Letter from FREDERICK BILLINGS to CAROLINE CRANE MARSH, dated November 8, 1882.
Dear Mrs Marsh,
Your most welcome letter of Oct. 8 came in my absence in the far
West. I lose no time now in thanking you for its very kind expressions. I deem
myself most fortunate in having the privilege of purchasing the most valuable
Library of your late husband, and of giving it
to the University. Taking all the circumstances together, it seems to be a matter for congratulation all round. I am now exercised about a fire-proof Library building. The present Library of the University is a very valuable one, and when it has this new addition, it would seem almost criminal to run any risk of its destruction by fire. That subject is now under consideration. I beg you to take your own time to pack
the books for transportation, and I am very thankful that that work is to be done under your personal supervision. If I could be present with you, I might follow the suggestion that some of the American official publications be left abroad. As it is however, I desire everything to be forwarded including the files of the Scientific and Literary periodicals taken by M Marsh. I shall consider the file of the London Daily News--extending
through the whole period of the War, as a very valuable possession. It pleases me to know that the bust of Mr Marsh, will in time be with the books.
Your husband was kind enough to send me a photography of himself in his study taken
in Florence in 1875. I should like exceedingly to have one or two copies of that to
give with the Books to the University. My copy has his autograph, and
I would not part with it on any account. It would be well if there are several photographs, and they do anything like justice to him, to have copies of all of them forwarded to me. I shall be very glad to remit the expense.
I had indulged the hope that sometime I should see M Marsh and yourself
here in the old homestead which he loved so much, and which goes
by the name of the Marsh Place. Of course it is very much changed, but we have had a delightful home here for a good many years.
Your husband was always kind to me when I was a young man. My heart was full of love
for him, and it was a great grief to me to hear of his death, and to feel that I
should never see him here. I can well understand how heavy your sorrow is. Will
you not sometime come to see us.
M Billings joins me in kindest regards.
Very Sincerely Yours.Frederick Billings
References in this letter:
Frederick Billings, (1823-1890), was a lawyer, statesman and president of the Northern Pacific Railroad. Billings gave George Perkins Marsh's library, a collection of 12,000 items, to the University of Vermont. He also provided funds for a building to house the collection, the Billings Library, now the Billings Student Center.