The Book, Cat, & Cat Book Lovers Almanac

of historical trivia regarding books, cats, and other animals. Actually this blog has evolved so that it is described better as a blog about cats in history and culture. And we take as a theme the advice of Aldous Huxley: If you want to be a writer, get some cats. Don't forget to see the archived articles linked at the bottom of the page.

October 6, 2013

October 6, 1876

October 6, 1876 is considered the date the American Library Association was founded. On that date at a meeting of librarians Justin Winsor (January 2, 1831 to October 22, 1897) and his colleagues, signed a charter for this organization. It is the oldest organization for librarians.

Since 1871 Winsor had been the head of the Harvard University library where he continued his dedication to professionalizing the occupation of librarian, and extending the influence of the library itself according to his Boston Brahmin view of social uplift and self-help. Justin Winsor envisaged the library as the heart of a university. To make this vision a reality Winsor gathered statistics on library use, worked to extend hours libraries were open, wrote and published pamphlets such as "The Manuscript Sources of American History" (1887), annotated bibiliographies, (of which the source just mentioned is an example) and notified faculty about new holdings at the library.

Winsor was not just the first President of the American Library Association, he was the third president of the American Historical Association, a recently founded organization, (1884). Justin Winsor was a part of a Western cultural movement towards professionalization of scholarly pursuits. He authored the 8 volume set Narrative and Critical History of America (1884–1889) and so his own scholarly pursuits stimulated his ideal of the library as the center of a university.

Our interest now though is with his first book, about a town his family was associated with:
History of the Town of Duxbury, Massachusetts (1849). We quote from it:


1655: A bounty was early offered by the Colony Court for every wolf and other wild animal, that should be killed; and in the records frequent mention is made of various wolf-traps belonging to the settlers, and a report of the number of wolves killed was generally made to the Court. This year there was reported one wolf which was killed in Duxbury by an Indian.

1661 : The Court ordered that there should be given to every Indian, who should kill a wolf, one half a pound of powder and two pounds of shot or lead.

These animals were sometimes killed near the thickest settled parts of the town, though they generally frequented the woods in the western part in the greatest numbers; and it was not without some difficulty that one of them could be slain; yet they were not unfrequently taken in traps. In 1686, in the town's book of expenses, we find this, — " For a wolfe to an Indian, 7s. 6d," and many other records of a similar character.

1693: May 10. Ordered by the town that " every householder shall kill one crow and six blackbirhds, or twelve blackbirds. Such as kill no crow, between May 1 and July 1 must pay 1s. for Town's use."

1731, March 1: "Voted that there should be payd out of y« sd Town's Treasury Twenty Shillings for every wild cat, that may be killed within this town, by any of ye inhabitants thereof, to ye persons that may kill them, viz., Twenty Shillings above what is allowed for killing wild cats of ye province Treasury."

1737, March 14: The Town ordered that to any person, who should kill a crow, six pence should be given; and for a crow-bill black bird three pence; and for a bluebird,...of that kind, which usually destroys indian corn,...three pence.

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