Columbia Library columns (v.2(1952Nov-1953May))

(New York :  Friends of the Columbia Libraries.  )



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  v.2,no.1(1952:Nov): Page 13  

'God Almighty Hates a Quitter"



''^HE sentence which appears as the caption of this brief
appreciation of Miss Isadore G. Mudge, Reference Li¬
brarian of the Columbia University Libraries from 1911
to 1941, was sent to her by President Nicholas Murray Butler with
the request that she find out by whom it was uttered and under
what circumstances. For Miss Mudge this was all in a day's work.
As President Butler was never weary of telling, his office con¬
stantly taxed her knowledge and resourcefulness in tracking down
facts, dates, and quotations. As usual, she came up with the
answer. In a typewritten Memoir of some 350 pages now de¬
posited in Special Collections: "Development of the Reference
Department of the Columbia University Libraries," she tells the
story of her search for this item, and remarks that the statement
might well be prominently displayed in every reference library
and serve as the motto of all reference librarians. Nothing more
aptly expresses the impression that her character, her will, and
her enthusiasm for scholarly exactitude made upon those who as
librarians worked with her, or, as students seeking help, came to
her with their problems. Nothing less than the best effort was
tolerated in herself or in those who worked under her direction;
no one who came to her with an honest problem, no matter how
immaturely envisaged, was turned away without helpful sug¬
gestion and assistance. And that helpfulness consisted not only in
finding an answer to the immediate question brought to her, but
was extended to aiding the student to learn of the tools and tech¬
niques by which he might in future help himself.

One of Miss Mudge's extracurricular activities which some
members of the teaching staff remember with gratitude was the
informal introduction to the library and its reference tools which

  v.2,no.1(1952:Nov): Page 13