Verified with scans)
> >
> > [Begin excerpt]
> > "The very existence of libraries affords the best evidence that we may
> > yet have hope for the future of man."
> > T. S. Eliot (1888-1965)
> > [End excerpt]
> >
> > Garson O'Toole
> > QuoteInvestigator.com
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