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THE LOGANIAN LIBRARY.
This collection of rare and valuable books, principally in the learned and existing languages of the continent of Europe, owes its origin to the Honourable James Logan, the confidential friend and counsellor of William Penn, and, for some time, president of the council of the province of Pennsylvania. Its foundation consists of a portion of his own private library; which, having collected at considerable expense, he was anxious should descend to posterity, and continue usefully to extend to others the means of prosecuting those pursuits he had himself so successfully cultivated. With this view, he erected a suitable building in Sixth street near Walnut, for the reception of a library, and, by deed, vested it (with the books and certain rents, for the purpose of increasing their number, and paying a librarian,) in trustees, for the use of the public, for ever.
This deed he afterwards cancelled, and prepared, but did not live to execute, another, in which some alteration was made in the funds and regulations. After his death, his children* and residuary legatees, with commendable liberality, carried into effect the intentions of Mr. Logan, and conveyed the building, books, and rents charge to trustees, who caused the library, consisting of more than two thousand volumes, to be arranged, and a catalogue to be printed.
* It should therefore be distinctly noted, that it is to the children of James Logan, that the public is indebted for having thus appropriated the books and rents, agreeably to the original design. They were William and James Logan, John Smith and Hannah his wife, she being the surviving daughter.
About one thousand three hundred volumes, collected by Doctor William Logan, of Bristol, England, a younger brother of James Logan; and by William Logan of Philadelphia, son of the founder, were afterwards bequeathed to the institution, by the latter gentleman, who acted for some time as librarian. After his death, in 1776, the library remained unopened during several years.
To insure its perpetuity, the legislature of Pennsylvania, in 1792, at the request of James Logan, the only surviving trustee, passed an act annexing the Loganian library to that belonging to the Library Company of Philadelphia, under certain restrictions; this act constitutes the directors of that prosperous company for the time being, trustees, together with the eldest male descendant of the founder, and two other gentlemen to be by him appointed.*
To assist hereafter in designating the individual entitled to the trusteeship and the appointing power, and to enable the descendants of James LOGAN, to trace their relationship to him, the trustees have caused to be prepared a brief genealogical table of the family for reference in future; see page xii.
Since the two libraries were thus connected, the books of the Loganian institution have been kept in a room appropriated to the purpose, owned by the Library Company of Philadelphia, in which they were first opened for the benefit of the citizens in 1794, in accordance with the original intentions of James LOGAN, and the act of Assembly.
Very considerable additions have continued to be made to the collection by means of the funds arising out of the sale of the lot and building in Sixth street, and from the rents of the lands in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, settled originally on the institution by the Logans; and by donations, particularly of that from the late William Mackenzie, Esq., a native of Philadelphia, who bequeathed by his last will, in 1828, "all his books printed before the beginning of the eighteenth century, and eight hundred volumes more, to be chosen by the trustees, from his French books, and Latin books, printed since the beginning of the eighteenth century." This valuable bequest consists of 1519 volumes of great rarity and value, and subsequently 3566 volumes, were purchased from
* The present representative of James Logan in the male line, is Albanus Logan, Esq., residing at Somerville, near Philadelphia. See the provisions of the act regarding a perpetual succession of trustees, “as long as any of his descendants remained."