Saturday, December 8, 2007

"Understanding Our Modern Civilization"

Professor Robert P. Blake, Director of the Harvard University Library, on November 2, 1929, encouraging Lucius Littauer to assist in the acquisition of a collection of Judaica books for the library: ".... it will be directly in line with the finest trait of Harvard scholarly tradition - a sympathetic and friendly understanding of all the disparate elements which have gone to make up our modern civilization".

Hard to conceive of a university administrator or scholar expressing quite these sentiments these days, isn't it? Too bad, actually.

(Charles Berlin, Harvard Judaica, Harvard College Library, Cambridge MS 2004, page 14)

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