Mar. 7th 1868
Miss Sophia Smith
Can you tell us what was about the cost of the paper in your sitting room? We are soon to paper anew our parlors, & Mrs. Tyler was so much pleased with yours that we should like to know whether we can afford to get such paper for ours. We hope, Mrs. Bridgman will do us the favor to write the note if you can answer the question.
I owe you an apology, perhaps, for appealing to the name of it as a motive for erecting a Smith Library building for Mount Holyoke Seminary, & then saying no more about it. The fact is, I went over to Hatfield, not to beg for Mount Holyoke, but to make a friendly call for old acquaintance's sake. And I said, what I did say, only in connection with your inquiries about Mrs. Durant's donation. You understand the merits of the Seminary too well to doubt that there are other & far higher motives for furnishing with what it so much needs -a good Library. I cannot conceive of any way in which $10,000 (or better still in my opinion $20,000) could be more usefully invested than in erecting a fire-proof Library building for that noble Woman's College, & thus securing for it at once $10,000 worth of books & furnishing a necessary means of higher education to thousands ,of intelligent Christian women for many generations. And the association of your name with what will always be perhaps the most attractive & one of the most useful edifices of Mount Holyoke Seminary, is certainly no unworthy ambition, though it is only an inferior & quite incidental motive. You will permit me to repeat the expression of my earnest hope that you will make this your next contribution to the sacred cause of learning & religion, as it is a contribution so peculiarly befitting for an enlightened Christian woman to make for the elevation of her own sex, particularly in the section where Providence has cast her lot.
And when you have done that, I trust a kind Providence will spare you long enough to erect a Smith Library building for Amherst College also. Our present building is already full, & we have no place to put the new books which we have money to purchase, & which we must have to keep pace with the progress of literature & science in our day.
Amherst College & Mount Holyoke Seminary are no doubtful
experiments. Their character & their success are already established.
To give them money is not to put it into a bag with holes nor to spend
it in merely laying foundations. Every dollar will tell. Your income
merely for a few years would furnish them both with Libraries &
thus enlighten the ages & cheer the heart of teachers & pupils
through untold generations. And not withstanding your very just inquiry
"What is a name?" I cannot but think that to be remembered in connection
with two such institutions in the heart of New England, would be that "good
name which is better than precious ointment."