Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Promise


What does any university hold, beyond its buildings, its equipment, its books and journals, its endowments and its positions? John Dice McLaren might have answered: promise.

Penciled on the back of this photograph, in what appears to be McLaren's hand is:
Marquam Road 1915 in front of U. of O. Medical School site, Marquam Hill. "Moses viewing the promised land." J.D. McL.
In 1915, the Marquam campus was indeed just a promise--not even that, a hope. A hope for a better building, one that wasn't a firetrap. A hope for more quiet, away from the trolley tracks. A hope for room to grow.

McLaren may have had more of an eye to the future than some of his colleagues; after all, he did agree to be de facto librarian for the school from 1913-1917, giving many of his own books to the fledgling collection. And libraries, as we know, are temples to promise and hope.

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